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In which John discusses his old age.

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Good morning, Hank! It's Tuesday.

So I just turned forty, which you'll be unsurprised to learn has led to a bit of existential navel-gazing, but not with the conclusions that one might expect. 

So when I was younger, not just in my teens, but also through my twenties, I thought of adulthood as, like, an ending.

Like in my imagination, human life was this epic road trip that started when you were born and ended when you reached your destination, adulthood. And once you arrived at adulthood, you were never allowed to leave.

To me, adulthood meant being weighed down with all these responsibilities. You have to mow the lawn and take your kids to soccer practice and pay your bills on time, because you care about something called 'your credit score.'

And from what I could tell about adulthood, these responsibilities would sort of pin you down and prevent you from growing or changing and you would just become a robot that fulfills obligations.

You know, I thought it was like an existential death that came several decades before your actual, physical death.

So to delay the onset of adulthood and the metaphysical death that came with it, my strategy in my twenties was to keep my life very light and lean.

Like, one time, I remember saying to a girl I was dating that if I needed to, I could pack my life up into my car in fifteen minutes. She dumped me shortly thereafter. 

Now, of course, I couldn't pack up my wall of memorabilia in fifteen minutes, let alone my whole life.

And of course I'm going to tell you that I was underestimating adulthood--because I have to! Right? Adults can't think of adulthood as a prison from which there is no earthly escape!

We have to trick ourselves into thinking we're having a great time and not at all being slowly strangled to death by homeowners' association meetings.  

And, who knows, maybe I am tricking myself, but for the record, I love being in a place that's hard to leave. I like having roots in a place and friends I've known for twenty-five years, and that wasn't possible twenty years ago, because, you know, I hadn't been alive for twenty-five years. 

Now, sometimes I do feel overwhelmed by the obligations of adulthood, but even so, I would not want to be fifteen again, or for that matter, twenty-five.

I know that's easy for me to say, because I've been incredibly lucky in both my professional and personal lives, but I know a lot of middle-aged people who are leading a wide variety of lives and I honestly think that my experience is more the rule than the exception. 

Adulthood is so underrated, but more importantly, it turns out that adulthood is not a destination. Like, I don't think my life has grown less interesting as it has grown more settled.

I used to think that nothing stank of failure quite like living in the suburbs with your spouse and your two kids. That such an existence was a tremendous waste of what Mary Oliver called "your one wild and precious life."

But I find at forty that my life feels wilder and more precious than ever. 

That's not to say that my way of being an adult is the only good way, or that it's right for everyone. It's just that it's right for me.

And if this is forty? I'll take it. 

Thanks so much everybody for their birthday wishes and turtle cakes! Three more things.

First, look, look, look! I have finished signing all two hundred thousand copies! And the boxes are gone!

Those two hundred thousand sheets of paper are now at the printer in Virginia being bound into copies of Turtles All the Way Down.

Amazon and have both sold out of their allotment of signed copies, but there is still lots of other ways to get them. More info at!

Secondly, my video next week will be me reading the first chapter of Turtles All the Way Down.

That video will be over four minutes, but that is not punishable. There are precedents set in 2011 and 2008, when I read the first chapters of The Fault in Our Stars and Paper Towns.

And lastly, I want to say to our friends and viewers affected by flooding in Texas and Louisiana and also in India, Nepal, and Bangladesh that we are thinking of you. 

Nerdfighters, if you are able, I hope you will join me in donating to relief organizations. There are links in the doodly-doo below. 

Hank, I will see you on Friday.