I’m 40 years old today. It’s a little surreal, but ultimately I feel I’ve earned it. But still, how did it happen? I mean, parents are 40. Teachers are 40. The cashier at the grocery story is 40. Guys like me don’t turn 40.
Yet here I am. Forty. I should be prepared for this; I’ve been rounding up my age for the past six months anyway.
Look, there’s nothing profound happening here. It’s just a day to mark the passage of time. But if you don’t mind, let me share a few things I’ve learned over the years.
Time goes fast.
On my 26th birthday, an older buddy of mine said, “Enjoy it while it lasts. It’s pretty much warp speed after 26.” I laughed. But it’s true, it’s gone by terribly fast. When you’re that age, you don’t think it will, and then BOOM! Forty. I never thought I’d turn out to be this type of person, but I can look back and wish I’d used my time a little more efficiently.
The future is more important than the past.
I can dwell on the things I haven’t done, wished I’d done, or done incorrectly. There’s nothing I can do about them. Yes, I’m human, I do dwell on the things I can’t change. I can’t do anything about the past, but I have options when it comes to my future. Tomorrow, next week, the next five years. The best part about being 40 is understanding what the future means, recognizing that life is getting shorter, not longer.
Appreciate your life.
Okay, I’m not trying to be Deepak Chopra here, but I’d like you to think about hose harried days when you wish it was just over with already. Basically you’re asking for death to come sooner. Yeah, a little dramatic but, ultimately, it’s true. Right? “I wish this day was over with already!” Don’t get me wrong, I do it pretty much every day (I work in customer service, after all, you’d want to be over with, too). But the difference between 40 and 20 is that I know enough to stop, take a breath, and recognize that it can always be worse. Much, much worse. I’m not joking.
I’m no philosopher. I’m just a guy who turned 40. And, frankly, I’m proud of this fact. My childhood was ok. My teens were arduous. My twenties sucked. My thirties were pretty good. I have absolute faith that my forties will be unfathomably awesome. Of this there’s no doubt.
So, take stock and enjoy the day. I will. Beer for everyone! Cheers!