There’s a song from a couple decades ago that says “life is a highway”. Quite catchy, back in the day; but today, as I hit one of those proverbial ‘milestone’ birthdays, I can’t help but recognize the truth behind that simple statement. Birthdays are made just for this, to provide a moment of reflection on where life has been, where you are now, and what may lie ahead on this road we all travel. The relevance between age and a highway is sort of like the mile markers that we pass with some regularity as we travel. The number on the sign – or in this case, the number of your age – is a simple means of tracking the distance that we’ve traveled. It doesn’t tell us anything about the construction zones we’ve dealt with or sometimes had to detour around, the accidents that either caused us pause or (hopefully with far less frequency) been involved in. The mile markers don’t tell us what exit ramps we’ve passed, the forks that we’ve chosen, and they most certainly don’t say anything about the things we have seen. The journey – whether on a road or through our lives – is about the things that we have seen, the experiences that have occurred, the conversations we have had along the way. When people say that age is only of mild relevance, this is why that logic prevails. A mile marker only tells you where you are at the moment; it explains nothing about what came before it, what comes after it. There is no “counting down” to where the highway ends because, in all honesty, it never really does. Sure, I may take an exit before someone else; while the mile markers may all tell us how far we have travelled, they say nothing about the distance remaining.
PS - thanks to everyone who wished me a happy 40th!