A Copywriter Turns 40...

36 replies
My friend and fellow copywriter Kevin Rogers
was born one day after I was, on Feb. 23rd.

He sent me a funny happy birthday message
that said, "40... is the new 39."

Now, Kevin's a riot - and he oughta be. Like
many of the best storytellers and wordsmiths,
he was a professional stand-up comic in a
previous life.

But something struck me about what he said.

It was the way the numbers LOOKED to me...

40 versus 39...

FORTY versus Thirty-Nine...

SIDEBAR: There's a sub-modal lesson hiding
in here somewhere about the implications of
pricing and the psychological effect that certain
numbers create in the mind of your readers...

There's just something about the number "40"
as it pertains to age.

The big four "Oh...."

It's a milestone... like 30 - but more "serious."

A few days ago, I was in my "thirties"... but now
I'm officially middle-aged. Forty.

39 still has a toe clinging to distant former youth.
39 is still a cool "Dude." 40 is more like "Dad."

Of course, I've been both for a decade, but still.

It's even more ego-crushing than the cute girl
at the checkout counter you think is checking
you out - until she calls you, "Sir..."

Or for the ladies, that muscularly yummy stock
clerk who smiles and calls you, "Ma'am..."

Ouch. Just like that... we realize that our shell
no longer represents the mind that controls it.

I still FEEL like I did when I was 20, just a little
grumpier some days and a bit rusty in some of
the moving parts. You should hear my feet and
ankles crackle when I get up in the morning!

Granted, there's those wrinkles in the corners
of my eyes and some extra bulges in places I
never used to "bulge" before...

Surely we can all agree there's not much that's
particularly compelling about arriving at that
personal inevitablity.

Too young to relate? Just don't die... and watch
what happens!

But all that said... something transformative has
happened to me as I ponder all that's transpired
in my life thus far. And consider what's yet to
come...

I realize I've all but detached from any sense of
needing to prove anything to anybody - including
myself. The good opinion of others has so little
importance to me these days that sometimes I
have to WORK at internalizing what others say.

You might call it confidence or certainty... you
wouldn't be wrong.

But you wouldn't be exactly right, either...

You might call it clarity or experience... those
labels certainly apply.

But they don't encapsulate the feeling either.

It's more a feeling of having finally dialed in the
frequency of "knowing" on an internal tuner.

The signal to noise ratio has never been better.

As I write this, my wife and child are asleep.
The house is quiet... there's only the gentle
clicking of my keyboard as I type and these
words magically appearing on the screen
in a stream of consciousness.

I guess that's the other gift you receive at 40...

A deeper sense of appreciation for what you
already have and less concern about what
you don't...

Sold! : )

I want you to know that I appreciate YOU as
well and I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Please don't be shy... hit "Reply".

All my best,

Brian "Old Fart" McLeod
#copywriter #turns
  • Profile picture of the author Raja Kamil
    long post there, but I wish you Happy Birthday
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    • Profile picture of the author BrianMcLeod
      Originally Posted by checkmeeveryday View Post

      long post there, but I wish you Happy Birthday
      They can't all be one-liners...

      No, really... They can't.

      But thanks anyway for the birthday wish.

      Zap.
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      • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
        Originally Posted by BrianMcLeod View Post

        They can't all be one-liners...
        Do you think they should be?
        Signature
        "The Golden Town is the Golden Town no longer. They have sold their pillars for brass and their temples for money, they have made coins out of their golden doors. It is become a dark town full of trouble, there is no ease in its streets, beauty has left it and the old songs are gone." - Lord Dunsany, The Messengers
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  • Profile picture of the author David Raybould
    Brian I love this post.

    Happy belated birthday my mainest
    man in Miami...

    -David Raybould

    PS- Does anyone else wish we had more
    well-written, thoughtful posts like that
    in here, instead of petty squabbling all
    the time?
    Signature
    Killer Emails. Cash-spewing VSLs. Turbocharged Landing Pages.

    Whatever you need, my high converting copy puts more money in your pocket. PM for details. 10 years experience and 9 figure revenues.
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  • Profile picture of the author DougBarger
    Happy birthyear to you Brian, great post.

    Something always spoke to me that you have done
    your fair share of stream of consciousness writing. ;-)

    Happy birthyear to you Kevin. (You're still a standup guy and I'm not joking.)

    Not to mention one great copywriter and copywriting teacher.

    Mike, congrats on your letter without a net webinar.

    My grandmother is perhaps the best grandmother in the world.

    Went to see her for her 92nd birthyear celebration.

    (I like to call them birthyear nowadays because it makes the celebration seem to last longer).

    Doug to grandma Jo, "Grandma, you look young as ever and you know, you could outlive Moses who lived to be 120."

    Her, being much wiser than I, replied,

    "Methuselah."

    Learned my lesson in all of about 4 syllables and one quick second.

    Hear I was thinking I was the voice of life and hope,
    but ended up coming off more like an undertaker in a sleeper cell.

    Was in the ballpark. Only a few centuries off right?


    You got me grandma Jo.

