Here’s something good about the 50s. You’ve lived a meaningful chunk as an adult – about 30 years, as I see it. And 30 years is not nothing.
In 30 years stuff comes and goes, and comes again. Patterns, longer and more subtle, emerge. Traceries matter more than they had, the looming immediate overwhelms less.
Here’s something else good about the 50s, those 30 years qualify us to advise. And maybe, for those of us who have relied on sharp thinking, it’s a time to redeem the value of lucidity. Advice can be gently given, offered with a grain of salt and then refused with no harm done. Gems of knowledge are worth the transfer, even if surrounded by the cognitive equivalent of slurry.
This week I had the occasion to meet with two women in their mid/late 30s. It’s such a privilege to talk to accomplished people, clearly in full stride, and have them grant you senior status. Deserved or not, the nice people give it anyway.
I do have to remember that my first 30 years were then, and this is now. Things I didn’t know, and blundered after, are today a keystroke away and easily knowable by many. I may launch into a litany of hard won insights, and then catch myself, oh, wait, you probably knew this.
The well-behaved show no indication of disrespect at irrelevance. I’d like to right this minute thank all of you who brought your children up to have manners. The entire world is better for your work.
And it was work.
Do those 30 years feel abstract, conceptual? Mine turned real when I realized that in 2015 it will be 30 years since I moved back to California. Seriously? What were you doing, 30 years ago? Does 30 feel markedly more substantial than 20, or 25, to everyone? In other words, is this my psyche or a shared phenomenon?
They tell me the 60s are even better than the 50s. I will have lived 40 years as an adult. What will I know then, about now? I suppose this time is partly practice for elderhood. Trying on a wise guise for size, with absolutely no intention (as shown by that assonance) of leaving the Fool behind.
Have a wonderful weekend.