Well, today is the day. I have now turned 40.
Is 40 the new 20? If so, it sure doesn’t feel like it. I really never liked anything that was “the new” anything else. It seems like something you might hear from a male interior designer and that is not someone that I want to be associated with. Nothing against interior designers or males.
So, what does it mean to be 40? According to statistics, the average life expectancy in the US is 76 and growing a few months every year so I am half way through. You want to look back and see what you have accomplished in half of your life. I think most are tempted to see how they are doing financially, what their title is, what status they have achieved. I have never put a lot of stock in those things, however, I do want people to think well of me and I do want to leave a legacy. The question is, what it the legacy that you are leaving? If you were to leave today, what would people say about you? I have not made any major contributions to society where my name will be spoken of for years like Franklin or Edison. I have not built an empire around myself and used my fortune to make my name know in every household like Trump. I think of the Montgomery Gentry song “That’s something to be proud of.” That generation of folks that fought in WWII seem to be a different breed. I don’t think I or many of my peers fare well in comparison.
What legacy does a common man leave? What is a noble profession? What does today’s man do to give something back? It seems like all of the teachings today are about ‘getting yours”, making big money and climbing the social and economic ladder, but when a man turns 80 and has made a fortune, does he really feel like he gave something back?
While doing research on this post I ran across the link of the Carnegie Mellon prof that died a few years ago that gave his going away speech.