A homemade vegan cake, four ‘decade candles’, two beloved women, and one lucky guy

Today is a milestone birthday. The big 4-0.

I recall my 29th birthday, which was a tough one, because I was panicked about looking ahead to 30. Because I wasn’t happy where I was at. I’ve heard also that 40 can be tough, because one often looks back on the past decade, and even further, and sees all that’s behind, and feels regret or sadness.

I think the tendency of birthdays to inspire reflection and also looking ahead can be quite positive. But it can also be negative. Mindfulness training will tell you that anything that takes you out of being in the present moment can cause you anxiety and sadness. So birthdays, for example.

But this birthday has inspired less of the casting forward into my 40s, or looking back and reflecting on my 30s. Instead I’ve just spent it being happy with what I’ve got. And when it comes down to it, that’s quite a lot.

  • A funny, hot, supportive wife who’s also a great cook and adventurous
  • A baby daughter who I still can’t believe I manage to love more and more every single day
  • An amazing group of friends and family in Amsterdam and around the world
  • A job where I can exercise all of my writing flair and grammar punctiliousness
  • A four-day-a-week commute that’s just five minutes by bike
  • A side hustle that provides me with projects that are varied, challenging and reasonably well-paid
  • Creative projects (like my book and my upcoming solo storytelling show) that keep me developing as a creator
  • The ability to do regular improv shows to keep me inspired and performing

This is not to say everything is perfect. I mean, I procrastinate a lot, don’t exercise as much as I’d like, and am still more scattered in general than I should be. But I’ve got lots to be grateful for – a bounty of good stuff in my life.

If turning 40 is a time of reckoning, I reckon I’m doing alright.