I turned 40 two weeks ago. It seems like I should be marking this occasion with some sort of wisdom or rite of passage. What would that be? The truth is not only do I not feel wiser I actually feel more stupid.
When you are in your twenties your life is filled with possibility and uncertainty. We all crane our necks trying to peer over the fence into adulthood wondering what it is going to look like, unaware that we are already there. By thirty we KNOW we are adults and are filled with the confidence and certainty that this self-awareness brings. We’re married, we have kids, houses, cars, careers and life seems rather simple for those who know how to “follow the rules”. But the journey from thirty to forty is tough and exhausting.
At 40 I’ve realized that having a “plan” for life is the silliest most fruitless thing ever. Plans are meant for those who have yet to come to terms with the fact that life is not something that can be controlled. All the idealistic and optimistic visions of my early thirties have been smacked in the head with reality. In many ways my life is better, more fruitful, richer and painted with more vibrant colors than I was capable of imagining at thirty. On the other hand I’m also far more humble. I’ve been knocked on my knees, fallen to the floor and wondered “what next?” too many times during my thirties. I know not to take the good times for granted and that the unexpected tragedy is the other side of the rainbow that fills our lives.
I plan on spending my forties enjoying the seeds I sowed in my thirties. I’m looking forward to watching my children grow up. I want to wallow in my new career as an educator and watch my students blossom. Most importantly, I’m looking forward to countless evenings sitting with David on our front porch, watching the moon, talking quietly about our kids, our jobs, and laughing at life.