40 Lessons from 40 Years

Parents Wedding with Text

As some of you know, I am now less than 5 months away from my 40th birthday and have been spending some time reflecting on the journey thus far, breathing in the surroundings of the present, and beginning to chart out some changes for the path ahead.  I’ve decided to be deliberate about this milestone year, and have made a “40 before 40” list of experiences, conversations, and journeys to take on before the “big day”.  I solicited advice from a lot of friends throughout the social media universe, and received some brilliant ideas (some more brilliant than others…) that will help me to mark the occasion in a memorable and significant way.  I am not going to share that entire list right now for a lot of reasons, but one of my favorite ideas was to seek out and to say “thank you” to the key agents of change throughout the course of my life.

Even just thinking through the list has been an amazing experience, and I am excited to see where this process might take me.  To kick this off though, who better to thank than the first real life superheroes for me… my parents.  Earlier this year, they celebrated their own milestone with Anniversary XL.  Much of who I have become as a father, as a coach, and as a leader has been shaped by them, and I wrote the following list of “40 Lessons from 40 Years” to say “Thank You” for who they are and for what they have done.  Some of these are inside jokes, and some are more profound than others… but I wanted to share this list as an acknowledgement to them, as encouragement to us all to say “Thank You” to the key people in your lives, and as some insights that extend beyond parenting and into work and life…

40 Lessons from 40 Years

  1. You always kept throwing pitches so I could swing for the fences.
  2. You knew that the little things matter, and stopped wrapping my birthday presents in Xmas paper.
  3. You showed me that the world was bigger than Ohio…
  4. But that Ohio is a great place to raise a family.
  5. You demonstrated the commitment to show up for every game, play, concert, and performance…
  6. And also taught me that sometimes I may have to lie to you about the start time so as not to be late.
  7. You taught me that the love for a child is unconditional,
  8. But that sometimes that child needs a gentle kick in the butt (or pull of the hair) to get on track.
  9. You taught me perspective and to remember the 5 year rule…
  10. And that even the calmest person can sometimes throw ice cream against the wall.
  11. I learned that Thanksgiving is a time to say thanks for all of the embarrassing things that happened to each other over the years.
  12. You showed that family always comes first, before career and personal goals.
  13. You fostered my nerdy tendencies, and fed me math challenges through baseball (e.g. strat-o-matic)…
  14. But never made me suffer through “educational toys” for holiday gifts.
  15. When walking along the treadmill of life, I know that an awkward fall can happen at any time.
  16. You showed the value of coaching and creating a memorable sports experience for me and my friends.
  17. There is always room for a dessert… or twelve.
  18. You made us feel safe and believe that we didn’t even need to lock our front door to keep trouble out…
  19. But taught me that when I have my own teenagers, I should do a better job of locking them in.
  20. You developed my love for Cincinnati from our family vacations there…
  21. But to never lose my heart for Western Pennsylvania and passion for those Pittsburgh Stillers.
  22. You’ve illustrated the importance of Teachers in all phases on life.
  23. You helped me to feel tough, courageous, and brave…
  24. And stood by me even when I was afraid of roller coasters, kite flying, or Return of the Jedi.
  25. You helped me discover a love for reading that turned into a passion to write…
  26. And kept buying me books even when I was too stubborn to read them.
  27. You’ve shown that grandparenting is the coolest job in the world…
  28. And that if even you can become cool then there is hope for us all.
  29. You’ve fostered my kids’ love for adventuring through experiments, projects, and games…
  30. And showed them that fun in this life doesn’t require an #electronicdevice.
  31. You’ve raised kids to be independent and to chart their own paths…
  32. But to remember the importance of home and to always respect our roots.
  33. You’ve modeled sportsmanship and that there are more important things than winning…
  34. But that winning is fun and is worth working for.
  35. You were willing to chase me down on my way to college to return an abandoned toiletries bag… even if I didn’t appreciate it.
  36. You’ve shown that no matter how busy life is to always drop everything for a family member in need.
  37. I learned and now model that ‘A spoonful of sarcasm helps the medicine go down’.
  38. You’ve taught us that magic is real and that we can all “Use the Force”…
  39. As 40 years pass, you’re now reminding us to stop and to smell the roses…
  40. And that there is no greater legacy than the love of a family.

—————–

Check out my book, Agents of Change, available in paperback and eBook additions on Amazon.com

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