Recently I wrote about a friend telling me she feels like she can just enjoy her life now because she’s already done what she came to do. I was so struck by this idea of just enjoying life that I mentioned it to a group of friends one night and was really surprised by the reaction.
In general, the reaction was that a person who’s 30 can’t possibly know they’ve done what they came to do. I was shocked by that, and vehemently disagree with it.
Age has very little to do with our perceptions of the world and our place in it if we are thinking people. Yes, we mature, and interact with the world differently, but we are who we are from a very young age.
I believe we enter the world with a set of tasks to complete, lessons to learn, and lessons to teach. I also think we instinctively know when they are complete. I was totally taken aback that anyone would question someone else’s knowing, even in the abstract.
I wondered if it was coming from a place of, “How dare this 30 year old feel like she’s done what she needs to do and here I am almost twice as old and I haven’t?” I don’t ascribe to that thinking.
At 49 there are certainly some things I’m much smarter about how I handle, but there are also things I’m very “immature” about. The number of years I’ve been alive has little to do with either. It continually comes up in my life that I’m about 12-13 years behind my age peers in some ways, but that’s a different long blog post for another time.
That said, I am fundamentally, at my core, the same person I was when I was 10 or 20 or 30. I may react to things differently, people may see me differently, but internally my thought processes are the same – other than I have more experience and information to use to process events, and more language to describe them. That, of course, makes for a richer life experience, but if I had completed my life’s task by age 30 I would have known it. No question about it.
I let the subject drop, but it pointed out to me – yet again – how out of step I am with people in general. It never, ever, ever, ever occurred to me that anyone would question if someone had an internal knowing that their tasks were completed. I was mentioning it in the context of her thought that she could now just enjoy her life. I found that idea so amazing. I never imagined it would turn into the discussion it did.
I’ve noticed in the last few years I’ve become quieter. In fact, I’ve written about that here before. I think this is why – the conversation I am party to sometimes is so alien that I can’t relate. So, it becomes easier to write, read and think than to try and engage..