On Getting to 40

Teacher cancelled last week’s lesson, and when I wrote her back to confirm I mentioned that our next lesson would happen on my 40th birthday, which happens to be today.  I said that I couldn’t imagine a better way to start my new decade than with a lesson – beginning the violin was undoubtedly one of the best things I did with my 30s!  I have learned so much, pursuing an entirely new discipline for the past three years, reinforcing it with the writing I do in this space.

As I sit here newly 40, I feel overwhelmed with gratitude for all I have – the people, the passions, the health.  In a world where so many suffer, I somehow managed to strike gold.

I rolled over this morning first thing to see the best part of my life – a man synonymous with my life. Michael and I started out together, frankly, as hot young 22-year-old messes trying to find our way.  But one thing we shared, even then, was parents who instilled in us moral centers that we’ve never veered too far from.  Having him as my mate is everything; all other considerations are secondary (yes, dear fiddle, even you).  About ten years ago an old friend said to me, speaking of pair-bonded folks like us, “You can’t imagine not being with him, can you?  It would be like cutting off your own arm to let him go.”  She totally nailed it.

My parents set me off on this journey with all of the best – I can hardly imagine that back in 1976 they were just half the age I am now.  We didn’t have much back then, but we had family. I’ve known what unconditional love is since the day I was born – they worked tirelessly to ensure all our needs were met; they prioritized the best possible education for me and my sisters, and they taught me that doing the right thing matters a whole lot.  They also demonstrated with their own relationship what love and happiness should be about.  Priorities are, in the end, what make up a life.  Nothing matters more than doing the right thing by people.  I’ve known and tried hard to live that always, following their lead.  I had the best start to this life that anyone could hope for.

And to the rest of you – family, friends, teachers, and people I will never meet – you are what make life worth living.  Let’s never forget that we share this wonderful journey.  Not a one of us does it alone; not a one of us would be here without countless others.  We need each other as much as we need the air and water that this wonderful planet provides.  We are so lucky to have even a single day – life is precious.

Thanks for reading.



  1. Kristen · · Reply

    Happy 40th! A really wonderful post 🙂

  2. Julie Libel · · Reply

    It is a wonderful post, Ryan. Thank you for all your kind words. We are grateful that God gave you to us.

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