ryan face with rubik's cube

I’ve been making small records of my time around my birthday recently. Well, at least when I turned 40, and then again when I turned 41, and then 365 days later when I entered the year 42. So I thought I’d do it again, now that I’m 43. 

That’s right: 43. Or, should I say, 43!

A big milestone in anyone’s life, 43 is the number of some important stuff. Like Elizabeth Barret Browning’s famous ‘How do I love thee? Let me count the ways’ sonnet

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and Ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise;
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith;
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints,—I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life!—and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

Good sonnet, right?

It’s also the atomic number of the chemical element technetium. Of all the elements that lack stable isotopes technetium has the lowest atomic number. That number? 43 of course!

And finally, it’s the jersey number of Quinn Hughes – the preternaturally talented Vancouver Canucks rearguard. At just 20, he’s not just good at hockey, it looks like he’s playing a different sport out there. Ah but I digress, what ties together is they all revolve around 43 (my age). 

A big number, a big deal

Some highlights from the past 12 (or so) months. 

    1. Spending more time with the kids – Working at home for months and spending more time with my kids has been amazing. Not really sure how we actually managed this during the Dutch lockdown, to be honest. Actually wait I do kinda know. It involved working every evening to finish what I was unable to do during the day because I was parenting while fretting about the out of control coronavirus. But then during the day I actually spent time hanging out at home and dancing with the girls — especially to this song. If you haven’t yet enjoyed the video for Daði Freyr (Daði & Gagnamagnið) ‘Think About Things’, hooboy you’re in for a treat.
    2. Joining Caveday — I found this organization recently when I signed up for a session via Creative Mornings’ Field Trips. I showed up late so had no idea why the host wasn’t talking, she was just sitting there. But cave days are an opportunity to sit with other people in a sort of ‘virtual accountability partner’ scenario and focus on some deep work. These sessions have recently contributed to an uptick in productivity. It’s amazing what monotasking can do.
    3. Guardian Masterclass on Charisma – This is something I’ve had on my mind for a long time, the idea of how to synthesis and actually teach a workshop about it took me much longer, as some of the best ideas do. But since then I taught one in-person workshop, back in November, when we used to do those things, and have also taught one online version. There’s another one coming up next week, if you’re interested in amping up your charisma
    4. January date — In the Before Times, I took a day off work while Chiara was on a work hiatus, and we went and saw a movie in the morning (Knives Out) and then went to a spa in Amsterdamse Bos in the afternoon. For lunch, massages and soothing splashes. It was pretty much a perfect day. We had planned to do them once a quarter or so. Now, that plan has totally changed, but I have no doubt that eventually we’ll get another daytime date. Highly recommended. 
    5. Swimming – It was only a year ago that Chiara got me swim lessons. But I’ve rally taken to it. Not as a swimmer per see, as I’m still a real learner in terms of my freestyle stroke and comfort level in the water. But comparing me in the water now with me in the water one year ago, it’s like two different people, such has been my growth. Hurray!
    6. Storytime at home — I didn’t do as much during the pandemic lockdown here in the Netherlands. Although I did record a few story videos at home and also edit a pretty nifty little intro and outro. After than initial burst of energy and free time, lockdown got away from me, with work and children, but I’m pleased with the skill-building that came about from this little project. 
    7. Stuck in Quarantine — This was a fun little project that I did with my MCR posse, Sacha Hoedemaker and Trent Pancy. It’s fun because it went from a voice note from Trent to a whole song and video, with unparalleled production from Sacha the Music Maker.
    8. Aces & Eights — This is a song that’s been on my agenda for quite some time. More than ten years. But as I’ve never actually gone that deep into the world of rap, it’s never gotten to a state of completion. Until now. This video feels like completion. 
    9. Skill building — Solving the Rubik’s Cube, studying for my certified digital marketing professional certificate (which I should be doing right now). The swimming, getting back on Dutch lessons, making a podcast for work… there’s a whole bunch going on in my life now that can all be grouped under the heading of ‘learning’ or ‘stretch assignments’. And I’m feeling it.

I may be 43, which is not young anymore (I’m closer to 60 than I am to 20!) but turns out you can teach this old dog new tricks.