40 is the New Black

I’m 39 for 24 more hours. And if I had a moment to reflect, I’d imagine a dialogue between the 20-year-old me and the 40-year-old me. It would go something like this …


20YO me: “So, I’m dying to know, how did it all turn out?”

40YO me: “Do you mean today or more cosmically? Either way, I’m not sure yet–it’s still in the oven.”


20YO me: “I mean what are we doing with our life?”

40YO me: “Happy family, great job, loads of friends, just enough time for travel, books, yoga and the piano.”


20YO me: “Wait, we hated practicing the piano.”

40YO me: “Amazing how perspective changes when we are doing the deciding.”


20YO me: “Ok, so where are we teaching? What have we published?”

40YO me: “Oh, that. Well we took some detours on the way to the PhD and ended up leveraging our skills in a different way.”


20YO me: “You just used the word ‘leverage’; are we a (gulp!) consultant? What happened to the literature professor and published author? Did you forget to apply to grad school?”

40YO me: “Oh, now it’s ‘you’ not ‘we’? I did apply. I did get in. I looked down the road and realized that’s an awfully long commitment with an uncertain future. I loved teaching, reading and writing. I can be a consultant and be instructive, I publish on a daily basis and I have time left over to read. And I still might be a High School English teacher one day.”


20YO me: “One day? Aren’t you, like, 40?”

40YO me: “Yes, and I’m exactly where I should be right now. Who knows five years from now?”


20YO me: “You said something about ‘family.’ We swore no Volvo Station Wagon.”

40YO me: “No Volvo Station Wagon. The dog wouldn’t fit in it. Had to go for the SUV, but it’s a hybrid.”


20YO me: “Well, the travel part sounds ok, and the yoga is cool.”

40YO me: “Yes, we have the same interests, after all. That doesn’t change, just the application of them.”


20YO me: “Any other advice?”

40YO me: “Take the year to study abroad, marry Eric, let go of the ideal and enjoy the journey, and buy Apple stock. Trust me.”

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  • Barbara – love this! It is interesting how perspectives change. It did make me stop and think – do I remember what I was thinking about at age 20? The answer – No. I guess I didn’t think much about the future when I was 20. I’m impressed you were so thoughtful and such a young age!!

  • Barbara – This is ME , love your blog , isn’t it beautiful to be 40 and look back 🙂