Approaching 40 part 3: The day I turned 40

I’ve been wanting to write this story for a long time. I turned 40 2 days’ ago and it seemed like the right time to do it. If you’re having a bad day, I hope it raises your spirits. If you’re having a bad time generally, I hope it helps you to put things into perspective. If you’re having a good time, I hope it helps you be thankful for what you have.

This is the last part of the story. There has been a lot to say. Part 1 was here and part 2 here.

It’s not a rehearsal

I go back every six months currently – to the Royal Marsden hospital for a blood test. I get nervous before, but have been skipping out of the hospital for 8 years. It’s the most sobering experience sitting in the waiting room and explains why I get so cross when I see the ‘yoof of today’ smashing the place up on the news with no regards for themselves or society.

It’s not a rehearsal I say.

And I like to think most days that I live that ethos. When I remember back to these times, when I see sad stories on the news, when I watch the Great North Run and hear the stories behind the runners, when I see a Leukaemia Research collection box, it hurts me more than most – however it’s one of the few scars I have from the experiences.

Has the experience changed me?

Ask those around me. Especially Suzanne.

Not really I don’t think. I’ve always tried to live a very full life and took great solace from that fact. I’m incredibly driven, I take on too much, I get frustrated when those around me don’t move as fast, I rarely sit and relax, I run with the ball too much, when I should pass (metaphorically speaking) and I can’t watch the sad films on Comic Relief or Children in Need. All said and done, I don’t think that’s so bad, considering.

So what to the future? I was 40 two days ago. What will I take forward with me for the next few years, 13 years after the spectre of Leukaemia reared its very ugly head? In no particular order – I will use these statements as a guide… I’d love to know whether you agree.

  • Change is inevitable – go with it, embrace it or fall behind the pack.
  • Having children changes you. For the better. Enjoy them while they’re young – and don’t pay lipservice to that statement, or you’ll regret it.
  • The pause button once in a while isn’t such a bad thing.
  • Running your own business is a privelige. It’s tough out there, but having a process and following your vision is key to success.
  • It is OK to say no once in a while. In fact, it’s quite good.
  • If you don’t ask, you don’t get.
  • You are the luckiest person alive if work is a hobby.
  • Don’t be afraid to tell people the truth, even if it hurts.
  • Time is the most previous thing we have – use it wisely.
  • Life is all about choices – you can actively choose how to live every day. Every decision, every reaction is down to you. Don’t blame others for your choices – just make better ones.
  • And the biggest learning point of all from this whole experience – which will be enscribed on my tombstone – “It’s not a rehearsal”. I genuinely subscribe to this. Grab chances while you can. It maybe too late tomorrow.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this series – it’s been therapeutic writing it. Thanks to everyone for their emails and comments etc – the private response has been overwhelming. I hope you take whatever you can from it and use it.

[box type=”note” style=”rounded” border=”full”]Have you seen what I’m doing for our charity challenge later in 2012?

CLICK HERE to find out and please DONATE something small if you can.

4 replies
  1. Hilary
    Hilary says:

    Hi Mark .. it is an amazing story .. never give up hope and look on the bright side. I love the way we can learn so much through blogging et al .. that perhaps we wouldn’t come across in our day to day lives – if the techie world hadn’t existed.

    Your eleven points make such sensible thoughts that we need to take cognisance of – if we’re not already doing so ..

    It’s wonderful that you can share life with Susanne and Matthew .. and us – thanks so much for writing up your series – puts life in perspective .. cheers to many more years and success ahead .. Hilary

    • admin
      admin says:

      Hilary – thanks for taking the time to write again. I’m glad you enjoyed my thoughts.
      I couldn’t agree more with your sentiment!

  2. Mark
    Mark says:

    Hey Mark, thanks for the great blog post (x3). I especially like your 11 points above and definitely subscribe to some of those myself. Cheers for putting all that stuff out there and I’m sure it was much easier writing it 8 years down the track than being in the middle of it at the time.

  3. Rick
    Rick says:

    Nice one, Mark. Nicely written and easy to read. You have a great delivery. There’s a future for you as a writer if you get tired of the other stuff.

    Sorry if I came to it a bit late… 🙂

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