Reflections on turning 40


I turn 40, this coming saturday. I will actually be on a plane, on my way home from speaking at Calvin College, in the USA, when that happens.

I'm usually birthday avoidant, with regards to myself. Growing up, the dysfunction and abuse that was the background swirl to my childhood, meant I kept them low key and to myself.

Then after becoming a Christian as an adult, I took that introspection, and let the seriousness of life get in the way of being open to much celebration. I think I equated celebration of birthdays as somehow incompatible with the fears I had about needing to escape my childhood pathologies.

So unconsciously I found that I had scheduled to be away until after my 40th Birthday. It took my wife to point out, and ask, what kind of person forgets their own 40th, for me to take a long look at that aspect of myself?

So I managed to change my flights to get back on my birthday, planned a party for last weekend. I don't do parties, but decided to embrace my 'inner partyness'.

Last friday, with friends, amazing food, and a close up magician making memories for us all, I had the most wonderful time. And whilst I have had birthday meals in the past, this is one weekend when I extravagantly, and indulgently celebrated, my life.

They say life begins at 40. I feel mine began when I converted to Jesus, aged 17. A life since then that has been full of affirmation, accountability, growth, challenges, with others, with Jesus, that I love, and am so grateful for.

And family. My wife and kids, who know a different way of life, to my family of origin, that has been so redeeming, and healing. But more, being part of the family of the church, with it's brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles, parents and grandparents. So of you reading this, are part of that great adventure.

That has been the most amazing thing for me to celebrate as I turn 40.

Photos from my party are here.

Now I have several other meals with friends, and celebrations to get to over the next two weeks, to continue the party.