10 Things I Believed at 25 That Proved False by 45

Ahhhh, to be 20-something… Like most during those years, I had very definite impressions about how my life would progress. I would eventually learn, and after serious resistance – accept – that life has a way of detouring, surprising and wearing down a person, leaving a few disappointments along the way.

You may detect a touch of mid-life cynicism, but however you label the post, women I know in their later forties are experiencing a few discontents. We tend to hide them, worried that if we share our disappointments, it will replace the otherwise pleasant image people have of us. We fear earning a reputation as a complainer if we dare talk about the thoughts that dominate our 2am insomnia. For those of us “in the church”, we definitely don’t want to be judged as being ungrateful.

At 25 I believed…

1. What goes around eventually comes around.
What you send out often does come back, but life is unequal.
Some really bad people live into their 70’s without consequences.
Some really good people get really bad cancer.
Life is unfair in many ways for many people.

2. Maturity will finally belong to everyone – women will stop gossiping and men will stop gawking.

I was the naive 20-something who sincerely believed that once everyone became an adult, immature behavior would cease entirely.
Most often, what you see in someone at 25 will hold true at 45.
The scarce numbers of people who become better humans practice self-discipline and work hard to change. The effort is worth it, but few will bother.

3. My life would be anything but ordinary.
While marriage and parenting are adventures all on their own, it’s not the cocktail parties, fancy dresses and life of relative ease that I expected.
My life has been largely conventional. And there is blessing in ordinary.

4. Being nice always pays off.
I was stunned for many years that no matter how caring, nice or genuinely thoughtful I was toward a person, some people were still unkind.
I’ve tried to jump start my kids on this truth: people will find fault with anything-even good things. Not everyone will like you and that’s ok. We answer to God, not them.

5. Blood is thicker than anything.
Many people have sweet, fun and tender-hearted relatives who would rather die than upset each other.
Other families go out of their way to intentionally hurt each other. After years of confusing heartache, I learned that spending time with blood out of obligation is just wasting time. Perhaps not entirely applicable here, but even Jesus asked, “Who is my mother and who are my brothers?” (Mat. 12:48) Friends are the family you choose.

6. That one, brilliant pastor would finally be able to explain to my inquisitive, deeper-than-most mind the harshness of life.
No one can.
I’ve met some intellectually gifted, deeply genuine pastors whose hearts eventually lead to the same place as mine: on this side of heaven, we simply will not understand the unconscionable suffering.
While a significant amount of earthly sorrow is the result of a person’s poor behavior, much suffering is simply enigmatic.

7. Unlike everyone around me, I would enjoy a pain-free marriage. Hands down, my husband and I are among the most normal and committed couples you’ll meet in a world of truly crazy marriages. We have been married for 22 years, and are both utterly devoted to our family. But marriage has peaks and valleys and all couples are imperfect.
I love Hallmark movies and every Disney princess story, but real life is not a fairy tale.

8. Those 40-something women were eating way too much McDonald’s.
Hormones-schmormones. That’s what I thought at 25.
After going through early menopause at 40, I gained 10 pounds in a month and never ate fast food. Then, clothes that fit the new me 10lbs. heavier, suddenly didn’t fit me at 45.
Hormonal changes are real. The weight can go up or stay the same, but the dispersion of the weight is fearfully unpredictable.

9. Those 40-something women weren’t exercising.
It takes double the effort at 45 to earn the same physical results I did at 25. Who has “double the time” while raising three teenagers?
At 25, I was only doing three things: working on my Master’s, working, and working out.

10. Having faith will eventually get easier.
I know my bible better than I ever have and for me, faith is harder.
Years of observing our global, moral deterioration. Depraved abuse, abductions, perversion, lies, seemingly endless unanswered prayers…
Living in a society that names what is blatantly “wrong” as “right” makes it seem like the dark side is winning. Of course, the days are numbered and we know the Good One wins. (Rev. 22:20)

19 thoughts on “10 Things I Believed at 25 That Proved False by 45

  1. Great post! The idea that my life would be anything but ordinary still haunts me – at 49. It think it’s more about perspective and reframing your definition of extraordinary. And the idea that people will be mature – ha! I tell my kids that I still feel like I’m surrounded by characters from high school. Very little has changed on that front.


    • You are so right that it’s about perspective. If we don’t focus on what is “extraordinary” about our own individual lives, bitterness can settle in. We indeed must develop our definition of extraordinary and be thankful for what’s good. Thanks for writing.


  2. That was eyes-opening. As now I’m 23 and I feel that I’m indistructible and all, it’s good to realise that I may be wrong having the viewpoint I have. I really hold some of these views now – some of the ones that proved not to be true in your 40s. Thank you for the insightful post. 🙂


  3. I bet it feels good to acknowledge your real, happily ever love story as it is unfolding and embracing it even though it’s different than what we dreamed in our twenties. Well said and loved all your thoughts.


  4. Great list. The family section is hard for me. It was difficult to walk away from the continually abusive, and controlling. But it was necessary.
    Great post!


    • Wendy, you are truly courageous. You did the only right thing for you and those closest to you by separating yourself from that type of pain. Thank you for sharing such a personal comment. (I love your philosophy of “cultivating gratitude” on your blog – it’s something I’m going to get better at in 2016!).

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  5. Really enjoyed your post. I’m 2 years from 60, and in my 20’s thought life would get easier. It doesn’t. I agree about working out. What I used to do young would drop the pounds as if by magic. Now? No matter how hard I work out I still gain weight. I’m not overweight but I’m not thin as I used to be either. Pasters/priests … I have yet to meet one that can answer my enquiring mind. That’s why I go directly to Source (God) and listen to my Heart where that Source speaks. I’m uncomfortable around a lot of people, especially my own blood family. I have better relationships and friends here on WP then I do with my own family. I thought I would understand and get answers to my endless questions. I realize now the more I do know the less I know. Wise words I’ve just read here. Keep growing. Life is a Journey! 🙂 ❤

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