Thursday, November 15, 2007


My birthday is sometime next month. I will be closer to forty. A decade ago I would have considered my current self ancient. Now I consider the words of my forty-something friends. Are the forties really the best time of their lives? For some of them, it appears to be true. They seem established and prosperous. For others, I am not sure.

I can honestly say that I am not exactly where I expected to be at my age. I spent years of my life in limbo (personal and professional), so I am still playing catch-up, I have not lived up to my full potential just yet. After a divorce and a new marriage, I am still in relationship and family building mode. There are people my age who have kids in high school, and Gabe and I are still debating whether we should have another kid. Aren't I too old for this, I wonder. Won't I be too tired? I know there are some women my age and older who have put off having their first child until now. Is that a wise choice?

It is true that I have made up for lost time at work. In my ten-year career at Big Computer my salary and responsibilities have increased exponentially. I am quite happy with how it has evolved. Still, I can't help but think that I could be further along if I had started to build a career at a much younger age, as opposed to the choices I made in life. But is there anything constructive about that kind of thinking? Isn't that stepping into regret-land? I don't believe in regrets because it is pointless to obsess over stuff we can't change. And I am not sure that I want my career to move faster than it has. I have children, and I don't want more responsibilities if they require more time and/or increased travel, or if the stress will not allow me to sleep at night. Still, my mind sometimes tries to pull a fast one on me with that kind of thinking.

I can't assert that I have life figured out, honestly. I am still learning, still making mistakes. We are still struggling, building, developing. And I guess that is what surprises me. I expected people nearing their forties to have all their ducks in a row, to be in a cushy position and know exactly what they wanted in life and how to get it. I have a general idea of what I want for my future, and a sketch of a plan, but nothing definitive. And even though I have a good salary compared to my 1997 self, I don't have a safety net, and I still struggle sometimes to make ends meet. People I know talk about their retirement plans, how they are looking into foreign countries where the cost of living is lower than in the US. I have friends from Latin America who plan to go back to their countries to retire. At this point I have no clue if we will ever be able to retire, or if I will ever be able to go back home. Maybe I will, maybe I will not. I thought in my late thirties I would have an idea. I guess I'll have to wait another decade to find out.


  1. we're nearly the same age...i think the same...are child is ony 5...papa bean is 10 years older than me..not sure if i am where i should be...never really "planned" it per say...hmmm....but i'm NOT that's what is important right?

  2. Yes, in the end what matters is being happy. Sometimes we are so busy regretting the past or planning for the future that we forget to enjoy our present. Also, and this is something I tell myself often, things do not necessarily need to happen at established times.

  3. I don't know that you can ever get your ducks all in a row. For some reason they all like to wander in different directions! My dad worked at a company for 25 years, was the president of his division and they just shut down. He had to start all over at 46. Ever since he just hasn't felt "settled". I guess it happens to the best of us.

  4. YOu know, I"m not sure I'll ever have an idea.....good post Ingrid...made me think. :)