It’s funny how life twists and changes.
When I was 16, I was in high school and I spent a year in Germany as an exchange student.
At 24 I moved to California to work for a medical robotics company.
At 27 I found myself in London, to study for my MBA at the London Business School.
At 36, I returned to the US to work more closely with my father’s company.
I turn 40 this year. In some ways that feels like “the big thing”. But I don’t really feel that much different than I did when I was 21. More calm, for sure. And I handle life’s situations much more effectively.
I remember a story from Buck Sappenfield, about a time he was riding up the elevator to go to a friend’s birthday. He found himself in the elevator with a young woman, probably in her early 20s. He remarked that he was going to his friends 60th birthday. She nodded. He then mentioned, “I’m 60 too”, expecting some sort of shock from the young woman, because he imagined himself to be about 20 as well. Instead, she kind of gave him that, “yea, I can tell, are you off your rocker” look… and it struck home that perhaps he wasn’t as young looking as he felt.
Time is a funny thing. Seasons pass by, we change the year on our calendar, and we have this concept of “growing up” or “growing older”. A lot of it just feels like a mental game, because we’re always right here in this present moment. It’s always now. One ever present moment that keeps twisting and turning.
I think hat’s why we feel the same as we did 20 years ago… because our experience in the present moment is relatively the same. Sometimes we feel that time speeds up or slows down, but really, there is no such thing as time in the present, and it just always is. There is no essence of fast or slow passing time… just sensations of boredom or excitement or focus or overwhelming though… but those sensations aren’t time… they’re just our experience in the moment.
I wonder what advice I’d give my 20 year old self now. Possibly how to develop useful habits, and some encouragement to develop habits in yoga, meditation, and a daily journal early on. I might speak about mastering forgiveness and why it is so essential to your sanity. Or let myself know not to get to hung up on “figuring it all out”… because I’m still trying to figure it all out, and it just doesn’t seem to happen. I would probably sit with myself and listen, and see if I could start tackling much more early on this childhood belief that I’m not good enough. And to invest in Google, Amazon and Apple as much as I could. I’d probably say, don’t worry about the news too much… it gets kind of depressing for a few years in there, but it will work out okay in the end.
Actually, that’s some advice I need right now… the news may be depressing for a bit, but it will work out in the end.
I wonder what advice I’ll have for my 40 year old self when I turn 60. Don’t take life too seriously?