• Evan Wolkenstein

14 Days of Reflection: On Turning 41 and the Aftermath

When I turned 40, I was a little brat. For 24 hours, nothing could satisfy me.

In retrospect, I was wallowing a little (er, a lot) in what I felt like was the end of an era. And when an era is ending, and you’re panicking, and you think you will turn into an old man overnight, no meal tastes good. No wine tastes good. No bed is comfortable. And you act like a complete brat.


One year ago, about to turn 40. Caution: objects in reflection are grouchier than they appear.


Trust me, I’ve repented and apologized to all concerned parties who were drawn into the gravitational pull of my black-hole of wallowing.

But now I’ve had a year to practice being 40 and there’s been a few surprises. As it turns out, I prefer 40 to 39.

Like learning to play violin, being in your 40s doesn’t sound too great at first. It’s pretty screechy. But with time, you can achieve the right tone.

Once the initial shock subsided, I began to feel a little more confident in my choices. I went to a conference and wore a suit. I sat with students and listened to their problems and shared the kind of perspective that a man in his 40s might have. I wore stuff that clashed on purpose because hey. I’m 40. I can do what I want.


When you’re a teenager, you’re already silly.

When you’re in your 20s and you’re being silly, it’s a little trite.

When you’re in your 30s and you’re being silly, maybe you should act your age.

But when you’re 40 and you’re being silly – you’re showing your commitment to your youth.

This week, I celebrate the lessons I’ve learned by being 40, and count down to even greater changes ahead.

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