When I read a poignant rumination on what it’s like to be 45 years old, I found myself thinking back fifteen years to the time I was forty-five. I tried to recall how I felt, what I thought I had learned, and how I envisioned the future. My time as a forty-five-year-old man was different from Emily Mendell’s time as a forty-five year-old woman. I was not as mature then as she is now. I had not learned life’s lessons as well. At forty-five, I was still striving to achieve things I’ve since realized were not particularly important.
On the one hand, I wish I’d had the maturity and self-knowledge to have known, then, what I would learn about myself in the succeeding years. But on the other, I’m glad to have had the experience of running headlong into epiphany and epiphany, realizing time and time again how very fortunate I am.
Had I known then what I know now, I might have retired from my first career as association executive and business owner earlier than I did (at 58), but if I had done that, I would have been forced to move immediately to something else to put food on the table. And I might not made some of the decisions that enabled me to retire a bit early.
I hope the next fifteen years prove as insightful and as eye-opening as the last fifteen. And I hope they are as good to me and my wife as these last fifteen have been. We’re about to embark on a new adventure that may see me starting a new business (or maybe not), that may have us wandering around the country more (probably), and that has the potential of being…of continuing to be…very, very happy. At this very moment, I am decidedly happy about life. I know there will be obstacles, road-bumps, annoyances, and the like, but they’re all part of the process of enjoyment…without them, I might not appreciate their absence as much after I’ve experienced them!