Four Decades In - Thoughts On Turning 40

Normally when February 1st rolls around I treat it like any other day. This year I spent more time, than I expected I would, thinking about what it means to be 40 years old.

I spent the weekend before my birthday partying in Nicaragua. Day drinking, turning into all night drinking, followed by all day drinking - at the beach. This is just the way things are done in Latin America.

The beach day was also the day the world received the terribly sad news that Kobe Bryant, his daughter, and several other people were killed in a tragic helicopter crash. Being a born and bred Angelino who spent 20 years shouting, cheering, and crying with Kobe, I was pretty upset.

I'd be lying if I said I didn't cry. More than once.

The following weekend I spent my actual birthday with my daughter. We caught a movie (The Gentlemen, it was awesome!), toured the Kobe memorials at the Staples Center and throughout downtown LA, then had a great dinner at Sage.

It was a great day but obviously overshadowed by the city of LA still very much in the grieving process. Honestly it was very cool to see the people at the memorials. All colors, all backgrounds, all classes, all religions, everyone together. All either Angelinos, transplants or tourists but each of us fans. Terrible circumstances but what a beautiful scene.

It really made me think about things. I'm only a year younger than Kobe. Yes I know people die young every day. Many people I've known in my life time have died very young. Teens, 20's, 30's. Why should this be any different? I can't say. But I spent the week thinking about what it meant to be this age and how I feel about it.

Here's what I've come up with, in no particular order.

  • I never thought I'd actually be this old.
  • Now that I am this old, it doesn't actually feel that old.
  • 40 is not the new 20.
  • 40 is the new 30. I truly feel better turning 40 than I did turning 30.
  • I seem to latch on to the limited time I have left with my daughter. I'm probably annoying to her because I want her to do everything with me. My older daughter lives on the east coast and my younger one is less than a year away from 18. Our time together is running out.
  • I feel calm, at peace, and more settled down. This is probably a result of the effect my girlfriend has had on my life.
  • I've always been a homebody but now I barely leave the house. I find myself with cabin fever quite often and sometimes going to pick up my kid from school is exciting, really just to get outside. Maybe I need to work from cafe's more.
  • I am definitely more compassionate.
  • I also seem to have lost some of my patience. Especially when driving. Road rage levels seem up.
  • I have a sense of freedom that feels stronger and stronger each day. This is definitely a culmination of my life's work, my kids growing into adults, and my businesses doing OK. I've never been able to just up and go in my life. That is so close now I can almost taste it.
  • I am worrying, or stressing, a lot more. This is the flip side of the feeling of freedom point above. I'm not sure why but I feel like things can just go away at any moment. I'm mostly referring to my businesses but I'm also worrying about my daughters. I just want them to make the best decisions they can for their lives.
  • I feel very strong physically. My body isn't beat up and doesn't ache in funny ways. You know all those jokes. I suppose it's true for some but I honestly feel great. I'm actually stronger than I was at 30, my life long back aches are gone, I have a lot of energy and my head feels clear. I attribute a lot of this to being vegan for the last few years.
  • I gain weight (fat!) easier and faster. Now this has obviously been a progression but I realized that I put on about 10 pounds during an injury period I had (my fault) a lot quicker than I had in the past.
  • I lose weight (fat!) harder and slower. This is probably due to my diet (carb addict here) but let me just pile this on my age since I'm already at it.
  • My motivation for certain activities is a lot less consistent. For instance, some weeks I have to force myself to go to the gym. Others I can't wait to wake up and squat heavy. This was never an issue a few years ago. This is especially true for surfing. I have basically no urge to go surf yet every time I do surf I get so mad at myself for not doing it more. It truly is one of my favorite activities but it's also turned into such a chore in my old age.
  • I'm very forgetful. This has always been the case but it's definitely not getting any better with age.

It's funny to think back to what my 20 year old self would say about my current 40 year old self. Life sure has a way of throwing monkey wrenches in your plans.

Truth is, while I do have some major regrets, I don't think I'd change a thing.