Today I am turning 40 years old. What does that mean? that I am old? that I am about to go into mid-life crisis? that I should give up all of my dreams? that I am entering into one of life’s most dangerous ages for men? The truth is that most of the things I mentioned above can only be true if you allow it.
I still remember when I was in my teenage years and I wanted to reach 20 years of age, I was frustrated that I couldn’t reach that age fast enough. When I was around 16 or 17 the idea of being a 20-year-old opened all sorts of opportunities and freedom, or so I thought. By the time I was about to reach 30 years of age I felt stressed, I knew I was reaching an important part of my life where every time you make a decision regardless of being good or bad, you know it would affect you down the road. It also meant that every decision I made would affect not only me but my wife and kids, I was no longer a unit of one.
It wasn’t until about 3 years ago that I started feeling worried and a bit sad that I was approaching 40. I remember thinking of people who age when I was in my early 20s as I looked at teachers, my parents, uncles, etc… to me it meant that if you were a 40-year-old person, you were a super old person. How naïve I was.
Recently I started to realize how our core and our mind doesn’t really change that much with age after you reach your 20s. You do start seeing wrinkles in your face and you notice how your body starts to change but inside, you are still you; The same person who thought a 40-year-old person was super old and this, this is exactly what made me and so many others feel sad about getting older.
I have respect for people of all ages, and sympathy for those who are trapped in an older body when their mind and spirit is still the same, young and full of joy. However, it isn’t easy to accept that your body is just a wrapper and that you are what’s inside of it. You must remember that your feelings, memories, experiences and thoughts are what makes you, the person.
I’d like to think that I still have a long way to go, that I am still in the beginning of my journey, that there are still many awesome things out there to be discovered and that makes me feel young and happy. I think of all the joy that my kids have brought me so far and that this is just the beginning. I imagine myself being a grand father and walking with my grandkids on the beach or a small street somewhere in Europe. I imagine holding hands with my wife and laugh at our ourselves and our old bodies. Sitting somewhere contemplating the horizon and thinking about all the things we’ve done together.
So I have come to the conclusion that age is nothing but a number, it means nothing really and it only helps humanity to divide people by “age” so we can create rules and laws around that.
Perhaps the fact that we acknowledge age and see it as something important is what causes all of us to become old and feel like it. Think about it, we could be convincing ourselves to feel and behave differently just because we are older. How naïve.
What have I done these years since my 20s? here some of the most important things I have done since then:
- Said bye to my family in Mexico and moved to the United States, undocumented.
- Got a job and helped my family back in Mexico.
- Fell in love with my wife.
- Got married after dating my wife for 3 months.
- Got my first apartment, for me and my wife.
- Got my first real job, working at a factory and earning minimum wage.
- Became a citizen of the Unites States.
- Went to College in Minnesota.
- Had our first child, our beautiful Jennifer Lee.
- Kept working fulltime and going to college in the evenings.
- Found a job as tech support in a small company.
- Learned to code and started doing some websites and consulting.
- Started a Tax preparation company which my wife runs today.
- Got promoted at my job, I was no longer making a minimum wage.
- Had our second child, our handsome Ricardo Ervey.
- Moved to another city in Minnesota.
- Things improve professionally, and the Tax preparation business takes off.
- Got tired of the cold winters and the snow.
- Moved to Texas.
- Bought our first house.
- Found a job as a software developer.
- Traveled to Europe for the first time.
- Had our third child, our handsome and energized Mauricio Dioni.
- Things improve professionally, my wife takes over the Tax business.
- Travel a lot.
- More travel.
- Move to another job.
- Start another business.
- Sell our first home and move into our second home.
- Kids are growing. Jennifer is in High School now.
- My brothers and sisters are growing, and so are their kids.
- By now my wife and I have traveled to almost 10 different countries, and have drank and ate more food that you can imagine.
- Turned 40.
Today I am 40 years old and I am very happy. If you are into history and would like to know what “other” famous people are turning 40 this year, click here.
Meet Tokio, new member of the family and a gift for my 40th birthday from my wife.
Until next time, I’ll write something similar when I get to 50 :)