Notes from the Trail

7 helpful tips for those in their 40s

I read and tweeted about a very helpful article entitled Seven Skills to Develop in Your 20s. I thought to myself that there needed to be an article for my generation with advice that was just as helpful. So here goes:

  1. Gut check. While this could mean that your 40s is an excellent time to do a personal assessment of your life, that is both brutal and honest, I literally mean… a gut check. It’s time to look at the mass directly above your belt and determine if it exceeds the landmass of Rhode Island. If it does, stop eating so much. Your 40s do not have to be a time where your girth equals the earth. Take care of yourself physically.
  2. Hair today gone tomorrow. For guys, come to grips with the fact that your follicles have lost theirs. It’s time to shine, literally. Enjoy showing your skull. Your ego doesn’t get a do over, so please don’t attempt a comb over.
  3. Own your era. Whatever decade(s) in which you learned to drive and went to college… own them. I still have a leather bomber jacket that I refuse to let Carolyn throw away that I wear for special occasions. I do regret allowing her to get rid of my purple Levi 501 jeans. From music to fashion to TV shows and movies, use them to identify you as a ‘Merican. “I was born in the USA…!”
  4. Reading asses. Sometime around 41ish, you’ll notice that you’re holding books further away from your face than before. Then you’ll notice your spouse is holding books further away from her face. Then you’ll realize she’s holding your book across the room for you so you can read it. That’s when you’ll sigh and realize that you need reading glasses. Then you’ll put them on and see your typo in the description of this paragraph.
  5. Driving you crazy. I saw a tweet the other day that said “Driving a convertible is the best way to let everyone know you’re divorced.”  That was after I had test driven a 2006 cherry red Dodge Charger. Thank goodness I invited Carolyn along on the test drive. I don’t know what it is about cars and guys in their 40s, but you will most assuredly get bitten by the car bug sometime in this decade. Either that, or you’ll preset your radio station on 80s music and lose your keys twice a week.
  6. Mr. Ed. Of course, he was a talking horse in my day. But the abbreviation ED will begin to provoke nervous laughter among you and your peers. You’ll begin to sweat when those commercials come on as you think to yourself, “That guy doesn’t look any older than I do…”
  7. Surprise surprise. Someone will most likely throw you a birthday party when you turn 40 that features black stuff. Enjoy it. The decade of your 40s is not nearly as old as you thought it was when you were 21. You’ll realize that you can still beat your teenage son in basketball, and though they won’t admit it, your kids think you’re quirkily cool.

8. (I know I said seven, but I had to add one.) Joy. The decade of your 40s is actually a sublimely sweet time. If you’re a follower of Christ, you’ll sit back in delight as you begin to see previously confusing threads of your life form into an intricate and beautiful tapestry. You’ll experience present blessing for past obedience, and you’ll discover that regardless of age, there’s no greater joy than embracing the adventure of faith.

Oh, and you need to check out this list of jokes about the 40s.

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