Dear Jack: You Now Bike Over to Your Friend’s House Everyday After School

10 years, 5 months.

Dear Jack,

I feel like my generation, The Oregon Trail Generation (in between Generation X and Millennials), was the last generation to be able to freely roam around as kids, while our parents didn’t really know where we were… until we drove our bikes back in time for dinner.

But now, as you are about to finish 4th grade, you are officially at the point where when you get off the bus after school, you now come in, grab a snack, then bike over to your friend Landon’s house until it’s time for dinner.

And he doesn’t simply live down the street. He technically lives two neighborhoods beyond ours.

I bought you a digital watch with an alarm, to alert you when it’s time to come back home for dinner.

You are growing up!

 

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: A Day at the Lake, in Our Front Yard

5 years.

Dear Holly,

What happens when Mommy runs out for errand on a Saturday afternoon and I stay home with you and your brother?

I never know… it typically is something random that I wouldn’t necessarily plan for the two of you.

This particular most recent time, it ended up being you wearing a life vest and holding on to a little boogie board, while your brother chased you down with his new water gun.

So basically, it was like a Saturday afternoon at the lake… only the lake happened to be the cul-de-sac connected to our driveway.

 

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: You Chose Acapulco Mexican Grill for Your 5th Birthday Dinner

5 years.

Dear Holly,

For dinner the night of your 5th birthday, Mommy and I let you decide where you would like to go; out of all the restaurants in the area of Spring Hill, Tennessee; where we live.

You chose Acapulco Mexican Grill, which is in walking distance from our house.

(In fact, we’ve walked there for dinner on more than one occasion!)

It is a Mexican tradition that at the end of the meal, the wait staff comes to smash dessert in your face.

Since you are only 5, our waiter went easy on you by just barely dabbing your nose with whipped cream from a slice of cheesecake.

You thought it was so much fun!

Love,

Daddy

5 Reasons Life Gets Easier After Turning 40!

For some reason, it’s a well kept secret… Maybe it’s easier for people to make easy jokes about life getting worse after 40, as opposed to making a mature observation about things actually getting better in certain ways.

Now one week into being 40 years old, I can absolutely confirm that life here on the 2nd half is definitely more enjoyable now that I’ve made it over to this side.

Here are the obvious 5 reasons why life actually gets easier after turning 40:

You become more emotionally mature:

Things don’t bother you like they use to. You accept that there is very little in your own life, as well as the universe outside your own brain, that you have any control over. So you start focusing on what you can control, not on what you can’t. You suddenly realize that no one can control your emotions, your energy, or your time without you giving them permission first. You accept that no one actually cares about your opinion, beyond how you take action based on your convictions. You accept that people don’t simply truly like you for who you are, but instead, for what value you add to their own life.

You are more confident than ever before:

It’s important not to conflate “confidence” with “arrogance” here. By age 40, you fully accept your many weaknesses as well as your limited number of strengths. That forms your identity. Therefore, you become confident in a way you never could have before; since you no longer feel insecure about your shortcomings- you embrace them! Similarly, you are able to help other people by using your strengths; which only gives you higher value with other people.

You know how to focus better in making life count for something:

When you openly acknowledge your life is halfway over at best, it causes you to put things in proper perspective. You accept that the people you love who are older than you have even less time than you, so you value them more. You accept that the people who are younger than you have so much more life to live, so you invest in mentoring them. Instead of fearing getting older, you celebrate getting older, for its unique perspective: an advantage in itself.

You have less stress and more free time, because your kids are older now:

By the time you are 40, it’s quite likely you’re beyond “the baby years” of changing diapers, dealing with swear-word-causing annoying car seats, and never knowing when you’re going to get a solid night’s rest.

As for me, my kids are 5 and 10. While I couldn’t have possibly been more involved in their younger years, I am really enjoying being their dad now. What a relief I can communicate with them, like I couldn’t before. They have come to life! Not to mention, I now have been reintroduced to the concept of “free time”, in addition to getting a solid 7 and a half hours of sleep every night. I love it!

You now experience financial stability:

With over 15 years experience in my career field, in addition to the aforementioned newly solidified level of confidence in my skill set, I have built my career in a way that I just didn’t have access to a decade ago when I was 30.

Not to mention, my wife and I are 5 years into living debt-free; being able to grow our savings, investments, and retirement funds.

So there it is, I’m convinced that life is easier on this side of 40. Can you agree with me on this? If so, let me know!

Dear Holly: You Liked Your Superman Ice Cream on My Birthday

4 years, 11 months.

Dear Holly,

I ended up getting a free dessert at the restaurant we went to for my 40th birthday; banana pudding that Mommy and I shared.

But before we knew that was going to happen, Mommy and I had already decided and announced that we would go by the fudge and ice cream shop for dessert.

So that meant you and your brother got a special ice cream treat on my birthday!

Out of the many flavors, you chose Superman.

(I kept it a secret from you that it’s just plain vanilla with a bunch of food coloring.)

You loved it! You were so proud, you made sure to tell your teacher about it the very next morning.

Love,

Daddy