Tonight was the first night of my Human Development class (I am working for a MS in Pastoral Counseling at Loyola University Maryland) and we had some interesting conversation.
Our professor had us break up into groups to answer some questions. The first of these questions was, “Which age do you think is the ‘best’ and why?” She said she was purposefully ambiguous with this particular question, as we technically have an emotional age, a physical age, a birth age, etc.
One of my team members began the conversation saying she thought the mid-20s was the best, because people are still enjoying their youth, but are really beginning to find themselves. Another stated that he had heard the 30s through the 40s were the least happy age. We discussed how that could be because it is a large transition into “real” adulthood.
To me, looking back over my own life span, I felt like all of the ages were good. All stages in my life had been met with struggle and with triumph…with tears and with laughter.
I figured if she was going to be ambiguous with her question, I was going to be ambiguous with my answer. The “best” age, in my opinion, was NOW. After all, I am smarter now than I have ever been, and I have a future to look forward to.
If we live in our past, thinking any of those times were the best or the worst, perhaps we are living with regrets, or living with the mindset that we are failing. If we live in our dreams of the future (i.e. when I finally finish this degree, then I will be happy, or when I finally win the lottery then I will be happy), then me miss so much of our lives.
Philosophically speaking, the past and the future do not exist. Only the present does. The past is the past and that is all it can ever be. The future is not much more than a figment of our own imaginations, as there is no guarantee of a future for any of us.
Living in the present, in the NOW, is the greatest gift we can achieve, and it is the only way to find true happiness, no matter what circumstance envelops us in the now. It is the greatest and happiest age, so enjoy it!