I was recently out to dinner with some friends, chatting about the random happenings in our lives.
One of my friends, Julie, is in her mid-fifties and going through an unexpected career change. This has, understandably, thrown her life into a little bit of chaos.
She is asking questions like “What do I want to do with my life?” at a time when she expected to already know. In fact, Julie’s statements at dinner included:
“I thought I would know more by now. I thought I would have all the answers.”
ALL THE ANSWERS.
At what point in our lives do we expect to have “all the answers?” 50? 60? 95?
And why do we think we would ever “know?” Wouldn’t that mean at some age we would quit changing, growing, and expanding?
This brought to mind a conversation a few years back that I had with another friend, Angie.
Angie’s dad, who was in his mid-70s at the time, had found a new love, Sue. Although Angie was happy for her dad, she also made the comment “I thought by his age you would be done with all this ‘love stuff.’”
Really? There is some age cut-off for falling in love?
So what is it about growing older that makes us think that there is some age at which we should be finished, that we should know? Be GROWN? Done. Finished. No more to learn here.
Yes, we all expect to be “older and wiser.” And we may all harbor a secret hope that we will someday possess all the answers we don’t have today. But if we learn and change as we grow older, how could we ever be “done?”
And would we even really WANT this?
Think about it. How uninteresting would life be if there were no more questions. Nothing is new. You might be wise, but I’d bet money you would also be BORED.
In a “A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life”, Brian Grazer discusses the idea that life is not about finding all the answers so that at the end we are DONE. Life is really lived in asking the questions. By asking the questions and seeking the answers, we stay connected to life and the others around us.
Should I take this job? Retire? Start my own business? Will I like it? Be bored? Can I do it? Maybe I should go ask the girls at dinner…
Are the questions scary? Sometimes. But they can also be exciting. The questions keep us thinking, hoping, and dreaming about the future. What it will bring and who we are going to spend it with? And those dreams never stop, no matter what our age.
What did you think you would already KNOW by now? Are there questions you are still asking? New adventures you are starting that you thought you would be DONE with by now? New job? New love? Tell us in the comments below!