Recently I and many of my friends have turned 40. Each person celebrated in slightly different ways but most everyone was surrounded by those who love them. So many people describe this milestone as a dreaded one but I haven’t completely understood why. I mean strangers are still surprised since I don’t “look my age” and many of my fellow 40 year olds have hardly changed over the past 5-10 years. Maybe part of it is the biology of it and starting to feel the changes in metabolism, energy, and hormones. I do admit that I started having a lot more aches and pains around age 39 than before. But again, that started before 40 yet no one acted like my 39th birthday was such a scary one.
I think the main thing is that with any milestone, we start measuring our progress to see if we are aligned with our goals and of course, the Jones’ goals. We start comparing and trying to evaluate whether we feel like a success or a failure in life. However this is tragic because life is unpredictable and different for everyone. So success can’t truly be compared. We measure ourselves compared to some fairy tale notions we had in high school about what life is supposed to be. But if everyone ended up with this same cookie cutter lifestyle, there would be no great achievers and no inspiration.
I believe we generally are inspired by people who had the strength to do things differently than the norm. This could be because of a tragedy in life that they rose above or because of a great accomplishment they struggled to achieve. They may not fit into that fairy tale vision of society but that is because they are the heroes of society. They are heroes because they braved a different path even if it was thrust upon them unexpectedly. These heroes don’t have to have done anything so obviously grand like save the whales or cure cancer. They just need to be good people who provide worth in society by being a good friend, parent, employee, child, etc. They should take measure of themselves at the milestones and feel proud. Life doesn’t come with one specific score card for achievements. It is different for everyone and as long as you are trying your best and being kind and constructive, then you get an ‘A’.