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From the top of the proverbial hill

My favorite part of almost every movie is what I call the musical montage. It usually starts with the main character realizing the need for change and taking drastic action.

The alarm clock rings at 0-dark-thirty, heart-thumping theme music pounds as they bolt out of bed, drink raw eggs, and run a bajillion miles in the dark, wearing a stylish hoodie and greeting the sunrise in a triumphant mountaintop moment.

You’ve seen the variations of the musical montage. Rocky. Karate Kid. Clueless. Even Cinderella has her big transformation.

And you’ve probably seen it in real life, too. The mom who, after having her fourth child, somehow loses 100 pounds and runs a marathon. The doctor who gives up his lucrative practice to serve needy families. The grandmother who finally realizes her dream of getting her college degree.

I’m fascinated by people who transform their lives——those who face the fork in the road and choose the upward climb.

This was a big year.

I turned 40. Hard to believe it’s gone by so quickly. School, marriage, children, work. It’s been a wonderful blur.

But now that I’m teetering at the top of the proverbial hill, it’s time to decide what’s next. I’m at that fork in the road.

Society tells me it’s all coasting from here, but that doesn’t sit right with me.

My goodness. I’m forty. I’m not dead. Who wants to coast?

I’m thinking now that I’ve conquered the hill, it’s time to find a mountain. Perhaps arriving at the midpoint of our lives means the best is yet to come?

Stories are always better in the second half. Broadway plays never reach their climax until after intermission. Movies get more exciting at the end. Sporting events are hardly worth watching until the final dramatic moments.

What if every year we reached new heights and took our last breath at the top of a mountain that we’d spent our entire life conquering, all the while blazing trails for others?

Did you know that Laura Ingalls Wilder didn’t write her first book until she was 65? Julia Child was 40 when she discovered her passion for cooking. John Wooden, the winningest coach in college basketball history, wrote ten books, many New York Times bestsellers, after the age of 90. Renowned painter Grandma Moses didn’t pick up a brush until the age of 76, and still managed to paint over 1000 paintings in her final 25 years.

Mother Theresa, Nelson Mandela, and Ghandi certainly didn’t choose to coast in the later halves of their lives.

It’s crazy how much we change from the moment we are born to the moment we blow out the candles on our 20th birthday cake. Not only do we transform physically, but the way we learn about the world, other people, and how to leave our legacy is truly amazing.

I wonder.

What if we continued to change just as radically every following 20 years as we did the first?

80+ full years of internal transformation. Filled to overflowing with wisdom, grace, kindness, strength, courage, patience and maybe qualities we don’t even have words for now?

In 40 more years, I want to have lived in such a way that people around me long to be 80 more than they long to be 18 again.


What about you? Have you plateaued in your growth? Are you ready for a musical montage?

Your life matters. No matter how small, insignificant, unorganized or visionless you feel, there never has been anyone like you and there never, ever will be. God is not a redundant creator.

No matter how old or young you are, there are people you are meant to love, lives to influence, words to speak, work to do, truth to share, and peace to offer.

And as long as we are alive we have room to grow. There is always hope, possibility, and another peak to climb. So if you find yourself at a fork in the road, choose the climb.

Maybe it’s time for your musical montage.

Reading Time:

3 minutes





  1. Maryalene

    What a great perspective on what so many people see as a sad milestone. I love the idea of a musical montage…makes transformation feel more like fun and less like work.

    However, I really think there would be no better way to celebrate a 40th birthday than to record another episode of the How They Blog podcast. 😉

    • Kat Lee

      Ha! Noted. I do hope to pick it back up…just not sure how yet. 🙂

    • kimberlee

      Just beautiful…I can’t begin to describe how overwhelming reading this was as it felt like you were reading from my heart and soul…I am right there…I am glad to know I am with others at the fork.
      Can’t explain it bit this post really hit home and took my breath away for a second.
      thank you for your time kimberlee

  2. Devi

    YES, this is necessary truth in our youth-obsessed society and communities. I often have to fight the feeling that there’s not enough time or that if I was back in university, I would do things this way or that way. There is still so much ahead for all of us, and if I am alive, there is something I can do. Thanks for sharing, Kat.

