“55 Ahead” warns the highway sign, and you either groan at having to slow down or welcome the increased speed limit and hit the gas pedal with glee. But when “55 ahead” means you are about to view age 54 in the rearview mirror, slamming on the brakes seems like a reasonable response.
Wasn’t it just a few years ago that I was lamenting turning 30, feeling like it was the beginning of the end of my youth and therefore my life. What hope is there for anyone who has left her 20’s behind and is now only a decade away from achieving the halfway point of total life expectancy? These are not happy thoughts; I recommend avoiding them assiduously.
Fast-forward ten years, and I have now exceeded the legal limit in most towns by five miles-per-hour. Unexpectedly, turning 40 was a breeze compared to the arrival of my 30th birthday. Who knows how the mind calculates these milestones, generating emotions that seem out of place, or perhaps misordered, for the events at hand. Perhaps because 40 is not quite middle age, and I still ran and played tennis frequently and with great energy, it didn’t seem unmanageable.
Remember those cartoons in which pages of a calendar go flying out the window in rapid succession to signify the passage of time? That’s pretty much what the 40s decade felt like as the years zoomed past one by one. All of a sudden I reached the half-century mark. Oh! Now what? So I chose entrepreneurship of all things and discovered the blessings and challenges of owning a business.
Between ages 50 and 54, I became the aunt of a college student (Go Gamecocks!), my church’s acolyte steward, a dedicated swimmer, a blogger, and, sadly, a person without a living parent. During this interval, new friends and business associates enriched my life immeasurably, while my knee with the reconstructed ACL continued to tolerate fast-paced tennis games.
Today the door to 55 appeared, and I walked right through without an ounce of trepidation! I’m looking forward to all that this year brings, no matter how clichéd that sounds. I will pay strict attention to the speed limit while driving, although not necessarily on the road of life.