Today, I turned forty years old. It does feel a bit strange. I feel as if I’m on a ship entering uncharted waters. Where I am going is a mystery. In many ways, where I’ve come from is also a mystery. In fact, I think life is just one big mysterious adventure. You don’t know where you came from and have no idea where you are going until the end. You are just here – for now.
Hopefully, that childhood rhyme about life being but a dream is true. At least there is something to look forward to: waking up. Forest Gump fans are going to be thinking about chocolates right now.
I’m not saying that life is bad for me. Quite the contrary, even though I live in relative poverty when compared to the millions of millionaires out there, I still live in a better situation than the majority of human beings on planet Earth. There is plenty to give thanks for. I’m certainly not complaining.
Yet, I feel compelled to be a bit critical about things. Primarily, I want to avoid going through life with the proverbial ‘rose colored glasses’.
Let’s be real about life. It’s a drag. We wake up in the morning and we have to eat. If we don’t, we won’t feel good and if we avoid eating for too long we won’t make it to our next birthdays. For me that would be forty- one. I may have covered that one already? I hope I’m not getting old?
According to psychology, forty is the age of mental maturity. We can certainly hope!
Life IS different even though I was still in my thirties yesterday. Meditation was different this morning. I realized during meditation that all of my moods and state’s of mind are temporary. You probably think I should have realized something like that a long time ago. Maybe there is something to that mental maturity thing after all. Maybe not.
I was invincible up to about the age of twenty-seven, then I realized I was indeed in a mortal body, even if my spirit is immortal. I can die. So, I had that one covered already.
Actually, death isn’t so bad. If you have any doubts, run over to Near-Death.com and read some of those stories. It sounds pretty good most of the time. Yes, there are a couple of stories about the ‘bad place’ there too. But most people seem to have a pleasant experience. Maybe the odds are in my favor?
I guess when you hit the far side of forty, you are obligated to think about these things. You have to think about your mortality and writing a Will and getting rid of your pre-forty records and clothes. You should buy a bigger house after forty because, well, your metabolism slows down and you become a bigger person. So you need more room to house your larger existence.
And if you live in America, you have to actually start thinking about getting married if you’ve never been. Americans often stay single longer than other countries. It’s because we are a little less practical than our foreign contemporaries. Time to think about marriage, because, let’s face it, I’m not getting any younger. Fortunately, I met a nice girl from Germany while I was still in my thirties. I don’t have to join any forty plus dating sites. Lucked out there.
I guess there are some other good things. I’m a man and men tend to appear more distinguished as they age. So, I have that in my favor. I’m looking more attractive to women now, right?
Oh, I think insurance rates go down even further when you are forty.
When you hit forty you can get away with more. People tend to be more forgiving. I remember my friend’s story about his grandfather who backed out of a parking lot and hit another car. He paused for a moment, leaned out the window and said to the bystanders, “It’s all right, I’m O.K.”. Then, he proceeded to drive off. There were no repercussions for him.
Come to think of it, I sailed right through a red light this morning and no one said a word. So you see, life does get better after forty.
I’m setting my sights on fifty now. I’ve got ten years of hard work ahead of me, if I’m going to make it.
After forty, almost everyone has glasses. I need to grab mine now, the rose colored ones, please. Let me put them on. Ah, yes. Life sure looks better now!
David Snape is the author of What You Should Know about Gum Disease – something that does affect many younger than forty, contrary to popular opinion. He also answers health and wellness questions at https://tobeinformed.com and writes about other topics at https://allthingspondered.com