Most of us love routine. It grounds us, makes us feel comfortable and better able to handle what life throws at us.

I’ve written before about the discipline I enjoy from writing this blog. The quantity of my audience is of secondary importance, though I hope the small number that do subscribe or come across it feel the quality.

Some time ago, my wife turned 39. I had pondered long and hard about how to commemorate this event. For my 40th, my good lady had bought me 40 – yes 40 – presents. Now some of them were very small, but they were all extremely well chosen. My wife is not a big fan of shopping, but she is of Olympic standard when it comes to buying gifts for others.

With the bar set so high, then, I wanted to get it right. My answer was a concept that I called ’40 for 40’, an unwitting homage to the fabulous ESPN sports documentaries with a similar name. I decided that every week, for 40 weeks before my wife hit the 5th decade, I would present her with a gift and a card extolling one of her many virtues. Cute, huh? It was actually pretty tough finding 40 different and appropriate presents to reflect the topic of my card. The weekly discipline became a challenge I enjoyed. Sometimes I was a few weeks ahead of the game, and other times I was sweating it the day before.

I don’t remember ever missing the weekly deadline, and at the end of the 40 weeks I presented her with a book I had printed that collated the sentiments from the previous 40 weeks.

There’s interesting postscript to this example: whilst my good lady was very appreciative of the gifts and the thoughtfulness, the one thing she didn’t like was the weekly reminder, 9 months in, that she was ending one decade and starting another…

Still, you can’t win them all. I enjoyed the process :-).