I’ll be 46 this year.
I have to pause to let that sink in.
I don’t feel that old. I wonder sometimes how many other people feel like they are perpetually 17. You remember, that time when you weren’t really a kid anymore, but you weren’t really an adult? When everyone around you seemed smarter, prettier, cooler, more “put-together”, while you felt dorky and awkward and completely unprepared for the real world? Maybe it’s just me.
I have always felt like “the kid” in the office, even after I built up almost two decades’ IT experience. Then I switched careers to become a nurse, and was definitely the “newbie” though I apparently don’t carry myself like one. The ink was barely dry on my license when I had people telling me I came across like a seasoned nurse, and they couldn’t believe I was a new grad. (That was probably the biggest compliment of my career.) I never felt like I was “adult enough” (whatever that is) for marriage, parenting, home ownership, independent travel, or whatever came up. I always felt like I was faking it.
So now I’m on what statistically is the downhill slide. Chances are, I’ve now lived over half my life. That’s sobering. The party’s not even over yet, but I can feel it coming on. I’m not trying to be morbid, but them’s the facts. Health problems have started becoming a major focus in my life, and I’ve known for years that the warrantee period was over for my body. Having to deal with problems I’ve always associated with “old people” makes me start wondering when the hell I became an “old people”.
After all, in so many ways I feel like I’m just now getting the hang of this “life” stuff. I believe I have finally found the right life partner for me. I have finally figured out where I am going with the rest of my career. I’ve successfully raised a kid, now that she’s heading for college and her first apartment. It’s like I finally got everything on the right track and I’m ready to start my life… but wait, it’s mostly over?
It’s okay, really. If this is the half-way point, then I have another four decades or so to live the life I’ve finally pieced together the way I want. That’s a long time. There’s also no guarantees any of us will survive the day, something I’ve known intimately since I was a young teenage Paramedic. So it’s about making the most of every day and not putting important things off.
It’s also realizing what you’ve squandered. What the poor decisions of your past have cost you. Making the choices to clean things up so you can have the best experience of whatever is left.
I’m not sure I like this part of life. It’s a lot to deal with when you still feel 17. But, it’s also not like there’s another option. So it’s up to me to make the best of it.