Checking Our Life Progress at Age Forty

My online pastor, don’t trip, I also attend First Baptist in Pittsburg. As I was saying, a few Sunday’s ago Doctor Lance Watson of Saint Paul’s Baptist (Richmond, VA.) began a new sermon series.  The new series is entitled “Fortyish.”  The subject is as it sounds, people reflecting on their current status in life at the age of forty. Naturally, Dr. Watson looked at it from a biblical sense.

It started me wondering about my state of mind after turning Forty. First of all, I had my midlife crises in my early thirties. I had to close a thriving retail business because I didn’t have the collateral to get a business loan. With two kids and a wife, finding a career that had growth possibilities at home was a lost cause. After closing our retail outlet, I reasoned that my future was not in Milwaukee.

I was familiar with the Oakland-San Francisco Bay Area. As a young soldier, I was once stationed at Fort Ord, outside Salinas and Monterey, CA.  From there I was assigned to Oakland’s Army Terminal to await a ship that took me to Korea. While there, I’d settled in so well, the Forty- Niners’ became my second favorite football team, after the Packers. Reluctantly my wife agreed, and we decided to move to Northern California. I should also say my life took a drastic change for the better with that decision. I put in an application for a governmental position in Alameda. I got hired as a Supply Clerk by a lady I ending up calling my West Coast Mother. She called to tell me I had the job and found my wife to be pregnant expecting our third child. Ida M Brown (RIP) allowed me to report, two months later after the birth of the baby.  After I had arrived, she suggested I move into the Oakland YMCA, which I did and invited me and my new friend, Denny, over to her house for a Thanksgiving Dinner. I never forgot her kindness. That was in 1978.  I was thirty-four years old.

But let’s stay on point. I should note that I passed my forties over two decades ago. By age forty, I was working as an Accounting Technician at Naval Supply Center. I transferred from the Accounting Department and took a job in the Procurement Department. My dream had come true. I was a Purchasing Agent and feeling like I’d made real professional progress.

For most people, as Dr. Watson says, turning forty is a time we spend taking inventory of our life. Specifically, we look at our professional life, social environment, and friends.

Professionally we compare our dreams and hopes at twenty to our current reality. We look at our professional gains or losses. We wonder if we had taken this or that turn would we be in a better financial position. Are we happy in our chosen profession?  Are we in an upward position or a dead end? Is my position as rewarding as I originally thought, does it provide me the required security. And one of the most important aspects of a career, am I paid enough for the work.

Should we make a slight change in direction or change careers?  In these days, maybe the choice has been made for you. Companies continue to downsize, and look for ways to cut staff as a way of improving their profitability.  In my opinion, all possibilities must be reviewed including starting your own business.

We also take stock as to who in our lives are worth keeping and who might need to write off as a loss or nuisance.  Sounds cold? Come on; we’ve all had those people in our lives. Friends and, or relatives who have and will continue to cause constant problems in our daily existence. Most mean well, but come into your life with their personal agenda. Some go so far as to get what they need from you and move on to other sources. For a few, you may just have to say enough is enough; we just can’t be around each other. That would also include those in our love life. Is this the person I want in my life. Have the past years been as wonderful for both of us or neither one of us?

There is also an important examination that is biblical in nature. Do our possessions Golden Eggscontribute to our mental well-being?  In short, what we have purchased or personally own is the subject. Do our toys, for lack of a better word, make us happy? The size, brand or value of your toy may not mean the same to other individuals. Maybe it is a status toy like a home or automobile. Whatever the case, the question remains the same. Does it make you happy?

Sometimes we find that after getting a new toy, we are bored and begin to set our sights on a more expensive or new toy. In other words, we may find ourselves always longing for something we don’t have and possible can never own. That calls for self-examination of our values. Do we need this or another toy or can we find happiness with what we already own? And just where do our friends, family, and spouses fit into our toy equation? The value of human contact and interaction should always outweigh our desires for toys.

The point of the exercise is to examine all aspects of your life at this stage. It’s a case where you have to be selfish and honest with yourself.  If the exercise is carried out in the correct way, one will learn a lot about themselves and people around them.

This article is a series of personal examinations at the subject decade milestones in our lives. We welcome comments on your thoughts as write about each topic point. We can all learn from others experiences as well as our own. Look for a new article every two weeks.

Next up: What Happens When You Reach Fifty?

Followed by: Sixty, the new Forty or Fifty?

Ending with: Seventies, are you Done?

Peace, make it a day in which Jesus Christ would be proud of you,

 

Codis Hampton II

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