Dear Jack: Your Pop-Up Ice Cream Store

10 years, 5 months.

Dear Jack,

Over the weekend, you spent hours carefully crafting the box from one of your sister’s 5th birthday presents into what started out as a race car (I think?), but eventually evolved into an ice cream store for your sister and cousins to buy treats from.

Conveniently, your sister already had plenty of plastic ice cream toys for you to give out when customers walked up to your ice cream store; which, now that I think of it, seemed more like an ice cream truck.

You even installed a pulley system, allowed you to place the ice cream in an after hours drop box… that’s assuming the ice cream didn’t melt by then!

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: A Father’s Letter to His Daughter on Her 5th Birthday

5 years old today!

Dear Holly,

Today is going to be a very exciting day! You are now 5 years old and we have a very special event planned for you.

We are hosting a special “tea party” birthday party for you and some of your friends from school; as well as your cousins from Alabama.

And for dinner, when we asked you where you would like go to out for your big day, you responded, “Acapulco Mexican restaurant because they have the good macaroni and cheese- and Jack likes their pizza.”

I know it’s going to be such a fun 5th birthday for you.

I love you, Holly!

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: You Only Love Being in My Jeep When I Take Off the Top

10 years, 5 months.

Dear Jack,

Last weekend felt right to go ahead and remove the hard top from my Jeep for a while.

I was surprised earlier this week when you specifically requested, “Daddy, will you drive me to school? I actually like being in the Jeep when the top is off.”

You say there’s not enough room in the back when the top is on.

I’m sure a lot of it too, is that you like being able to, as you sister says, “Crawl through the window to get in.”

So for my 40th birthday dinner out, we drove as a family to a neighboring town with the top off.

There were zero complaints!

Love,

Daddy

 

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