Friday, February 05, 2010

When I Turned 40

When I turned 40, I realized that everyone I had ever thought was smart knew and did everything that made them smart by the time they were 40.

And I realized that I was one of those smart people. I'm as much of an expert in my own fields as they are, or were, in theirs. What I thought was unobtainable skill and knowledge was only fortitude, attitude, and practice. When I turned 40, I was no longer in awe of anyone.

When I was younger, I never did anything truly ambitious because I thought I would never be as talented as those other people who did those kinds of things. When I turned 40, I realized that someday I'm going to think about doing something ambitious and realize that it's a younger man's game, not for someone old like me.

And so here I am, at 40, willing and able to do all of those things. No one else can do them any better than I can. And to think, some of you may be smart enough already to figure this out by 30. Or 20.

Now I realize why old people can be crotchety. They've earned it. By the time you're 40, no one else has the right to tell you what's best for your own good.


Gerald McD said...

And in another 20 years, you'll look back and laugh at what you just wrote.

Adelaide Gamer said...

Well put. Forty is such a cool age. No need to prove anything anymore to anyone. Hopefully. Happy Birthday!

Dug said...

You, sir, are a gamer. And gamers never stop learning. Whether it's games or life or your subject of expertise. Crotchety old people are those who decided they no longer needed to learn, not people who stopped learning because of an arbitrary date based on the number of fingers we have. I mean, if we had twelve fingers, you'd be 34 now.

There has been a lot of research lately showing that dementia can be put off through social gameplay (Bridge was the study's focus, but that's because it was popular with that generation), and also through exercise.

That said, it is nice not to care quite so much about the opinion of your societal or professional peers. However, don't make the mistake of thinking that you can't learn something from others, no matter what their age. Wait until you are a grandparent and see how much you learn from your grandkids. I know I have.

Happy birthday, in case it was recent.