Thursday, February 28, 2013

Dear Bert,
I'm 42-years old and wake up each day feeling like I've accomplished nothing in my life.  Sure, I went to college, got married, had a son, and have been able to stay employed for the most part.  I own a house, pay the bills each month, and have saved a little for retirement so far.  In other words, on paper I'm sure I look pretty good and most people would say, "What are you complaining about?"  I guess at 42, I thought I'd be a lot happier than I am and now I wonder if this is how I'm still going to feel 5 years from now, let alone 20 years?

Stuck in the Mud

Dear Stuck in the Mud,
First off, don't worry about what other people may say about how you perceive your own life.  They are your feelings, and you have every right to feel the way you do.  Put that aside, and focus on what is making you feel so unfulfilled.  When we are young, we tend to be idealists.  As we get older, we become realists, meaning the reality of having a career, holding down a good job, paying your bills, taking care of your family, saving for retirement and more is what your day to day life is more or less consumed by.

When you entered college you probably felt like the world was yours to conquer and why shouldn't you have?  Well, why shouldn't you still feel that way at 42?  I can sugar coat it and say that you've accomplished a lot already, so don't be so hard on yourself, but the reality is, that's not how you feel.  Something strange happens to us men at 40.  Physically we can see it in the mirror, but psychologically it's even more telling.  We start reflecting more on where we've been, what we've done and forget that there's still a lot of "where are we going" to consider.

The story of your life has not been written.  You are only in chapter 10 of a 20 chapter book.  The question is, how do you want those last 10 chapters to be written and are you going to write them or let others tell you how it turns out?

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