Ruminating Forty: The Becoming Of An Iconic Age


Graham Sedam, blog, thoughts, life, interests, writing, ruminating forty, the becoming of an iconic age, turning forty, midlife crisis, middle life, micro life crisis, the big 40, reflecting upon life, youth, adulthood, senior citizen, family planning, careers, hobbies, exercise, goals, habits, health, wellness, marriage, family, lifestyle, society, kids, children, non-smoker, quitting smoking, life is a journey not a destination, hard work, perseverance, living with purpose, the pursuit is the happiness
This year, this month actually, I'm turning forty. I'll try to spare you the clichés and trappings of a post about turning forty, but chances are I'll fail at that. Why? Because there's something universal to stereotypes and clichés. There's a truth to them that we may not want to admit. There's a reason they exist. Turning forty and our feelings about it are no exception.

I could also go on at great lengths talking about a lot of different things related to my life up until turning forty and where I’m at in life now and where I see myself going. Instead, I felt it best to highlight a few different things that I’ve thought about most in regards to this decade milestone. How has age influenced my decisions and my outlook the most?

I don't believe that I went through or am going through a midlife crisis. To some extent, I feel like I've already gone through plenty of internal life crises. In the least, we all have micro life crises along the way, some are bigger and more impactful. We mostly recover from them. However, I do feel as though a certain momentum has taken over and accelerated throughout my thirties. It is not a panic or overblown worry but a very real realization that I've probably hit the halfway mark if I'm lucky enough to live until eighty.

So, here I sit looking back at the first half of my life and forward to the second half. How could this not have a profound meaning to and an effect upon an individual? Why shouldn't it be an important time to do the ultimate “gut check.” How do I think my life has gone so far? How can I use that information for a better present and future? What will I want to be thinking when I'm at the end, and what will I have wished that I would have or would not have done? I know how the first forty years went. What do I want the next forty to look like?

I feel as though I have more choice and ability to pursue how I want to live the second forty. Part of that is due to the increased opportunities that have come along with technology and the changes in culture. Do I want to release music, a book, a blog, a vlog, a podcast or pursue any, many other things? Our world now allows for so much more opportunity than was available when I was twenty. It’s incredibly unreal how different it is now. Sure, maybe you don’t want to do any of those things that I listed, but their equivalents are out there within the things you like to do. Opportunity is out there for the taking. It’s more about how much drive and hard work you are willing to put into your life than it was twenty or forty years ago. It will always be about hard work and talent, but the world of now has so many advantages that once never existed. It certainly overwhelms me at times, but excites me nonetheless!

As unfocused as I may feel at times due to all of the things that I want to accomplish, I ultimately know what I want out of life—the direction, its destination, and the gooey middle—and I understand the hard work and perseverance it takes to get “there.” I know that if the journey itself is not exciting and fulfilling, then the end result will be unhappiness and wasted opportunity. I have to love the work. I understand the slow roll of time and the importance of patience in the long run. I understand that every day must be lived to the fullest with great intent in order to let that patience stretch out and have legs. Patience does not equal inactivity. I spent plenty but not all of my first forty inactive and not creating opportunity; I was along for the ride, mostly. I don’t live with regret in those regards as much as I now have a different mind frame going into my second forty. I am making the choice to live with more purpose.

Regardless of my current life circumstances, I would be thinking these thoughts. In fact, I'm not the type of person who needs to turn forty to think about these things. Forty merely amplifies them for me. I'm sure that fifty will have a similar impact, though probably not identical. These thoughts have slowly increased, a little bit at twenty, a little more at thirty, and then so on exponentially through my thirties up until now. I mentioned in another post that I liken my life right now to a GPS—always recalculating. So, really, I’ve been doing that all along.

I’m the type of person that has always been more introverted than extroverted. I believe that the introverted personality type is more likely to take stock of themselves regularly, methodically, deeply. Being deep in thought in the quiet of a space is comforting to me but also necessary for me to refuel and survive the outside world. Us introverts NEED time to ourselves no matter what that alone-time activity is. This blog is many things to me, but the mere fact that I’m sitting here typing out my thoughts only drives my point home by its example.


Graham Sedam, blog, thoughts, life, interests, writing, ruminating forty, the becoming of an iconic age, turning forty, midlife crisis, middle life, micro life crisis, the big 40, reflecting upon life, youth, adulthood, senior citizen, family planning, careers, hobbies, exercise, goals, habits, health, wellness, marriage, family, lifestyle, society, kids, children, non-smoker, quitting smoking, life is a journey not a destination, hard work, perseverance, living with purpose, the pursuit is the happiness
As I've said many times, getting married and having kids greatly changed my life, as it should. My family situation no doubt plays a large part within my plans and the ability I have to execute those plans. My family IS a part of those plans. Of course, a family adds to the difficulties of life in general. But, that difficulty in itself is a chance to rise and be better, and once that challenge is tackled, you're better able to handle other challenges that come along. Deciding to make the change to become a part of a family unit has made me better in every way. To live and suffer and strive for my family is to be a part of something extremely meaningful to me, something bigger than myself. I was in my mid-thirties when I got married and became a step-dad. I consider that a part of my transition to the second half of my life, my second forty. They will be with me and be my family until I die.

