40.

I have a backlog of five posts I want to write (as usual), but going to push those to future weeks. Today is my 40th birthday. I remember when my parents turned 40. We threw big parties in both cases. It felt significant back then. To a 10 year old, 40 felt old. Now, as a 40 year old, with 30 more years of life experience, it doesn’t seem quite so old. But maybe that’s wishful thinking. In my 20s, I felt I could still get away with some childlike foolishness. Through my 30s, I felt youthful, but had something to prove to the world. Now, as I begin my 40s, I still have plenty to prove, but feel better than ever before about the pieces being arranged and falling into place to make that a reality.

My older friends laugh at me when I discuss turning 40, saying it’s nothing, but it feels to me like the first age at which the concept of aging becomes real. My hair has been thinning for years and I’m unsure how much longer I'll have any. Thankfully, I’ve discovered the shaved head / beard combo (which my wife has approved). I plan to bring it back for the winter season. At 40, I'm more aware of subtle aches and pains so I’ve begun to prioritize things like stretching and yoga, along with a standing desk, from which I’m writing this post.

On the upside, it’s clear that age and wisdom are closely correlated; at least for those of us paying attention to what’s happening around us. This isn’t something any child can possibly understand, but at 40, I realize the foolishness of those times I thought my parents didn’t know anything. I’m lucky to have found a wonderful life partner in the past few years, with whom to experience the aging process and all it brings. And I’m in a field of work and a sector that I thoroughly enjoy, and one that both challenges and invigorates me most days of the week. That all feels pretty good. A friend used to occasionally ask if I was feeling young or old? It’s a good question to consider from time to time. On my 40th birthday, I’d say I’m feeling a lot younger than 40 sounds when I say it out loud.

By Josh Guttman

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