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Sooooooo, this was it. The big Four-to-the-Zero. “Over the hill”, is what they call it. My 40th birthday came and went, as I was enjoying the sun and the sand, while on vacation with my family. There was nothing else that I rather had been doing. It was really just another day, but it also called for a period of reflection.
As I sat in my beach chair and took inventory of the things around me, I reflected on where I am today, where I thought I would be, and where I am going. Overall, I honestly don’t know if I could be any more satisfied. That is not to say that I don’t want more “stuff” or have goals and aspirations, but at the end of the day, I am quite a happy individual.
I was fortunate to have been going through my mid-life crisis in my late twenties-early thirties. I feel like I got a big chunk of the ass-kicking, that each of us are seemingly required to endure, out of the way pretty early. As I sat with my toes in the sand, I rubbed on my big, pasty belly and thought about my receding hairline, fat ass, and the body hair, which was growing out of areas, where I used to not have areas. I laughed to myself, and just felt really comfortable. I felt comfortable with who I am, and the person that I am trying to be. This has certainly not always been the case.
I glanced at my beautiful wife, my loving mom, my loyal brother, and our healthy and energetic children. Im gonna say that again, healthy and energetic children.
What else could a man ask for?
What else could I possibly need?
I have heard it said before,
“If you have problems that money can solve, then you don’t have real problems.”
Now, I don’t know how much truth there is to that, but I do know that you sure can buy a lot of problems with money. I’m fortunate to have been able to experience the illusion of wealth, and understand that it very much is a most sought after mirage, that solves very little.
I know that life can seem dull and drab. I know that it can be difficult and frustrating. I realize that the monotony of work and home, day after slow-moving day, can seem like there is no real reason for existence. But, I also know how quickly this can change, and how unlikely it is for one to predict when that change will occur.
There is a story involving Bill Wilson, the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, and his spiritual advisor and friend, Father Edward Dowling. Bill Wilson, many years after getting sober, was still having bouts of depression. He needed relief, and he needed help. Bill went to Father Dowling and told him of his struggles. He asked Father Dowling,
“After all that I have been through, after all that I have experienced and endured…. is this all there is to life?”
Father Dowling replied….
This had a great effect on Bill Wilson, and it has a great effect on me. My forty years have been exactly what I made of my forty years; no more, no less. It has been forty years of my deciding to be miserable, and forty years of deciding to be grateful. I pepper in the manufacturing of misery and gratitude, but ultimately, happiness is the main ingredient, today.
My life is not incredibly interesting, nor exciting. I lift some weights, I sling some fertilizer, I wear a backpack blower, I play on a computer, I use a microphone,and I spend time with my family. But, I enjoy meeting people and forming relationships. I am interested in how people are doing, and I am seldom shy to ask. I enjoy challenging the cashier who responds to the question of “how you doing?” with “ok” or “fine”. I want to know, why only “fine”? Why only “ok”?
Can’t you do better than that?
Don’t you deserve better than that?
Is what you have been given?
Has your experience just been “ok”?
I don’t know about you, but I deserve, demand, and expect better than “ok”, and if I’m not getting that, then I got work to do. The question has already been asked,
“Is this all there is?”
and the answer is……..
How’s is that for a detailed explanation?
This is all you got. This is all there is. There are strikes and gutters, wins and losses, but this is it.
Give it hell today. Enjoy yourself. Enjoy the health of the people in your life. Have some fun. Make some mistakes, and laugh about them with your friends.
Peace, Love, and all things Beef related,
This podcast gave me time to do some reflection i too had a birthday several weeks ago. Your perspective on 40 gave rise to my perspective on 65. I have been to rehab twice first time was after the heart attack the second time after the transplant. I dont ever want to go to rehab again. My choice on rehab is 1 mile 3 times a week. As far as looks go 65 doesnt look as old as it used to look. My song suggestion would be an oldie by Tom Petty ” wont back down” if you dont know it check it out.
I like your “choice on rehab”. I have a lot of things that I do each day, which are more to avoid the alternative than anything else. Great points…and great song!