My 40th Birthday

I turn 40 years old tomorrow.

Before I begin, in some ways this post discusses second chances. If you want to do something for my 40th, please donate $40 to DC Central Kitchen. Give someone an opportunity to get off the ground with a new job and life.

Frankly, it’s been a neurotic odyssey getting to my 40th birthday over the past three months. I’ve had a real hard time with this one, in large part because I don’t think I should be here.

In my late teens and early twenties, recklessness ruled my life. I had several near death experiences.

At 30 years old I met with a causal college friend who I was trying to sell some advertising services to on behalf of Monster Worldwide. He looked me dead in the eye and flat out told me I should be dead by now. I hate saying it, but I never expected to live past 30 either.

So you see this is all gravy, my friends. Everything from books to kid is beyond what I should have achieved.

When I turned 30, similar feelings plagued me and I threw myself a huge party and bought a Harley Davidson.

This time it’s less flash and more pain.

Augie Ray, Jay Baer and Geoff Livingston (Me)
Me on the right at SxSW

Walking around SxSW two months ago, I felt like a beached whale. I didn’t even step on the scales, but knew I was over 230 lbs. After a change in diet (vegetarian 5 days a week and cutting sweets & fried foods) and voracious exercise, I weighed in at 205 lbs last week.

Book Signing
Me at a Marketing in the Round book signing on Tuesday

As for my 40th itself, I bought a nice sport coat to celebrate the weight loss and feel good. Instead of a Harley, these ridiculous looking training “shoes” now adorn my feet on the weekends.

Web Feet

I’ll probably smoke an outrageously expensive cigar tomorrow night after a day of wall-to-wall meetings, and go to a Nationals game with my wife and daughter this weekend. That’s it.

I’m still unsure and afraid (yeah, I’ll admit it) of what the next decade holds. It likely means publishing another book or three — including my first novel — because I’m a glutton for punishment like that. I hope to be more present for my family, and watch Soleil blossom into a young lady.

More than anything, I hope the vast majority of my actions hold purpose and mindfulness, that I make people’s lives better and not worse.

I don’t really know, but do any of us?

Enjoy the gravy.

Thanks to everyone who dealt with me panicking. Things have been especially difficult as the Marketing in the Round launch added major project launch duress to an already busy life over the last few weeks. Yeah, poor me, poor author, says the small violin.

How have you dealt with birthdays that have a 0 on the end of them?

P.S. Again, if you want to give someone else a second chance on my 40th, consider donating to DC Central Kitchen. Thank you!!!

30 Replies to “My 40th Birthday”

  1. It’s always good to take a look around and know what you’ve accomplished and where you’ve been. I’ve enjoyed getting to know you better over the past year, and look forward to seeing you soon. 

    Happy birthday, Geoff!

  2. Great to see you talking so frankly about turning 40, Geoff. I can relate, in part at least, as I turned the big four oh in March and I too feel very unsure about the next ten years. I guess it’s just natural. 

    I’ve started to think about how I’m half way through my working life (ish) but have little to show for it other than a mountain of debt resulting from a failed business a couple of years back. I worry about the time it’ll take to clear that debt and what’ll be left when we have. I worry about my young daughter and soon-to-be-daughter/son missing out because of the mistakes that I made.

    But you know what? Life goes on. Being 40 is no different to being 39, or 29 for that matter (other than the grey hairs and aching back).  All we can do is try and make a difference and affect people in a positive fashion. I hope that what goes around, comes around.

    Happy Birthday, mate :o)

    1.  Hahahaha!  The aching back.  get that. I also understand the debt,  the last start-up was not kind to me personally.  Oh well. Life goes on!  Thank you, Paul.

  3. It doesn’t look like it to you right now, but trust me, being 40 you are young. Spend the next ten years as your last years of youth. Why? Because they are. In ten years time you will get the memo that explains it.
    Happy Birthday! It’s all good.

      1. Geoff, I don’t agree with the above. Live your life as healthfully as possible. Always be learning. Always be engaging in life to the fullest. Always be open to new ideas. Don’t get grumpy about “those young people.” Embrace their youthful joy. And, you will feel as young 10, 20, 30 years from now as you do now.

  4. I recently turned 37, I know it doesn’t have 0 at the end but I felt a little panicky as I’m that much closer to 40. I didn’t do anything special that day and I kind of liked it that way. There used to be days I felt like a loser if I didn’t celebrate big/have a huge night out on a weekend… but call me old, I like having meaningful time with myself or with someone I care for. Best wishes for your 40th tomorrow! 

    1.  Big parties, big moments, big everything.  I have found vicarious pleasure often leaves me unhappy in comparison to sitting back and developing a sense of happiness and pleasure with works.

  5. I used to worry about these transitions, Geoff. I fretted about 30, shrugged at 40 and became a bit wistful at 50. And you know what?  I’m still optimistic.  Age is just a number.  

  6. I remember hitting 30 and thinking it was some kind of miracle that I survived that long.  Next year that number doubles and each day I spend much of my day marveling at the miracles that surround me every minute.  As I have said many times, when you start feeling like you’re NOT in a period of transition, start looking around at what’s wrong.  The journey is full of ups and downs, and they are both good places to be.  Stay on the surfboard and enjoy the ride.  Happy birthday, Geoff.  Kiss the girls for me and cherish them every minute.

  7. Geoff, what an inspiring blog post–happy birthday! I look forward to learning more from your witty wisdom and send you happy thoughts as you enjoy your special day with your most special people. :-) 

  8. Best wishes on your birthday tomorrow. You have indeed come a long way but remember … it is the journey and not the destination. Take this advice from someone who is looking at the 60 birthday this year.

      1. BTW,  I just picked up a preview of your book and am considering giving it a swing.  It seems geared toward corporate culture.  Would someone who deals with small businesses find some value  in it as well?

  9. Happy Birthday Geoff! Personally I embrace the birthdays
    with 0 in them, and am thrilled I am alive and kicking. I don’t remember
    40 being especially auspicious, fifty was great, went scuba diving in Grand
    Cayman, things just get better and better each year.

  10. I was always OK with the 0 years; I had my crises the year after or so. 47 was really bad, but now that I’m over 60, I’ve decided that that’s where I really see myself. Of course, your being 40 makes that problematic, but I’m only your *step*mother. Maybe I can get away with it.

  11. Thanks for sharing this–have a great day tomorrow.
    Ordered MITR yesterday, look forward to reading. I don’t have the wisdom of a 40something, but I’m sure I’ll learn something :)

    ( rhyme purely accidental ).

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