My 10-Year-Old Son’s 9 Rules for Life After 40

So this is 40.

This past Saturday my odometer clicked over from 39 to 40, changing my age and my paradigm for personal identity. At least it’s supposed to, right?

While 40 is the new 30 (or is it 50 is the new 40?), it remains a significant point in most people’s lives. According to Louis C.K.: “I’m 40. I’m half dead.”

Despite the truth in the clip above, I feel more positively about myself than ever before. While the past several years have been challenging personally and professionally, out of that adversity has arisen a greater sense of self.

Notably, Albert Einstein once said “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity,” (but check with Phil Davison about that).

Upon reaching 40 many people look back at what they accomplished, thinking their best days are behind them. I certainly take pride in my achievements, especially creating a new career as a teacher and trainer.

Yet I also chose to look forward to that which I have not yet achieved; I see many bright days and electric nights ahead. A big part of my future is a huge part of my present: my sons Jacob and Max.

Two years ago I celebrated my birthday teaching a class at UCSB; this year I got schooled by my kids in miniature golf and arcade games. And so the teacher becomes the student.

Taking that metaphor one step further, earlier this year Jacob wrote nine “rules” for life. I am unsure of their inspiration, but they are beautifully simple and remarkably poignant for a child of only 10 years old.

Jacob's 9 Rules for Life After 40Looking to my future after 40, Jacob’s list provides the perfect prescription for inspiration:

1. Always be kind.
2. Play fair.
3. Always avoid bad words.
4. Really work on good behavior.
5. Tell the truth.
6. Mean it if you’re good or bad.
7. Everyone makes mistakes.
8. Never tell a lie.
9. Try your best.

George Bernard Shaw might have been right when he proclaimed “youth is wasted on the young,” but perhaps my son is an old soul after all?

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