I recently read a post on Facebook that said, “I know the secret to life, but I can’t tell you, because it’s a secret.” It made me laugh at first, but then it made me think. Life has become an interesting place. It’s filled with happiness, sadness, joy, and even anger. When you hit certain markers or ages in your life, you have different reasons celebrate. For good or bad, you look back at where you’ve been, who your friends are, and what you have accomplished.
The younger years are easy, at eighteen you’re proud of the cool people you hang out with. You’ve finally gotten through high school, and now you’re officially an adult, and you know everything. You have high hopes of how you can change the world and make it a much better place than your parents, and the generation before you did.
At the age of twenty one it is generally the same you may have better friends; you’re almost out of college, and now you’re officially old enough to drink, even though you have done it before. You know where you’re heading, and you know nothing can stop you from grabbing onto your dreams. You definitely know more than your parents, and you have all your ducks lined up in a neat little row.
Thirty is where things go slightly dicey. If you’re married, have a job, and a child or two on the way things are still alright. Your friends aren’t the same, and you’ve stopped worrying about changing the world and you are more worried about changing the babysitter’s schedule so you can get out once in a while.
If you don’t have these things, even if you don’t want them, people start looking at you differently. I’m not really sure why this is; I have friends who have never gotten married and are leading very happy, fulfilling lives. Now thinking back I wonder why we do that. As a freer thinking society, why do we still, not only look for, but crave those neat little boxes to put ourselves in? I’ve heard people, and the media answer because “it’s what’s supposed to happen,” but why? I guess it never occurred to me, until now, because at 30, I was married and had two children.
At forty, this is where it gets really interesting. Your friends fit into four categories; single, happily married, acting happily married, and divorcing/divorced. You need not only to have a job to be successful; but a good job that you’re great at and make a lot of money. Your children have to be really well behaved, so they don’t embarrass you at functions, and you’re supposed to have a large house, whether you can afford it or not, and nice cars.
I’ve come to the realization that this is where we’ve all gone crazy. It’s fine to save up to get better things and to try to live in a quiet, safe, better community. However, our society and economy are hurting on this very neatly, yet beautifully wrapped box. Some expect that these things will be handed to them even if there the job can’t afford it, and they go crazy trying to sustain it. I believe at forty you should be old enough to understand what makes you and your loved ones happy and that is what you should pursue. If you can’t afford something buying it anyway doesn’t help, and eventually the bill always catches up to you, and leaves you thinking was it really worth it?
As you might have guessed I just recently turned forty and no, I don’t understand the universe or all the treasures that it holds. I do understand I still don’t know all the answers; I’m not sure I even know all the questions yet. Friends ask me if I was upset because I was turning forty soon, but I wasn’t. For some reason, forty makes people worry about aging; I think it’s about knowledge and learning to use it so now you can get it right.
My husband and I argue occasionally, but we talk and listen to each other more, and we truly love each other. Our children aren’t perfect, but they amazing and unique, and I am a better person for knowing them, and hopefully I don’t embarrass them too much I’m not worried about fifty or sixty. However, seventy scares me a little, but with God’s help and my grandparent’s longevity I’ll be there, and I think it will be just as fun as forty is.