Firstly, thanks for embracing my Forest for The Trees post. I received some wonderful feedback on it and I am delighted that it resonated with many of you. Sometimes all it takes is to know that there is another human going through the same things or feeling the same emotions to lighten the load. If I have done that, even in a small way, then I’m happy.
Secondly, please forgive my absence of comments on some of your blogs. My Reader is having trouble updating and I am missing a lot of your blog posts. I’m going to have a crack at fixing the problem when I return from my next road trip which starts tonight. I m planning to return with some more great photos to share with you every Monday.
In the meantime, I’d like to leave you with these thoughts. Having reached middle age, I have a real sense that what has worked for me for the first forty something years of my life is not going to work for me for the next forty something. A very big part of Raising the Curtain is finding things, thoughts, methods and means that will work going forward.
One of my favorite quotes is from Soren Kierkegaard:
Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.
I am finding this quote has particular relevance at this middle stage of life.
Looking back, I can see that my discontent (for want of a better word) was building for the last three years. My thinking until recently was to just push through that discontent, but the personal price became too high. So I made some changes and will be making some more until recalibration has been achieved. Life has a way of throwing us pointers for our big decisions. The trick is to have your mind and heart open to recognise the signs and to appreciate them even if they point in a direction you haven’t before considered.
On my forest for the trees hike, I came across this sign:
At the time, finding it gave me comfort. It negated a lot of the variables that related to the walk we were taking – time, distance and energy required. It also confirmed we were on the right track.
It started me thinking (always dangerous!) as to whether it would be a good thing to have a similar sign pop up in our life’s journey so that we could be confident in living it and understanding it moving forward. Think about some scenarios:
- Waiting for that train or bus
- Waiting in that long queue, whether on the phone or in person
- Waiting for your mate or significant other to come into your life or commit, whether that’s soul made, spouse, best friend, good friend
- Knowing when you will have children
- Knowing how long you have to endure ill/good health
- Knowing how long you have to spend with a parent or other loved one
- Knowing how long you will have to toil before you achieve that dream
- Knowing how long you have above ground
Would you want to know the half way point?
Instinctively my answer for each of these scenarios would be yes. But this begs the next question:
Would knowing make a positive difference to your actions?
Knowing would certainly make planning easier and possibly bring some comforting validation, depending on which scenario applied. BUT I can’t help thinking that knowing in some of these scenarios would preempt certain negative outcomes, particularly if the halfway point is further than you expected.
The first two scenarios are “no-brainers”. I think we would all want to know the half way point. But what about the others?
For example, would knowing how much time you have left on earth help you maximise that time or would you constantly feel under pressure to maximise every moment and be let down if you didn’t? Would you get the life equivalent of the 4pm Sunday afternoon work blues if you knew? Would you be discouraged or encouraged by reaching the halfway point?
Surely, the answer is individual for all of us.
Would I want to know? Possibly not, living life forward and only understanding it backwards may just be enough in the long run. For now, the journey lies in TRYING to understand. The process of reaching for that brass ring may just yield more dividends than the brass ring itself.
Would you want to know the halfway point?
29 thoughts on “Would You Want To Know The Halfway Point?”
WOW! Incredible post. I am going to have to re-read this and really chew on it. This is an incredible post, very thought provoking. Well done you! I never considered this and it is a good question to think about. DAF
Thanks DAF, let me have your throughts on the matter when you are ready.
will do. I am still pondering on it.
I don’t believe I would do well with that information. I would approach everything with a sense of melancholy and dread, not gusto. Some stuff is just better left untold.
Thanks for the comment and for swinging by. Ignorance is certainly sometimes bliss.
FYI: my Reader has also been acting up. I would not do well with that information at all. It would only make me anxious and nothing would be completed. I’m with Buff…melancholy & dread would take over. I’m better at being on the fly! Great post….again.
I’m all for carping the hell out of diems lately myself :).
Judy! You found your bliss too! You touched the other. Great piece as was the last one.
Me being me I don’t believe it would be good for me to know my half way point. I am too nuerotic as it is. I think I would drive Barry and those around me nuts if I knew.
Have a great road trip and drive safe.
Oh and come back with some wonderful, amusing and quirky stories for us to love and enjoy.
Yes boss, thanks!
Great post Judy! These are some wonderful questions to ask ourselves! I have some initial thoughts, but want to see how those fare as I think about this through my day. Somewhere recently (and a couple of times from different sources) I heard, “Live each day as if it was your first.” I am not sure who originally said this, but for me this is the shift of perspective that happened back in the rule out ALS days of my illness. I was in “Live each day as if it was your last” mode and it shifted from that. I will report back with other thoughts later in the day as I process your post.
