I just wrote a lot of words in a lengthy draft about how I feel with my 40th birthday rapidly approaching. I don't know if I'll post that or not.
Distilled to its essence: I feel like I've lost more than I've gained in the past ten years. Professionally, physically ("loss" here applies in terms of overall health and well-being, not weight), and socially.
The steady state: I continue to have a loving and supportive relationship with my wife. I love my parents and they are a great comfort to me. I'm fortunate to have very wonderful in-laws, which is a blessing many people don't share. I had all these things ten years ago (well, I wasn't married yet, but the relationship was still there and strong) and I would say they have had more ups than downs in the past decade.
The big improvements: The addition of my son and daughter, who are wonderful and interesting people as well as beloved children.
The losses: Friends and family left behind, with no new friends to show for eight years of living here--at least nobody close enough to invite to my birthday party or who would think to send me a card. A freelance career that is wildly unpredictable, provides little professional camaraderie, and pays sporadically in place of a challenging but rewarding career where I had gained the respect of the majority of my peers and bosses. Nagging injuries that assault me everywhere-- shoulder, wrist, ankles, knees, hip, and back--sidelining every workout program I've embarked upon for the past two years. A city, Boise, whose sole advantage over Austin is that the traffic is better here (surprising how far that edge will go to making life more enjoyable, but Boise is just never going to be as cool as Austin). The opportunity to pursue my writing has led to fewer tangible results and more disappointment in my lack of achievement than I expected.
The plan: I'm going to keep searching for workout regimens that my body will tolerate, lowering my sights a bit and trying to include as much stretching as possible. I'm also trying to reconcile myself to a certain amount of aches and pains. I'm going to try to stop beating myself up about the writing, write when I feel like it and read more stuff that I like. I'm going to try to enjoy my time with my kids more. As for friends, I honestly have no idea at this point how to find like-minded folks up here. I think I'd settle for more casual friends. Also I'm going to take a stab at reading some more self-help stuff that I already own and relaxing myself mentally. A lot of it boils down to being more pro-active.
So wish me luck looking on the bright side and enjoying my birthday.