Tag Archives: 40

Turning 40 “Life”

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This morning was a reminder of one of the aspects of life I’ve learned.  It started as one of those mornings. Trash and recycling need to be put out on the curb. Lunches needed to be made.  Diapers to daycare.  Movies to return. My oldest son overslept.  My youngest daughter didn’t want to be put down. It was time for me to start my commute and I was nowhere close to pouring my coffee into my travel mug.

I multi-task, carrying the last of the recycling, diapers under on arm, movies clutched in a few fingers to put in my wife’s car.  Both garage doors opening is an appropriate sound track to the morning, arrrrgrarrrarrr, clunk-clunk.

It is about 6:20 in the morning, dark, and my breath can be seen as the cold tickles my forearms.  It takes three trips to get the trash and recycling to the curb. The constellation Orion is above the southern horizon.  Mars is shining bright toward the east.  Beautiful. I take a few minutes to star gaze (I don’t know why, but stargazing is special for me).

In those few minutes the stars reminded me that life is beautiful.  No matter what is going on in life, “nothing dims these stars.”  I know that life can be hard. I know even in good times there can be a grimy feeling to life. Diamonds can collect filth on them.  But the shine is still there; the diamond will sparkle (like a star) with a little cleaning.

Minutes later as I was getting into my car, my sons came out to get into the minivan.  “Did you guys see the stars?” I asked.  We go out to the drive way and we stargaze together for a minute.  For a moment life hits me, in a single moment I feel the beauty of life so true that it almost crushes my heart.  There I stood with my two sons, in front of our new home, on the driveway that we play basketball.  Life can be hard. I know this. There is pain and disappointment, tragedy that can also crush a heart.

It takes work, it takes time, but no matter how filthy a diamond becomes, it still has its shine. “Nothing dims these stars.”

“Dad, there is a new Clone Wars on tonight!” Both boys head to the minivan chatting excitedly about the show tonight. I smile. Everyone has their own set of stars.  What allows you to know that life is beautiful?

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Turning 40 “Love”

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The most important lesson I’ve learned was best said in the above quote, “Love is the only rational act.”  At first it seems like a basic feel good quote, but it is deeper than that. Love is the only RATIONAL act. Love has a strong image link to the heart and emotions, but Morrie connected it to our head and thinking.  Put simply Love produces positive results, it works. It makes sense as a founding principal for our lives.

My kids respond to Love better than to me yelling.  The waitress who is having a rough day responds better to an understanding comment from me.  A smile trumps a frown in the classroom.  I feel energized when I am involved in activities I love. Love works.

Living out this idea is not easy with the everyday stress we experience.  But I’ve noticed that a negative reaction may solve a problem right then, but causes more issues later.  While living out Love takes patience and even at times makes the current issue tough to get through, the long-term benefits are positive. It takes real strength, an intentional spirit, and an open heart, but living out the idea of Love makes all the difference. It is the rational thing to do that leads to an emotional filled life.

Bonus, because I love music I made a small playlist of songs that reveal an aspect of this idea. Enjoy.

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Where I am Today (Turning 40 post)

As I count down to my fortieth birthday, I feel like I need to write the expected “What I’ve Learned” blog post.   So, over the next three weeks I will share a series of things I’ve discovered in my first forty years of life.  But first, I’m going to start with where I am right now.

As I write this I am working from home, actually I’m at the Blue Moon having a Cinnamon Roll Latte.  I am in my third month with a new job.  To be honest, I am still adjusting.  Not just to the new job, but to what I left behind to take this opportunity.  My family is strong, and in fact doing well because of my new job.

I am a few pounds over weight, got an app to help me stay motivated with that.  I thought that sometime I would actually feel like an adult, but I don’t.  I sing in the hallways at work, tell bad jokes, and release a Woohoo! in every conversation I have.  I feel insecure, doubt barrages me all the time.  I miss my friends.  And I feel like a failure with all the goals I haven’t achieved.

Sometimes my family breaks my heart with the most beautiful moments. The way my girls say “I love you, daddy.”  Watching my son shine on stage.  The beauty of my wife’s smile.

I don’t know why, but approaching this birthday has been a challenge.  I think I have more questions then answers, but I hope to share with you a few insights over the next couple of weeks. Next Turning 40 post, “Why the past matters.”


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Change / Fate (A Turning 40 Post)

“Closer to the Edge” 30 Seconds to Mars
Can you imagine a time when the truth ran free?
The birth of a song, the death of a dream
Closer to the edge

This never ending story
Paid for with pride and fate
We all fall short of glory
Lost in ourselves

No, I’m not saying I’m sorry
One day maybe we’ll meet again
No, I’m not saying I’m sorry
One day maybe we’ll meet again

My students will not be surprised at my analysis of this song and its connection to life.  This song has been my summer song, not only because me and my second son dance to it in the kitchen, but it just hits a vibe with my life.  The line about the birth of a song but connected with a death of a dream reveals the cost of change.  Changes in our life hold both constructive and destructive powers.

Many people forget the lines “I shall be telling this with a sigh / Somewhere ages and ages hence:” from Robert Frost’s poem, “The Road Not Taken”. The rest of the poem deals with choosing the path less traveled, but these lines are ambiguous about the true benefit of that choice.

As my fortieth birthday approaches, I look back at all the roads I traveled.  And the ones I didn’t.  I have to wonder how I got here, did I make the right choices?  Was there truly any other paths to follow?   The question of Fate has no easy answer, I love when we cover the book The Natural and dissect the theme of fate presented in the story.  I try to let the students work with their own views of this complex idea.  Because I can not answer them, I can only live closer to the edge where the choices are to be made, knowing that each choice will open one door and close another.

As the video asks, Are you ready? I say bring on the next 40 years…

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