I’ve never been one to make a big deal about birthdays. As far as celebrating, a typical experience for me would involve a nice dinner with a few close people. No big parties, wild nights or full weekend blow-outs need apply. But as I approach my milestone 40th this May 2018, I have been doing a lot of reflecting.
The first thing I was thinking about was how each of the past few decade blocks has had a theme. I have no idea if this translates to other people, but take a look and see if it just might make sense depending on where you’re at in life.
The 20s: Deconstruction
Growing up, you were probably handed a story. This is who you are in the eyes of your parents, your friends, those in your life who have influence. By the time you get to your 20s, that story often starts breaking down. You pick at it. Test it. Prod to see if it’s ‘true’. You start asking questions: Who am I really? What do I want? What’s my part in this world? This process of deconstruction can be tumultuous, painful, and exciting. The answers to those questions isn’t always achieved, but the process is often the destination. Just going through deconstruction and surviving is a win.
The 30s: Reconstruction
In your 30s, you begin the process of building and growing. Out of the ashes of breaking down the story given in your youth, you’ve chosen your own path. Your roots might not be firmly planted yet, but you have a plan of attack. You start to build a career, a business (or three), a life with another chosen human and stake your place in the world.
The 40s: Balance
Since I’m only just beginning this decade, I am making assumptions. And I assume, based on how I feel entering year 40 that this decade is one of balance. The 30s are still volatile. Growing, opening, closing, crushing and getting crushed. By 40 I finally feel a sense of balance taking over. I have my chosen person, my chosen career, and my clearly defined mission. (To help as many people as possible eliminate pain and improve the way they move for a lifetime of health and fitness).
The balance I feel and seek in this decade is also measured equally against the desire to continue to grow. That desire never really goes away for those of us passionate about our existence and our work. And while I still feel as much vim and vigor to help as many people as possible, I now recognize the importance of self-care more-so than a few years back.
The Best Advice I’ve Ever Received
To close out this reflective post, I’m dropping some favorite lines of wisdom from my past.
Pick Something and Do It Well – Dr. Russ Ebbets
I talked more about this in Episode 69 of Full Body Fix Radio, but the general idea is to work toward mastery of something, versus mediocre ability in many things. My mentor through Chiropractic College gave me this piece of advice, and frankly I didn’t listen. I had always wanted to have a sports-chiropractic focus in my practice, but when I graduated instead of focusing on this passion, I tried to be all things to all people. It failed. Miserably. I was unhappy and it showed. Now I have a straight forward practice, doing what I do best. And I’ve never been happier.
Take Action – Diane Sanfilippo
My wife is a force of nature. If you want an example I can give you 10. Or you can check out her work and see for yourself. She excels in something I’m particularly weak at – taking action. I have a personality that wants to have a fully realized plan before doing anything. She will jump out of an airplane and build the parachute on her way. I want to have the architectural plans for the plane’s runway before we even take off. See what I mean? So something I’ve been working on since meeting her is being more intentional about simply taking action, as opposed to thinking I’ll be able to have every minutia planned out.
Be Present – Rob Bell / Richard Rohr
Along with the personality that enjoys having everything planned out, is a propensity to get anxious about the future. So for more than a decade I’ve been seeking peace and purpose in the moment. The “live in the moment” cliche may be played out on social media, but for me it’s made a huge difference in how I move throughout my day. Appreciating the moment and the journey has made me much less future-focused and less worried about the destination. For a nice read on the subject, especially if you come from a Christian religious background, I recommend Richard Rohr’s Naked Now.
In Everything, Give Thanks – Mom
When I graduated from high school, my mom gave me a letter filled of advice and encouragement. The part that sticks with me was that no matter the circumstance, be grateful. Find the positive. Even if all you have is your breath, find something to be thankful for. Even if it’s a hard lesson. It will change your life for the better. I promise.
I hope those pieces of advice and reflections on a few decades of life will help you, wherever you are.
Yours in Health & Strength,
Last modified: May 7, 2018