40 for 40

Lordy! Lordy!
Look who’s forty!

That’s what you’re supposed to say. Right? Well, whether that’s really the case or not, I’ve come to accept the fact that I’m now a forty year old.

In recognition of this landmark achievement, Dad encouraged me to take a few minutes and think back on my story – where I’ve been, who I’ve met, what I’ve done – and reflect on that. I took it to heart. And I’ve been thinking about it a lot, honestly.

During my reflection, I thought, “You know, I should write these down.” So I did. And now I’m sharing them with you. Some are serious. Some are less than serious. I hope you can tell the difference. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll be challenged a little bit along the way.

40 thoughts for 40 years 

40. Cody Zeller wore number 40 when he played for the Hoosiers. Walter McCarty wore number 40 when he played for Harrison. I think he also wore that number when he played for KY. But we don’t dwell on that era for very long around here.

You know who else wore 40 on his jersey? My favorite college basketball player of all time, Calbert Cheaney.

My brother and cousins with Indiana Hoosiers great Calbert Cheaney
You know who’s missing from this picture? ME! 7 years later and I might still be a little bitter about it.

So this whole turning 40 thing might not be so bad. At least I get to share a number with some of my favorite basketball players.

39. At least I don’t have to do any math to figure out how old I am this year. More often than not over the past three years or so, I’ve had to do a little subtraction in my head in order to remember how old I was.

38. My mother inlaw says that 40 is the new 20. I’m skeptical. But I’ll accept this theory for now.

37. My sore muscles and sometimes-achy joints scream their disagreement with #38.

36. While I’ve always had a hard time with short-term memory, and working on keeping things organized has helped dramatically, I used to remember all kinds of things in my long-term memory. For the longest time, I could tell you exact details about events and the year they took place. I usually wound up using the college basketball national champion from that year as my reference.

Now? I’m lucky to remember who ran in the last presidential election.

I still remember all kinds of stuff. Don’t get me wrong. But I’ve noticed just a few small pieces of evidence here and there that my memory might not be as sharp as it once was.

35. What was I going to say for #35? I can’t remember.

34. I’ve been able to do some pretty remarkable things. I’ve stood on top of at least seven different mountains that were 10,000+ feet tall. I’ve been to three different continents. I’ve had the honor of baptizing more people than I can count.

A lot of the other good stuff is recorded in my “List,” but it’s still worth mentioning here.

33. I’ve watched people give birth. I’ve held newborn babies. I’ve also watched people die. Both are sacred events that cannot be taken lightly.

You know, circle of life and all that jazz.

32. I’ve done some pretty stupid things. Especially when I was younger. I’ve recorded some of these things on this blog, like my ax-ident and the time I jumped into an empty glass aquarium. I also did some pretty stupid things that I’ll never share here. Not because I want to keep them a secret, but because they generally involved other people and I don’t want to hurt them any more than I already did.

31. I haven’t done anything stupid in at least the last five years.

30. If you believe that, then I beg you not to talk to my wife or my boss about things I did yesterday. I’d rather just allow you to keep buying into that silly little pipe dream.

I don’t think I’ve done anything stupid today. Yet.

The day’s still relatively young.

29. I’ve known Christy more than half my life. We began dating almost 20 years ago. I love her.

28. I still love stories. I love writing them. I love reading them. I love watching them on the big screen. I have three short stories (or maybe they’re novel-length – I’m not sure yet) that are percolating in my brain. I also have a practical theology-type of book that I’ve been writing and will probably finish writing it before I finish the others.

I need to get these stories out of my head so I can make room for new ones.

27. The older I get, the more simple my theology has become:

  • God is big. Bigger than we can imagine. He is big enough to use even the worst circumstances.
  • Love Him.
  • Love others.
  • Follow Jesus.

That’s it. It’s that simple. Everything else is just secondary, at best.

26. I believe using your creativity is an act of worship. We were created in the image of the Creator. We have an innate creative spark within us. It really bothers me when Christians half-heartedly make a movie or a song or anything else for that matter and call it “creativity.” I firmly believe the most creative place on earth should be the local church. Unfortunately, many churches are the least creative. I wish I knew a way to help change that.

“The Christian in the one whose imagination should fly beyond the stars.”
– Francis Schaeffer ‘
Art & the Bible’

25. There are times when I wish I could slow down time. It’s like the hours and days go by so slowly, but the years have just flown by. How’s that for a paradox?

24. My politics have certainly changed over the years. There was a time in the 1990s when I strongly identified with the Christian Coalition and the Republican Revolution. Since then, I’ve become much more moderate because I don’t believe all politics are simply black and white issues. Those who still identify with the Christian Coalition probably think I’m a liberal loonie. And at the same time, I know some of you think I’m a right-wing nutjob. Just because I’m a Christian living in the state of Indiana, don’t assume I’m voting the way you think I’m going to vote.

