So I'm staring down the barrel of my 44th birthday, past middle age and cruising towards death. I feel like all that's left is trying to not be a hairy eared old man telling the same anecdotes over and over again. I don't want to become totally irrelevant. Let's face it, the only old men who aren't irrelevant are the very smart, the very rich or the very funny. I'm kind of funny but mostly I'm fucked.
I decided to do a little research - looking into what successful people were doing at 44. But what fields of success to look at? Honestly I'm a pretty shallow person so philosophers, writers, scientists and political figures were out of the question. That pretty much left celebrities.
When researching celebrities at 44 do NOT look at rock stars; you will start looking for a building tall enough to jump out of without the risk of just getting paralyzed. Mick Jagger? Dirty Work. Sure it went platinum but it sucked platinum ass. Pete Townshend? The Iron Man Musical, hated by grownups and children alike. (ok, I'm Not Going To Run Anymore was good) David Bowie? Two words - Tin Machine. Springsteen released two albums on the same day, Lucky Town and Human Touch, both were universally ignored so they just stuck him in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to distract him. Lou Reed? Became a Honda Spokesman and performed at Farm Aid to a generously luke warm reception. So where to look? Professional athletes? F-that, you get hailed as an iron man for being able to walk after 40.
I realized that what I was looking for wasn't about accomplishments or notoriety, it was about the half way point actually being half way. I was looking for hope that there was more to come, perhaps even something fun or exciting. So I looked to the people I know could give me hope - A-list Hollywood actors.
At the age of 44 Paul Newman had just released Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid. He still had The Sting, Slap Shot and The Verdict ahead of him. At 44 Clint Eastwood released High Plains Drifter which he directed and starred in, still ahead for Clint? Four Dirty Harry movies, Escape From Alcatraz and The Unforgiven which brought him his first Oscar at the age of 64. Max Von Sydow did the Exorcist at 44 and would go on to appear in almost 90 more movies.
At 44 Samuel L. Jackson was still a year away from the release of Pulp Fiction, Viggo Mortenson was Aragorn in The Fellowship of the Ring. Although both had been around for a while many would cite these films as career breakouts. Hope! There it was. Yes, I know that I'm just another schlub who won't do anything spectacular. I'm cool with that. It's not about fame or fortune, it's about how these guys kept going into middle age or reinvented their careers. I just need to find a spark to do something interesting or fun with the second half of my life.
NOTE- All celebrity ages at time of said accomplishments are guesstimates based on birthdays and release dates. Could be way off so don't quote me.