It's my 40th birthday today. A good time to reflect. Excuse the self-indulgence.
I guess when you get to 40 it's easy to start thinking that you're about half way through (given a fair wind). I'm not seeing it like that.
I've kind of packed up my childhood, adolescence and education – incredibly enjoyable as it all was – and filed it under 'formative years' (or something like that). I started my professional life just 16 years ago; so as far as I see it that's when responsible, independent adulthood really started. On that basis, therefore, I'm maybe only about a third of the way through (with that fair wind). Sounds better, no?
I'm starting a new phase in my professional life and I'm hugely excited about it. I've got more working years to complete than I've already been through, so I should be able to get quite a lot done, particularly as I should be learning less and doing more (though I hope I never stop learning). And that bodes well, because I'm pretty happy with what I've achieved in the last 16 years.
I've formed a career in a stimulating industry and met loads of interesting and inspiring people along the way. I've made a decent living, manage to put some away for the future and spent a fair bit on some brilliant experiences and things. I've met a girl, moved in with her, bought property, married and had two brilliant, vibrant and healthy kids. We've moved to a beautiful part of France, live in a nice house and have created a successful little holiday business.
I have some simply fantastic friends. Really, they're the best.
I get to ride my bike in some stunning scenery with good mates and raise cash for very worthy charities. I've enjoyed good health so far (touch wood) and I'm not in bad shape for a 40 year old. I've still got most of my own hair.
I'm happy. I'm really very happy.
The future is full of opportunity. Sure, there are things that I'm concerned about and there'll be ups and downs, but I feel able to meet the challenges ahead. I hope you do too.