Friday, June 16, 2006

Turning 40

After reading Pat Ford’s ESPN article on Johnny Drennen, I started wondering about destiny and fate. For those of you who do not know, Mr. Drennen is the 19-year-old minor league ball player who took Roger Clemens’ pitch and blasted it over the right field wall. Click here to read Pat Ford’s excellent column.

I recently turned 40, and have discovered the accomplishments of those younger than I am make me raise my eyebrows in a mixture of jealousy, resentment, and admiration all at the same time. On the other hand, while it is heartwarming to think that a 43 year old Clemens can still pitch well in the big leagues, it also makes me wonder what I have done with my life.

When I was 32, I turned my life around significantly. I lost nearly 100 lbs, stopped smoking and ran a half-marathon. I was the picture of “you can do anything you set your mind to do”. Yet 8 years later, I find myself putting on weight, struggling to run 2 miles and wondering what happened to my life; Johnny Drennen helped add fuel to this feeling.

While the a common axiom, “you can do anything you set your mind to,” is true to a certain extent, there really are some things I will never be able to do and one of them is play professional baseball. It is also too late to join the military, become an astronaut, a professional athlete or going to the Olympics, (unless they make video games an Olympic event), as is going back to college and joining a Fraternity.

I imagine most people my age go through this process, and I can accept it as another phase of my life I need to battle through, learn from and then find some kind of happy ground on the other side of this process. Hopefully, I will be able to be happy with my choices when I look back at my life. In the meantime, however, there is some light at the end of the tunnel.

For example, J.K. Rowling was 35 when the first Harry Potter book was published. Another author, Anne Perry was in her late 30’s for her first book. I have also recently learned that the average age of New York Times best selling authors between 1955 and 2004 was 50. Click here for the BBC article. There are also several acquaintances of mine that are older than I am and are in great shape and in good places in their life.

40 is not the end of my life, but neither is it the beginning. Would I really want to go back in time and re-live my life? Personally, I will take the person I am today over the person I was 20 years ago. Right now, I need to find a way to motivate myself and focus on what’s important in my life. I need to take my lifetime worth of experiences and make it work for me. I can’t stop the aging process, but I can find ways to make it a bit easier.

For now, all I can do is blow out the candles and move on. Let's hope I start moving in the right direction.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Loved this. Turning 40 was traumatic for me, but not the end of the world after all.