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

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 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: Your Tour of Kindergarten This Week!

4 years, 11 months.

Dear Holly,

As you are now just a few weeks away from your 5th birthday, Mommy and I took you this week for your official tour of Kindergarten!

We were in a group of other upcoming Kindergartners; even one from your current preschool.

Once you begin Kindergarten this fall, it will be the only year that you and your brother will be at the same school at the same time; as he will be in the oldest grade of the school, as a 5th grader.

You are very excited about starting Kindergarten; which happens to be at the biggest elementary school in our county, which happens to be in walking distance of our house.

I am confident you are going to love it!

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: An Easter Egg “Hunt” to a 10 Year-Old Boy

10 years, 4 months.

Dear Jack,

As a nearly 10 and a half year-old 4th grader, you’re technically a preteen. That’s how I see you at this point.

And this past Easter weekend, I noticed how you were one of the oldest the church egg hunt at Nonna’s and Papa’s.

For you, the egg hunt meant an emphasis on the word hunt.

You definitely scored big when it came to your candy collection.

Once it was over, you began a very business-minded candy trade ring.

I even heard you convince a friend to give you the dollar that received in one egg, in exchange for a candy bar you traded them.

Sounds about right!

Love,

Daddy