According to the U.S. Census Bureau I just reached "middle age," or the approximate mid-way point in the expected lifespan of a female living in the United States.
This factoid is surprising to me because I feel like I just graduated high school a few years ago. This warp in my time perception also extends to other events in my life. I still talk about when I was a Journal sports reporter "a few years ago" and covered Colin Kaepernick and the Pitman High Pride in their run for a Sac-Joaquin Section title in baseball. In reality, that happened over six years ago (gasp!).
Despite my time perception issues, I wouldn't want to go back to a younger age.
Many of my peers are desperately trying to hang on to youth. Whether through plastic surgery, inappropriate clothing choices or by making the club rounds every weekend, these youth seekers are going about it all wrong.
I have found the secret to living a youthful life — grandchildren.
Ever since my grandson, Logan David, was born I have renewed energy and enthusiasm for the world around me. I want to show Logan all the wonders of the world; and I can't do that unless I see the wonder myself.
I know others who don't have children or grandchildren but still find this wonder through volunteering. Helping others to find hope is the surest way to keeping the faith yourself. You don't even have to socialize with others to benefit from giving back. The knowledge that the scarf you knitted or the food you donated will help another is usually all it takes to realize everyone has a part to play in making the world a better place.
The capacity to help others grows as we get older. This is one of the many advantages to aging. Another is having already learned the hard way how to avoid life's pitfalls and being able to pass on this knowledge to the next generation. (Of course, I'm still trying to convince my daughter that I really do know best!)
After living almost four decades in this world, I've learned a few things along the way:
1. Two drinks are plenty for an enjoyable evening.
2. Family gatherings are precious and should be cherished. Before you know it people close to you may be gone forever.
3. Don't stress; the details don't matter if everyone is together.
4. Passion — for family, love, a dream, or career — can make all the difference.
5. No one is perfect.
6. Learning to forgive is the hardest and most valuable life lesson.
7. You can't change the way others act, but you can change the way you react to others.
I know there are many other life lessons I've learned along the way, but I will save them for my grandson when he is old enough to understand.
In the meantime, I will take my own advice and keep the passion alive during the last half of my expected life expectancy — and hopefully beyond.