Who would have thought that sneaking out of your parents’ house on a snowy winter night and running across a major interstate freeway might not be a great idea? Perhaps the only thing that provokes more anxiety is having to tell your parents about it. Unless, of course, you are in your forties.
The perspective you get in your forties is unlike any other. Let’s not call it “midlife” which seems so structured and final. Our forties are a time for looking backward and looking forward with fresh new eyes and without many of the burdens, stresses, fears and anxieties that followed through life up until now.
In the fourth episode of The Forty Tellers, I talk with my long-time friend Lora Budd. Even though we have known each other since the first grade, our conversation covers ground that neither one of us expected and reveals things that I never knew: things about her life, about our friendship and about the choices we have made over time that define who we are.
After growing up in Olympia, Washington, Lora joined the United States Air Force and found herself working at the Pentagon at the rank of Second Lieutenant. She talks about lunching with military generals, meeting her husband, losing a pregnancy, and returning back to Olympia shortly before 9/11.
Now Lora is in her forties, well-established in the software industry with her and her husband’s business, and raising three children. She sits in her Olympia home with birds chirping happily outside as she talks with surprising candor about monitoring her kids’ access to social media and telling them with complete frankness about the risk and realities of adolescent life in the post-iPhone world.
Did Lora’s past experience inform her parenting style? Clearly. How will it influence her kids? We may never know, at least until they reach their forties too.