So this is 40?

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In Korean culture, the number “4” is considered unlucky because its pronunciation is the same as the word for “death.”

Well, that’s a great omen for someone who’s just turned the big 4-0.

40-01I’ve been dreading this day for an entire decade. Yes, as soon as I turned 30, I already gave in to the fact that it would be the last 10 years of the fun part of my life as I was positive that life would start to be over when I turned 40. Sure enough, there have been changes. They may have been gradual, but my life is definitely different. Trips to the gym have been replaced by trips to Zippy’s. I now prefer sipping wine to pounding beers. Six a.m. used to be the time I got home; now it’s when I wake up. And I can’t keep up with pop culture anymore, nor do I really care to. I thought Macklemore was a clothing shop, and I wouldn’t know if someone was twerking me even if they were doing it right in front of my face.

What’s even scarier is how my social outlook has now changed. I used to be able to call friends on a whim and have them meet me on an hour’s notice for drinks. Now I have to make arrangements with them a week in advance so that they can pencil me in around their other activities, mostly involving their children. Coping with breakups from romantic relationships used to be as simple as believing that there are other fish in the sea and that it’s just a matter of time before the next one comes along. Now, breakups are followed by the scary thought of either dying alone or spending my retirement money in $20 increments for the pleasure of 10 minutes of a lady’s company. Yikes, I literally just shuddered as I wrote that.

40-02But now that I’m finally here, I refuse to believe that this is the beginning of a slow and lonely journey to the days when my grocery list will include Depends and Metamucil. Instead, I will embrace turning 40 as an opportunity – an opportunity to utilize my decades of life experience to enhance my future with personal fulfillment. I will actively pursue the things I know I enjoy such as the company of old friends, exciting dining experiences as well as watching a ton of movies. I will return to a more active lifestyle by going back to the gym and playing volleyball, basketball and golf at the level I once used to, my two reconstructed knees be damned. It’s also time to get my hiking shoes and Camelbak out of the closet again. At the same time, I will also seek out new experiences to keep my mind sharp and stimulated. No longer will I bury my head in my phone, experiencing life through others by stalking their Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts. There’s a whole world out there, and you can’t see it if you’re busy playing Candy Crush.

Why wait for the New Year for a fresh start? The time for a new beginning is now, and I’m ready to make the most of the second half of my life. I know it’s cliché, but you truly are only as old as you feel. And right now I feel like taking a nap. But after that, it’s on!