Reaching the Big 41

Birthdays – as you get older – tend to change in their significance. When you are a toddler, you celebrate half-birthdays. When you become more mature, you celebrate each year. Then, when you get to be my age, its all about milestones.

That’s why this particular May16th isn’t quite a big deal. It’s number 41. Last year was huge when I turned 40 and it’s still one of my favorite birthdays because of the different people that wished me all the best that day.

41 is not such a big deal. Of course, anytime you are a year older its time to celebrate. After all, I don’t know ( in golf terms ) whether I’m playing the back nine of my life or not. However, this birthday is worthy of more reflection that celebration.

It’s been quite a year of change in my life. Professionally, I am involved in the greatest challenge and thrill of my career as I anchor the 5, 6 & 11pm newscasts. It’s challenging because these shows are among our most-watched and most pressure packed. It’s thrilling because it’s something new and everyday is a learning experience. I have been witness to some amazing events this year: the Inauguration and the Super Bowl. I have also had a front row seat to the greatest of human tragedies: the shootings in Stanton Heights.

Personally, my life has also seen much change and it’s really no secret. If you have read my blog for any length or time, you know there is something – or rather someone – missing. All I will say is that it’s forced me to take a harder look at my life and what will make me happy.

During this year of self-reflection, I have done things I thought I would never do: ran a half-marathon, finished a year-long class about the city in which we live, joined a couple of non-profit boards and taken every opportunity I have been given to speak in public. Whether it be a commencement address or just a group of school kids, I have welcomed a chance to engage in conversation.

Now, as 41 is about to hit, I look at the future with more optimism than I have in quite a while. I guess because truly age is a number. Physically, I have not felt better. I run every other day and plan to run a couple more half- marathons before going for the “Full Monty” at next year’s Pittsburgh Marathon. I plan to continue to challenge myself at work and I hope to improve upon the areas of my life where I have failed in the past.

I plan to spend my 41st birthday quietly celebrating, pleased in the knowledge that I still have much to learn and much to achieve. Most of all, I hope that #41 isn’t on the back nine but perhaps I’m at least playing the 9th hole and not quite ready to make the turn.

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