The next two articles in this space may not be very coach-y or transformational-y. But I believe a lot of men can get some real value out of these two articles.
Because this is going to hit most everybody at some point.
March 12 is a milestone birthday for me. It is the day I turn 40 years old.
Milestones like this can affect guys in different ways. They can be a source of pride or a source of grief and mourning.
Perhaps the most important thing to remember about this is that it’s a choice. You can choose exactly how you want to respond.
I’m choosing to be excited. I’m choosing to be eager. And I’m choosing to create the next half of my life with power, purpose, and love.
My 30s have seen some of the lowest points of my life. But they’ve also seen some of my greatest triumphs.
It’s crazy to think that when I turned thirty how different my life was that it is today.
I made a declaration when I was 18 that I was going to be a sportscaster with ESPN by the time I hit 30. Yeah, that didn’t happen.
Due to many circumstances, I had to move back in with my parents. I was thirty with a mentality of a teenager. I didn’t want to step out of line or do anything untoward.
Let’s just say that dating was a…I’m sorry, DATING?! ME?! That’s beyond funny!
I had a steady job. I was working for an outsourcing call center for a major wireless phone company. I was getting people to pay their delinquent cell phone bills.
This job provided me with a steady paycheck and healthcare benefits.
I said this job was steady. To say it wasn’t fulfilling is an epic understatement. And as I’ve written about before, that job almost killed my will.
The best part of the job was the fact that I still have amazing friends who I met there. Some of my best friends were men and women I met while working there.
This job did provide me with healthcare benefits. I mention this because in July of 2009, I had to have emergency surgery to remove a ruptured gallbladder. My doctor told me that this carries upwards of a 65% mortality rate.
In other words, I could very well have died. And July of 09 was five months removed from losing my mother.
Speaking of my mom, Ann Hall’s influence is why I’m a writer and a coach today. Her love of language and her love of serving others continues to influence me – more than eight years after losing her.
When I was 34, I was let go from this wholly unfulfilling job. Thus, began the path that I’m on today.
I was without steady work for almost two full years. Writers and creative types aren’t exactly in demand in South Alabama. I couldn’t even get a call back for a grocery bagger job.
While I may have been out of work for a long time, I was able to take a different path to making my dreams happen…
“Oh hell, here we go again.”
In May of 2013, I wrote those words. I had an image in my mind of a globetrotting magazine reporter who was held hostage while covering the conflict in the Middle East.
That was the first sentence of Written in the Stone – my debut novel. This was a dream that began in my grandfather’s 1979 Ford F-150 in the Summer of 1987.
I knew from that moment forward that I wanted to be a storyteller. And what do you know…I am one today.
By the way, my book’s publication date is the sixth anniversary of the date I underwent surgery – July 22, 2015.
And in the process of writing my book, I found the gift of coaching.
When I started working with a coach, I went from having written nothing in months to a completed first draft within the first five months of working with her.
I mention the publication date of my book. This was significant in many ways. Y’know, other than the fact I saw an almost 30-year dream become a reality.
This was significant because it was also the seven-month anniversary of losing my Dad.
Two days before Christmas, 2014, I saw my Dad slip away due to complications of diabetes, as well as many other things.
As much as I still miss him to this day, this opened one important aspect of my life – travel. It gave me the option to explore parts of the country I’ve never seen. I made a trip to Southern California and saw a lot of Los Angeles for the first time. I saw the Hollywood Sign for the first time. And I lost my ID in the Atlanta Airport as well.
But I also paid a visit for the first two times to New York. I stayed in a cool little boutique hotel in Brooklyn. And I absolutely fell in love.
I toured the 9/11 Memorial for the first time. It was there I believe I made the choice to move to the Big Apple.
I saw a lot of correlations – granted, on a bigger scale – between the support that NYC got after 9/11, and the support that Tuscaloosa, AL got after the tornadoes that hit in April of 2011.
The mere fact that I was able to make that connection got me present to this – New York is where I am meant to be. Tuscaloosa will always be my hometown, but I can make a life for myself in the Big Apple.
Let’s just say that my 30s have been a roller coaster. I’ve gone from being a phone jockey to being in charge of my life for first time. I’ve gone from a hopeless loner to having deeper relationships with more amazing people than I’ve ever had. I’ve gone from distrusting women completely and explicitly, to developing deep and lasting relationships with some amazing women.
I could go on and on. But I won’t, this article is long enough already.
I’m not where I thought I’d be by the time I was 40. I believe it’s better. I believe I’m in better shape now than I ever could have dreamed of as a 30-year-old.
Are you approaching a milestone birthday and you don’t think you’re where you want to be? I can support you in creating your life by your own design.
Shoot me an email at [email protected]! Let’s connect and prove once and for all that age ain’t nothin’ but a number!
Next week we’re going to explore some ways I’m going to create a life of my own design. Setting up the rest of my life with power, purpose, and love.
That’s a don’t miss.
Photo by Moyan Brenn