This is 40


Today I can finally say that I’m a man. I’m 40.  And in all honesty, leading up to this day, I haven’t dealt with it all that well.  Hitting 20 was fun, and 30 still gave me a feeling that I have a chance to accomplish something or make my mark, but 40 makes me feel as if I’ve come up short professionally, financially, educationally, physically, and as a man capable of extending grace and living with integrity. As I look back at my 40 years, there’s a lot of regret and embarrassment, and unlike many others, if I had a chance to go back and do things differently, I definitely would.  I’m surprised at how quickly life went by, even though I’ve heard the adage plethora of times.  ‘Tis true, the days are long, but the years are short, and only life and experience can make that adage feel harshly true.  My perspective may be a bit different than most 40-year-old Americans, having lost both parents and my closest friend somewhat early in life, the feeling of invincibility faded quickly and the realization that the likelihood of me already living more than half my life is now soundly valid.  I feel the frailty of life and see it every day, and while I don’t fear death, I do fear dying with gas left in the tank.

More than likely there won’t be any blog posts tomorrow.  If things work out as planned, I will have reached the mountain top, kissed a cloud or two if I’m lucky, and be at peace with nature and hopefully myself.

But for now, I leave you with 40 random thoughts and lessons I’ve learned in my 40 years.  Don’t think any are directed at any one person, this or more like a conversation with myself.  And in no particular order.

