Five weekends ago, I was having time with my family early on a Saturday morning when my daughter exclaimed that I had white hair on my head. She was so vocal about it. I had to explain to her that everyone grows old and that some day she would have the same. I pointed her to how her grandparents had much more white hair than I did. The silly girl went ahead to call her grandma to lament my white hair all the same. Of course, grandma gave her an explanation similar to what I already delivered. Yes; we all grow old.
Before this time, I never gave much thought to the saying, “Life begins at 40”. But as I approached that age, it became almost impossible to avoid thinking about it. As such, I have been mulling on this for about a month now. What does life beginning at 40 mean?
At 20, you had dreams and made plans built on ideals. In your mind, you had the world figured out, but with little or no experience. At 30, you were running along based on your ideals – and gathering experience along the way. You were likely finding out the difference between ideals and reality, and trying to find your sweet spot. You discovered that life was not really black or white, but 70 shades of grey. At 40, chances are that you have seen and experienced enough of life to have formed the values and principles that you will live the rest of your life by.
At 40, you don’t have many of the worries (real or imagined) that you had when you were 20 or 30. At 40, you’ve learned what’s important to you and what’s not – and can’t be bothered about how others feel about it all. At 40, you have failed and succeeded, or succeeded and failed, depending on whatever order and cycle that your experiences have come. And hopefully, you have learnt from the failings. At 40, you have also accomplished things. You are known for something or a variety of things. You have your priorities set firmly, and most likely set in stone.
Hopefully, you have also learnt to be more open to appreciating and respecting other peoples’ opinions, even if you do not agree with them. So while you know what you want out of life, you can see clearly how the other person can be happy not wanting what you want. Perhaps this is the hardest part of growing old.
While life does not literally begin at 40, perhaps it is not far from the truth that you only really begin to live life on your own terms at 40. Today, I clock the proverbial age of 40. Here I am standing at the crossroads of the popular saying that life begins at 40. And here I am, looking forward to the most amazing years of my life. You see, I’ve only just began to live!
At 40, while I do not have everything that I desire, I feel fulfilled. It has been a mixed bag for me, but then life is like that for everyone else I know. Find out a bit more about me here.
PS: If you love fast cars and bikes like I do, life may begin at 40, but it sure gets really exciting at 150! Let’s go!!