It’s after midnight in New York City. I’m sitting with my laptop on my brother’s couch, writing this post, twenty-five. Today is my birthday, and I wanted to take the opportunity to reflect.
We say things like, “quarter-life this” or “mid-life that” so casually. But if you think about that phrase, it’s because very few people ever live past 100. In other words, according to statistics, there’s a high probability that my life is already 25% over. Weird.
Twenty-four was an interesting year. I remember ringing it in with friends at dinner in San Francisco. My Grandmother passed away this year. I left my day job. I started a company. Just a lot of change. Which, isn’t necessarily a bad thing, I’ve come to understand. In fact, change is perhaps the only constant life ever provides.
Seeing myself in context
When you’re fresh out of school, like I was three years ago, you take a leap of faith into this thing called life. Retrospectively, I landed remarkably well, in a new city, with an internship, which led to an epic job. Things felt, for the most part, in place.
I should have taken that as a cue of an inevitable brewing storm. For many people, comfort and security is the primary aim of work. Yet once we’ve achieved it, we suddenly feel hollow, as if there’s a drama missing from our lives. We might search for new things to fill this void: sports, hobbies, romance, etc. but as soon as one of these boxes gets checked, it’s on to the next one.
As I wrote several posts ago, my perspective has recently changed. You might call this maturation, or wisdom, but I think David Foster Wallace sums it up best in his This is Water commencement speech. He tells a parable of two young fish, who meet an older fish. The old fish says, “Hello boys! How’s the water?” As the young fish swim past, one of them turns to the other and asks, “What the heck is water?”
When you’re in the midst of everything, as we so often are from behind our eyes, it can be quite easy to lose perspective. As I’ve adapted to many of the changes in my life these past months, I feel like I finally have, for the first time, a glimpse of water. Where I’ve found it, ironically hasn’t been outwards, but by looking within.
When you place the mastery of yourself as the central drama of your life, it suddenly becomes a much more difficult, and never ending challenge. I can always be more generous to people, more patient, thoughtful, useful, and so on. Additionally, by working on myself, I’m not placing the contentment with life on any other person or thing, as this is far too burdensome, and my own responsibility.
Realizing this has taken time. But working on my life through the practice of mindful introspection has been, thus far, very rewarding.
It wouldn’t be a birthday post without throwing in some wishes. I told myself this year, I’d write a book. I’ve started one. I really wanted to have it finished by today, so I could launch it, as a present to myself. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. BUT, there may be hope yet, as there are still a few more months left in the year, and I’m hot on the pursuit.
I of course will be working on my new business. I hope that will serve as a more formal method for delivering some of the things I dream up. Making that a financial success too, wouldn’t be so bad. Either way, I’m learning as I go, and eager to take on the challenges that await.
Finally, I’d like to continue to work on my health. Thanks to a little motivation from a friend, who loves to run, I’ve started taking my health much more seriously. As bad as this sounds, my fitness is something I’ve always just, had. After playing competitive soccer for nearly seventeen years, it kind of just comes naturally. But once you’re out of organized sports, health is something you must continue to work on daily. The body, the very vehicle of our conscious, is the vessel in which we all make our journeys. Treating it with the love and respect which it deserves is one of my very top priorities.
Alright, it’s now 1:00AM. Big day tomorrow. Thank you all for being loyal readers of my blog. Your continued support means a lot. More than I could ever really describe. Here’s to another wonderful year of writing, and to the first quarter of life.