  1. Success is not measured by the IQ but by the “I do”.  My geometry teacher had that handwritten on a poster board in her room, and as one that has never scored well, it’s proven as a source of motivation all my life.  I need to track her down and let her know I still think of that after being out of her class about 22 years.
  2. Careful to not say something you can’t take back. An apology will mean little later, the damage is done, and often times, repair doesn’t take minutes or hours, but months and years.
  3. Well said is better than well done.  It’s one thing to tell others you are going to lose a certain amount of weight or run a marathon, it’s a whole other thing to actually do it.
  4. If you are going to suggest something, be prepared to follow through with implementation, you might just get assigned the task.  When my career first started I remember telling my manager it would be easier if the process was changed.  He agreed, and instead of him implementing the change, had me put together the proposal to department heads for approval and then start the implementation.
  5. As much as you try, it’s impossible to replace your childhood and college friends. Those bonds were created during formative years, which makes them exceptionally unique.  You’re at a totally different stage in life with more perspective, and while you may create new friendships that are special in their own right, it’s just not gonna be the same.
  6. Some of the people who upset you the most, especially in your teens, you’ll never see again. With that in mind, it was silly to let them get under my skin and think about them as much as I did.  And that lesson can apply to other parts of your life. Did someone cut you off in traffic or flip you the bird?   If you are never going to see a person again for the rest of your life, don’t waste any time or energy on that person or the situation.  Don’t seek some sort of petty revenge or fret about it a second longer because you are allowing someone you’ll never encounter again to take time away from things you want to commit your time and energy to.  You weren’t specifically targeted, they would have acted like a jerk to anyone, so don’t take it personally and go about loving life, not fretting about it.
  7. I only thought I knew what it meant to be able to take a joke or laugh at yourself. It really means letting go of ego and pride, and any thought that you are better than someone else.
  8. Quitting only gets easier each time you do it.  To try something and not like or come up short is one thing, but giving up is another.
  9. Every family is messed up, that’s what makes them all unique. There’s no perfect family, and if you think you’ve spotted one, realize it’s only the limited perception you have of them.  Appreciate what makes your family unique, understand all families have skeletons in he closet, and you have no idea what goes on behind closed doors.
  10. Tap the breaks on thinking your brand of Christianity is the best way.  Even though you may not say it, you secretly lived that kind of faith. You may not agree or feel comfortable with a certain denomination or stream of the Christian faith, but understand they have their reasons, their interpretations, and in most cases, schools of theology and history (some centuries old) that support their reasoning.  It would also be wrong to simply hear something and totally dismiss it as right or wrong, most of these things have many layers. There are many layers of grace, many layers of predestination, and so on and so on. Take time to research and see it from their point of view, respect it, and form your own conclusion.
  11. Not every question and not every decision needs to be made quickly. To go along with that, very, very rarely is a deal is so good you can’t put it off until the next day and sleep on it or find another comparative deal.
  12. Seek first to understand, then be understood.  Showing understanding of a another person’s issue will gain their respect, and then their ears, and hopefully their heart.
  13. Just because someone or something is of another faith/culture/ethnicity/background, you can still learn from them and uphold your Christian faith.
  14. I can just now admit that I’ve always cared more about what others thought of me than I have about my own happiness and well-being.
  15. Nothing on the television, radio, or the Internet  is so important you can’t look someone in the eye when they are talking to you. The lack of eye contact shows you care more about that than you do the person.  Also, infomercials and As-Seen-On-TV commercials can be highly entertaining, but rarely are they worth spending money on.
  16. My wife has taught me that a lot of times, no response is the best response of all.
  17. The overflow of the heart, the mouth shall speak.
  18. Your body will change even though your younger self said it wouldn’t.  At one time you tanned, now you easily burn.  At one time, you could lose ten pounds in a week easily, and now your slower metabolism changes that.
  19. Spending a lot of money on clothing isn’t worth it in most cases, as a lot of clothing serves the same function for about the same amount of quality.  I’ve gotten the same amount of wear off of a $10 t-shirt as I have a $35 t-shirt.  However, don’t skimp on shoes, you gotta take care of your feet.
  20. Don’t put expectations on people. Not only will they let you down, but it’s not like your are  rarely is one qualified to put expectations on anyone. Along with that, trust no one. That sounds harsh, but in the long run, Fox Mulder is right.
  21. Silence and solitude are needed more than you think.  You don’t always have to have background noise doing chores or going for a walk.
  22. Apologizing can be hard and even awkward, but the fruits of a sincere one will reap a harvest.  The same can be said for admitting when you are wrong instead of defending a boneheaded stance just to be right.  Both will earn you more respect than holding ground ever will.
  23. Don’t compare yourself to others or what God is doing in someone’s life.  Just as you are, they were made by the great creator to be exceptionally unique, and they were born to a totally different set of parents with different circumstances and backgrounds.  They process and handle things in a way you can’t fathom, and they to you.  So if you admire how someone doesn’t sweat under pressure, just know a lot of things happened for that person to get there, and he or she may just admire how you are able to be at your sincerest at those moments.
  24. If you know you are going into a tense situation, think it through and know what your desired outcome is.  Whether it’s calling customer service or engaging with a person that’s wronged you, first know what you want when the encounter is finished, think about ways to accomplish it, and prepare your response for their most likely reaction or defense to anything you say or do.  Doing so helps prevent any surprises and helps you process things better.
  25. The response you desire is often times related to your approach.  If you start a conversation yelling, more than likely your intended point isn’t going to come across.  The person at the other end is just going to understand you are angry, and not what you are angry about, and will most likely reply back with anger.  And when anger gets involved, logic leaves, and it turns into a pissing contest, which wastes time and energy.  It’s easy to just state you are upset and explain why in a respectful manner, and usually respect is returned, emotion is removed, logical thinking comes to play, and a conclusion is reached sooner than later.
  26. People make mistakes, just as you do, so take it easy on them.  We’ve all changed lanes and almost hit another vehicle and them immediately felt bad about it. Responding with some hand gesture in your protected environment is something you’d do if you were in a grocery store and someone accidentally stepped in front of you.
  27. You can’t change people, but you accept them, warts and all, and learn how to work around those warts, and maybe become accepting of them.
  28. There’s not much difference between college football and politics when it comes to looking at things objectively.
  29. As tempting and as satisfying as it might be, don’t burn bridges.  The future is unpredictable, you never know when you’ll have to charter that path again.  Not to mention, people and organizations (and the people that run them) change, just as you have and will.
  30. Dreaming is good, and it’s okay to shoot beyond them, but be realistic and cognizant of what it will take to actually achieve them.
  31. A lot of life is about perception.  You may mean one thing or intend the best of things, but it’s all in how it’s going to be perceived that matters.
  32. Don’t rely on your memory, write things down, and be sure to organize things well enough that you can easily reference them.  A lot of life isn’t about what your know, but the ability to find answers.
  33. Be careful of what you put in an email, you have no idea who it might get forwarded to, and the results can be both rewarding and devastating.  This logic also applies to social media and stuff that actually goes on paper.
  34. It’s always better to arrive early than late, so make it a practice of showing up early, and just not on time.  It’s also best to use the restroom before any meeting or event.
  35. Before any overnight travel, clean the house and do chores before departure.  Coming home to a clean house and nothing on the immediate “to do” list is a reward in itself.  And when it comes to traveling, look at a map first and get a general lay of the land before you dart off, even if you have a map on your phone.
  36. More often than not, when you throw a grenade in the act of vanity or selfishness, you hit innocent bystanders.
  37. You may love someone and appreciate certain things they do, but verbally tell them so they know you don’t take them or what they do for granted. If they took the trash out or made the bed before you could get to it, or if they cooked dinner, thank them.  If you get a kick out of they way your spouse laughs or how they have a certain funny habit or trait you treasure – tell them.  Also, You don’t have to wait for a birthday or special occasion to give someone you love a gift or tell them how special they are to you.  It means more when “you don’t have to”.
  38. If you see a need, fill it. I’ve told many people that’s purpose in life, and I think I’ve mostly held true to it.
  39. You only tease the ones you love, so if you are being teased, cherish it.
  40. Most life lessons aren’t learned immediately, usually it comes slowly through experience and reflection.


