Tomorrow is my 40th birthday. As I’ve said before I’ve felt like I’ve already reached 40 for a couple of months now but tomorrow it is for real.
Turning 40 reminds me of two things my parents said. When I was young my Mom told me she never thought she’d be turning 40; life went so quickly and 40 was fast approaching. At that moment I thought that 40 years of age was an infinity, an age that was so far into the future it would seem like an eternity to get there. Well, here I sit, on a blustery, overcast day in May, thousands of miles away from where I grew up and 35 years older.
My Dad told me that when you turn 40 your body hurts in places that it didn’t hurt before. Yes, recovery is much slower, I can hear by body creaking as I move in the silence of the morning and sometimes I feel various types of pain that I wouldn’t have felt twenty years ago.
Forty is a time for reflection; a time to look back and see if the first half of your life has gone well and realize that where you find yourself is simply the accumulation of all the decisions you’ve made thus far. Forty is the age where you’re supposed to have everything together, be successful, have accomplished most of what you’d set out to do after college. It is a harsh realization for many when they realized they’ve hit 40 but have not accomplished much, and/or failed in many things. Or others look around and are simply not satisfied with the lives and routines they’ve built for themselves. Turning 40 is a psychological hurdle which forces people to take a good look at their life. In the twenties and thirties one can say, ‘Well, I still have time to do this and that!’ But at 40, most of ‘this’ and much of ‘that,’ should have been accomplished.
As for me, I am absolutely satisfied. No, I do not like turning 40 but I really had my “I’m not young anymore,” realization after my second son was born. I made the right decisions, especially the big ones such as who to marry, where to buy a house and how many children to have, and I am very pleased with the results.
The most exciting and beneficial part of the first 40 years was studying abroad, learning languages and history and living in different countries. Due to these experiences I am now connected to Japan through family and will continue spending time overseas, especially in Japan during the second half. However, instead of being a young guy going to bars, chasing girls around and so on, I’ll be a family man, trying to provide experiences for my wife and kids which really stir the same passion and wonder for overseas travel that I have. Of course I’ll still be visiting the bars from time to time.
The biggest change at the moment is that I’ve built a gym in my garage. I’ve always worked out since high school but never seriously or consistently. I bought a membership to 24 hour fitness when we moved to Pacifica in 2010 and at the time it was around $280 for two years at Costco. However, the price kept increasing and now it costs $400 for two years. Seeing as I have to also pay for the wife as well as children when they grow up it is simply too expensive and better to shell out the money now for our own gym and can thus begin saving money on memberships in about four years. Besides, having a gym in your very own garage means that in addition to saving money in memberships everyone will workout more since they just need to go through the door and can begin.
The important thing was to create a nice gym. It is all too often that there are some dusty weights in a dank basement which creates an environment nobody really wants to be in. My gym had to be nice, clean, bright and a place where you want to go. The other consideration was money; I could not spend a fortune on this project. So, I did it all myself from buying and installing insulation and drywall, choosing the matting and sourcing it all from Amazon where the price cannot be beat AND I get 5% back and free shipping by being a Prime member and using their credit card. So I was able to create my gym for half the price it would cost had I thought thought everything through.
Having my own gym means I’ll actually be in better shape in the beginning of my 40s than I’ve been since high school. Combining the workouts with karate as well as healthy eating I should be in fantastic shape.
As for my mindset, I’ve been anxious for quite a while due to job stresses. As I’ve said before, it isn’t a particularly difficult job seeing as it is work from home but the fear of losing accounts, of always having to push through parts of the company that don’t work very well and keeping corporate customers happy at the same time is a challenge. Only recently has the anxiety lessened a bit by changing my mindset. I won’t remember what I did or didn’t do in this company five years from now so why stress so much over it? I’m in a good position, but like most of corporate America, one with no job security. It does no good whatsoever to stress and be anxious, so why do it?
As for friendships, those fade away and morph into a kind of relic as we get older, families take precedence and memories falter. This is evident when returning to my hometown and many are too busy to meet or even respond to invitations to get together. Only by old best friends will make it a point to get out to see me, the others are hit and miss.
And so what are my plans for my 40s? The first is to continue with karate and achieve a black belt along with my sons. This is something I’ve always wanted to do and now I have the reason, motivation and time to do it. The second is to get a really nicely sculpted body through my gym. Third, is to continue traveling and exploring, even if it is mostly in Japan. Fourth is to continue reading and learning; to try to get a further sense of what this life and this universe is all about. And finally, I’ll continue recording my life in this blog, which I’ve done a very good job of during the first part of my life. I think I may be among only a few hundred people in the entire world who has something like this, who can just click a button and read his own thoughts, and about his own life from twenty five years ago.
The time is now 12:10 PM. I really prefer to write in the early morning when my thoughts are clearest. Right now I am a little sleepy and need to do some other things.