A Letter to Myself on My 40th Birthday

7 Jun

Young Martin LiebermanDear Martin,

Where did the time go? It seems like just yesterday you were skydiving to celebrate your 30th birthday. Now it’s 10 years later and you’re 40 years old.

Wait a second. You’re 40? How are you 40? You don’t look 40. You don’t act 40. You’re still single. You have no kids. You still tell and laugh at the same juvenile jokes. You still eat Lucky Charms for breakfast (sometimes, anyway). And hell, you still watch the Real World/Road Rules Challenge every week on MTV. (Ahem, you have a season pass set on the DVR.) The fact that you’re 40 just doesn’t seem right.

Are you sure that’s how old you are? And if it’s true, then why doesn’t it seem to faze you?

I know a lot of people freak out when they turn 40, and you kind of started to do that two years ago when you turned 38, so I applaud you for not being in crisis mode today and instead, celebrating your birthday this year like it’s just any other birthday.

If I had to make a guess, I’d say that’s not denial. There’s a lot to celebrate this year, and who wants to ruin that by being a neurotic mess?

After all, you now have a job you enjoy, and things professionally are back on track. You have an active, busy social life. Your personal life is percolating. What a difference a year makes, eh? It’s good to see you happy again. No wonder you’re content to just be celebrating your birthday.

Sure, people will tell you you’re 40 and it’s time to grow up. For example, some folks think it’s time for you to stop watching certain TV shows and movies, or listening to some of the music you enjoy. Stop making such lame, punny jokes and quoting song lyrics at random. Stop eating so many cupcakes. Be a little more serious. I’d say there’s no need to do any of that. Don’t give up the parts of you that keep you young and make you who you are.

You’re very lucky, Martin. You have an unending amount of positive energy and optimism at your core. You have so many people in your life who love you. Life hasn’t always been good to you, but it’s made you stronger and a better person than you realize.

And here’s one more thing to be happy about: Many people say life begins at 40. There’s so much to look forward to. So much still left to learn and do. So much life still to come. We know plenty of people who didn’t come into their own, didn’t meet their future spouse, didn’t develop essential professional and/or personal skills until after they turned 40. I’m confident that you’ll be one of those people too. And if you’re actually worried about any of that, just know there’s nothing wrong with being a late bloomer.

So I’m with you: Concern yourself with what it means to be 40 some other time. For now, go on and enjoy this birthday. And tomorrow, take the first step toward making the next decade your best one yet. Something tells me that’s exactly what you’re going to do.

Happy 40th!

Your pal,


ps: One last thing … You can stop talking about your birthday now. People are tired of reading all these blog posts and seeing you tweet about it. Just sayin’.

Want to wish me happy birthday on Twitter?
Go ahead! Just click here.

9 Responses to “A Letter to Myself on My 40th Birthday”


  1. On the 9th Anniversary of This Blog, I Have a New Perspective | Martin's Musings - September 1, 2014

    […] official hiatus. I still plan to write from time to time when a topic really moves me — like how my birthday did this year. But if I don’t publish anything for an extended period of time … well, I won’t be […]

  2. Giving Thanks with Every Bite | Martin's Musings - November 26, 2014

    […] don’t look, feel, or act my age — and that so many people are in disbelief that I’m actually as old as I am (I think that’s a good […]

  3. These Songs Are in My Musical Time Capsule for 2014 | Martin's Musings - December 17, 2014

    […] Mars “I Love L.A.” – Randy Newman My trip to Los Angeles in June, during which I celebrated my 40th birthday, was the perfect getaway at the perfect time. Such a great […]

  4. Instead of Happy New Year, I’m Celebrating Happy This Year | Martin's Musings - December 31, 2014

    […] out with my niece and nephews in Mystic, Conn.; heading out west to Los Angeles to celebrate my 40th birthday; driving up to Portland, Maine; attending the Content Marketing World conference in Cleveland; […]

  5. So Long, and Thanks for All the Cookies | Martin's Musings - April 2, 2015

    […] That’s because Staples isn’t just a company and it isn’t just a place I worked for a little more than a year and a half. It’s not just the place where I ate a ton of delicious cookies (no, really — I ate way too many), or where I got to interview people like Shark Tank investor Lori Greiner or GoldieBlox creator Debbie Sterling. It’s not just the place where my team did a lot of good work and had a lot to be proud of (including our Content Marketing Award for Most Improved Editorial). It’s not just the place where I got Good Humor and Pretzel Crisps to come and give us free snacks. And it’s not just the place where I celebrated milestones like my 40th birthday. […]

  6. Another Year, Another Loop Around the Trail of Life | Martin's Musings - June 7, 2015

    […] now, though, I’m going to celebrate my birthday. Apparently, I’m 41 years old today. (No, I still don’t believe I’m that old.) And it’s going to be fun. Of course it […]

  7. What Fun It Was to Go to the Movies This Year | Martin's Musings - December 29, 2015

    […] two films this year touches a real chord in me because of the way it portrays 40somethings who aren’t ready to be 40somethings. And yes, on the surface, While We’re Young may appear to be a comedy about generational […]

  8. When Is a College Reunion Not a College Reunion? | Martin's Musings - June 5, 2016

    […] with anybody or be self-conscious about not following the same timeline. Thank God for growing up and gaining perspective. Speaking personally, I’m still single and probably not where I want to […]

  9. Wrapping Up a Decade at the Movies with 20 Favorite Films | Martin's Musings - December 10, 2019

    […] favorite movie of 2015, speaks to me on multiple levels. One is the way it portrays 40somethings who aren’t ready to be 40somethings. And that’s the basic plot: While We’re Young is, on its surface, a comedy about generational […]

What say you? Leave a comment here.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: