On turning 4-0 and welcoming the New Year

I realize that it’s been entirely too long since I posted to this blog.  I had every intention of making at least one entry in the month of December, but I was unsucessful.  The month of December used to be filled with excitement and anticipation for the holidays, but now the month flies by with obligations, final classes, and an avalanche of papers and projects to mark.  I refuse to carry my grading process into the holidays (or past my birthday if possible), and this causes a packed 7-10 days of high volume work.  The weeks following Thanksgiving feel like a whirlwind sprint to the finish.

As I mentioned, my birthday falls within that sprint, on December 22, and 2011 marked my 40th birthday.  We celebrated a bit early with a great party with family and friends here in NYC on December 10, and then the day itself was mostly quiet reflection with another gathering that evening where friends celebrated three of us born on December 22.

I anticipated that turning 40 might be traumatic.  There’s so much mythology about that age and getting old and being over the hill and whatever else people believe.  But I have to say that so far, 4-0 feels pretty great.  I don’t feel old at all, and I feel like I’m actually in better physical, mental, and emotional shape than I’ve ever been before.  It’s a nice feeling.  When I was younger, people used to comment that I read more mature than my age, and in some ways I feel like I’ve finally caught up to myself.  I feel less inclined to apologize for what I think or know to be true.  I’m less self-conscious about many things, and that in itself has far-reaching effects for the way I live my life overall.

On this first day of 2012, I find myself excited for the next phase of my life.  I’ve got lots on my plate this year, which is not new, but I’m truly excited about the possibilities spreading out before me at the start of this new personal decade.  One of my main goals for the year is stop catastrophizing so much, assuming that the worst possible outcome will occur in whatever situation happens to be at hand.  I’ve worked on this for awhile, but I hope to make even more headway in 2012.  Honestly, with the Iowa caucuses looming, it’s difficult not to catastrophize, but let’s see what happens.  If nothing else, we’re in for an entertaining political year!

Here’s to 4-0, a great 2012, and health and prosperity for all!