I should have written ‘everything I know about life’ when I was 22. It could have been a novel. I was confident then. Too confident. I had it all figured out. And that confidence continued well into my thirties but somehow petered out at or around the time I turned 38. I think it was a tiredness that overcame me in my late thirties that made me question my irrational self-belief. I’m not sure I’ll ever have the same energy I did before the tiredness hit me.
What happened after was an awakening, unraveling, or perhaps a slow unfolding of consciousness — something I had never experienced before. After a couple of years, I came to a conclusion — ‘I am certain of nothing.’
What follows isn’t everything I have learned in my 40+ years but a few things I have learned in the last few. Everything I thought before the tiredness was terribly simplistic and shitty. My remaining thoughts are perhaps more valuable. Here goes…
Your Best Days Are Ahead of You
Life gets better as you grow older and become more self-aware. I think it’s because of a deep understanding that time is running short. There’s no screwing around after a certain age and living the width of your life becomes a priority.
Getting over childhood insecurities and creating financial security also helps. At the end of the day, life gets better the fewer fucks you have left to give. As you grow older you’re more in tune with your likes and dislikes. You have learned to recognize the traps you so easily fell into in your youth.
The Obstacle Is the Way
We fear most the things we haven’t been through. And when making choices it is usually best to choose the scariest path. The rewards are higher versus playing it safe.
Consider minimizing future regret when making decisions. On average, people who take the plunge choosing to do important yet scary things with their lives wind up happier in the long run.
It’s Okay to Change
There are people who won’t like it but change isn’t a gift meant for others. It is the gift you give yourself as you become a wiser, more thoughtful, well-rounded human. Change is a constant but many get stuck in their ways as they grow older afraid of what is unknown.
I think it’s best to look back at your younger self and see the absurdity and foolishness of that person. Or in other words, look back and see how far you have come. If there are people in your life that don’t like it, perhaps they weren’t meant to be long-term travel companions.
What Drives the World Doesn’t Have to Drive You
I’m not interested in competing with any other human besides myself. And I don’t think you should work to get money to buy things to impress others. Life isn’t a series of checkboxes.
Most of the things I see people yearning and striving for don’t interest me. It can create a bit of disconnect which leaves one feeling as if they live between two worlds but what makes the world go round has become incredibly boring.
It’s okay if your inner beliefs, your inner passion, and your inner compass points in a different direction. Wherever you end up, you’ll find yourself there — along with your people.
I Know That I Don’t Know
What makes writing a piece like this difficult is being unsure of my own thoughts — perhaps that’s a good thing. I don’t know what the future will hold and I don’t trust the stories I tell myself about the past. The only constant is knowing that I don’t know.
This is how I remain a curious and humble person. It’s how I embrace lifelong learning, crave experience, and will forever be a student of life. We learn over decades however we’re tested daily. I feel like if I have kept an open mind, I will likely pass the test.
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