Yes, for those of you that don't know today is my birthday. It is my 39th birthday. When you first glance at that statement it's short and sweet. What does it mean? It simply means I'm 39 years old. Alas there is more embedded in that statement than one might first realize. It means my 30's are coming to an end. It means that by tradition and popular belief middle age is right around the corner. 39 isn't a big deal on its own, but it is a gateway to a huge milestone birthday - 40. When I think of it that way, wow... I turn 40 next year.
I should say right here and now this is more of a academic statement than one of heart pounding worry. So what, I turn 40 next year. It's not like an anvil is going to fall out of the sky and hit me on the head or something. Right now I'm 39 and I have 5 kids, 2 grandkids, a wife, 2 dogs and I'm on my second house. I managed to pull all that off between the ages of 34 and 38. When I turned 33 I had none of that and no prospect of having any of that either.
Of course I can also look at it like this... every year since I was 34 something major has happened, in a few of those years multiple major events have happened. At 34 I met the woman that would be my wife. At 35 I was engaged. At 36 I was married with 4 kids, my first grandkid, had a new job and moved into a bigger house. While 37 I started the process of adopting a child. At 38 I adopted a daughter. So in some ways, I'm not concerned about 40 I'm wondering what's going to big for 39.
Yet, with 40 on it's way and entering that mid-life point the annual "looking back" does seem to be more poignant than usual. Not only do you ask "in the past year what have I done," but also you ask "what have I done with my life so far." For me, I have to say I'm very proud.
I have a loving wife, great kids, a good paying job, good close friends and an extended family any man would be happy to call his own. It's really hard to see any negatives and looking forward continues to be a treat.
If I look back 10 years to the day as I turned 29, my life was incredibly different and my future while seemingly bright was incased in a thick fog of uncertainty. Only a year back from Korea I was still a fresh fish in the very big pond of Dallas. I had little direction and was still living life as though I were 20. While not a bad thing, I hadn't transitioned to thinking terms of years, I was still thinking of days and months. My life up till then was easily contained in small annual chunks; sometimes smaller. I hadn't lived in one city for more than 4 years, or one place for more than year. So when I look back to 29 from my perch at 39, much has changed and I can't see 40 bringing any where near that amount of change. That being said, life knows how to throw fast balls from time to time.
40 will see me sending a child to college and having another entering year 2 of high school; those may be the big events. If that be true, that's more than enough. I'm sitting pretty in life. I don't see me having a mid-life crises any time soon; if ever. I don't feel like i'm one year from entering middle age. I'm not sure what middle age is supposed to feel like.
It may be as simple as knowing that while I'm not the same man I was when I turned 29, I'm not that much different either. The events of our lives do shape our destiny but they don't change who we are inside. Those events just shine a light on our soul and give us the opportunity to be either the worst or the best that we can be; hopefully over my 39 years I've shown the best more than I've shown the worst.
Happy Birthday to Me!