Doing Life Right

Lisbeth Essays, Life, Mindset

“If your 20’s were the best time of your life, then you’re not doing your 30’s right.”

I said to this my college-age son last night, and then through our laughter, I continued, “And if your 30’s were the best time of your life, then you’re not doing your 40’s right!”pier sea unsplash

We continued to chuckle, even though we both knew I was serious as a heart attack.

“I know. You’ve drilled this into me for years, ” said my oldest son. 

“Exactly!” I said. “I wouldn’t take a million dollars to go back to the angst of my 20’s. And somewhere in your 30’s, things start to get clearer. By the time you hit your 40’s, well, that’s the start of—”

“The ‘I Don’t Give a Fuck’ years,” he interrupted me.

I realized he really was familiar with this talk. Sometimes your kids are listening when you don’t think they’re listening. I wondered what else I had said over the years that he would remember, other than my praise of Irish butter.

“Yes!” I jumped back in. “In your forties, you really don’t give a damn anymore about useless things. You feel this tremendous freedom to say what you feel, this urge to make things clear. And that urge only grows more powerful. The 40’s are a fabulous decade. I’m not certain what the 50’s will be like, but we’re going to find out.”

My son, all gangly six feet of him, returned his gaze to the art project in front of him, his brain used to the ramblings of his writer mother. Over on the couch, his red-headed brother sighed and adjusted his earbuds, the need for calm overriding any curiosity about our ever-present exuberant energy. “Just Mom going off again,” was the thought bubble over his head, if we were a cartoon. Perhaps we were.

“The best decade is the one you’re living in,” I said. 

The heat clicked on to take the chill off our rainy Santa Cruz night. Over on the couch, the dog gave me the “Can we please go to bed now?” look. I whistled for him and headed down the hall.



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Lisbeth Essays, Life, Mindset

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