This summer marks the 40thyear of my life. This is the season when I am “over the hill”—the half-way point of my journey. I haven’t decided how I feel about it. Should I feel a certain way? What’s the protocol for this new season?
I have a friend who grins wide whenever we chat about her being in her forties, and always breathes out, something along the lines of these being “the best years yet”. She’s sincere. She says it with relaxed acceptance. When the words slide out of her mouth, it’s as if they sparkle when making contact with the external air between our faces. She models for me, the full embrace of my coming age.
I realized the other day how often lately, I’ve half-joked about being “too old” for this or that thing, or some activity,
wearing heels of a certain height
staying up until dawn
eating greasy cheeseburgers
I’ve said it with my tongue in my cheek, but I wonder if I’m beginning to believe that age is a confinement. A reduction of privileges. A limiter of experiences. I wonder if in looking at a life-half over, I am subconsciously closing doors to adventures yet to be taken. My daughter’s question becomes my own—do grown-ups…?
If our lives are a day, then middle age is the afternoon of life. I thought about this when I read Robert Frost’s words,
“The afternoon knows what the morning never suspected.”
Who among us could disagree with the reality that our lives bear the marks and scars of experiences we never saw coming when we were children?