    Yeah man, my first thought, the first time I heard, "Sir"

    at the checkout....

    "Doug, you've got to shave when you get back to the house."
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  • Profile picture of the author travlinguy
    It's all a matter of perspective. I remember 40 and everything that came with it as well as everything that seemed to slip away. But then came the next milestone, 50. That wasn't nearly as traumatic. But it sure did make 40 seem magical, almost like a walk in the park, a time filled with more understanding and new wisdom. The secret I think, is to savor it all cause no one gets out of this alive, no one.
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      • Profile picture of the author MissTerraK
        Happy Birthday to you, youngster!

        I will be turning 48 in a little over two months and am not ashamd to say it. You see, I believe it is all in your mindset. Every birthday I march my little self straight to the mirror, smile at myself and say, "Dang, <insert age> is lookin' good!"

        I haven't had a birthday that has made my cry or be depressed as of yet. Now granted, for the past couple of years, I have put on my make up first before I looked in the mirror to say the annual upbeat and positive statement, but in doing so, I still honestly and truly believe it!

        I still am called miss, with the exception of Paul Myers calling me ma'am, about a week ago, but it was explained to me that it came from a proper upbringing and I would be called ma'am unless I proved to be otherwise. I can deal with that!:p

        You still have many years ahead of you, so be happy and proud that you have reached an awesome milestone!

        MissTerraK
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    • Profile picture of the author Steven Wagenheim
      Brian, I'm 52 and let me tell you, it's just a number.

      There are days that I get so crazy it embarrasses my wife, like when we
      go to choir practice and I start singing songs by The Who.

      And then when I go to my recording studio and crank out some tunes.

      Here's what a 52 year old just recorded no more than a couple of months
      ago.


      It's just a number...Happy birthday my friend.
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  • Profile picture of the author BrianMcLeod
    Some great responses, folks.

    Thank you for the B-day love.

    Mike - your Ginko quip made
    me laugh out loud.

    My dad (RIP) used to always
    do a hilarious bit about some
    guy he overhead asking for
    "summa that Jenko Billobay..."

    And whaddayaknow...

    I got my own Subtle graphic.

    Eat that, whippersnappers...

    Now STAY OFF MY LAWN!
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  • Profile picture of the author Ronak Shah
    Folks, you guys are too old.. (golden)! well..

    I'm just 26 and soon to be 27 on the 4th of next month .

    So, I think.. you gotta be jealous of me kidding.. hehe grin....

    Well, so happy birthday Brian! Hope you've a ROCKING year ahead.

    May god bless you & all your dreams really come true.

    I wanna see you dance like a rockstar at 40! Shake A Leg Brian!
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    Now, Here's The REAL DEAL:
    Either I make YOU at least 10 times of what I charge YOU OR
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    • Profile picture of the author digidoodles
      Originally Posted by ronakshah View Post

      Folks, you guys are too old.. (golden)! well..

      I'm just 26 and soon to be 27 on the 4th of next month .

      So, I think.. you gotta be jealous of me kidding.. hehe grin....

      Well, so happy birthday Brian! Hope you've a ROCKING year ahead.

      May god bless you & all your dreams really come true.

      I wanna see you dance like a rockstar at 40! Shake A Leg Brian!
      I have to tell you.. ages 26-34 had to be among the worst of my entire life. I'm talking about law unto Murphy's Law kind of stuff.

      I hope it was just me... and not "that age"... ha

      Warmly,

      Brandi

      P.S. Brian: Happy birfdays big boy! You get to wear the big boy underwear now!
      Signature
      My niche is feeding my family... What's yours?
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      Watch Us as We Do It Or D.IE... Are you Along For The Ride
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      • Profile picture of the author Jag82
        Happy big 4-O, old fart.

        As Steven said, age is nothing but a number.

        You can be 40 in age, but what matters
        is how you train yourself mentally and physically
        to not feel the "old" effects of 40.

        As a copywriter, I know you will have enough
        "workout" in the brain department to keep
        yourself mentally alert.

        My point is - someone can be in his 20s -
        but feels and acts like a 60s because
        he doesn't know how to take care of himself.

        40 is not too bad. Still hunk-worthy, Brian.

        Keep up the nice word play.

        Jag
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        • Profile picture of the author Kevin Rogers
          Great post, Brian. Pretty cool we get to hit this milestone together. Must be a sign. (Reads: Warning, you look frightening in spandex!)

          Without getting too sentimental, I had one sobering moment last night while tucking my 6 year old son into bed. We were chatting about age and I told him that someday he'll be 40, too. Then it hit me that I'll be 74 then.

          Yikes. And I'm having trouble pissing now!

          Anyway, off to the vitamin store.

          Kevin
          Signature

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          • Profile picture of the author Collette
            Happy Birthday, Brian! Amazing that one so ancient retains his appearance of hunka-munka-burnin-chunka-love.

            I've contacted Medicaid on your behalf, and they'll be sending your Viagra out by overnight express... :p
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            • Profile picture of the author BrianMcLeod
              Originally Posted by Collette View Post

              Happy Birthday, Brian! Amazing that one so ancient retains his appearance of hunka-munka-burnin-chunka-love.

