On Turning 40

I am turning 40 today. Sounds ominous. For some people, age is the enemy. They want to look young. They want to party like they are still 18. Not me. As an introvert, parties and crowds were never my thing.

I was planning to have a big party with all my friends but because of COVID-19 and “social distancing”, all that went out the window. Instead, everyone has to wear a mask or covering in public, stay 6 feet apart for non-family members, and just stay in.

I am, however, thankful that I was I able to celebrate it with my family this past Saturday. Barbeque – just some burgers, ribs, and potato pancakes I made the week before.

Here are some things I have been ruminating on for the last few weeks.

  1. Aging is normal. The sun rose yesterday; it rose today, and God willing, it will rise tomorrow. People are born and people die today. I woke up restless and then went back to bed.
  2. God is faithful. I grew up in a Christian family and became a Christian at 1988. Through it all, Jesus carried me through some of my worst times and the best times. I think about the great times – Manila 2016.
Northern Philippines, 2016

3. The first half of 2019 sucked. I broke a tooth, my good friend stopped talking to me, and worst of all, I had an OCD induced panic attack. I struggled with OCD and the symptoms come and go, whether from having my clothes folded the right way or recurring evil thoughts that won’t go away. I thought that the world had ended. It did not.
The lesson I learned: one day at a time, one step at a time. To “fix” my tooth, I had to get it extracted, added a bone graft, and an metal implant. Finally, it was capped with a permanent crown. There were 5 surgeries, some lasting an hour, some that took 20 minutes. In each case, I thought to myself: one at time. Don’t think about the one in August or November, just get through today.

4. Question: how do you know you have grown as a person? I don’t mean physical height; there is a scale for that. I remember this joke: An adult is someone who has stopped growing except horizontally.

I have always been skinny so all my friends tease me about gaining weight once I turn 40.

Seriously, though, how do you know you have grown emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually? Are you reacting the same way when you were 18 years old? Hopefully, you are not. I read that you don’t truly under actions and consequences until you are 25 years old.

I have to wonder whether I have changed. As Cassius said to Brutus in Julius Caesar, “the eye sees not itself.” I mean, I find myself bogged down by the same sins as I was ten years ago. I find myself still harsh on myself and every actual or perceived failure.

If I think I am victorious in one area, two new vices pop up.

5. I think one benefit of getting older is the ability to think about the experiences. Not everyone has the gift of introspection. They just rush on to the next experience or rush, never thinking about what they learned or received. In all my travels, I feel so blessed to have gone – Scotland, Japan Philippines, India, Singapore, even Mexico, and an unnamed Asian country.

6. As I enter the second half of my life, I realize just half complex and wonderful life is.

Rather than entering it with a “Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt” mentality, I am going with a “Let’s see what is around the next hill” mentality.

3 thoughts on “On Turning 40

    1. If you do proceed, just know that it can take a long time. The average time is six months or more, depending on how fast your body heals. I heal fast and it was still painful. However the doctors and nurses who took care of me did a great job and were with me every step. Like you, the pain of breaking the tooth was bad for me, but remember that all not pain are the same. The pain a doctor inflicts to reset a bone is better than keeping a broken shoulder.

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