Saturday, March 28, 2009

Reflections on My 40th Birthday

This weekend I turn 40 and, more than ever, it feels like time for reflection. As a high school and college student, I figured that I would be married and have kids by now. While I have achieved some career success, I feel my best is yet to come. As a student, I did what I was told, followed all the rules, and behaved myself. In life, I am realizing this philosophy will get you It has taken me this long to realize this.

I also realize that 40 is just a number. For one thing, I am thankful that I don’t look 40 (so I’ve been told). I am also thankful I don’t act too much like I’m 40. Yes, there are moments when I can be pretty serious, but I think I am a kid at heart. But, unlike a kid, I do not have time to burn. It is time for me to realize some of the dreams that I put off and also create new dreams. It is easy to put off and forget about our dreams as we get older. There are many reasons for this: marriage, kids, job, survival, and other responsibilities.

As my dad always reminds me, having another birthday is better than the alternative. Yes, there is so much I am grateful for: my health, my friends, a good mind, etc. But I am ready to mark my 40s with something big…I hope to do something of significance this year. I’m not ready to run a marathon, but I’m thinking about a long-distance bike ride or some other endurance event that requires some training…Something that will allow me to get in the best shape of my life (and get rid of the band of flab around my belly). I have always been rail-thin, so this band of flab is really new to me.

Beyond that, I am ready to take my life up to the next level in so many ways. So, if there is anyone out there who did something special for their 40th, I would love to hear about it. I am also open to any suggestions for ways to mark my 40th year in this life.

BTW, I have attached a clip of Keanu on David Letterman. I love the way Dave puts things in perspective about turning 40 at about a minute in…

Saturday, March 21, 2009

All About "Me"

With mild weather sweeping through the Chicago area, my first opportunity to take an enjoyable walk in the park was this past Sunday morning. As I rounded the quarter-mile track, I encountered a woman walking two large dogs – the one on the right was going number two. While this was not a sight I wanted to see after my hearty breakfast, I was angered when she left without picking up after her dog. The non-confrontational part of me defeated my angry side. I said nothing. At each subsequent lap that I walked, I was reminded of the “gift” that was left behind.

I thought about this incident and how it was a prime example of something that has grown to bother me about us humans – the “me” mentality. You see it when you are crossing the street and none of the vehicles give the pedestrians the right-of-way or when drivers are in such a hurry that they put other drivers in danger. It happens when wealthy investors make poor investment decisions with other people’s money (think AIG) or when accountants cook the books at their companies. It happens when a governor of your state makes decisions that he says are best for its citizens, but really these decisions are for his own self-interest. There are more examples of this behavior than there is room to write about it.

I subscribe to the golden rule: do unto others as you would have them do unto you. It is one of my favorite lessons from the Bible. Going one step further, I would say that if you want to see change in the world, it starts with you. You must be the change that you want to see in the world.

What kind of “gifts” have you left behind for others? What kind of change do you want to see in the world?

Photo from the Norman Rockwell collection.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


One of my goals that I set for 2009 is to learn more about money, investing and personal finance. About ten years ago, my dad gave me the Personal Finance for Dummies book. I was a few years out of college and working at one of my first jobs. He encouraged me to read it and start putting money away in my 401(k). I read the book and it has helped me tremendously. But because of our current economic situation, I feel that it is time for me to take it to the next level.

One site that I am going to start for some good financial information: Wikinvest. Check it out, the Money School section alone is worth a look.