Years ago, my mom told me that your 40s is a hard decade. Being young and naive, I didn’t give it much thought. But now that I am in the latter part of this decade, I get it.
I’ve had a couple of weeks of late where bad news seems to come from every direction: parents of friends dying, friends of friends dying, divorces, news of disease diagnoses, etc. Each one hits hard and makes me sad. When I was in my earlier 40s, each piece of news like this was a big, awful shock. A wise, older friend told me to buckle up, because this was life from your 40s on. I think that’s pretty much true and I can say that I have adjusted to this truth.
But here’s the thing about bad news becoming a bit more of the norm: as much as you hate it, you learn and grow from it. Truly, these events become perspective shufflers. The adage “don’t sweat the small stuff” is never truer than when you reach middle age. You learn not to judge as harshly; you learn to be more empathetic; you learn patience; you learn to reach out more; you become a better listener, and you (hopefully) keep your knee-jerk reactions in check.
I still have a long way to go to reach that place of old and wise, but I am a bit older and wiser than I was 10 years ago. And that can only be a good thing.
So I guess, my readers, many of whom are much younger than I, my Valentine to you is the advice to enjoy a relatively care-free time, and understand that even when you hit that tougher section of life, there’s much good to come of it.
Thoughts from my readers, both older and younger?