When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 1 Corinthians 13:11
There is something liberating about turning 40. I feel more confident, more energetic, and more in control of my life.
In my 20s, I spent too much time partying, and my job kept me moving from state to state. I had no stability until I married my wife, KayEm.
I spent my 30s pursing career success and learning how to be husband and father. While I excelled at work, I made many mistakes at home. I’m thankful for the wisdom that I have gained, but I wish I could have acquired it with a lot less pain and suffering.
Because of the lessons I learned, I have grown stronger in my faith and closer to my family. I still have much to learn about being married and raising kids, and I know that I will make many more mistakes, but I am better prepared to rebound from those mistakes and use them to my benefit. I also know that God will provide me with the wisdom I need to make the right decision at the right time.
One bit of wisdom that God has granted me is that I can live the second half of my life free of fear. When I was younger, I allowed fear to prevent me from doing many things such as asking girls out on dates in high school, spending a summer in a kibbutz in Israel, changing my major in college sooner, being a full-time freelance writer, and quitting my job to become an entrepreneur.
Now that I’ve had decades to reflect on these things, I realize that my fears were irrational. I refuse to be paralyzed by fear any more. I may not be able to do all of the things that I’d like to, but I’m never going to allow fear to be the reason why I didn’t try.
Turning 40 has also caused me to come to grips with death. As a child, I always thought I would die before my 40th birthday. Well, I’m still here, but I understand that each day brings me closer to death. I’m at the phase of my life where I will be attending more funerals than weddings.
A year ago, one of my college friends died suddenly and unexpectedly. She was a rocket scientist at the top of her career and was poised to do some incredible things. Unfortunately, she never reached her 40th birthday. Her death was a complete shock to everyone who knew her and it showed me how delicate life can be.
In 2009, my close friend, whom I’ve known since high school, called to tell me that he had colon cancer. His revelation shook me to the core. By having to face the fact that my friend had a life threatening disease, I also had to accept my own mortality.
But I don’t sit around dwelling on death. Instead, I celebrate life. Thomas Edison said that “the secret of success is focus of purpose.” I have a fantastic wife, great kids, and friends who care for me. By that measure, I am a successful man.
I don’t know what the second half of my life will bring, but I intend to make the most of it.
If you’re 40 or over, please share your thoughts on this significant birthday.