Turning 40

Originally I started this post last year soon after I turned 40 years old. Given that in recent years (odd to admit that it’s years and not months) I haven’t spent much time on this blog, it took until now to actually finish this post. It’s a topic that has often been on my mind, so I felt I should follow through and relay my thoughts.

This past summer Last year, I turned 40. I didn’t have any expectations going into it. I thought it would be much like when I turned 30. Just another number, another year. But a significant event took place in my life that altered my perspective and seemed to put emphasis on the milestone.

Of all things, changing jobs made the difference. I found myself with an increase sense of authority. It was not that I was doing something different or that I had previously not had people working under me. It was a more a return to working for people who had confidence in my work. Over the previous years an unfortunate chemistry with one of my superiors left me wallowing in a bit of a no-mans land. I was doing the same work that I’m doing now, but the change in confidence made me realize both my position at work as a manager and my position in society as a middle-aged person. It may sound weird but it showed me that I’m no longer a young adult. It’s a different level of responsibility. It’s a different level of wisdom.

There was another aspect to the job change. The new firm is full of younger people and only a handful of senior people. At the new place I find myself more with the latter. It was working with the young ones that I began seeing more of the cultural differences between the generations. Much of the stuff people always like to joke about like mp3’s vs vinyl or smartphones vs corded phones. But I found myself pining on about how things used to be, how they were back when I started working or when I was a kid. It was the first time I started to consistently see a difference between myself and those with only a few years of experience. It has been interesting to experience and it changes your view of the world around you and your place in it.

But now that a year has passed, I can really feel how ‘the 40’s’ are that middle ground. You can’t (or are not expected to) act like a reckless young adult. There’s a higher level of responsibility. A responsibility to set an example, to share your knowledge and experience, and to contribute to society. Again it’s an interesting shift in how you see the world and how you interact with it. In terms of personal health, there is a renewed emphasis on the responsibility to take care of yourself. It’s like, if you want to stay around for the long haul, you’d better get everything back in proper working order. Continuing the resolutions that I had made at the start of 2011, I’ve been losing weight, getting more exercise, and working on my flexibility. Plus I recently restarted weight training, well, calisthenics actually. The key will be to keep setting goals and keep going.

This shift in perspective took my surprise, but after a year it seems to be quite a comfortable place to be.

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~ by Frank on September 24, 2012.

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