I turned 40 years old this week.
Friends have been kind to say that "you don't look forty" (whatever that looks like) and thankfully I don't feel "old," even if I don't often feel young any more.
I do notice the occasional sign of what might be aging.
I find myself increasing the font size on my various devices and apps, and at an appointment this week my eye doctor used the language of "you can't outrun it forever" instead of the past variations on "you're young, no worries."
A few weeks ago I butt-dialed two different people over two days.
The distance across which I can walk to retrieve or do something without forgetting why I started walking in the first place is decreasing. If it involves going to a different floor of the house, forget about it.
My hair has more strands of grey than ever before.
And my ability to sleep through the night without needing a visit to the restroom is all but gone.
But even though I think about what my legacy on this planet will be, and I have brief moments of worry that my strongest, loudest days are behind me, I don't feel in decline. I am grateful for my health, my friends and family, and the community in which I live. I am as anxious as ever for the future of my country and the world, but I am rediscovering energy and passion to meet the opportunities and challenges before me.
I hope to make crossing the 40 mark an inspiration to be bolder, clearer, and more focused than ever before.
The week itself held a wonderful variety of celebration. On a work trip I was able to make a detour to see some family members who I rarely get to spend time with, and we happily toasted to the occasion. My mom and sister visited from out of town, bringing lots of celebration, love and balloons with them. My daughter sang me "Happy Birthday" and helped blow out the candles on a cake (with icing amounts and colors that made my inner child very happy).
In trying to think about if and how I wanted to celebrate with friends, I searched for a way to use the occasion to be of service to the community. With all of the hard things happening in the world around me, a party didn't feel right - I needed to give something or do something for others to feel good.
So my resourceful and amazing wife coordinated with the Parks Department to pull together a service event at a local city park. After a breakfast gathering, a bunch of great people shoveled, weeded, trimmed, planted, swept and cleaned up and down the park for a few hours.
It felt really good and was an awesome gift from Kelly and our friends to me, and hopefully to the neighborhood around the park.
Here's to celebrating milestones and finding new ways to be useful in the world for many years to come.