– the blog –

40 Thoughts on Turning 40

  1. This birthday happened sooner than I expected. At some point, you are just living your life, day to day, month to month, doing your thing, and then the year 40 rolls around. Oh, is it here? Already? Well, come on inside, I just put the kettle on.
  2. I entered my 30s having no real clue what I was doing with my life and it shows. My 20s, on the other hand, had me working at one job for four and a half years and living in one house for over five years. When that stability ended, I got a little unfocused.
  3. It has been almost ten years since I was last to Scotland.
  4. Injuring my right knee and the long road to recovery really screwed with my head. There are certain events where the only way to think of them is as there being a time before and a time after. One little slip completely changed the direction of my life. I still think about what my life would have been without it.
  5. And yet, that injury led to a new appreciation for how much I love being physically strong and out of doors. So, um, that’s good?
  6. Thru-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail and moving back to Portland immediately after really screwed with my head. Like the knee injury, I now think of my life as a time before the PCT and a time after the PCT. I doubt there has been a single day that I have not daydreamed about strapping on a pack and going for another long walk.
  7. A voice in my head continually wonders why, with the plethora of trees in my neighborhood, I need to wait until I get home to pee.
  8. Despite all of my skiing and mountaineering photos, I am actually not that fond of being cold.
  9. I swing between acceptance and dorky rage about losing hair on top of my head. I mean, come on! It was so lush! And my forehead is just getting HUGE! ::sigh::
  10. At last check, I had four grey hairs in my beard. That does not seem to really bother me at all.
  11. The amount I have saved for retirement is no where near enough, which is a bit embarrassing considering my income potential.
  12. Thanks to Amelia’s cats, especially Diego, I think I am ok with cats now. But in my heart, I still want a dog.
  13. Despite all of my donations, regular messages to my representatives, public comments to government agencies, and a general attempt to stay informed and engaged…I am not sure anything I did last year made a damn difference.
  14. Fresh bread, made by your own hand, is pretty great.
  15. My health is good. No disease or illness exists and my activity level remains exceptionally high. Even with all of the injuries and damage to pretty much, well, everything, my physical problems are manageable. I suspect another knee intervention is drawing near though.
  16. Professionally, more and more I am convinced that half of what most developers and engineers spend their time on is a complete waste. Poor management, bad direction, and incompetence are rampant in my industry.
  17. Where the hell is The Doors of Stone, Rothfuss? I’m not getting any younger here!!
  18. I trim my nasal hairs now. That’s a thing.
  19. My unibrow, after a very productive couple decades, has really chilled out though. The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.
  20. When I first read Stalin’s Barber, I did not really understand the point of a Turkish singeing. That is no longer the case and I promise this is the last mention of hair in this entry.
  21. After a year and a half of regular bouldering, I am concerned that I am always going to feel like a shit climber with no appreciable skill. Probably would be helpful to stop watching videos on Instagram of climbers who have been climbing for literal decades.
  22. Still not King.
  23. I have rewatched The Force Awakens, Last Jedi, Solo, and Rogue One in the last year. While I enjoyed them a smidgen more the second time around, Empire Strikes Back still blows them all out of the water.
  24. Before I turned 30, a number of people kept on telling me to watch out because my metabolism would start to slow down. Well, losers, here I am at 40 and I still spend more than $400 a month on food. I’M STILL WAITING!!
  25. This is the age at which I became a CTO of a technology company. Ha ha, that kid, he had no idea what he was in for.
  26. We really need to set up a pull-up bar and/or hangboard at home. Our current house is really quite old and has not been the best maintained, so I am rather uneasy about mounting anything as I am not sure it would bear my weight.
  27. This is half my age plus seven years. Um, yeah, no way, no how.
  28. The Cascadia subduction zone unnerves me. At any moment, a colossal earthquake could occur and completely devastate the region. It is a major contribution to why I have never bought a home here. It may be 50 years before it happens but the uncertainty does not sit well with me.
  29. Not sure if it is age or all the time I have spent outdoors this past decade, but I find the city extremely loud and smelly. Painfully so. On days when I am tired or have not eaten recently, the amount of sensational intrusion can make me rather anxious.
  30. Thirty is the sum of the first four squares, which makes it a square pyramidal number. Make one out of zinc and then you can be a true nerd.
  31. I am still a little weirded out that I bought a brand new car. I researched options, compared prices, negotiated, and even got a car loan. All the things! And now I have a shiny car where everything works properly and there are heated seats. Every so often I still get a whiff of new car smell. Weird.
  32. The age when I first started drinking coffee. Made it all the way through Reed College and two startups before Pre-Med in my 30s required this level of mental booster.
  33. I still listen to Disney musical numbers on an almost daily basis. In fact, I am listening to one right now while I write this. No apologies.
  34. Bicycling may kill me. Thousands of miles of biking a year and with the growing population in Portland there is significantly more car traffic, so I feel less safe on the road. You have to be a very defensive biker as you never know when one careless driver on their phone may turn right in front of you. Without exaggeration, it happens on nearly every single bike ride. It seems like it is simply a matter of time before Tina or I are in an accident. It weighs on my mind.
  35. Posted on Twitter: “The person you were at 22 does not get to decide who you have to be for the rest of your life.” This is solid advice. Things change, people change, and you can change the entire direction of your life if you want to. It’s yours.
  36. God does not exist. I believe that. I have faced my own mortality often enough that it is not some loosely held belief tossed at the first scent of death. If anyone, post-Paul, says otherwise, tell them to politely fuck off.
  37. Bataffleck is the best Batman.
  38. Some people say they would never go back to when they were 18, 21, 25, 30, whatever. Me? Totally would. I am willing to give it another shot. And then another, and then another. I mean, think of all the things I could try with my life. Eesh, it’s like people are satisfied with a single data point. Where’s your sense of scientific curiosity?
  39. When it comes down to it, you really need so little to survive. Food and water. Shelter. Most days I really believe that and cannot believe the level of luxury I live in. Other days, I think to myself, “Come on, just buy a second pair of pants, Paul.”
  40. My biggest concern for the future is what mankind is doing to this planet and all of the life on it. The current books I am reading are Poached by Rachel Nuwer and The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wells. The words “crisis” and “catastrophe” are an understatement. We are destroying our home and the majority of humans are not paying attention.