When your 40th birthday falls eleven days before the New Year, it seems like an appropriate time to reflect. Reflect and resolve. Are you where you thought you’d be? What more do you hope for in the next year or years to come?

A deluge of articles and blogs about resolutions and self-improvement are published around the New Year. The New York Times even had an info graphic colorfully displaying the most popular resolutions. No drum roll necessary. You can name them. Finances, weight and fitness.  Apparently, everyone wants to be richer, skinnier and healthier.

And unless you are Mark Zuckerberg, Jessica Biel or Jillian Michaels, chances are there is room to improve in your finances, weight and health. But, what really changes from year to year? Do we actually make more money, eat healthier and go to yoga more? Maybe. For at least a few weeks. When there is time and opportunity. But for most of us, New Year’s Resolutions are a trap. They make us resolve to do things we simply can’t.

I fell into that trap—or almost. This year when the time to make resolutions rolled along, I felt a lot of pressure. I was turning 40 after all. It’s the age when you are supposed to be grown up – for real. You should have money in the bank, a plan for the future and your novel written. Luckily, in the midst of my resolution crisis, I came across a blog that made sense.

Christine Carter Ph.D, sociologist and happiness expert at UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center, writes a weekly blog that is full of science-based parenting advice. Before the New Year she wrote a blog explaining that the reason people are unable to keep their New Year’s Resolutions is because they resolve to do things that they inherently don’t want to do. So instead, she advises, resolve to do things that you want to do.

With a whole sixteen days of 40-year old wisdom behind me, I decided this seemed like a good plan. Spend more time with family and friends because you want to; eat well and exercise because it makes you feel good; work hard because it’s fulfilling; and accept where you are in life, because that is where you are. When put in those terms, resolutions seem achievable. But it was the last one that I thought about most. Where was I?

The easiest answer was the most literal. At my 40th, I was in the historic mining shack that I call home, dancing to Top 40 music through a blown out speaker, and alternating between the makeshift dance stage and climbing wall that adorn my living room in high-heel boots with a lot of great people.

I definitely thought 40 would look different—certainly more sophisticated. But that’s where I was, and it was perfect. Sure, the list of things I can do better is long. But, for the first time, at 40, I realized it doesn’t need to get done all at once — or maybe ever. Sometimes the hardest feat can be being grateful for where you are today and more patient about getting to where you want to be tomorrow.

Or maybe, I’m just getting old. This must be 40.








  • Kameron Gerber
    Posted at 20:37h, 10 January

    Oh, Jesse! You couldn’t have said it any better! Thank you for your 40 year old Wisdom! Gives me perspective on those evil little resolutions hanging over my head! And for the record, BEST 40th B-Day Party EVER!

  • fireball
    Posted at 22:09h, 10 January

    Damn! I Love these! you gifted writer! I CAN’T WAIT FOR 41 BABY