Year forty. Can’t say I never thought I’d live to see it, but I did think by this time in life things would make a lot more sense. I imagined I’d be a lot more settled with less questions in the face of the grand scheme of things. I assumed I’d have a lot more confidence and way less baggage. I’m aware that it has been my choices that have brought me to this fourth decade far and away from where I thought I’d be, but a part of me hoped by this time what I termed a “happy life” wouldn’t be so much the end result of a Rube Goldberg machine as it would an easy, breezy slide into the home base of contentment.
In the week leading up to today I’ve struggled more with my ideals of self than I ever have in my life. I’ve had to look at my past perception of what forty should be and make peace with what forty actually is. No I don’t have the degree or job or house or marriage or even children most forty year olds have. No I haven’t built up a nest egg for my declining years or saved up for my grandchildren’s college funds. But who says that’s where I should be right now? My preconceived notions of what forty “should be” caused me to lash out unnecessarily at a life that has been a very fulfilling one when you look at it constructively. I’ve known love, I’ve made friends, I’ve learned, I’ve laughed, I’ve traveled way more than a lot of my peers… Aren’t those the things that make a life worth living? Expectations aside, I’ve lived a life that’s full, and the fact that I did it my way should be a bonus, right?
It’s been somewhat of an awkward arrival, especially the past few months where I seem to have given up way more than I’ve gained. Forty finds me more reclusive, introverted, and melancholy than in latter years due to that fact. Forty finds me less willing to extend belief in others ability to “get me” and closing certain social circles to only include those who do. Forty also finds me less willing to compromise myself or my vision of what a whole and complete me will look like at the end of life’s race. It’s taken a lot of fighting myself in the desert of my despair to come to the point where I realize my “happy” doesn’t have to look like everyone else’s. Now comes the time to stand by my conviction and trust that I know what that “happy” will be in the days to come.