Yesterday, I turned 45.
If I’m very lucky, this means I’m halfway through my life. My grandparents have lived into their 90’s, and their parents before them did the same, so it’s quite possible that I’ll make it into my 90’s as well.
Still, the idea that there’s pretty much zero way to avoid thinking of myself as “middle-aged” has struck me as a bit odd. I mean, I just never thought about it in any sort of concrete way, just in a general sort of abstract way.
When I was in my early 20’s, I had a plan (like so many of us). In retrospect, I think that plan helped me not freak out too much as I hit other “milestone” birthdays. The basic plan was this:
- Keep getting more and more awesome until my mid-40’s
- Plateau for 10-15 years
- Finally slow down from such badassery to work part-time for another chunk of time, eventually slowing into some sort of full retirement.
This plan helped me not freak out about turning 30. Or even about turning 40. But here at 45, clearly into “stage 2” of my fabulously detailed career plan, I find the idea of operating at a plateau just doesn’t resonate with me. Not even a little. I don’t want to plateau. I want to keep growing and changing, in short becoming more and more awesome.
When I worked at FB, I used to give the same chat at least once every few weeks to someone who was freaking out about getting older. Often the conversation would go something like this: “Yes, you’re turning 25. Yes, I know it feels really old. But I’m here from the future to tell you everything is going to be okay. In fact it’s going to be amazing. Just wait and see.”
One of my friends is extraordinary. She’s a bit older than me, and in her 50’s she started her own business. She’s grown her team and customer base, and the firm is quite successful. I look up to her because she’s an exceptional CEO. Her life experiences have helped her make good decisions, prioritize, and create the strategies that helped the business succeed. I hope I can be half as badass as her as Compaas grows.
I would write more, but there’s a kitten on my keyboard and she’s making it really difficult to type. I think I’ll give in and go play.