Today – I turn 40.

I suppose this is something of a self-reflecting post.

I remember listening to Tim Mcgraw’s ‘My Next 30 Years’ when I was in my early 20’s and thinking that 30 was so far away. But here I am at 40.

And I guess there’s a few things I’d like to say. In no particular order except as it flows from my brain to yours…

First, I’m thankful for my parents. They worked hard, suffered greatly because of me, and spent more than a bunch of nights worrying and praying over me. I am where I am now because I had their support always, from the police station, to bad relationships, to my post-concussive syndrome that nearly destroyed my career, marriage, family, and almost led to me taking my own life. They set the bar for me as a parent now, to always be there for the kids, with guidance and help and the occasional sigh and shake of the head. They never stopped loving me.

Second, my friends over the years. From the best friend I had growing up, who is now in prison for horrific crimes and needs to be hanged, to the core group through my early college years that I still keep in touch with, to those who’ve come and gone over the years. You’ve all influenced me in some way. Some of you were certainly better than others, and thankfully some of you are still around. I ran into one of you a couple weeks ago, who I hadn’t seen in 13 years, and it was amazing to see how much our friendship still meant to both of us, and how far I’d come since those early arrogant days of mine. (I thought it was confidence…)

Third, my old flames. Sup, ex-ladies? Most of you were terrible. All of you were forgettable or regrettable in some way or fashion. But one of you led me to Christ through your constant positive influence through all of my toxicity. For that I will always and eternally be grateful. You, and you alone, are cool. And I know we’ll always be in each others corners rooting for each other as we make our way through this fallen world with our own separate families.

Fourth, my wife. You are the light of my life. You are my best friend, my confidant, my better half, and often my own personal Jimminy Cricket telling me to delete stuff I post on social media. I wish we’d met each other many, many, many years prior. But to be honest, neither of us was ready for each other then. We had to grow, change, develop, and learn to be better and healthy people first. But ever since my Sophomore year of High School, when I spotted this hot Senior chick in a yearbook photo eating caviar in French Class- I never would have suspected I’d marry her a decade later and we’d have a family together. SCORE!

Fifth, my kids. Geez, you guys drive me bonkers sometimes. A lot of times. Parenting is not for the weak of heart. But it’s absolutely worth it. Watching you grow is the greatest pleasure of my life. I know I don’t always get it right, and I know I’ve had to apologize more than once to you for getting it wrong, but I’m going to keep trying. You’re worth every bit of the struggle to maintain my sanity and finances.

Sixth, my siblings. My sister used to beat me up and cheat at board games. My little brother used to mock me for living at home and struggling to graduate college. You guys are ok, I guess.

Seventh, the glorious Marine Corps. Holy smokes. Did I ever need you in my life. You gave me the missing pieces of myself. Honor. Discipline. Courage. And the desire to improve myself through hard work and misery. You gave me everything I wanted and needed except multiple deployments to put my killer instincts to the test on the battlefield. But because of those six miserable yet wonderful years, I developed into a man and took command of my life and the direction it went. I went from an arrogant man-child to a confident man-man. Thank you.

Eight, my Lord and Savior. I don’t have the words. But I am yours and you are mine, eternally. I humbly crave the day where I step into your presence, to stay forever.

Anyways, I’m certain I’m forgetting so so so much to be thankful for and reflect on. But I’ve today off and need to get an oil change and write about 10,000 words while the kids are in school.

But I’m very thankful for you, my readers. I never thought in a million years that my books would do as well as they are. And it’s always humbling to see someone be entertained by something that came from my twisted brain to paper. You are, however, the reason for many long and stressful nights as I try to get words out. But you’re totally worth it! As long as you keep reading, I’ll keep writing. And maybe one day, I’ll get to do this for a living. Then I could REALLY churn out the books!

Thanks everyone.

Here’s to going over the hill!

Author: Erik 'Tracer' Testerman

Erik Testerman is a Marine Corps grunt, a competitive shooter, and an admirer of fine arms and armaments. He lives in the mountains of North Carolina with his lovely wife, two rambunctious children, and a slobbery English Mastiff. To learn more about Erik Testerman and read samples of his work, visit

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