3.31.2007

trust your stuff

It occurred to me that my current job search is another example of what I like about getting older. It's a great feeling to be confident in your abilities, to have senior-level experience on your resume, and to walk into an interview knowing you can project that confidence. Thinking back to interviewing, say, 20 years ago - the nerves, the apprehension, the self-consciousness - this is a breeze.

I've always enjoyed getting older. It helps that I have an incredibly positive role model for aging. My mother remade her life when she was in her early 50s by leaving my father (a move that was long overdue), and has been enjoying her life to the fullest ever since. She never whines about her age; she embraces it. As I wrote in an essay somewhere, aging is another word for living.

In my 30s, when I would hear younger friends or acquaintances complaining about growing older, I always insisted that getting older was great. Now that I'm closer to 50 than 40, and some of the less pleasant aspects of aging have advanced a bit further, I still believe it. There's not an age I'd ever want to go back to.

Now, of course, I have a greater understanding of the issues of aging, and why it's so scary. Hell, I've lost one friend to AIDS, one to a heart attack, and another to breast cancer, and have friends who are breast cancer survivors. Most of my peers are either dealing with aging parents or have already lost their parents. (And on the purely esthetic or cosmetic level, sheesh... let's not go there!) So it's not like I'm blind to the down side.

But when I was in my 30s, the people I knew who were whining about getting old were 27 or 32! It's not like they were dealing with serious issues of health and mortality, or of physical deterioration.

In my 30s, I understood so much more about what I wanted out of life. I stripped away so much extraneous noise. I took those millions of life lessons I learned painfully in my 20s, and put them into practice. In my 20s I created the framework of the life I wanted; in my 30s I furnished it and made it my home.

It's not that only good things happened to me. But that would be an absurd way to assess one's life. I had some really difficult times in my 30s, some serious pain. But I knew who I was. I knew what I wanted. Many times, that's what guides you through.

The lessons of my 40s - so far - have been more subtle. They all seem to fall under the category called "understanding your process". You could call it "listening to the voice within". In keeping with the season, I'll use a baseball metaphor, and call it "trusting your stuff".

10 comments:

David Cho said...

Great post. Just turned 41, so it is a very timely one :).

I wish I could share your attitude about aging, but I could also relate to it. I felt like I "grew" a lot more in my 30's than I did in my 20's. Perhaps now that the shock of turning 40 is wearing off, I will resume growing again.

That is the thing. You should never stop growing and learning. People seem to just stagnate once they reach a certain age, and just get old.

Very good post.

David Cho said...

Here is another thing.

People in their 40's and up complain about ageism and how their age is hurting because employers tend to look for cheap and young workers.

Some of that may be true, but looks like you are doing the right thing. You are using your age to your advantage, and my question to these people is, why aren't you 20 years better than the kids just joining the work force?

I bet you this same group of whiners moaned about getting turned down for lacking experience 20 years ago when they were young. And that too is true. It cuts both ways.

(And the same group of people also whine about those Indians and illegals taking over their jobs.

Also bitch about a "quota set aside for minorities" costing them jobs. I am opposed to quotas, but it is always interesting to see that for every spot taken by a minority, there are more than 20 who think it should have been theirs. The math just does not add up).

L-girl said...

Thanks, David. :)

Perhaps now that the shock of turning 40 is wearing off, I will resume growing again.

Yeah, try it, it's fun. :)

You should never stop growing and learning. People seem to just stagnate once they reach a certain age, and just get old.

I wonder, were they stagnating already? Did they ever grow, or did they just get older? My mom, my older siblings, have all grown as people as they've gotten older, no one has ever stagnated. My siblings have changed in truly remarkable ways!

But my father, he never grew one day in his life. (Except to grow worse.) So I wonder about the people who appear to stagnate. Were they always stagnant?

Anything to that, do you think?

L-girl said...

it is always interesting to see that for every spot taken by a minority, there are more than 20 who think it should have been theirs. The math just does not add up

Ha! Very good point. Of course there is ageism in the world, we live in a very youth-oriented world, and older workers can find it very difficult.

But the attitude that the world owes you something - and that you'd have it, if only someone else who's getting it first - that makes me sick. Once upon a time, women could not get jobs or promotions because they were women, and anyone who wasn't white could not get jobs in white workplaces. That was real. This "minorities are getting everything" whining is a bunch of crap. It's the guys in the van from the Borat movie, a little further down the road.

David Cho said...

Did you hear those losers in the van are suing? As if the scene did not show them to be losers, they are bent on proving it.

The dinner scene with the southern socialites was the best.

"I'm retired."
"You are retarded?"

Hahahaha

David Cho said...

Good point about stagnation. Some people just like to go with the flow and coast through life because it is comfortable. They were stagnant young people and they are stagnant old people. So you are right. It may not be an age specific trait.

L-girl said...

Did you hear those losers in the van are suing? As if the scene did not show them to be losers, they are bent on proving it.

I did hear that. Amazing! You're right, they are determined to announce to the world just how stupid they really are.

Like when Fox News tried to sue Al Franken.

Crabbi said...

Those loser frat boys deserve public humiliation. And isn't it funny that these whiners are suing? They certainly appeared to lean right, and I thought those types were all about tort reform.

Crabbi said...

PS I felt sorry for the Southern woman. She was quite nice to Borat, teaching him the finer points of using a toilet. Although why the hooker was the deal-breaker and not the bag of...stuff is puzzling to me. I thought Borat's friend was charming.

L-girl said...

She was charming! I guess she wasn't dressed appropriately for dinner.

The willingness of the host to put her guest at ease, even showing him how to use a toilet, was really touching, if you think about it. Which of course you weren't supposed to, but you might later.