I had a surreal moment this morning while walking to get breakfast at work. As I was walking through the parking lot, a sudden wave of awareness came over me when I realized that I was truly 40 years old for almost a month now. The majority of my life I have never “felt” my age and always felt younger than I actually was. For some unknown reason this morning, that feeling stopped. I started to think about the fact that approximately 50% of my life was now in the past, I had only 25-ish years to continue saving for a retirement I don’t think I’ll be ready for, and I will be at or near 50 when my daughter graduates from high school.
Growing up, I’ve always had what others referred to as a “baby face” and I think that has contributed to my self-image being perceived younger than it actually was. My voice didn’t significantly change tone until almost out of my teens; a fact that didn’t help me with cruel people in high school. Having recently caught up to some old acquaintances from high school, it was clear that they had all aged (some gracefully, other not so) and were well into their lives. On the surface they had things together and appeared to be on plan. I myself have a had a few speed bumps, but nothing too severe as to derail me from my life goals.
This new thought pattern, starting today, is drastically different from anything I’ve experienced in the past and its unsettling. Unsettling in the realization that I no longer have the luxury of saying “I still have xx years to get to that.” Procrastination in this case is the evil elephant in the room that had patiently waited in the shadows until I finally saw he was lurking. I never really had an official plan (or as my Father would put it, critical path) for my life and have gone with my instinct and gut feeling all these years. The strategy paid off in the end as I’m in a good job, have a good life (sort-of), and am generally happy with what I see. That current strategy is showing its age though, and now is no longer relevant or appropriate going forward. I need a new plan.
P.S. – This is my 100th post 🙂