They say youth is wasted on the young. Today, as I am not sitting squarely on the 50-yard line of life, I finally get it.
I am sure everyone has found himself or herself uttering the phrase “If I knew at (fill in age) what I know now…”. We all know hindsight is 20/20, but the real value is the perspective we gain over time. Sure, we might now know what stock to purchase a few years back or what team to pick to win the World Series, but I truly believe the most valuable thing we gain is a better understanding of what truly matters in life.
I remember going through college my dream was to own little convertible with a computer capable of the then-new technology of desktop publishing in the trunk. The world was mine and with these two tools, I could do anything, anywhere.
Fast-forward a few years and I found the entire picture drastically changed. Married with a career and child on the way, my value system began to evolve. Add a few more years and I’d continue to grow and change. Granted, not perfect (men generally tend to struggle maturing, let’s be honest), but making progress all the same.
So here I am at the 50-yard line of life.
Yes, I know who won the Super Bowl for the past couple years or when the right time was to buy Apple stock, but with each passing year I come to realize the most important things in life are those around me. My wife, children, and friends all make up the foundation of my happiness. Without them, I’d be as hollow as a single resident holed up in a 10,000 square foot mansion.
No matter how much I thought I loved a material object, parting with it never made much of a difference in my life. Sure I’ve extended the term ‘love’ to a few cars I’ve owned or our a house we owned, but in the end, parting with them never caused me any real pain. Losing a friend or family member, however, stays with you for a very long time.
My wife and I now have watched our children become adults before our very eyes. The process is simply mesmerizing.
And as parents we hope to share nuggets of wisdom with them, but we also remember how at their age we thought we had all the answers. Advice from our parents or their friends was received with, well, polite amusement.
And it is right here on the 50-yard line that these lessons, like most everything else in life, I realize must be earned. Mistakes, heartbreak, and all that goes along with the ups and downs in life are just part of paying our personal dues. Without them, the foundation of life is built on flimsy, shallow word verses a solid base forged from genuine experiences.
The view is good from here at mid-field. I can look back to one side and see today’s youth discovering and uncovering the truths of life. And to the other side I see a world of happy content people who are looking over at me, welcoming to age of enlightenment that only comes with time. Darn, these are really good seats.
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