When you look back to all the different phases in your life, it’s easy to put names to the memorable ones: Before School, High School, College – our First Real Job. The Single Years, First Marriage, the Years After the Divorce, Married Again But Got it Right. When the Kids Were Kids, When They Became Teenagers and When They Started Their Own Lives.
The future seems so much trickier to nail down; not because we don’t know what to call the years ahead, its because we’re hopeful they might turn out different than experience is telling us. We cling ferociously to our old dreams, they may yet come true. Its why we get up in the morning: the single-minded belief we still have that great adventure left in us.
I remember my father always used to say he wished he could come back a younger man knowing everything he knew now. I didn’t understand why he thought that way at the time, but then I also didn’t know much about regrets, frustration and sacrifice. As I got older though, I began to understand why he had those thoughts, I had a few of my own.
So now we’ve reached the half-way point of our lives (more or less). Given good health, modern medicine and a strong tailwind, we should get another fifty years. Of course they won’t all be as productive as the first fifty, but this time ’round there’ll be a whole lot less trial and error, drama, less regrets and considerably more common sense. I figure that cuts out about twenty five years of the wheel spinning from the first fifty, so all in all its a wash – we’re getting our do-over. And most important, we get to know everything we know. It’s a rewrite, a chance to make up for what we didn’t do the first time, an opportunity to do things we never thought we could, a chance to do it all again – this time with our eyes wide open.