A new survey from Friends United suggests that, on average, we are the happiest at age 33. Yes! I have something to look forward to now. At first it was age 16, “Let’s go for a drive dad!’ Then it was 18, “Pack of Malboro Lights sir.” We all know 21 years brings us to the nearest bar. For me it was “Jack on the rocks.” I thought it was going to end at 25 when my automobile insurance was suppose to go down. A DUI and an accident will seriously prevent that milestone from being significant. I guess I missed out on that one.
The big THREE-THREE totally gives me a sense of hope as recently I’ve been at an alarming, though refreshingly straight-line of emotions. I’ve been used to this roller coaster of emotional peaks and valleys. So as I now look to 33 and the promises I will hold this survey accountable for, I reflect back and ask what was my happiest time.
There was the first time I held a girl’s hand. It was in a car. I was in the passenger seat and she was sitting behind. I reached back with blind faith and felt fate’s reassurance. There was the first kiss. It was in the movie, don’t remember which one but I do remember Alex drove us in his boxy BMW. And he sat through the entire make-out affair without complaint. He was a good friend. First job, first interview. Stop. I now realize this list could easily turn into one of firsts. Let’s not do that because I too now realize that following each listing would be a listing of disasters and mistakes.
I get that 33 number now. Everything of joy was followed by a hard lesson learned which flowed into a new first. At 33 there is enough experience and yet enough youth to conduct a symphony of smoothness. All the parts are tested and balanced. Ready to absorb bumps in the road yet broken in and comfortable to ride. In essence, Michael Jordan’s prime wasn’t when he was 25 and dunking over everyone. It was when he was 33. By that time he couldn’t leap as high as he once did. He quit and went through his baseball phase. He came back to basketball and failed to take his Bulls to the trophy. He looked suddenly human. It was at age 33 he took his his experience and combined it with his physical talents and set a team record that still stands. A record 72 wins. A championship. And he looked happy doing it.
I think the undulating hills of my past are signs that a tangible maturity has graced me. I’m calmer and smile more. My heart doesn’t flutter at sticky situations. Sure I’ve learned to stay away from the drama but life creeps up. It comes prepared with pencils, questions and even Rorschach cards. It’s up to me to decide what I see. I like this maturity thing. I don’t miss smoking. I don’t crave alcohol. I think I’ll call GEICO tomorrow and see if they believe me now.