I recently turned 29 — which means I’m staring 30 right in the fucking face. Soon, I will get paid more for what I know rather than what I do. And I will have to start writing for Middle Aged Problems instead. Hashtag awkwardandunfunnydadjokes.
Obviously, getting older has changed my perspective a lot. Getting into a fulfilling career and becoming a husband and father. I know that 18-year-old me would look at 29-year-old me with disgust about how lame I have become. 29-year-old me looks at 18-year-old me and sees an insufferable, arrogant little shit.
Still, 18-year-old me and 29-year-old me have some things in common. We are both sarcastic assholes to the point of being obnoxious at times. We both aspire to greatness, however we both share some of the same personal demons: Like still being overweight despite telling myself I would never let it get to a certain point, and being way too hard on ourselves when we screw up. That is where the similarities end for the most part.
18-year-old me had no concept of time and how important it was. I have come to realize that my time is often worth more than my money. I am way more likely to hire out a time consuming project now then I am to do it myself — even if it will save money.
Even at the comparatively young age of 29, I have come to acknowledge my own impending mortality. It makes me realize that taking my wife and son on a camping trip or a family reunion is far more valuable than saving a few hundred bucks by working on my truck for a weekend.
Increasing age has changed me to become more of a “right-now” person. I have written about my parents to you guys before, so you know a bit of their story. They are having more fun now than they ever had. At least one winter vacation every year (Hawaii, Jamaica, Cozumel, Costa Rica, Vegas have been the last 5 years), but it took them a long time to reach that point where they allowed themselves to go. They simply worked too much when they were younger and didn’t take enough time for themselves. I know at least some of that was for economic reasons, but a good portion was they just never made the conscious decision to change it.
I watched this play out and decided my family would not live that way. Flying an infant across the country to California to see his great-grandma for a week? Did it. Backpack hunting trip in the Arctic Circle of Alaska? Booked it. Vacation to Fiji with the missus? Already in the works. And most importantly, dropping everything to take my family to the zoo? As often as I can.
American’s obsession with a social media culture has made us perpetual viewers of others people’s lives. We watch their Instagram and Facebook accounts and look at the pictures of all the cool shit other people are doing and become green with envy. “Someday” you tell yourself. Well, I’ll tell you that “someday” is code for never.
There is no real difference between those people and yourself. They just simply saw something they wanted and made the decision to go get it. That’s it. One of the answers to the grand question of what is the meaning of life is getting past the initial hurdle of indecision and becoming a “right now” person.
So, the time has come to end some similarities with 18-year-old me. My career and life have never been in a better spot than they are right now so I can refocus my energy. Eleven damn years is too long to live with the same personal demons. I’m going to get healthier, not just for me but because my son deserves to have his dad in his life for as long as possible. I’m not going to beat myself up over a mistake. It’s completely pointless, and I really feel it only leads to continued failure.
I am going keep aspiring to greatness like 18-year-old me wanted (but 29-year-old me knows how to make a plan and put it in action). I would say that I will stop being a sarcastic asshole, but that’s actually not very realistic.
50-year-old me is not going to look back at 29-year-old me and be disappointed. He is not going to curse 29-year-old me for recognizing the problem and not taking the steps to correct the behavior.
Be a “right now” person and you won’t have to either..
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