It was a big deal; we had a huge party, and there were pink flamingos clandestinely placed on our lawn in the night. Lordy Lordy, Look Who’s 40 was declared from many a card and answering machine message.
25 years ago, turning 40 was a big deal. Today? Well, my kids certainly won’t remember when I turned 40. My oldest was not yet 3, my youngest just 3 weeks old. While my parents got married young so they could get busy, I selfishly lived my life before finally settling in to the family thing.
Turning 40 to me, as a parent, has not been about what my body feels like, or how my looks have changed, or how my grey hair has settled in. To me, being a parent in my 40s has been more about worrying how I will navigate this life to the finish line. Just before I turned 40, I lost my job. We moved to a new city. Two years later my job description was changed and my income dropped again. So “middle age” to me has been less about how I look and feel and more about how I plan to provide for these two crazy monkeys for the next 20+ years until they can do it on their own.
This week I turned 43, and as I looked at the posts over on the Babble Voices side about what it means for Moms to be in their 40s, I thought it would be good to have a look at what it means to be a Dad in your 40s:
Graeme, 42 1 of 10I've written about parenting and aging in the past - with tongue planted firmly in cheek, of course. But who can honestly say they enjoy aging? I'm fucking falling apart here. Yesterday I got winded taking an escalator.
Let's be frank: at best, 40 is the chronological halfway point on our slow, meandering, sagging march towards death. Before 40, I had my whole life ahead of me. Now, suddenly, there's only half of it left. And that's only if I don't get hit with falling ice or contract some unpronounceable disease.
Luckily, as a writer, I work well on deadline. So I'm determined to make the most of my finite time on this planet. And that means seeing as much of it as possible with my four-year-old son at least until his terrible teenaged friends turn him against me from 2021 to 2027. Bastards.
Anyway, this past September, I took my son to India for a month. Next year, we're going to Africa.
But it's not about exotic locations. It's about sharing awesome experiences together, wherever that may be. And that ongoing journey together is the most important one I will ever do. Hopefully, it inspires him to do the same down the road.
Ultimately, being a dad in my 40s has given me perspective. I loved being young and hate getting older. But I can't stop it. And that's why I'm going to enjoy every fucking minute of it.
Find Graeme at GraemeMcRanor.com
JP, 45 2 of 1040? Well, I did not like the sound of it at all when I was on my final approach I must admit! I spent a fun filled weekend with a bunch of friends in Tofino where we cooked and partied family with kids, dogs, and a ton of food. Since then life has really been stellar both personally and professionally. The thing that most people don't realize when turning 40 is that you are at the bottom of the next rung and the next big milestone of 50 seems like eons away.
The 40's for me have been a place of balance and stability on all fronts. Finacial planning seems to be working out, we have moved to an amazing place near Granville Island, and my son is doing so well in school socially and academically, my wife and I still love and like each other a ton to. I don't mind the grey hair either, it's like a badge I guess and shows I am a veteran of most of the things I do, and that gives me comfort from day to day.
Find JP at JayPiddy.com
Mitch 3 of 10It hasn't changed me much. I still act like the same 17 year-old kid that didn't trust adults and listened to too much Henry Rollins. I just fall asleep at 10 pm now, instead of going out at 10 pm.
Find Mitch at TwistImage.com
Jay, 48 4 of 10Turning 40 wasn't a big deal for me. I remember their 1st birthday well because we celebrated it on my 40th. Being a new dad of twins, I was so caught up in the new responsibilities and sleeplessness of it all that I hardly recall feeling any significant milestone had been passed. I felt and acted like a much younger man, chasing these little pipsqueaks around all day.
Come 45, my twins were starting school and my daughter was almost finishing high school and then it hit me like a brick. All of a sudden, I was looking at the other side of 45 and realizing that though the days seemed long, the months and years had flown by.
You can find Jay at homemadedad.ca
Akash, 42 5 of 10Turning 40 reminded me that I will be 50 when my older son turns 12. The 4-0 birthday gave me 10 years to get in better shape, so I can enjoy time with my kids after the big 5-0. Nothing better than keeping up on the ice with your hockey playing kids.
James, 45 6 of 10Age is a state of maturity and I firmly believe that my youngest keeps me young and relatively immature. You don' t have to "grow up" just because you are a certain age. You just have to be responsible as a parent and that has no age restriction. I guarantee I act far younger than many parents younger than me.
Ken, 45 7 of 10I recently had my first child Alexander, at the age of 45, which I'm told qualifies me as an "older dad." I'll tell ya, I don't feel older. I FEEL fantastic, and yes, I considered the very real possibility of waning energy levels as my boy begins to grow. I always knew I wanted to be a dad...no matter what. I feel this is my purpose. To now make another human being a wonderful, caring and compassionate human, at whatever cost to me. I have an entirely new perspective on life and the expectations of myself. I've always felt mature but this has matured and changed me like I'd never expected. And I still have some learning and growing to do. I really came to terms with my ego, and I think, my true identity as a man when blessed with such a gift as Alexander.
Tom, 47 8 of 10I only became a dad in my early 40's......so no real lightbulb or thought went on with me! My perspective on being an "older" dad: Because I did what "I" wanted to do when I was younger.....I'm now quite content to be focused on the child, and feel that I have more time, patience and experience to offer VS what I would have offered as a "younger" dad.
Buzz, 43 9 of 10There was a time I never thought I would have children of my own. I was married with a teenage step-daughter. That ended, my own family arrived, and, well - better late than never.
Find Buzz at DadCAMP
Rob, 44 10 of 10Being a Dad is the most fulfilling part of my life. I have a 17 year old son (Chad) a 16 year old daughter (McKenna) and now 2 step kids Molly 5 and Bowen 3. I couldn't imagine life without kids in it. I was a couple years away from being an empty nester and now that won't happen for a very long time and that's just fine with me. Kids are the greatest gift in life.
Images courtesy each Dad profiled. No use without permission.