So, this weekend I turned 40 years old. Four zero. The age most closely associated with getting "old".
On the outside, it was a birthday like any other. Hung out with the kids. Went out to dinner with the wife. Had some surprise drinks with family and friends to cap it all off.
On the inside, I WAS FREAKING THE EFF OUT.
Nahhh...just kidding :)
While most people hate turning 40, I actually like these "round number birthdays" because they are great times to assess how you're doing at life.
- Am I better off than I was at 30?
- What are some things I want to do by 50?
- Am I the type of person I had hoped to be when I was 20?
These can be scary questions to answer. And as I've been staring down 40, I've been thinking about all of this stuff. It also hasn't helped that everyday on Facebook for the past 6 months I see one of my high school or college friends turn 40 themselves.
So today I want to share a few goals I have for my 40s and maybe some of you can steal these ideas or share what you're doing for your 40s and we can all make it through to 50 together.
Here they are, in no particular order:
Goal #1: Care less what people think about me.
This isn't exactly a goal, but maybe more a welcome by-product of getting older. In your 20s, you care A LOT about what others think of you. In your 30s, a little bit less. By 40? You've technically got less than half your life left. So now's the time to start ripping away and let people know how you really feel :)
A good example for me has actually been this blog. A few years ago, I would have never shared half the stuff that I've shared here publicly. Now? It's become somewhat cathartic.
Goal #2: Make sure the 50 year old Ben can beat the crap out of the 40 year old Ben.
Or at least make it competitive! The body really starts breaking down in your 40s, but this is doable through a great diet, improved science and consistent exercise. It's going to take a ton of time at the gym.
A quick related story involving my gym. Each morning a bunch of us roll out of bed at an ungodly hour to get strong, stay fit and suffer together. Just about all the guys are in our late 30s/early 40s with the exception of this human tornado named Dwight, who's somewhere in his 50s.
We give Dwight A LOT of shit about how old he is, how he might not make it through a workout (especially when it involves running) but secretly we all want to be Dwight. Still in the gym grinding everyday in our 50s, doing handstand push ups, climbing ropes, rowing, squatting and deadlifting more than half the class.
So here's to being more like Dwight over the next 10 years.
Goal #3: Find out how to keep Brooke interested in me.
With 4 small kiddos at home, the vast majority of conversations between me and Brooke these days involve 1 or more of the kids. That's okay and the season of life that we're in, but if this is still the case in 10 years, we are going to flame out.
So the tangible goal here will be finding some new hobbies we can learn and do together in our 40s to spice things up. My early vote is for hip hop dance classes. Brooke is thinking golf.
Goal #4: Work harder at making and keeping close friendships.
Guys are notoriously bad at keeping close friendships as we get older, for a variety of reasons outlined in this recent New York Times article. If you struggle with this, you should definitely give this a read.
For me, it's keeping a regular rhythm of seeing my friends, listening to them and not settling for small talk and calling each other out on our shit. Pro tip: bourbon can help guys do all of these things.
Goal #5: Prevent being replaced by a robot at work.
The next 10 years are going to be crazy disruptive as artificial intelligence goes mainstream. Lots of "knowledge-worker" type jobs will go away, but lots of opportunities will come too. The goal is to be on the right side of the fence when it happens 😃
Goal #6: Keep exploring why we're all here.
I believe something is going on in the universe. Something is unfolding. And something is behind it all.
Now what exactly all that is, I'm not totally sure. But it's definitely fun to think about. Some days it's the thing I think about the most.
So the goal is to keep pushing and exploring for answers to these fundamental questions and apply them to the people around me the best I know how.
Goal #7: Be the hero my kids think I am today.
When you're the dad of an 8, 6, 4 and 0 year old, it's pretty easy to be SuperDad. I can lift the girls over my head with one hand in the pool. I know the answer to every trivia question they send my way. I can always help resolve their major life issues like finding a lost "stuffy" or helping them get through a hard level on a video game.
It gets a lot trickier when they're 18, 16, 14 and 10 with a whole host of different and more complex issues to help them work through.
They're also already starting to sniff out my BS and keep me accountable for certain things as well. For instance, Owen's been counting how many drinks I have lately..."You're having another Stone IPA, dad?!" (Yikes.) And the girls have become more aware when I don't handle situations well or consistently.
So to maintain "hero status" with my kids, it's going to take discipline and hard work to be the kind of father they can still respect and look up to as they enter their teens.
Okay. This list could certainly go on and on, but I think I've got the major things covered here. Any other newly minted 40 year olds have something to add to the list? Let me know!
Thanks to everyone for all the birthday texts, presents, drinks, cards and FB messages...until next time!
Quick update on Vaughn:
For those of you curious how Vaughn's been doing in his first 3 weeks of life, he is an animal. When we took him home, he weighed around 3 lbs, 14 oz. Brooke and I were kinda surprised they even let us bring him home. Yesterday, he weighed in at 5 lbs, 4.5 oz. At this rate he might weigh 100 lbs on his first birthday :) Thanks again to all of you who've stopped by with meals and gifts, we appreciate the support!
What I'm listening to: