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May 17, 2010
So Long, 30's
Today marks my last blog as a 30-something. Next Monday will be my first full day as a guy 'in his 40's', and I'm none too excited about that. Mentally, I don't feel 40, and I like to think I'm much hipper and cooler than my dad was when he hit that magic number. Delusional? Yes. But it makes me feel better.

Physically, I am starting to feel my age. Things I formerly did with ease now require Herculean effort to accomplish. Feelings of invincibility were undeniable in my teens, only slightly diminished in my 20's, and just somewhat noticeable in my 30's; today, I'm anxious about taking the trash out without wearing a helmet.

I still go mountain biking two or three times a week, but times that my wheels actually come off the ground are always unintentional. When I lift weights at the gym, I focus more on increasing my repetitions than the actual weight - something unheard of when I was younger. I still ski, whitewater raft, kayak, hike and jog, although it takes longer to get from Point A to Point B these days.

I'm fairly certain I'm pretty close to 'halfway there' with regard to my lifespan, if not a few years beyond. In that time, I've learned loyalty, honor, and integrity are the keystones to every meaningful relationship. The friendships I've built are real - I know if I'm ever in a tight spot that not one, not five, but no less than 25 people have my back. I'm not sure many people can say that.

On the flipside, I've accepted that relationships are 50/50 propositions. I found myself trying to maintain friendships with those who never reached back when I reached out. I finally learned to let those people go. A forced friendship is like a forced marriage - doomed to fail.

In business, I've learned that it takes years to build a reputation of trust, yet seen others sacrifice everything for the sake of a dishonest dollar. I've learned that without ethics and morality, businesses have nothing worthwhile to offer their customers.

I've learned to think first, then react, although this has always been difficult for someone as impulsive as I am. Whoever said patience is a virtue was right, but I'm not going to say I would have like the guy. Which leads me to the things I still need to work on:

My impatience has always been a crutch. I want to blame it on being part of the 'microwave generation'; before the microwave oven, people spent a large part of each day preparing meals. Once the microwave was invented, hours turned into minutes, and our patience for everything else was skewed. Since I'm not much into blame games, I admit that patience (with work, with my kids, with household projects) will continue to be a work in progress.

I still need help on my trust issues: Namely, I trust people (especially people I deal with in business) too much. Ronald Reagan said "Trust but verify" - I will do well to make this my career motto. I have misplaced my trust many times, and have struggled mightily to forgive those who have betrayed it. It has cost me money and my faith in mankind to always do the right thing.

In summary, I am pleased with how my first 40 years have gone. I have a beautiful and loving wife, three well-behaved and kind children, parents who serve as continual role models, and friends on all points of the globe. I have money in the bank, cars (paid off, even!) in the garage, a roof over my head, and my health.

Age is just a number, and I really want to believe it. There is a certain stigma with 40, but I think it comes from those who can't let go of their past. I'm proud of where I come from, proud of where I am, and hopeful for the future. Check back here next week - I'll see you on the other side (of 40)!

Clint



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