Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Getting promoted, and getting older

The process of going through my promotion file has gotten me focused on dates -- Can I count this? Was it published after I submitted my last review? When was that, anyway?

And thinking about dates and eras of life and milestones in between, and I was struck by something -- well, two linked somethings, actually:

a. I hit all my major career accomplishments in my thirties: PhD, job, tenure, book (published a month before I turned 40). My thirties were also the last time that I ever got a raise, and the last time that I was in any sort of romantic relationship.

b. My forties (I'm a decent chunk into them) have been marked by zero milestones: no relationships (hell, no dating even), no home purchase, no promotions, no children, no raises -- none of the external markers that tell you that your life is on the right track. It's also so far, the decade of my life in which I have been most consistently happy.

Seriously: it's kinda weird.

7 comments:

nicoleandmaggie said...

"It's also so far, the decade of my life in which I have been most consistently happy."

I think that means you've hit enlightenment!

Though the no raises thing sucks.

Comradde PhysioProffe said...

My experience is that happiness has little to do with the external trappings.

Belle said...

Maybe the forties are when you live with yourself for the first time, as you are rather than as you want to become.

From my vantage point, in my sixth decade, 40- now are exploring internals. Not all happiness, but differently focused. Some ways, profoundly satisfying and less stressful.

Anonymous said...

I too, now nearly halfway through my forties, am having the best time of my life. I also did pretty much all the big things (except marriage in my 20s and house buying in my early 40s) in my 30s--tenure, books, promotion to full, babies. Maybe, actually, that's why the fourth decade is better--it's much less full of change and turmoil! I totally don't understand all the cultural angst around turning 40 though.

ej said...

I, too, hit all the "big" milestones in my 30s. But because I left my tenured position several years ago, I get to apply for tenure again, this time in my 40s.

I'd much rather be applying for promotion!

undine said...

Agree with nicoleandmaggie--the milestones are less important than the current happiness.

Susan said...

What Belle and CPP said. We tend to think that the external things are what bring happiness, (and you'd never make it through grad school, job market, and tenure if part of you didn't buy that). But really, in our 40s we learn to live in our skin.