I turned 40 last week. Don’t worry, I’m okay. Appreciate the concern though.
I was spared the whole black balloon/over the hill thing, but I did hear a few voices of mock concern. And, a few took the time to genuinely ask, how do I feel about being 40? My half-flippant / half-genuine response was that it feels a lot like being 39.
I haven’t been dreading turning 40, and haven’t felt much weight around it. What I have felt is that I don’t have very many things figured out at the age of 40. When I was in my 20s, I assumed 40 was about the time you really felt like you had it all sorted. Not so much.
I have been reflecting on one thing in the last year or two, which I think 40 serves as a good marker of. It seems like I run across two kinds of people in the generations above me. It might be that these ways of thinking begin before 40, but I think I’m reaching the age where they become more apparent.
Some seemed to have defined what they think, building walls around it with little interest or openness to new ideas. This is most visible in how they view politics, or maybe religion, but overall there is a sense of unwillingness to change or think about things beyond how they see them.
The other group are marked by growing humility as they are encouraging of, and engaging with, the ideas of others, especially those who are younger than they are. These kind of people have been a blessing in my life, teaching me a great deal even as they have been open to learning from me too.
Without question, I’d like to think that I’m trying to move toward the latter, but I can see root tendencies toward the first when it comes to certain things. (It might even be that defining these categories comes out of thinking like the first!)
At 40, I’m hopeful that I have plenty of life left ahead of me, but I hope it will be a life that can celebrate not only where I’ve been, but everything springing up around me as well.
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