40, really 40? I have clear memories of being 18 and thinking that all I wanted was to be 21 and then after I turned 21, thinking that 40 was so far away that it doesn’t matter. Well back on October 13th that far far away place was sitting there right in front of me and it was odd feeling to say the least. Odd in that I cannot recall ever feeling a negative feeling regarding a birthday.
“Forty isn’t old, if you’re a tree.” – Unknown
“Life begins at 40 – but so do fallen arches, rheumatism, faulty eyesight, and the tendency to tell a story to the same person, three or four times.” – Helen Rowland
The idea that life begins at 40 was one that I never really believed in. I am alive no matter the age I am with the hope that I wake and live each day feeling like a 30 year old and not a 40 year old. Okay so I know that it’s just delusional to think that way but I believe that by doing what I can to feel younger is a good thing, but feeling younger than I am and acting younger than I am is two different things. This week I learned a lesson to know the difference.
I wish that I could say that this milestone has been one that I have enjoyed but unfortunately life’s needs, you know work, money, etc… have done all that they can to make 40 feel well like 40. Then came this past Monday when 40 all of a sudden felt a heck of a lot older! I had just got to my office and started my day when I started to feel some pressure in my chest. Over the course of the next 40 minutes it just kept getting worse. Me being me I called Alison who had to basically yell at me to get me into the emergency department. My blood pressure was very high and after some medication it began to fall. I ended up being admitted for the night and had a stress test to see if there was any damage to my heart. Thankfully there was none and we had to look at making some changes to make sure that nothing like this happened again.
After all that I have been through in my life change is something I am used to making, the difference this time around is there was no one clear change to make. Alison and I talked a great deal while still in the hospital about what changes I can make to avoid issues like I had this week or for that matter even worse. Stress of course was at the top of the list along with keeping work at work and just letting go of issues instead of carrying them around with me. Easy to say but it’s going to be difficult to execute. Only time will tell.
Maybe its divine karma, I had been spending the previous week teasing and celebrating our friend Sue’s 40th and I was the primary antagonizer. So when Sue walked into my ICU room I was waiting for her to return the favor, but she was gracious and bit her tongue.
This week has taught me that it’s okay to be 40 and accept that there are things that I will need to deal with now that I cannot wish away. To quote what mothers and wives all over the world throughout history have always said to men in their lives, “act your age”. What that means to me is to remember that I am not 25 anymore and I have to take care of myself in a more proactive way than I used to so I don’t end up back in the ER.
Lesson learned? Only time will tell, but I am confident that my wife and friends will keep me on track as will all the medications that I am on to keep my blood pressure in check. The one true way that you can tell that your getting old is by the number of pill bottles you have in your medicine cabinet, needless to say ours is filling up rapidly!