Thanks Tawny, It’s amazing how our life can change with perspective and different cognitions. I await your wisdom, my friend :).
Terrific post. Do I want to know that I am at or past the half-way post? No. Nope. Never. My entire life has been living not really knowing what’s coming next. It works for me and keeps life interesting.
Love this comment, Elyse. Flying by the seat of one’s pants can certainly be energising!
Great thought provoking post! So glad I found your blog! I am blown away by the talent on so many blogs
Same and same! So glad we now have the means of getting a glimpse into each other’s talents.
Hmmm, I don’t think I’d want to know, particularly how much time I have left. By not knowing, I’m encouraged to live each day like it’s my last, something I’m not always good about.
On a side note, I’m glad to hear mine isn’t the only WordPress reader having problems. I had to go and change the blogs I’m following to receive an email notification each time they post, since my reader wasn’t updating. I have a very full inbox now. 🙂
Thanks Carrie, you philosphy is the right one I think. I used to be very much a rainy day person. Happy to say that’s changing :).
Yes remedial reader action is required here as well.
Oh and happy that your inbox overfloweth :D!
I’m just as happy not knowing whether I’m closer to the beginning, closer to the end, or closer to the halfway point. I wouldn’t mind living life backwards, though.
Yes, reminds me of that saying “You can’t put an old head on young shoulders”. Were it that you could…
Some thinking required after this post. OK, I’m ready. NO, I don’t want to know ANYthing except that I will live to be 100, that I’ll see my grandchildren grow up and see my great grandchildren grow up. Not a lot to ask, wouldn’t you say? LOL.
Great post – you are making me think. I would not want to know, but I must confess while watching the news last night, a man made reference to his father living pretty healthfully until he was 106. At 53, I reflected if I could remain that healthy, then I am at my halfway point. Then I read your article this morning, so there is Kismet. When I had a health scare on my 44th birthday and had all kinds of wires in me testing if I had experienced a heart attack, I can attest that I did not think about work one bit. I thought about my family – seeing my children graduate, get married, have children with my wife my my side. Whether we have fifteen years or thirty left, live your life well doing what brings you joy. Find whatever moments you can to do that. And always remember the definition of middle age is 15 years older than you are at any point in your life. G’Day mate.
I like it when you think OF, good things tend to happen :). Love that definition of middle age, mate! And thanks for relating your experience, it confirms my believe that I don’t want “she was a great worker” on my epitaph.
When you’re on the slippery slide down the hill and well past the half-way point it’s better to have forgotten where that point was. 🙂
As the previous commenter mentioned….live your life filled with whatever brings you the greatest happiness. Fortunately I discovered contentment early in my life….never popularity, for part of my contentment involved getting rid of all those activities and people who contributed nothing positive to my life.
Popularity is shortlived and fickle IMHO. Surrounding yourself with a few gems is better than a whole room full of cubic zirconias.
Hard to say if I would want to know that I was at the halfway point – great question! I already feel like hitting 40 means that I am likely about halfway through my life, which is encouraging because it feels like there is more time left, but discouaging because it is not enough! I think I would rather stay in the dark and be surprised. 🙂 Great post!!
Thanks! Hitting 40 caused mixed emotions in me as well. But 40 is the new 30, right?
Indeed…I am actually enjoying it…so silly that 40 feels so different from 39, perhaps, but it does!!
In theory, I think I would want to know the halfway point of my life(although, I suspect I have already passed it). It would be wonderful to have the impetus to live my life fully, giving, doing and making the world and my family better for me being in it. In reality, though, I know myself and if I were to waste a day doing nothing, or loose my temper or be down I would chide myself for blowing the time I have left. So, I guess, I really would not want to know my halfway point. I strive to make each day count in some way and I know I fail miserably at times.
Last week we were climbing a hill to look at some monuments at the Gettysburg National Military Park. It was hot and humid and the path was not a good one. I questioned walking up. As some people were making their way down the path my hubby and I asked if it was worth it, and they answered yes. We then turned our focus on how hard it was for those Civil War soldiers, all very young, all in danger and all in woolen uniforms. The temperature was the same last week and 149 years ago. It sobered us to think of what these brave young people did to fight for their cause.
I guess, when we have a purpose in our lives we need to live like we are past our half way marks, but enjoy and laugh like we have our whole lives in front of us. Sorry for the length of the response, but this is a wonderful post and it deserves good, honest answers. Thanks for the thought provoking words, they have changed my life. DAF