Life Begins at Forty

They say life begins at forty.

Or is it life begins at conception?

Or maybe life begins sometime when you can actually ask these questions…

“At fifteen I set my heart on learning; at thirty I took my stand; at forty I came to be free from doubts…” Confucius.

I don’t mean to sound too deep or introspective but isn’t that what you’re supposed to do? Isn’t 40 when you are supposed to have some sort of assessment on your life trying to weigh all that has gone on in your life up to that point and judge whether you’re on the right track?

At least that’s the intellectual feeling I have.

Forty seems like such a mark. Like such a milestone.

I can remember back when I was in the Army in my early 20s and meeting people of that age and wondering what knowledge or wisdom they possessed which I would learn up to that age.

I mean, those people seemed like real adults. After all, back then I was just pretending to be grown up. Sure I was in the Army and had visited far away places and even put life on the line all in the name of freedom and democracy.

Those are adult things, right?

But I didn’t feel grown up back then. I felt like I was just coasting along looking for a purpose and direction. I was just a kid in uniform doing the things that people did when they were sure they knew everything and were in control of their lives.

The problem is I still feel like that.

Is this normal?

I don’t really feel like I have some sort of epiphany that I can now pontificate to my younger friends telling them that THIS is the secret of life and how they should act and behave.

So I began asking these questions of myself and wondering where I was in life and where I was going.

I have two camps of friends.

In one camp I have a bunch of great guys who are younger than me and have quite a bit more energy and tease me about growing old. They throw barbs at me about being a grandfather now or needing a nurse to take care of my tired body. These guys look at me and think now there is some sort of generation gap of thought.

In the other camp are some great guys who laugh at all of my questions on life and purpose as they consider forty to be nothing and I can see that they themselves are asking these same questions at fifty.

So I guess I just need to relax and realize that the only true measure of one’s life is self satisfaction. And no I don’t mean some sort of masturbation metaphor. I mean simply being happy with yourself and who you are as well as where you are.

And right now I am that. I am right where I want to be and doing what I want to do. So instead of quoting Confucius maybe I should be quoting another famous philosopher.

“People say I’m crazy doing what I’m doing,
Well they give me all kinds of warnings to save me from ruin,
When I say that I’m o.k. they look at me kind of strange,
Surely your not happy now you no longer play the game,

People say I’m lazy dreaming my life away,
Well they give me all kinds of advice designed to enlighten me,
When I tell that I’m doing Fine watching shadows on the wall,
Don’t you miss the big time boy you’re no longer on the ball?

I’m just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round,
I really love to watch them roll,
No longer riding on the merry-go-round,
I just had to let it go,

People asking questions lost in confusion,
Well I tell them there’s no problem,
Only solutions,
Well they shake their heads and they look at me as if I’ve lost my mind,
I tell them there’s no hurry…
I’m just sitting here doing time.

I’m just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round,
I really love to watch them roll,
No longer riding on the merry-go-round,
I just had to let it go.” – John Lennon

… Yeah, that fits.


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