The fact is that most of us are wandering around, scared shitless, wondering what the fuck’s going to happen next. That’s as true when you’re 11 as it is when you’re in your 40s. It’s one reason that people feel very discouraged or disinclined to try new things—they feel like it’s not for them.
I understand that you’re asking me this because you’re trying to get the narrative, but my narrative is that I’ve never known what’s coming next—I still don’t. I fell down the right set of stairs and have been surrounded by people who have picked me up and said, “Let’s try this again.” It’s been one anxious block of uncertainty after another.
Many people look forward to an empty nest—when the kids finally move out—so they can get back to all the fun things they used to do together as a couple before diapers and car pools and homework took over their lives.
Couples eagerly awaiting this day might be in for a surprise. In the sudden quiet may come the discovery that years on a treadmill—raising children, building careers—have left them very different people than they were in the their 20s or 30s. In short: They’ve woken up with a stranger.