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".