As you grow up, you assume that your life will be good. Mine has been.
You assume you will have a good (or decent) job, that you will love your spouse, have amazing kids, and generally do well. I’ve done that.
You also assume that eventually you will become the person you’ve always wanted to be. People who meet you will like you. You will be the best person at your job doing your job. You will always say the right thing. That, however, is not me. I haven’t done that.
This, I think, is the idea/information that hits people at middle age. Unless I live as long as Karen C’s family, I’m well past middle age. In fact, if I live to be my mother’s age, I’m in my twilight years. I’m not going to go buy a new car, have an affair, or quit my job–though I am considering dyeing the ends of my hair blue.
While I am a bit disappointed in how I personally, not my life, have turned out thus far, the reality is probably that I am less bad tempered, more truthful, and a better teacher now than I was when I was 18. As Ron mentioned recently, we tend to idealize our past.