Since I was a child, I always had this idea of what my life would look like as an adult, and 40 was the age I arbitrarily chose as the targeted deadline of when I’d meet certain milestones by, and if met, I’d be deemed a successful adult.
Like, one day I’d wake up in a beautiful home – where nothing is out of place – over-looking the Pacific Ocean. I’d have an incredible career in which I made boat loads of money while I sleep. I’d be married to the perfect human, and the two of us would only look more incredible with age.
Forty was always the finish line. If I could make it to 40, that would be it. I’d spend the rest of my days designing and making trinkets that I’d sell out of the back of a Gypsy wagon, when I wasn’t too busy sailing my Catamaran to foreign places. I will have “made it.” Life would be good and the delusion goes on ...
However, a funny thing happened. As 40 approaches, I’m nowhere near my childhood ideal of success, but I feel successful all the same. Finger prints on the table and toys strewn across the house are a sign that we’ve had a pretty fun, albeit chaotic, day. While I don’t make boat loads of money, I have a rewarding career that I actually look forward to going to every day. And, while we aren’t perfect, and we have grey hair and some wrinkles that show we’ve lived a little, I come home to a person who I adore.
No, I don’t own a Gypsy wagon, but I can still make or create whatever my heart desires. And, while I don’t own a Catamaran, I did put my daughter through sailing certification courses. Watching her take off from the dock as the captain of her own boat at 10-years-old without a parent on board, made me realize how brave, capable and independent she has always been. And, witnessing the kind of adult she is becoming feels like a success in of itself.
As a kid, I thought, at 40, I’d be living a certain kind of life, surrounded by a certain kinds of people, and keeping up with the Joneses. But having lived a little, I’ve come to meet a myriad of different people from all walks of life – all of who have brought joy, insight and value to my life in a variety of ways. And, what I have come to know is this – no matter how much one makes, where one lives, what one does, or who one knows – happiness (and misery) is alive and well in each camp.
So, as I wake up this birthday, I’m not going to proclaim, “I made it!” – Instead, I’m just going to quietly remind myself, “I’m making it” as the next 40 years begins to unfold.