    • Kat Lee

      I’m so glad it resonated with you Devi.

  3. Nick P.

    Thanks for this! It is very timely as I’m turning 30 this month and have been grappling with thoughts that I might be at the zenith of my life. Feeling that you still have an incredible life ahead of you makes turning 30 more of a celebration than something to be filled.

    • Kat Lee

      Definitely, a celebration! Happy birthday.

  4. Kariane

    I love this perspective! I too have no intention to coast. I have a heart full of dreams, and I plan to continue to run after them. 🙂

    • Kat Lee

      Yes. Run, Kariane, run!

  5. Abbi

    Beautifully written! I work with a 92 year old lady and she is still loving, serving, and growing. Such an inspiration. Thanks for your work in words Kat.

    • Kat Lee

      Oh, that is so neat, such an honor for you to spend time with her. What stories she must have!

  6. Tonya

    This is wonderful! My husband and I (at 46 and 49 with our youngest of seven children having just turned 4) discovered what we plan to do in 14 years – sell our home, buy a small RV and become missionaries here in the US – traveling to wherever God leads us… and visiting children and grandchildren in between. It is never too late as long as you are breathing.

  7. Lisa

    So inspiring! Thank you (I just turned 57 years young.) Very encouraging.

  8. Kaitlin Curtice

    Thanks so much for this.

    I just turned 27, and really, it’s like birthdays are my New Year’s resolution time. I re-evaluate. I look back and I look ahead.

    And it just so happens that right now, I have two toddler boys who keep me tethered to life, to reality, and to a really magical imagination, and I’m so thankful for that.

    We are learning and thriving and growing at every single age of our lives, aren’t we? Thank you for the reminder!

  9. Margot

    Yes! Yes! Yes! So amazing to think about all the changes we experience throughout our lives and to know 40 may just be the musical montage on moves into the next fantastic adventure of life. This is so positive and inspiring. Thank you!

  10. stacy @awellstockedlife

    Sometimes we get the right message on the exact day we need it…I was listening to Mr. Dave Ramsey today talking about insurance and the need for disability and long term coverage–kind of made me a little less than excited about life after intermission;) and then I thought about an aunt who is past 80 and living life to its fullest today…your message helped bring those thoughts home–and so I’m ready to climb a mountain!! Thanks you–I needed this!!

  11. Alana

    I just turned 40 too, and I love this! Thank you for some hopeful perspective on what tends to be a negative milestone.

  12. Grace from London

    Kat, I LOVE your writing. Please write more on your own Blog.
    Also, please tell me, because I need to know, how?

  13. Rebecca A

    Good Morning, thank you. I too am at a peak and choose to climb still. I’ve made some suprising goals at this point and look forward to checking them off. Still climbing.

  14. Bobbi

    Loved this – Thank you!
    Your 40’s & 50’s can be the best years of your life! Enjoy! The best is yet to come 🙂

  15. Jessica

    This is a lovely post. I am nearing 48 and feel like only now am I getting to the juicy part of my life. I am like one of those flowers that blooms more than once in it’s life – just decades apart! After being a high-level athlete in my younger years it has taken me a long time to forgive myself for not achieving what I thought I should have. And now I get the chance to become the writer I always wanted to be, but didn’t because I thought I would never live up to my own expectations the way I didn’t in sports. It’s never too late to become who you were meant to be. Say Yes. Be Brave. Live a little. <3

  16. Cornelia Becker Seigneur

    Such a great reminder and WOW, I do not think I knew that about Laura Ingalls Wilder! I love hearing stories like that to remind us – to continue pursuing our dreams. We can make a difference no matter what age or season! I love the quote from CS Lewis: You are never to old to set another goal or dream a new dream! – cornelia

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