Life At 40
A few days ago I turned 40.
Generally I am not a fan of my birthday. I normally hate the thought of getting older, but this year was different.
Lockdown has helped me be a lot more reflective on what I have in my life now, the recent past and to start to look to the near future, and I am a lot more positive than usual!
So what does life at 40 look like for me?
Firstly, I have this wonderful person in my life. We have been married for nearly 13 years and she has the unique ability to drive me completely insane whilst at the same time making me love her more!
We are in the danger zone of this post turning into a tacky greetings card, but my life owes so much to Caroline that I can’t pass over it too quickly.
She is an amazing mum to our two kids, and 9 years ago she gave up work completely to run our house and raise them. This has given me an unbelievable amount of freedom in my career and I count myself very lucky.
So what about my career? Well, in those 9 years my job title has barely changed (Learning Technology & Delivery Manager), but as is normal in any large corporate, job titles have a lot of room to manoeuvre.
Currently I work for Experian in the UK HR team (all opinions in this blog are always my own!) and I’m responsible for eLearning and Learning systems within the UK and EMEA regions. In addition to that, since November I have been leading a training team that is responsible for all customer facing training. I am enjoying the extra responsibility of leading a medium sized team.
In my personal life, I am still working on a variety of side projects, and I’m a governor of my children’s school. I’ve actually been a governor for longer than I have had children - it is one of the most rewarding volunteering activities that I have ever done. If you are thinking about doing some volunteer work to improve the world and yourself, I cannot recommend it enough! You do not have to be a parent, or have any knowledge of the education system. If you are interested, check out the National Governance Association website.
I am also slowly converting my garage to a workshop to learn woodwork, and I am planning some blog posts on this in more detail soon!
The rest of my time is taken up with my kids - Joah (8) and Seren (6). They have had such a weird 5 months but they have taken everything in their stride and are both doing amazingly well despite the lockdown. I am so proud of them.
They make me laugh every day and they are, at the same time, both very similar and completely different. Joah has been loving not going to school, and whilst he does well at school he has been doing even better during lockdown. Seren is almost the complete opposite - she needs people around her and is hating lockdown and not being able to see her friends.
They both love Minecraft though, and we have a shared world that all three of us play in. Nothing gives me more pleasure than “admiring” the dirt house that they have built smack bang in the middle of the complicated redstone contraption I have spent days building!
Being a parent is an amazing, and terrifying, experience. Every new day brings some new issue that you need to make a decision on! Some of them are tiny, but many of them you realise will impact this tiny human being for the rest of their life. I hope that one day I actually feel grown up enough for this.
I’m treating 40 as a point of reflection and change in my life, and that started months ago. I always make new year’s resolutions on my birthday, as it feels much more sensible to do it at the beginning of my year rather then some arbitrary date that we call “new year”. Normally they are relatively silly (my garage workshop was one a couple of years ago), but this year I have decided that I need to improve my fitness, both for myself but more importantly for my kids’ future. I want to be annoying them well into their forties, just like my dad does to me!
So I have started walking, with the intention of walking the Derwent Valley Heritage Way next year.
I want to do this 88km trek through the Derwent Valley over two or three days, camping along the way. This means I will need to be able to walk 30km a day with a full pack! I started this week with three 6km walks near my house and I am really enjoying it. The test will be whether I can keep this up long term!
Relating this back to the “own my data” project that this website is a part of, I will also work to get my fitness tracking data on here in some form or another, hopefully including steps, weight and anything else I can extract from the various trackers I have. This is lower priority right now than getting my social media set up in here, but watch this space!
Overall, 40 does not feel as depressing as I expected it to be, and whilst it is the traditional point of a midlife crisis, the only desire for change that I am feeling is to make my life better (and hopefully longer). I’m not even looking at bright red convertibles.
I am feeling really positive about the next decade, even though at the end of that one of my children will be a brand new adult! I am equally excited and anxious to see how that all plays out!