Growing up, I have come to think that it is better to engage life with a plan and some perspective. And, since to me passing from my thirties to my forties, represents crossing a gate, the past week I started this series of pieces about maturing. I don’t call it ageing because that word has a passive value that I don’t want to embrace. Of course, I am ageing; the process started while my body was still growing, during puberty. And the concept of ageing gracefully, to me, does not go too far away as well. The image that pops into my mind when I read it is of someone making a graceful pose as time goes bye. As you can see in the picture I chose for this piece, I see all green leaves along the path which awaits me.
I don’t want to live my next twenty years accepting passively the passing of time, but either I don’t intend to fight against it recklessly. It is more about savouring. As I wrote in the first article of this series (which you ca find here), I think that currently, I am living a privileged life. I am in a stable relationship, my partner supports me, and I left behind me a lot of past insecurities and silly myths. I think it’s the right time to engage in new activities and shake things a little.
Thinking about this idea I came about five words, which I like to explore with you in random order:
As kids, we put a lot of effort almost in everything we do. We want to walk, and so we try and fail and try again until we succeed. We want to have friends, and so we go out and start to talk to every kid we meet. We deal with rejection. We engage in fights. We cry and laugh, and the next day we are ready to start it all over again, just to have friends. As kids, we know what we want, and we are willing to struggle to have it. I’m not sure if there is another time in life in which we put that much effort. We are immersed in life. We live every minute with all that we have, without any filter. Then we grow and start to build a shelf around us. In adolescence, we learn to differentiate between ourselves and the rest of the world. We discover the substance and the extension of our circles: family, friends, school mates. Sometimes the shelves we build are so thick by the age of thirty that it gets hard to make new friends, find love, experience new possibilities in life. We feel that things are not worth the effort, but we don’t put too much effort in anything, already.
I want to engage in life again. I want to immerse myself in it enough to be tired at night, physically fatigued. I am scared, but I want to try and fail in new things until I succeed.
In a down-to-earth approach, the years between your forties and your sixties, are your last chance to living some good eighties. You need twenty days to break a habit and twenty days to make a new one, and I don’t know how many years do you need to build a new, stronger body. Sincerely, I want to start early. I already quitted drinking alcohol five years ago, and I think I have a rather healthy nutrition, but I want a strong body, a positive attitude and some money in the bank for when the grey times will come. At some point, you have to start planning your sunset days, and I think that forty years old is a better point than fifty and a lot better than never.
Savouring things is another great skill mastered by little children. As I wrote before, they taste life without any filter. I am not longing for such an extreme experience. I appreciate the fact that maturity enabled me to put the filter I talked about before, though, I know that putting effort into what you do, and doing new things, increase your sensibility. I want that. With age, the shelf we built as teenagers thickens even more and things we used to love become shaded, weaker, even tasteless. Sometimes it is because of repetition, sometimes because of resignation. I don’t want either. Is my life is consuming itself, regardless, I want to suck out the core of it.
I think, your twenties are the age of goals. The time when you say to yourself: by twenty-five, I want this; by thirty, I want that; and by forty, I will be settled. Isn’t it? Maybe in that period I was too busy spinning around like a windmill, but I skipped that part, and now it’s time to live it. There are things I want by my sixties, which I might probably reach by my fifty (or even forty-five):
- buy a house
- master a profession
- have a stronger body
I know it sounds strange to put having kids at the bottom of the list, especially if you, my reader, already are a parent and love your children. But, even if the clock is ticking, I am not yet a parent, and I don’t know if I might be a goog one. So, let’s see if I am a good captain of this maturing ship, before recruiting some innocent sailor.
And you, my patient, reader? Are you an over-forty-buddy or young twenty-something?Either case, have you got plans? Goals? Do you put effort into what you do? I wish you are savouring your journey through space-time. In the meanwhile, thank you for your precious time.