Monday, March 14, 2011

Countdown to 40

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. 







Ian said...


Patti :) said...

I LOVE that 1987 picture.

Josh said...

I know the point of this blog was how great your life is, but I have to say, that mid-life crisis sounded pretty awesome. How do I get in on that? I speak Italian, so you should invite me. We can both write novels and eat canolli.

Also, I like the sleek slate grey blog. Very now.

Kim said...

Enjoy it while it lasts. I have been there a year and a half now. It isn't too bad. You do have an amazing family.

DeNae said...

I'm so sorry I can't be here to party with you on your 40th, particularly since you were here SEVEN years ago to party with me on mine! It really is OK to have ambivalent feelings about "mid-life;" wondering if you've done everything you could have with the gifts you've been given is not the same thing as being ungrateful for those gifts.

You know you have a wonderful life. That's why we struggle with 'taking our five talents and making them ten.'

Happy Birthday, my friend!

Brooke said...

You are one of the richest men I know :) I could see that before you flaunted to everyone ;)

Marlise said...

Well-said, Ken! You have such a wonderful way of expressing yourself. I love you! (and as your sister, I'm lucky enough to get to say that, as often as I can!) :)

Kazzy said...

40s are great! I seriously have never been happier.

Linds Barttels said...

your blog just made me realize i have less than 8 years to plan my husband's 40th birthday... better start buying streamers! any suggestions on how to get him to say nice things like that about me & our family? ;) jk

Is This Mike On? said...

For my big 4-0, my wife gave me suckers with the words, "40 sucks."
She's kind of evil like that and I love her for it.
Five years later, Yes, I "still feel an internal pining to leave some kind of original, noble footprint on the world." Your post helped put my goals into perspective.