A Sysadmin Looks At Forty

Last night, I watched WarGames for the first time in years.

There’s a great quote in the middle of the movie, where Matthew Broderick and Ally Sheedy’s characters are discussing the untimely (and greatly exaggerated) demise of Professor Falken:

No, he was pretty old. He was 41.

  • David Lightman (Matthew Broderick), WarGames

Oh yeah? Oh, that’s old.

  • Jennifer (Ally Sheedy), WarGames

Thankfully as of yesterday, I’m only 40. Whew.


In January of this year, I set a goal for myself. Lose 40 pounds by age 40.

In May, I crossed the 40lb mark, and stayed there. Yesterday I was just at 48 pounds down.

I took the day off yesterday and I ran around Lake Johnson, my favorite park in Raleigh, Map My Run says the paved parts are 3.35 miles total, I did it in about 30 minutes. The last time I did that was about 11 years ago. And I felt better today at 40 than I did then at 29.

I didn’t make the goal public. I didn’t announce it. I changed my diet, I started walking around the neighborhood. And after a while, the walking seemed like it was taking too long. So when I could, I started jogging to make it go faster.

It was just head down. One foot in front of the other. Day in, day out.


So I guess maybe I’ve been thinking about 40 for a while.

It’s an occasion on which I feel like I’m supposed to have something more profound to say. By the time the day happened, I wasn’t any closer to any grand insights.

It was as I would have had it be. No grand celebrations. A quiet day at home with my wife, my dogs, my cat, a great dinner, and a bottle of malbec.

As for 40? It all feels a little anti-climatic really.


40 is a great age. I feel better than I felt at 29. I feel good about my work, and what I know, and most importantly at age 40 that I didn’t have at 29 – what all I don’t.

I’ve spent my entire life thinking about “what’s next?”. And 40 isn’t any different. I’m not sure about what’s next. I’ve got some ideas. Maybe the next age to think about is 42. 42 is, after all, the ultimate answer – given the right question. I’m just not quite sure what that question is just yet.

Certainly, I’m not at all satisfied with it all. I’m not sure that’s possible for me.

But maybe for the first time in as long as I can remember, it’s okay. It’s really okay. It’s a good life.

And maybe that’s all the profundity one needs.