The other day, my daughter asked my husband, “What was the best age for you?”
Surprisingly, he answered with thought and insight.
My husband has never been one to expose the fact that he can and does have deep thoughts. He prefers to keep things simple. Like a cave man, he grunts and shrugs his shoulders when asked to pontificate on a personal topic. When pressed, he will huff out a semi-coherent response to questions that force him to tap into his emotions.
He told my daughter, after much prodding on her part, that his favorite age is “right now.” When asked why, he said, “Because I get to be with you.”
I'll admit, I was moved even though I couldn’t tell if he was being ironic. He loves sarcasm.
I believe his answer was genuine because we were at restaurant after a long but good day with our girls. He had a perfectly-seared, rare, Ahi tuna steak and a cold beer in front of him. Life was good.
I recently had a birthday which got me thinking about my perfect age. I believe I'm nearing the halfway mark in my life, which means I have a lot of years left to live. This is both daunting and exciting.
It's daunting because if I hurt this much at this age, what am I going to feel like at 90? It’s exciting because, overall, I've had a full and interesting life, and I get many more years to do more stuff, meet more people, go more places, eat more food, and drink more wine. Yowzah!
My life’s trajectory has been like most. My teen years were filled with uncertainty and unsureness. It was a roller coaster of emotions and fears. Let’s just say I was a hot mess. In my twenties, I was focused on figuring out who I was and what I wanted. My thirties taught me what it meant to be an adult. My forties were when I started living my genuine life.
When I thought about my daughter’s question, I realized that my perfect age, hands down, is my forties. I loved turning forty and I celebrated with an amazing party in my beautiful yard with many of my family and friends. It was an extravagance, but it was the perfect way to mark the milestone of entering the fifth decade of my life. I treasure my memories of that day.
As a woman in my forties, I've finally learned to calm down and appreciate my life. I stopped worrying so much about what others think, and do what I want. At the same time, I started to become less selfish and self-absorbed, and appreciate each person in my life (this is an ongoing process). Most importantly, I really started to like myself because I was being myself. That has made me realize what it means to be truly happy.
Now that I’m not working so hard at being someone I am not (read that convoluted phrase again), I have time to focus on what will make be better, stronger, and happier. I have given myself permission to take care of me. I cannot tell you how this has improved my overall emotional state of mind. The quality of my life has improved tenfold. All aspects of my life are thriving – family, friends, career, hobbies, health – everything is better.
In this moment, I feel perfectly aged. Maybe when I reach my fifties, I’ll think back on my forties as another decade of learning how to get it right. Life is a journey full of adventures and missteps. All I can hope for is a bit of happiness tucked amongst the hard parts and the wisdom to hold those moments dear.
I agree with my husband, the best part of my life is right now because I get to be with him, my girls, and the real me.