Last week I turned 39. I woke up to a heartfelt note from a dear friend, much love from my wife and kids, and went to work. I came home, ate sushi, and relaxed. All in all, it was a great day. Contrasting it with last year I was hyper-charged with a book launch (Happy 1st Birthday, The Second Lap) and a 50 mile race. I was in achievement mode. It felt right for the time.
Entering the last year of one's thirties, results in friends ribbing about being one step closer to 40. Of course, the people who are 40 tout it as the best thing ever. And they are probably right. I think 40 is significant because it's double the age of 20—a time when I thought I was the man (as well as being bullet proof and thinking I'd stay that way forever) –and allows for a bit more reflection than, say, 38 does. If 40 is the age of not really needing to please anyone and following my own internal rhythm, then I am terrified that 50 will see me being an overly pedantic man with far more grey in my already greying beard. Sorry, I'm getting ahead of myself.
I had a talk with myself at the beginning of the year and decided to not commit to anything big. The greatest benefit of this has been mental rejuvenation. Seriously, I spent so many brain calories last year trying to be clever -yearning for a sort of ephemeral recognition that has no real lasting effect. Whatsoever. Ridding myself of that burden freed my mind up to be a spectator in life in a way I haven't done in close to 15 years. The great irony of this is that my mind feels like it did when I was in my early twenties. I remember that time in my life as being one of carefreeness. Of not needing to impress anyone. Back in the day I called it Guerrilla Kindness, doing things under the radar with no thought of recognition. I forgot what that was like. Social media has stripped that from our lives a little. You might call that cynical and I'm OK with that. I'm getting off base here. What I am trying to explain is this; my own personal time of reflection and patience—and not trying to solve every problem, have the funniest response in every situation, or be measured by some self-imposed idealogical litmus test—has brought things to me that I never thought of. It doesn't mean I know everything. I was speaking to a 500+ Millennial student group in the U.S. in late February and I learned so much from them.
Being free to do what I am passionate about and say no to what I would previously have jumped into—consequences be darned—is like having things slowed down. I think 39 is gonna be fun!