Monday, April 30, 2012

On being 43

Aging is full of surprises, and pretty much nothing like you expect it to be.

For instance I've always thought of 40+ as a kind of middle age: slower, wiser, less energetic. At 43, I feel none of these - indeed the biggest surprise is that I feel almost no different about so many things. I'm still into technology, still enjoy a spot of coding, still like to read, and still like to ramble - as evidenced by this post.

A few things do change though - in unexpected ways. I like listening to songs with meaningful lyrics. But I found that I'd taken an instinctive aversion to meaningful lyrics by 20-somethings - surely no one so young could be so deep ! On the other end of the spectrum, after reading a book or an article if I found that the writer was a 40-something I was suddenly less impressed. I mean, I'm 40-something, surely someone so young could not be so wise !!

In both cases, I've overcome my initial knee-jerk reaction and I'm mostly happy to enjoy music from the the young and wisdom from the not so old. As I grow older, I will need to watch out for new biases and aging assumptions.

In other way, things continue to get better. Whether or not age brings wisdom, it does bring perspective born from experience. And perspective is everything. The ability to calmly analyze one's own reactions, contemplate the bigger picture, and accept the inevitable is not just useful - it is the key to sanity. And sanity is survival.

I'm not sure this is where I wanted to be at 43, but that's OK because I never did know where I really wanted to be - and the good news is that I still don't know where I want to be at 53.

Certainty is over-rated. While we pretend to search for  a secure and predictable future, we secretly long for the unexpected and the serendipitous. 43 is a good age: there is just enough security to take the edge off the frenzied worries of younger days; and yet there is still enough energy to be game for a little more adventure.

Tomorrow will come around, another year will start...the adventure is just beginning.....

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