Well, it happened. Today's my birthday. The BIG one. The one that causes most men to have midlife crisis's. MOST men.
Jay P. Fosgitt just turned 40.
Of course, I'm a professional cartoonist. Started drawing at age two. Determined I'd be a cartoonist at age five. Started getting paid to cartoon at age thirteen. And now I draw comics that are enjoyed by kids, and by adults with childlike sensibilities. I create those comics in an apartment with walls bedecked with posters of superheroes, Muppets, and cartoon characters, and with shelves piled with comic books, toys and puppets. Seems to me, with all that evidence, that I was born into a midlife crisis. But if this is a crisis, don't anyone try to help me. I'm having a grand ol' time.
It is appropriate to the point of almost being ridiculous that I'm spending my 40th birthday (well, the day after) in New York City, with my first (and best) stop being a tour of The Jim Henson Company. My wildest dream since childhood has been to step into that fabled workshop, and just BE. To breathe in the collective imagination and constructed conjurings of over fifty years of creative legacy. My heart skips a beat just considering how this IS happening. The only way this could possibly be better is if I could step back into 1987 and bring twelve year old Jay with me. Right after he'd written Jim, and gotten his fabled response, he was interviewed by a local newspaper:
The punch line to that article, other than twelve year old Jay having eventually worked professionally on the Muppet characters, and having worked professionally in comics, is that Jay thought of 40 as OLD. That's truly hilarious to me now. Mainly because 40 is proving to be a fantastic turning point in my life, and I've never felt a day over twelve.
I'm blossoming in the comics industry, both with my characters and licensed characters. I'm getting recognized by fans and professionals. I'm traveling to big cities promoting my work alongside my friends. I'm seeing things, experiencing life in ways I'd dreamt of but was never certain it could actually happen. But it could. It IS. And this is just the beginning.
So where so many men my age have lamented the loss of their youthful ambitions and cashed in those dreams for a fancy car or some other luxury items, I grin contentedly knowing I had my eye on the dream from the start, and never let go of it. True, I live modestly, and my car is nothing to brag about. But having the satisfaction of doing what I love, and knowing that the me from my youth would be so happy and proud of what I'm accomplishing, is all the wealth I need. I welcome 40, and all the rest of the years of my perpetual youth.
"All children, except one, grow up."
J.M. Barrie--Peter Pan