              I've contacted Medicaid on your behalf, and they'll be sending your Viagra out by overnight express... :p
              LOL

              I just want to go on record that the nether regions remain youthful in form and function.

              TMI?

              Haw!
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          • Profile picture of the author BrianMcLeod
            Originally Posted by Kevin Rogers View Post

            Great post, Brian. Pretty cool we get to hit this milestone together. Must be a sign. (Reads: Warning, you look frightening in spandex!)
            Indeed, my brother.

            While I WAS a long-haired metal-head... I was NEVER a spandex wearer.

            Shredded jeans? Yes.

            Frilly shirts? Yes.

            EYELINER? Ruefully, yes.

            Spandex? No. no. Noooo.

            Without getting too sentimental, I had one sobering moment last night while tucking my 6 year old son into bed. We were chatting about age and I told him that someday he'll be 40, too. Then it hit me that I'll be 74 then.
            "Dad" is by far the best job in the world.

            My son turns 10 in a few weeks. It freaks me out completely how quickly this decade zoomed by... In a few years, he'll be DRIVING.

            Heysoos Christos...
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            • Profile picture of the author MissTerraK
              Originally Posted by BrianMcLeod View Post

              "Dad" is by far the best job in the world.

              My son turns 10 in a few weeks. It freaks me out completely how quickly this decade zoomed by... In a few years, he'll be DRIVING.

              Heysoos Christos...
              You're faring better than I! I was made a grandmother at age 42!

              That sort of did freak me out as my youngest, my only son, was starting his first year of highschool! I wasn't finished with mommy mode yet and was not ready for granny mode at all, hadn't even dreamed about it!

              But when my childrens friends started telling me I was the prettiest granny they had seen, it helped the shock and pain a tad.

              It all works out in the end!

              Best wishes,

              MissTerraK
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  • Profile picture of the author Collette
    Originally Posted by BrianMcLeod View Post


    It's even more ego-crushing than the cute girl
    at the checkout counter you think is checking
    you out - until she calls you, "Sir..."

    Or for the ladies, that muscularly yummy stock
    clerk who smiles and calls you, "Ma'am..."

    Ouch. Just like that... we realize that our shell
    no longer represents the mind that controls it.

    I still FEEL like I did when I was 20, just a little
    grumpier some days and a bit rusty in some of
    the moving parts.
    Brian "Old Fart" McLeod
    Oh, yah... I remember well the first time I got called "Ma'am" by the fresh-faced kid behind the counter. His voice broke as he said "Can I help you, Ma'am?" And I thought he was talking to someone behind me.

    Until I looked around, and, of course, there was no one there.

    Except me.

    Even worse (or better, depending on your affection for schadenfreude), was the time I got hit on by a particularly luscious and tasty young thing.

    VERY flattering. And things were going swimmingly until...

    He told me he was "really into older women."

    Yeah. That sizzling sound you hear was the sound of my libido being extinguished. Permanently.

    There are advantages to achieving "old fart" status, though. And I'm not talking Medicaid or receiving preferential direct mail from the local mortuary urging you to "reserve your place now".

    No, I'm talking about realizing that Life Is Too Short To Squander On Stupid Shyt.

    It's those moments of clarity, when you realize - as Kevin mentioned - that when your kid is 40, you'll be 70-freakin-4. Or whatever. And knowing that you don't want to miss a single moment of that time.

    And there's the satisfaction of being on the emotional upside of 20-something.

    Finally (!) understanding that nobody can take your power unless you give it to them. That you no longer have to suffer fools gladly. That you can afford to be gracious to idiots. And that you can tell the two apart.

    Especially the idiots who can't see that - in no f'ing way - are you old enough to be called "Ma'am".
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  • Profile picture of the author Paul Hancox
    Wow, 40. That's some BIG number!

    Just kidding, Happy birthday

    I still have some years on you yet... but I will catch up with you one day, soon...
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  • Profile picture of the author windtalker
    A bit late but happy birthday
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  • Profile picture of the author Jo_Shua
    Me? I am 26. I look at 30 being middle aged! So, having a view-point from a (now) 40 year old that 40 is the 'new' middle age makes me feel good that I have 14 years to go until I reach middle age instead of the dreaded 4 years!

    Now, I know what to be looking forward to when I do finally hit 40... and it does not seem that bad either. Granted that I can still feel like a 20 year old when I am 40... I gotta hit the gym more :rolleyes:

    Happy B-Day Brian! You are a true inspiration to me and I hope to be doing copywriting and Internet Marketing when I reach the ripe old age of 40, too. :p
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    • Profile picture of the author BrianMcLeod
      Originally Posted by Joshua Collins View Post

      Happy B-Day Brian! You are a true inspiration to me and I hope to be doing copywriting and Internet Marketing when I reach the ripe old age of 40, too. :p
      Wow, that felt good.

      Thanks, Joshua.

      Appreesh, my friend!

      Best,

      Gramps
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