I don't just want to be better for my family, though. Yes, they are definitely my number one priority, but I'm also striving in this life for me, and there's nothing wrong with that. I've been trying to get better and excel at things that are both good for my mind and body, for the things I want to pursue professionally, hobby-ally, AND for my family. It may be learning new things, getting better at how I use my time, adding skills, establishing habits, and more. A “book” to write, surely, but those words will likely find their way into other blog posts eventually, if not here.

What it comes down to is this: In what direction do I want to go, because that is in the direction I need to grow. Who do I want to be, because that is the me I need to perceive. Rhymes are good for remembering things, and they sound more profound.

I have a wife and children who need and deserve me to be the best that I can be. It is my job to help them to become their best selves. I want to be someone they look up to and admire, someone that influences them for the better, someone that leaves a beautiful mark upon their lives, not a scar. Health is one way that I am better because of my family, but also because of my looking forward beyond forty and wanting to achieve my view of personal success along the way.

I used to be a smoker. It makes me incredibly happy and proud to be able to call myself a former smoker. Starting was certainly one of the biggest mistakes of my life, but it also taught me a lot along the way; it might as well, right? My wife and kids were the catalyst I needed to quit for good. I had “tried” for years. Despite what you may think, my wife didn't give me an ultimatum. The moment we started dating, I stopped. I didn't want it to be something that prevented a relationship with her. I didn't want to make it acceptable within the family I was joining. I didn't want to set that example. I didn't want to smoke anymore and the act of smoking was starting to take a greater toll upon my body. I was more than ready to be done.

Five years later, present day, my wife and I run every day and run races. I started a run streak this summer and am still going strong. I stretch daily and go to a chiropractor; it turns out my alignment was bad, which would explain years of soreness and some of those headaches. I try to play drums and strength train as much as I can. I do karate with my eldest son. I drink A LOT of water. I went from not drinking water to drinking half of my body weight in ounces or more each day. Food has been the toughest to overcome, but every year is a little better.

My life has changed a lot in the last five years and a lot in this year alone. I went from being a smoker who was out of breath walking a flight of stairs to running a mile at minimum every day. I want to be an old man that's in shape, running races, and kicking ass in every way. I can say with complete certainty that I will never smoke a cigarette again, ever. Besides, I have developed a strong disgust of cigarette smoke, and it makes me feel sick.


Graham Sedam, blog, thoughts, life, interests, writing, ruminating forty, the becoming of an iconic age, turning forty, midlife crisis, middle life, micro life crisis, the big 40, reflecting upon life, youth, adulthood, senior citizen, family planning, careers, hobbies, exercise, goals, habits, health, wellness, marriage, family, lifestyle, society, kids, children, non-smoker, quitting smoking, life is a journey not a destination, hard work, perseverance, living with purpose, the pursuit is the happiness
Turning forty has been a “line in the sand” type of marker for another aspect of my wife and my decision making—family planning. Ever since we got married, I've told her that my stance was that I wanted to be done with creating new life at forty. Simple math will tell you that a forty-year-old will be fifty-eight when that child is eighteen, roughly speaking. More so, I would like my kids to be out of high school when I turn sixty. So, forty was and is our “do it or don't” timeframe.

We are currently working on the “do it” part. We've been delayed due to my wife's marathon training and race. She never planned on running a marathon this year, but she won the entry. She's been in her best running shape this year—maybe the best shape in her life, ever—and being pregnant and having a kid would certainly set her back a bit. This was logically a marathon year for my wife. We decided to “reconvene” after her marathon, and we will continue to try for another kid beyond the day I turn forty, if necessary, but how much longer I'm not sure. If for whatever reason my wife doesn't get pregnant before I turn forty-one, we'll revisit our plan. We'd love to balance our family out with another girl—our first together.

When the kids DO get out of high school, what do I want those Golden Years to look like? In a lot of ways, though not completely, forty is the starting point to how that time in my life will manifest itself. I could wake up on my sixtieth birthday and decide to be healthy and in shape—better late than never, I suppose—but starting down the path of better health at forty will make a much bigger difference with much bigger gains. I’d much rather feel and capitalize on the benefits of health now and onward.

Retirement is another aspect of turning sixty. Sure, I don’t necessarily plan to be retired at sixty, but whatever that age ends up being will at least be much closer. Thinking about my hopes for that period of time now, and then setting events into motion along the way, will help me to achieve the future life that I want. And, as good as the job that I have now is, I don’t really want to work there until I can’t work anymore.

I have ideas for specific businesses, ventures, and freelance type stuff that I would love to entertain, pursue, and dabble in before it’s too late. I don’t want to regret not trying or have to think about what could have been. I have no doubts that there will be more failures to come and that I’ll have to continue to prioritize what gets my attention. Maybe that prioritization will mean that some or all of those ideas are abandoned without pursuit. As long as I know that I’ve made the effort and that I’ve done the best that I could do in life, I’ll have no choice but to accept the outcome. Regardless of my achievements and successes, my life will be and will have been better than otherwise because of the effort, because I tried. Very much on purpose, the lives of my wife and kids will be better as well.



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