Because I probably defy your labels. And I’m OK with that.

23Snoopy Come Home used to make me cry every time I watched it when I was a kid (it used to come on HBO all the time). In fact, it still makes me a little misty-eyed when I think about it.

22. I used to walk home from our elementary school. There were a couple of times when my music teacher would drive by me and offer a ride the rest of the way (it was only a couple of blocks).

Man, times have certainly changed. She probably would be all over the news if she did something like that today.

21. Can I be honest for a minute? I hated middle school. Hated it with a passion. The other students were mean. They had their cliques. They said hurtful things. They mocked the outsiders incessantly. Might have been the worst three years of my life.

Fortunately, I survived. And it got much better in high school and college.

But my middle school experience certainly didn’t help me help my kids navigate their middle school experiences, other than being able to say “It gets better. I promise”

Sometimes that might be all that really needs to be said, I guess.

20. I’m glad social media wasn’t around when I was in middle school or high school. I could’ve gotten myself into a whole lot of trouble.

19. I’ve lost weight – around 35 pounds in the last couple of years. I’m lighter than I’ve been in probably a decade.

18. I’ve learned to embrace the gray in my hair. I used to argue that it’s white and not gray. But it’s gray. I like to tell people it’s because I have three teenagers. Truth is, it’s probably more likely due to the fact that I had to deal with Church Boards for so many years.

I’m only half-joking.

17. I’ve lost some hearing. Maybe from my headphones. Maybe from blaring the music in my car as I drove 7+ hours home from Milligan. Who knows? But it’s apparent – especially the high pitched noises.

16. The older I get, the more I realize that my parents really did know what they were talking about. I remember having this epiphany in college and it completely changed my outlook on life.

15. I used to think 40 was old. Then I turned 30 and realized 40 wasn’t nearly as old as I thought.

14. I have come to understand the plight of people who are facing changes in their church. There are several weeks when I participate in a worship service and I don’t recognize any of the songs we’re singing. I get it. Change is hard. And there’s definitely something comforting about the familiar.

I understand that more every day as our world continues to change at such a rapid pace.

13. I once heard a preacher say that we need to grow thicker skins and softer hearts. That bothered me for some reason. Looking back some 15 years later? I think he’s right.

12. If I ever hurt you in any way, I’m sorry.

11. I don’t know who said it. Some say it was Mark Twain. Others say it was George Bernard Shaw. Still others say it was Oscar Wilde. I don’t think it matters who said it. The older I get, the more I find myself agreeing with this statement:

"Youth is wasted on the young."

10. My kids are the most amazing kids ever. You probably think  yours are. But you’re wrong.

9. Cancer sucks. I hate it.

Don’t read into this. I’m not sick. I know too many people who have been touched by cancer. And it sucks. That is all.

8. There will always be a very soft spot in my heart for Evansville. Some days, it’s hard not to listen to the gentle tug that suggests we move our family to my hometown.

7. There will always be a strong tug that suggests we move our family back to Upper East Tennessee, too.

6. I love living in Central Indiana. Except when it’s so cold outside I can’t feel my face. Or when politicians make our fair state look like a bunch of yokels.

5. I still love orange cake. Red velvet is a close second. And anything else chocolate is pretty close after that. It’s kind of neck and neck and neck. You know. Like in Cars.

Well…almost.

4. I really need to start working on crossing items off my list again. I’ve kind of slacked for a while.

3. I feel like the world is on the brink of spiraling out of control. I know the human race has been here before. But that doesn’t make things any less concerning. It seems like nobody is listening anymore. The only way to get things done is “my way or the highway,” shouting down anyone who might disagree or express any type of contrary opinion.

We’re better than this. Let’s listen more and shout less. Let’s try to work together instead of driving each other apart.

2. I always have been and always will be a Hoosier fan. When they fired Bob Knight more than 15 years ago, I tried to leave them. Because of our family’s connection with Purdue, I tried to become a Boilermakers fan.

I just couldn’t do it.

I bleed Cream and Crimson and I’m not afraid to show my stripes.

Hoosiers family

Indiana, we’re all for you!

1. I’m glad I discovered the Todd family motto a few years ago. I honestly have no idea if it’s directly connected to my Todd family, but I love it all the same and have claimed it as my own.

“It behooves us to live!”

None of us knows how long we’re going to be here. So let’s make the most of the time we have. Let’s live life to the fullest!

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Howdy. I'm Matt Todd. My wife and I have four kids and a dog,. I'm passionate about orphan care. I'm a die-hard fan of the Evansville Aces, the Indiana Hoosiers, and Star Wars. I'm trying to live life by the Todd family motto: "It behooves us to live!"

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