Today I turn 40. I’m not too sure how I feel about that yet. Plenty of people have told me that they thought I was younger, which is a compliment to me. I’ve never necessarily been one to act my age and I don’t intend to start anytime in the near future. Having kids later in life can have that effect on you.
I’m moving into a new decade, and frankly, I haven’t been too happy about the last years of this last decade. My early 30s were good. I was only a few years into my marriage. We hadn’t yet started our family, so there was a whole lot of freedom. We enjoyed each others’ company. Of course, 3 kids later, we still have fun and enjoy each other, it just takes a little bit….okay, a lot of intentionality to find that time. I love my kids, but I often wonder if I am competing to be the “Worst Dad Ever” when my patience runs thin.
My late 30s, on the other hand, have been difficult. The last few years have not been kind to me. In my late 20s, I struggled with Lyme Disease. In my late 30s, I have struggled with some of the effects of Lyme Disease and the treatments that I had for it. In some ways, I have felt that I have aged significantly in the last few years. Somehow I made it out alive, but there was more than one occasion that it was in question. I’ve not pulled any punches recently in telling people that losing both of my parents within 21 months of each other, shortly into their retirement, all before I turned 40 has been very difficult. I was hoping to have had so much more time with them.
So, here I am, entering into this new decade. I guess that I can look at it as a new start with new opportunities. My hope and prayer is that some of the difficulties that I have experienced might be helpful as I try to assist others who may be in the throes of their own personal tragedy. We will all have to endure losses, I have had my fair share of those that have given me a heightened sensitivity to others in the same or similar circumstances.
Someone asked me the other day whether I had any “Midlife Crisis” events planned. I haven’t really considered it too much. I don’t make enough money to go out and buy a fancy car. I love my wife and family and believe that marriage is a lifetime commitment, so I don’t even want to consider some of the things that other men might consider. When I say that, I’m certainly not claiming to be better than them, because God knows my imperfections, but I do want to strive to be a consistent Christ follower. So, it’s down to things that are limited in their cost and which will have minimal impact and zero negative impact on my family. While I have some things in mind, I guess I will reveal them when the time comes.
So, I guess I’ll just approach this birthday like I have approached so many before this, with little fanfare. It will be a day for my family and those who love me to celebrate the day that I was born, and then I will move on. May this next decade take me to new places and new heights, to places where fear is left behind and where I can pursue my passions with reckless abandon. Stay tuned, we’ll see how it goes.