My question today is; when can we stop trying?
I’m 40 now, is that an appropriate age to stop, relax and smell the flowers? Or is it 50…60? Do I need to keep striving to be something better until I retire? Isn’t that sort of too late? If we’re pushing hard to be better at work, to podium at every race we enter, and being the best husband/father ever, where do we rest and enjoy the life we have right now? Are we moving too fast to enjoy the here and the now? Will the people who are constantly trying to get to that CEO position or Supervisor position end up at 65 looking back on what they’ve missed? I don’t want that. Since I graduated High School I’ve been striving to be better. Better at what I’m still a little unclear about but I know I wanted to be better. With this new promotion chances are this is as ‘better’ as I’m going to get. So if being ‘better’ has been my motivator than what is it going to be now? I’m facing twenty to twenty-five years of work still in front of me. I’ve promoted for what could, in all honesty, be the last time. Above me degrees are required, experience is required, and skills….skills I don’t generally possess…are required. My mother went out and got an education and a career in her 40’s and I applaud her for it but is that still a realistic option. I looked at signing up for school to take some IT courses and bone up on my limited but ok tech skills. I couldn’t get in and it would’ve cost me nearly $300 for one class if I did. (after books) So is the question one of passion? Do I simply lack the passion to move forward.
It dawns on me that it might come off as sounding a bit whiny. I thought about deleting it and starting over. It’s been my policy to not post complaints and tirades about life but these questions; this concern is real to me. Work is good, the four week old promotion has been awesome and yet I’m left wondering if it will be enough. Yoda accuses Luke of looking, ‘to the future, to the past, never his mind on where he’s at, what he is doing’ (I paraphrased a bit). Am I un-trainable? Will I bring balance to the Force? Ok, Ok I’m probably trainable but I doubt I’ll bring balance to the force. Seriously though, will this promotion bring enough challenge and enough opportunity to learn and stretch that desire to be ‘better’ will fade over time or to get me into my retirement years? At what point is a dog old enough to stop learning new tricks? Is that the point where we retire? My Dad retired because he was tired of the politics not because he hated the core work he was doing. I hate the politics of work now (does this mean I get to retire?) but what job doesn’t have them and honestly who actually thrives on them? I love the core work responsibilities I’m being given (even when the load of it has quadrupled since I was promoted) will that be enough to keep me going or as I age and lose a step will it be too much?
It seems this post is one of questions, the unknown and the unknowable. It’s kind of a cool thing to not have the answers, to not have a clear and concise path laid out in front of you but it’s also a scary place to be. Walking the knifes edge of sanity is an awesome exhilarating experience yet the danger always exists, the possibility of falling into the warm embrace of insanity is always hovering over you and it’s a long walk I have waiting for me with lots of opportunities to fall. I have no answers fellow reader, do you? How do you my fellow forty-something year olds deal with this weird ‘not-quite-mid-life’ place we find ourselves? Are you happy? Do you face the same ‘fears’ and uncertainty? I’d love to hear from you.