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14 Responses to This is 40

  1. ALEC says:

    Mr. Geeding:
    I only know you through what you share with us on this blog, my mother passed on to me a gift-perfect judgement (I kid of course-kind of) I have a uncanny ability to judge good and bad people by a few actions or words. I have only three observations about you Mr. Geeding:
    Your Mother and Father would have been very proud of you.
    Your best friend would be proud to introduce you as such wherever the two of you went.
    I wish I knew more people like you.

  2. Deus ex Machina says:

    People who say if they had it to do all over again they wouldn't change anything are people who haven't examined their lives very closely

  3. John Smtih says:

    My hat off to you Mr Geeding!

  4. Melissa says:

    Happy Birthday…and may you feel comfortable in your 40 year old skin!!! You are a good man, Mr. Geeding!

  5. Andy says:

    Happy birthday, Keith! Nice list of life lessons. 🙂

  6. John Smith says:

    Have a good one!

  7. Ben W. says:

    Happy birthday, my friend! You're a great guy and clearly have learned a lot along the way. Here's to another 40+ years, rich with the wisdom you've learned and that which you'll gain as you continue your travels.

  8. Neighbor Payne says:

    Can’t believe that I read your blog for a year before knowing you were my neighbor. I thought you were a genuine guy just by reading the blog then but now that we have become friends, those thoughts are solidified. ALEC (above) took the words right out of my mouth. I’m glad to be able to call you a friend and look forward to strengthening our friendship in the future. Happy Birthday!

  9. Mr. Mike Honcho says:


    Congratulations on a milestone birthday, Amigo. I like your thoughts this morning and offer up a couple of thoughts back for encouragement.

    It does fly by. FAST. As a child, I would hear adults say this and it would seem foreign to me. Now, I fully understand. When I turned 40 I too began realizing that life was flying by and the amount of time left vs. the many lofty goals I had were not equal. This really bothered me. A lot. Then one day a line from the Sermon on the Mount resonated with me; "Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof." My life is playing out in front of me each day, with my family, friends, coworkers, etc. And that day I realized that whatever paths have led me to this life and wherever those paths lead, it is enough for me.

    You are doing it right Keith. That's easy enough to see by what you share on this blog. Take comfort and peach in that.

    Hope you enjoy your birthday!

  10. Nathan says:

    I am reminded of these lyrics:

    I'm not afraid to die
    I'm not afraid to live
    And when I'm flat on my back
    I hope to feel like I did

    Happy birthday, brother.

  11. Ricardo Perry says:

    Happy Birthday!

    I only really know from your blog, but I truly believe you are a good man. Your post have been a joy to follow as i feel many of us can relate to your perspectives on life and the world in general., keep it up.

    I hope that today and really the rest of your days are filled with blessings.

  12. sara says:

    Happy birthday Geeding, and many many more.

  13. RPM says:

    Happy Birthday! Don't worry, 40 is nothing. Wait til you hit 50. That one will get your attention.

  14. barry says:

    Happy 40th, Geeding. You've got a good thing going — keep on, keepin' on.

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