Birthdays are happy occasions, but they also mark another step in our slow, inevitable march to the fate that awaits us all: death. We know this, of course, but rarely acknowledge it—it’s kind of hard to follow such a bleak truth with cake and the birthday song.
One man, however, recently got a stark reminder of his mortality via this darkly funny sympathy card from his 14-year-old son on the occasion of his 40th birthday, which was posted to Reddit:
“Dear father,” the note begins. “We are very supportive to you during these times. Death may just be around the corner. We love you very much and will take care of you as you get older. I got you this blanket to comfort you. I love you very much.
“With sympathy, Dylan,” the son’s message finished.
The recipient, Maryland police officer Simon VanLeuven, shared a photo of the card, which bears the inscription: “Pure hearts and prayers are with you at this time.”
“He’s always been hilarious when it comes to cards and everything else in life,” the elder VanLeuven told the website BestLife. “He comes up with the most off-the-wall things. Whether it’s condolences for birthdays or instructions to fitness programs inside Christmas cards. Always a good laugh.”
Some men might not be such good sports about japes about their advancing years, but VanLeuven seems to get it: Getting older actually has its benefits. Sure, those first few gray hairs may be an unpleasant discovery, and you may not be able to eat the way you used to, and you can somehow injure yourself while sleeping. But there are also many things that improve in your life as you get older. Your relationships deepen. You’re more secure in yourself. And, best of all, you make as many terrible dad jokes as your heart desires—there’s no beating that!
It might get harder to stay in shape the older you get—but you can also knock years off your biological age by taking care of yourself. Check out some of our workout tips for guys over 40 if you need a little inspiration. And keep in mind the old maxim that it’s not about how old you are, but about how old you feel.
“I was kinda nervous turning 40, but now I’m more confident than ever,” VanLeuven said. “[I feel like] a well-rounded and seasoned adult, and I have two teenage sons that keep me young! I’ve always maintained good health through diet and exercise. Just gotta keep up with it. Though it’s never too late to get started, either. I’m definitely reaping the benefits of always having been active and challenging myself.
“I’m ready for the next 40!” he said.