The Big 4-0!

Legendary baseball player Satchel Paige once said “How old would you be, if you didn’t know how old you are?”  Well I am turning 40 this week and this profound quote got me thinking.  If you ask my knees and back, they feel 50.  In my mind, I still feel 30.  If you look at the grey hairs beginning to creep out of my head and the wrinkles stretching out from my eyes, I guess I look 40.

He also said “Age is a case of mind over matter.  If you don’t mind, it don’t matter.”  40 isn’t that old, right?  Just look at guys like Raul Ibanez (41) who led the Seattle Mariners with 29 home runs this season or Phil Mickelson (43) who won the British Open this past July.  Then there is the Yankees closer Mariano Rivera who saved 44 games this year and is turning 44 next month.  He is retiring from baseball, but looks like he could keep going another ten years if he wanted to.  Of course these athletes may be the exception, but it gives the rest of us in the 40 and over club hope.

In the business world being 40 should place you in your prime.  You’re definitely not a kid anymore learning the ropes and cutting your teeth.  You are also a long way from hanging it up and calling it a career.  Eighteen years ago I started my journey as an intern with the Lakers.  I never could have guessed where I’d be today and how I got here.  In the beginning I wanted to climb the ladder, earn lots of money and make a name for myself.  Now I know the ladder can be shaky, money doesn’t buy you happiness and titles are often meaningless.  Life happens along the way and priorities change with it.  I’ve learned that enjoying what you do and who you work with is crucial.  Feeling challenged and being able to grow is essential.  Above all, being able to support my family and spend time with my son is most important to me.

When you are 20 you think you know everything.  When you are 40 you realize there is still a lot to learn.  I do feel a little wiser and more seasoned than before.  However, there is still a lot more to accomplish and room to improve.  After all, Satchel Paige didn’t make his MLB debut until the age of 42 after playing for years in the Negro league.  He pitched in the majors until he was 47 and signed a one game contract with the A’s at 59.  So maybe things are just getting started…