On Thursday I will be 40 years old.
You may be wondering how I’m feeling about this, the last few hours of my 30s. Or maybe you’re not. Maybe you have ADD and started to wonder how I was feeling, but then you were distracted by an incoming Tweet from Charlie Sheen. That’s understandable.
Truth is, I’m actually quite fine. And that’s a little disappointing to me, because I had really been looking forward to a Mid-Life Crisis of Biblical proportions, ladies and gentleman. Like a “checking out of this so-called town, buying a yacht, sailing to Italy, writing my novel, then adapting it into a screenplay, and eating a mountain of canolli for breakfast while my kids form a folk band and become street performers to support our family” kind of a Mid-Life Crisis. Go big or go home, I say.
That’s what I was looking forward to. But here I am, not rocking the boat.
And it’s not that I’ve completed my Bucket List or climbed every mountain. It’s not that I am exceptionally accomplished or successful or wealthy. It’s not even that I “don’t feel 40.” Oh, I do. But I’m fine with that.
Aside from wishing I lived somewhere more tropical, I feel ridiculously blessed to have the life I do. It is better than I could have crafted in my mind at any age. It is certainly better than anything I deserve.
In my humble opinion, it is my privilege to know some of the greatest people currently residing on this planet. They live within the walls of my own home, or I’m related to them, or they feel like family to me. I absolutely love the people I get to associate with. I completely get Will Rogers’ famously cited mantra “I never met a man I didn’t like.” I cannot overstate the gratitude I feel for the influence of my family and friends on my own life. I am me because of them.
I am blessed to have a wife that is superior to me in every way, and doesn’t throw it in my face. I know nobody more forgiving or compassionate, more funny or insightful, more wise and witty. Her profound faith and quiet sacrifices make sense of my world. I could not fathom happiness without her smack dab in the middle of it.
My children mold me and I strive to be better for them, so that I may leave a legacy that will inspire them. Or at least not embarrass them. (That’s really the target I am more confident I can hit). Their outpouring of love and enthusiasm confirms in my mind that despite my transparent flaws, I am doing something right. They see it in me.
My parents, siblings, and in-laws are fountains of unlimited love and encouragement. And I am blessed with friends who, despite mountains of evidence to prove them wrong, assume the best about me. I love all of them dearly.
I am blessed with clarity of who I am, where I came from, where I want to go, and how to get there. And I am given the opportunity over and over to be penitent, change, and improve my attempts to get it right.
Yes, I still feel an internal pining to leave some kind of original, noble footprint on the world. Maybe that’s selfish or hollow or shortsighted, I’m not sure. Yes, there are exotic places I would still like to live. Talents I would like to develop. But to spend time and energy focused on what isn’t means I am not recognizing the abundance that is, and the abundance still available to me. To turn 40 and not celebrate this gift would be, to me, a display of ingratitude to my Father.
But you should probably check back in with me a few hours before I’m 50.