One of my articles from my book: The one that started it all…
Age: Just a number
This was written on the threshold of the Big 30…I will not say when! When it happened I feared that this was it for my youth! But in the aftermath and years counting, I feel no different from how I did when I was in my 20’s and I have come to realize that age is indeed just a number.
We all remembered when we turned 30. To some it’s a milestone in a person’s life, to others it’s just merely another birthday. With the big day just weeks away, for me personally this time is a growth period, a catharsis of sorts, to reflect on one’s life: accomplishments, goals, regrets, lessons. The 20’s: the fun and carefree days, the teens: a distant memory, childhood: a different place and time.
Sometimes we look back in our mind’s eye and wonder if that was really us. Boy have we come a long way! Snapshots snip by us like reels from a movie; look at how we’ve grown! We remember our first bike, our first day at school, our first skinned knee. Then there was the coming of age: our first romance, graduation day, our first job – better yet our first paycheck, our first car, our wedding day, the birth of our first child. Most of us have a lot to be thankful for.
A lot of my friends think that their 20’s went by in a whirlwind; we just took a deep breath and before we knew it, it was gone. Twenty-one was another important turning point, but it seems like child’s play compared to this big number.
When I talk about turning the Big 3-0 in the office, and the fact that your 20’s are really going be gone forever, people look at me like I’m mad, but it is definitely scary. The onset of mortality steps in, one realizes that this is it, no looking back from here on end, you are no longer considered a ‘young boy’ or ‘young girl’ the numbers are just going to keep getting bigger and bigger until you wake up one day and you’re middle-aged. This is big business.
Putting all melodrama aside, no matter what stage of life we are at presently, at times we may look back and wonder: are we really where we want to be at this stage of our life? Did we accomplish all of our goals? Did we conform to society’s expectations? Our families’ expectations? But more importantly did we satisfy ourselves? Our own needs and desires? The reality is that human beings are insatiable, well most of us are anyway; I believe it is human nature. We are constantly striving for improvement, to do more, to achieve more; sometimes what we have is never enough, after all, ‘the grass is always greener on the other side’ or so the old adage goes.
You may think that you need to achieve more but someone else might think that you have the world while you may be having similar thoughts about that person. But comparison is by no means a measure of success. Everyone has a different story and different opportunities available to them, which most times are beyond their control. To succeed is to be truly happy with what you have attained at your stage of development.
Not to sound like a cliché but some people go through life so swiftly they do no not stop to smell the roses, to really be cognizant of what this life is all about, the real purpose for which we are put here, which is to really share our joys, lessons and talents with others, to give thanks for life and give back something to the world.
There is one thing that I have learnt over the years: and that is life is short, life is unpredictable and you never know where life will take you, what it may bring, and no matter how much control you think you have, the reality is that you really don’t. You can’t control people or the outcome of events in your life any more than you can control the weather. Like the famous words from the movie Forrest Gump: “Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” However, we can shape our destiny by our actions.
We look to the future and we think: how are we going to make this decade better than the last? Are we going to put a limit to what we can achieve? Are we going to try to please others by doing what is expected of us? Or are we going to try to live our own life to the fullest, the way we want to live it no matter what anyone says or thinks? I believe in the latter and I think most people do too, whether they decide to put it into action or not.
At this point, I really accept that aging is part of life and it is really time to take that step and let go, and embrace life’s possibilities, to let go of the past, to step out of the comfort zone and embark on a new journey. It does not matter whether or not we feel our purpose is to pro-create, to acquire fame and fortune, to be President, CEO or simply to leave our mark on this world by simple things, to touch everyone we meet by our actions, words and deeds so as to leave behind a legacy.
Maybe it all sounds a bit dramatic, but that is all life is: actions and reactions, repercussions of a former action, simply known as karma. Time is one of life’s simple phenomenons and this coupled with patience and a little faith, is the solution to most of our problems. The more we realize this, the faster we would achieve most of our objectives, of which I am sure happiness is at the core.
Live every moment to the fullest so that you would have no regrets tomorrow. Measure your success by the happiness that you feel in your heart when you arise each morning; when it begins to get contagious and those around you feel it too; you know that you have achieved your purpose.