John Ondrasik wrote the lyrics about his life: when he was 15 he couldn't find a girl, at 22 he found the girl and got married, at 33 he had his first child.
Ondrasik was born in 1965, so he was about 39 when the song was released. In his 2015 Songfacts interview
, when we asked him about passing some of the milestones in the song, he replied: "As you can grow up through the song, I never tire of playing it. That said, living the bridge ['Half time goes by, suddenly you're wise...'] is certainly different than that second verse."
As more the midlife crisis he predicted for age 45, Ondrasik said he "missed it by two years."