When you are thirty, what is important is the present. The future is both right now and so distant that it seems inconsequential. Perhaps your perspective stretches out long than when you were a teenager. It might even make it a few months, looking toward the birth of a child. Or perhaps next year or the year after.
But at thirty, it is rare to think of what you are going to to doing, or where you will be at the point that your age doubles. You know that you have an infinite lifetime ahead of you.
Turn around suddenly and those years have just vanished. All that bright and rosey future is now the past. You have triumphed over obstacles, survived the births of your children, moved half way around the world.
Certainly, you are not doing what you planned all those many years ago.
When you turn 40, or perhaps 50, you take stock of your life. Where you have been, where you have yet to go.
60 somehow seems different. Most people can look forward just a few years and see the end of their work lives, plan on retirement, playing with grandchildren. Figuring out how to cope with an aging body and diminished financial resources.
I have to admit, I don’t exactly remember how we celebrated my husband’s 30th birthday, in 1978. I know that we were living in St. Paul Minnesota. His recollection is probably better than mine. I know that he planned a life-time commitment when we married; of our peer group then – all couples are still together. Certainly I think that everyone planned on being around for a long time – certainly another 30 years at a minimum.
Turning sixty is impressive (at least from the point of view of my 57) and he shows no signs of slowing down. I knew few runners when we met; he is still jogging regularly 30 years later. He learned a foreign language, started working in another culture, changed jobs numerous times as the army shifted me around.
I hope I have his grace when I turn sixty in 2010.