This Is 40

Here we are again, a year later.  I started this at 38 and continued with 39.  Obviously, it's now a thing to do each year.  So, this is 40.  First, let's update some facts. 
Selfie of Lance Eaton in 2019
Post-morning selfie, September 2019

  • Home:  Arlington, Massachusetts
  • Relationship status:  Married (5+ years)
  • Cats Owned:  2 (Bear and Pumpkin)
  • Other Pets:  1 mud turtle (MJ)
  • Degrees earned: 5 (3 masters, 1 bachelor, 1 associate)
  • Degree working on:  Phd in Higher Education
  • Credits Completed Toward Dissertation: 69 out of 72.
  • Reading in 2019: 207 books, graphic novels, and audiobooks
  • Work:  full-time: (1) Instructional Designer and Faculty Development Specialist at Brandeis University.  (2) Freelance reviewing audiobooks and graphic novels for Audiofile Magazine and Publishers Weekly.  Teaching courses at  (3) North Shore Community College and  (4) Southern New Hampshire University
  • Short Stories Written:  1
  • Social Media Consulting Gigs:  1
  • Weight:  247 pounds
  • Longest Distance Run This Year: 7.18
  • Fastest Pace This Year: 8:05 minutes per mile (5K)
  • Run in the last year: 216 
  • Miles run in in the last year: 685 miles
  • Miles on the bicycle in the last year:  987 miles
  • Blog Posts in the last year:  88
  • Blog Pageviews: 136,860 
  • Blog Subscribers: 50
  • Blog Visitors: 91,230
  • Facebook Friends: 753
  • LinkedIn Connections: 1,145
  • Twitter Followers:  1201
  • Website Domains owned:  4

Favorite Blog Posts of the Year

Looking Back

At times, this year feels like I was standing still and in other ways, it felt like I was racing through.  Mayhaps I am experiencing a bit of the Red Queen hypothesis?  Possible.  

The narrative that I crafted to make sense of the year was that the passing of my father in late August of 2018 left me scrambling at the start of the semester.  This scramble while I worked at one school, took courses at another, and had other obligations, left me a bit disoriented throughout the Fall and Winter, feeling like I was in a constant state of catch up.  As I began to stabilize life in late Winter/early Spring, well, other events occurred (not my place to cover here) that made the rest of spring a bit unpredictable and busier.  It was only during the summer that some sense of normality really returned and I felt like I was making significant progress on certain aspects of life; mostly my dissertation.  

I feel like that has suffered the most this year.  I might have made about 2% progress on it, which is progress but at that rate, I might graduate in 2050 or so.  

But that's back on track with what seems to be a working system and I feel good about the progress I'm making.  Check!

With the whirlwind of this year, other priorities slipped.  I ran less or rather I stuck to shorter distances so that now, when I do more than 7 miles; it's a challenge--so much so that I haven't done 8 miles all year.  That's something I want to address in the next year and get back to a place where 7-10 miles feels good and refreshing (albeit, tiring).  I have picked up biking more as you can see from the stats above and have made it an effort to drive my car as little as possible to work. This ALWAYS gets disrupted with winter, but I'm determined (if not demented).  

Professionally, I feel in a good place.  I'm entering my 8th year of being an instructional designer and am clearly getting to enjoy the benefits of being part of the ID community in New England as I increasingly get to collaborate and talk with folks at different institutions about the work that I do.  This year, I also stepped onto the Board of Trustees for the Puppet Showplace Theater, a wonderful puppet theater in Brookline, MA that does amazing shows for children and adults (yes, there are some awesome adult-oriented puppet shows out there).  I also became the Executive Secretary for the Northeast Popular Culture Association, which means folks thought it was a good idea to leave me in charge of a regional scholarly community--here's hoping they don't regret that, right?  

We recently (for the 3rd year in a row) moved and while moving to yet another place is frustrating, our new home feels right and since moving, things have shifted or felt right.  It could be that this new place has a garden and I now get to garden (this year was light; just tomatoes, peppers, jalapenos, and year, oh, I got plans!) or just the location, feeling close to friends, but it's something more. I've felt more connected with friends and family (even extended family, many of whom I haven't had much of a relationship with for decades).  So for now, the trend line continues to surge.

Despite, or maybe because, of the last year, I have to say, I feel really good. My friends and family are amazing, supportive and awesome folks who continually make me smile and provide me with lots of thoughts on how to be the best version of me.  Work continues to be rewarding and engaging.  I have a fantastic partner who pushes and supports me in ways I sometimes don't even realize I need.  So maybe I didn't really move forward much but that mattered little because I had many there cheering me on.

Looking Forward

40 is supposed to be one of those big ones right?  It marks a much more likelihood of passing a threshold to the second half of life; that we're more going downhill or have peaked in some ways. At least that's what "they say", right.  However, the frame that I've used when people have asked me about hitting this artificial threshold is this:  "Well, if y'all thought my first act was something; just wait till you see what I got in store for Act II."  

For me, life is still filled with wonder, because at the end of the day, other people may have been here, but I have not.  Therefore, I'm less worried about what it means to be 40 and more curious about what this new experience will bring.  

I'm not delusional (well, at least about this). I know for some capacities, things start to get harder moving forward.  Ok, but so long as I can, I prefer to see those as puzzles to solve rather than things to be resigned about.  And by solve, I don't think that I will be able to reverse anything that comes along per se (c'mon cybernetic body!), but rather, figure out how to adapt.  From everything I've experienced and read, this half of life is just as much about recognizing and adapting or adjusting expectations but also has the opportunity to be equally rewarding and amazing; so let's do this!  

Easier said than done, right? We're loss-aversed creatures so the idea of losing ability is the thing that haunts our dreams and drives us to buy every damn gimmicking thing on TV related to aging.  I'm sure I'll struggle with this at some point but I hope to hold this frame in mind.

Beyond that, turning 40 feels less like an event, much like previous years.  I mean if the 30s are when I got my shit going, found my (current) calling, and have really strived in many areas, then I can't even imagine what possibilities my 40s will bring.  

Guess I'll find out.  See you at 41!

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