Reflections on 40

My 41st year of life began a little over a year ago in the arctic circle, gazing up at the northern lights from the doorway of a glass igloo at the tail end of a birthday trip with a handful of close friends that by its very nature joined two of the major themes of my 20s and 30s—overland travel and community, respectively—together into a template for what I wanted the next decade of my life to look like. I arrived back in Seattle on February 8th, and the world shut down a few weeks later. That birthday trip ended up being a farewell not only to my 30s, but to the pre-pandemic world in general…and it was a great way to say goodbye.

40 was very different from what I thought it would be in a lot of ways, but in one very important way it was exactly what I expected: I arrived back on American soil last February ready to settle in and start building a life in earnest with my then-girlfriend Laura, and that’s exactly what we’ve done. One year of pandemic dating is undoubtedly equivalent to some longer stretch of time of non-pandemic dating, and in our case spending so much time together made it very clear that we both wanted that to become a long-term trend in our lives. We bought a house together last year and got engaged a week ago today, and the engagement served as the closing chapter to a year of transition the primary theme of which has been the creation of our shared life together, which we now have the rest of our lives to continue tending to and growing and caring for.

When I think about the years and decades ahead of us now, I think about them in terms of the milestones that we’ll celebrate together, the challenges we’ll face and overcome, and all of the joy and sadness and laughter and adventures and lazy afternoons that we’ll share along the way…and it feels fantastic.

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