I recently turned 40 and I love it. I have actually loved everything about getting older since I hit 30. For me, there is absolutely nothing that didn't get BETTER in my life as I got further away from my 20's and deeper into my 30's. I am thrilled to be in my 40's. It's true!
Why am I so gung-ho about aging?
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I feel freed by it. When I was younger, I was much more concerned with being The Best, making a name for myself, and competing. I wanted to please people and be well-liked. Saving face was crucial. I thought first about how my life choices would LOOK to other people, and then about how they would affect ME and my own fulfillment. I walked through my life with a certain trepidation, fearful on some level of making a mistake or not being 'good enough' - at anything, including Life. I was young, and I didn't realize all the different ways there are of being in the world, or the many different definitions of 'success'.
Bravado and social mask aside, I was probably the last person whose opinion I sought out - about my own life or what would make me happy. Man, it was exhausting to do all my living for other people's satisfaction - particularly when they had no idea that's what I was doing.
As I get older I realize that....nobody is paying that much attention to anybody else! Ha! My fantasy that there was an international committee of judges, holding massive conventions about me and my life...... was, shall we say, unfounded.
As life goes on, experience becomes a fantastic teacher. So far, the world has not come to an end because of a choice that I made in my life. Honestly, the most awesome lesson I have learned as I've grown older is that no one is watching you like you think they are! The battalion of people who you imagine will string you up or shun you for your choices......doesn't exist. It's like when you're doing anything that really, really matters to you (applying for a loan, planning a wedding, trying to find the 'perfect' outfit) - those things will NEVER matter to anyone else as much as they matter to YOU, the person going through it, who has to live with the consequences. This lesson emboldens me to live my life more fully on my own terms, the way I truly, truly want. Because - honestly - nobody else really cares like I do. It's true! And why should they? They've got their own lives to live - and they're not worried about what you think of their choices.
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Just live your life - fully, and exactly how you choose. That's my 'take-away' from my first 40-years. In the end, life is too short and it's your journey to travel. It's your time on the earth, and it's you who has the privilege of moving through the next few days and decades. How would you really like to spend your life?
How do you feel about growing older? Are you looking forward to it? Dreading it? What wisdom or perspective, if any, do you feel you've gained?