Thank You, Friends. (Now with photos. Thanks P&D.)

Absolute Love & Bliss

Turning 40 is an ordeal, and I don’t mean the party planning, which Sam did flawlessly, of course; I mean the state of mind. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. But it’s the turning 40 and not the being 40 that is the ordeal. Gallery after the jump.

I’ve spent the last month – heck, the last year – wondering what it would be like to be 40, and all that means. Much ado about nothing, because it just washed over me yesterday, and I’m just fine. If anything it’s a relief. It’s almost how I imagine it is to test positive for HIV. The big sigh of abdication from worrying, and just knowing what lies ahead.

But I digress.

On our way to Lucky Strike, I had some idea of who was going to be there, but I didn’t know for sure. What I did know is who had called, sent flowers and cards, sent emails, sent videos of their own personalized Happy Birthday songs and messages via Facebook, and who called with regrets – sick at home. (Get well soon, Mel and Sonny!!! xoxoxo) And then there are those who are sure to trickle in over the next few days, as I always do… I’m not the best recaller of birthdays, no matter how hard I try.

“Birthdays really show you who your friends are,” said Sam almost prophetically as we drove, and then the phone rang. It was Jason Smith, whom I’ve met on one occasion, at Michael Paonessa’s 40th, and he remixed our wedding CD. Not only did he remember, but he called, and gushed, and laughed, and cheered, and sang. He’s a great guy, with a huge heart. We caught up a bit and made an invitation for him to visit L.A., which we hope he takes us up on. I hung up the phone and Sam and I just smiled.

When Sam and I got to Lucky Strike, there was the proof: Mom, Lisa Nupoff, Todd Justice, Rodney Ponder, Joe Balthazar & Gregory Zarian, Joseph & Dan (I don’t have their last names, because they’re such new friends, but certain to be great friends), Ryan Bradley, Sue Bailey & Joy Di Palma (our new gal pals from the Bora Bora trip), Eric Mueller, Jonathan Varjabedian, and Pat & Dave Woodhams (who made the trip all the way from Phoenix). A few people had RSVP’d with their regrets, with only thousands of miles or significant illnesses standing between us, but effusive with their birthday wishes just the same.

It was the first time Mom and Joe had been in the room together since we broke up. Lisa and Mom sat with our girls from the Bora Bora trip. Joe had brought a charming date, and brought some of his friends with whom we hit it off right away. We got to spend some time with Todney and the elusive Eric Mueller and his gigantic calves. Ryan and Jonathan (the Michigan Gay Mafia) blew us away with their bowling skills. Joe and Sam talked and posed for pictures, shot by an incredulous Pat. Another one for the books. We thronged together for ‘impossible’ photos containing circles of friends seemingly leagues apart, and yet, so delicately intertwining. It was a stellar night, and easily the best birthday I’ve ever had (including my tenth when I got a motorcycle.)

These are our friends. This is our family.

Arguably the best thing about being 40 (especially after 10 years in Los Angeles) is feeling like you’re not a new kid anymore and being fine with it, that you know what you’re doing, where your career’s going, where you’re headed, where home is, why you’re here in this moment… now, and most importantly, who your friends are.

That is the best gift I’ve ever received. You know who you are, and I’m grateful to have you in my life. I love you.

P.S. Mad, mad thanks to the Woodhamses for the rad pics. 🙂

11 Responses to “Thank You, Friends. (Now with photos. Thanks P&D.)”

  1. 1 Joe Shmo
    Sunday, April 6, 2008 at 2:02 pm

    Ahhh! sounds like a blast. Glad you had fun. 2 more years and I’ll be in the same boat. Happy Birthday.

    Ever elusive…

  2. Sunday, April 6, 2008 at 8:09 pm

    hey tiger– great photo up there! lol. glad I could be elusive and calved at your party…. THANK YOU for a VERY fun time… and happy freakin’ birthday, ya know???

  3. Monday, April 7, 2008 at 6:05 am

    The good times are yet to come, if you can imagine!

  4. 4 Pants
    Monday, April 7, 2008 at 12:38 pm

    I am so glad you had a wonderful birthday, it was a tad far for Mike and I but maybe when I turn (cough)40(cough), you can fly to Naples and we can go Freakin at the Beacon and do some bowling there.

    Love you, mean it – Jude

  5. 5 Jonathan
    Monday, April 7, 2008 at 2:20 pm

    That was a blast, Bronson. You’re the best, G–I’m not just glad to know you, I’m grateful.
    And just remember, 40 is the new 39.

  6. Monday, April 7, 2008 at 3:11 pm

    Hey Billy:

    Thanks for sharing your experience and thoughts on turning 40 – rest assured you are not alone. Come on over to http://www.turning40.net and connect with others going through the same life milestone.

    Have a great day!


  7. 7 Steve
    Thursday, April 10, 2008 at 9:11 am

    Happy 40th! Don’t forget to post the pics from the party! 🙂

  8. 8 Curry Mendes
    Friday, April 11, 2008 at 6:19 pm

    Congrats on turning 40 and being just allowing the joy in your life to flow into and through you to so many people around you. Happy Birthday.. is there a can of spray paint around? I believe it was your 20th birthday that the wall grafitti card was made..

    i turned 40 this past summer also, and it made me sit up and start moving forward at a faster rate .. definitely no longer at the station.. on the train now.!!

    I am feeling like LA is one of my better decisions in life and look foward to meeting up with you and Sam sometime soon!

    again Happy Birthday
    – CURRY
    ps.. thank you for the wonderful LINK and the awesome FLAG on it!!

  9. 9 Steve E
    Saturday, April 12, 2008 at 7:00 am

    I just woke up. I just turned 40 yesterday. It was very nice to read your piece which is about me too. Happy Birthday!

  10. Saturday, April 12, 2008 at 10:05 am

    Thanks everyone for making it such a great night. What a fun time!


  11. Saturday, April 12, 2008 at 10:32 am

    Happy Birthday! Mine is only a week away….**sigh**

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