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  • Dean Bainbridge

Kinda Happy With Forty Four

As of writing, I'm 44 years old. I think everybody has an 'age' they were hoping would be their 'ideal year'. Maybe for you, you were going to rock 23. 30 was 'get your shit together' year. Things are really going to really take off for you at 50?

The author at 44

Ever since I was a teen, forty four was the year that loomed large. 2017, Dean. It's coming.

I did not look forward to this year.

My dad died when he was 44 and I was 13. I know, there's a whole thesis in psychology and mortality about why I became fixated on 44, but the simple fact is that after that benchmark year, I was on my own, paternally speaking. No template. No precedent.

With the encouragement of my lovely wife, and support of my three boys - who admittedly were not very aware of my potential anguish - I decided to lean into 44. Well before that fateful birthday, I began embracing my curiosity for buddhist philosophy. I actively looked after my own health and went for jogs, walks and bike rides. I meditated occasionally and tried yoga and pilates. I studied whisky and can distinguish a smoky Talisker from a fruity Glenlivet. I learned how to play Mr Brightside.

By that birthday, I felt better emotionally and physically than I had in more than a decade.

Now, with only a few months remaining, I'm happy to report that 44 has been very good to me. I've met some long term goals and I've done things that I hadn't even considered. If it's okay, I'd like to share some with you. Not to brag but to illustrate the point I'll get to at some juncture.

I attended a Womad World Music Festival - and ended up on stage with Korean drummers! As you do.

I went to a doctor voluntarily and gave myself a wakeup call - subsequently worked hard to drop 10 kilos.

I started this blog and picked up some freelance clients.

I experienced "Thai Time' with my lovely wife and ended up riding scooters through rice fields.

I also bought a new drum kit.

[Full disclosure] I found myself in the boardroom of a potential employer interviewing for a career change - but... I found happiness where I was.

So, I negotiated my role at work to value my time over money. That's important, and I'll explore that in it's own post.

And the most recent, but hopefully not the last of my 'Lean into 44' milestones, I applied for a grant at work to 'bring your best self to work' and gleefully received a considerable amount of funding towards a search for 'The Meaning Of Life' in the enchanting Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan. I know, right? That's totally what you were going to do too!

How good is my employer, NOVA ENTERTAINMENT! I actually said I would go and discover it for them, and share it with the rest of the company.

[Couple of side notes... 1, I genuinely believe I can and will. 2, No, this result was not connected to my negotiation!]

Clearly, there will be much content about that little 'Himalayan undertaking' and it will be covered comprehensively.

I guess the point I invite you to consider is that when something you dread approaches, leaning into it braces you for impact and lessens the shock. Mindfulness teaches you to visualise and anticipate. It also makes you more willing to try stuff.

I'm not entirely sure about what I consider to be fate and destiny, but I do believe in intuition. I have to admit that my intuition into forty four was... well, quite wrong. Is intuition just faith in a potential future? Is it a practical or logical estimation to reduce the chaos of the unknown? Is it wilful intervention from a cosmic or divine power? I do know that this landmark year hasn't gone how I planned. It's gone much better.

I think I've become accustomed to this year now, and just quietly, I think I'm rocking 44. It might go down as one of my best, actually.

So, you. Is your year coming? What are you doing to lean into it? And will you be ready to be surprised?

Because thats where the fun stuff happens.

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