In the blink of an eye, I’ve entered the 2nd year of my 40s. Truth be told, the journey has lasted several years. 40 felt like such a milestone in my life. Is it middle age? What have I accomplished? Do I LOOK 40? They’re all trivial questions, but they let me set foot on what has been some of the most interesting years of my life, thus far.
When I was 38, the thought of turning 40 started entering my mind. I could feel the months counting down but it was still over a year away so it was parked. I focused on other parts of my life, jumped at opportunities presented to me, and trained my ass off for my 100km ultramarathon goal.
When 39 hit, the conversation became more real. It turned into a year of discovery on what 40 would mean to me, and to change the heaviness of that number to a year of reflection and opportunity. Instead of avoiding it, I took it head on and decided it was a year of #digginginto40. Long discussions with Elaine over many, many, MANY hours of mountain adventuring made the actual event of entering a new decade into a non-event. My mind was set and I was ready.
But why does 40 mean so much? What about it carries such weight?
Now, at 41, I can say the only things that have changed that I wasn’t quite prepared for were the external events and discussions that come with being on the Earth for those many years. The landscape of considerations with every decision made has shifted. Overnight, you don’t dramatically age and life isn’t over. If you feel that way, then it likely has gradually manifested itself and you finally took notice on the morning of your 40th birthday.
Instead, I look around and absorb and breathe in my environment. The realities I face can be uncomfortably real. My parents are aging so no longer am I just considering myself when I think of major life decisions, such as buying a new home. I need to know I am setting myself up to ensure that they are taken care of. And not just in a general sense, but in the details – are they going to live with me? Are they going to downsize and live close to me? What sort of care can I plan for? What lifestyle do they have now and how can I create continuity for them?
And what about me? My conversations have turned a corner and medical history, death and wills are being discussed. My conversations also include hard truths, whimsical silliness, and mad appreciation – the building blocks in making the vision of my future world an absolute, undeniable reality. The steps. The process. The who. The why. It comes fast and furious and every action I take is with intention.
Now, at 41, I know a lot of things but I also know I don’t know a lot of things. I’ve long learned that life will continue flowing the way it wants but I have control over the direction of my metaphorical boat, who’s in it, and how it runs. So, here I am and to that, I say, “Lean in. Lean gently but with unbridled passion.”