So, today is my 26th birthday. My 26th trip around the sun. It means that I’m close to 30 than 20 now. I’m approaching my 10,000th day.
I don’t mind or fear aging, I think it’s something to appreciate.
I’m trying to make it a point to write some reflections on every birthday. It’s a little upsetting that I can’t find anything that I’ve written on my 23rd, and that I don’t seem to have said anything before my 20s. I’d like to be able to glance at my younger self’s reflections when I’m old, and birthdays seem like appropriate occasions to do that.
I can no longer pretend to be a boy, or a “young man”. I’m a man now. I’m a young man to the older men, but to the world at large, I’m a man. Men younger than me have raised families, led soldiers in combat, managed employees. I know comparison is a losing game, but it can also provide some useful context. I don’t need to feel shitty about myself just because I haven’t done some of the aforementioned things, but knowing that people my age have done those things gives me a reasonable starting point for assuming what I can or cannot do.
To elaborate on this– a few weeks ago I had a dream that made me realize very intimately that I still live and think as though I were a little boy, going to “school”, worrying about my social life among friends that I encountered via happenstance. I’ve still been avoiding the fact that I am entirely in control of my own life, and that I can change almost everything in an instant if I desire.
I’ve put on some weight over the past couple of years. I’m now 85kg going on 90kg, while I still assume that I must be 65kg or so. I’ve gone from S to M to L and I’ll be XL soon, and probably 2XL or 3XL when I’m finally done. This is a good thing for me. I’m tired (and I’ve said several times before) of having “skinny” be an adjective used to describe me. Tall is fine, skinny is not. I’d like to be described in my late 20s as “tall big strong mountain of a man”. To do this, I need to squat and deadlift heavy, and I need to eat heartily and rest well after. The hardest part of that for me right now is actually the rest bit– I still don’t get enough sleep. In my teenage years, I didn’t get much sleep mostly because I enjoyed staying up late when I could be alone with my thoughts, and with the internet. That’s my backstory, it’s shaped who I am, I accept that. But moving forward in life, I intend to sleep and wake earlier. I’ve been talking about this for 6 years now, maybe longer. Almost definitely longer.
I want to be more effective, efficient and reliable at work. Again, this is about me overcoming the shackles of my childhood, my origin story, my background. Those things were what they were. I’ve written about them to death and I’m not interested in going into those details right now. What matters is that I identify each thread of the rope that binds me, and break them one by one. I would like my 30th birthday reflection to say, “Wow, my early 20s were kinda sleepy but my late 20s were gloriously epic. I was so assertive, so confident, moved so fast, just blazed through life with fury. I really unleashed the beast there, broke out from bondage, from my own limiting beliefs and was just a fucking fireball.”
This isn’t about amazing or impressing other people. I have learnt that other people are incredibly slow to recognize value when it’s in their presence. It’s about amazing and impressing ME.
I’m still scared of stupid things. I’m still lazy. I’m still a lot of negative things. But I think with each passing year, I have less excuse to allow those things to keep me from acting. With each passing year, it becomes clearer that the moment to act is NOW.
I’ve had my body tell me a couple of things. My back started to hurt from sitting and being sedentary all the time. I’ve felt sleepy and lethargic from eating too much sugar and carbohydrates. These are things that I can’t just ignore anymore– I have to deal with them as effectively as I can. I have to be the caretaker of my body and mind so that I can unleash the demon and create the interesting work I want to create.
I have an ego, obviously. I’m not going to pretend I don’t, because that would be false. The thing is, I do honestly believe that the best work comes from exploring what is genuinely fascinating rather than what is cool to the ego. The challenge for me is to create some space for myself to figure out what is genuinely interesting. My taste is arguably my greatest asset to my own self-fulfillment, hand in hand with my work ethic. If I am to have a good life, I have to work hard towards creating things that my taste tells me ought to exist.
I am not too impressed with myself and my life so far. I have done some good things, but at a pace that I find somewhat mediocre. It’s time to pick up that pace. I believe that I am capable of more. I believe that I am capable of running faster, lifting heavier, sleeping better, writing sharper, assisting others… I can’t “have it all”, but I can have more all of the good things that constitute the good life in my estimation. I just need to shed my old thoughts and my old beliefs, and focus harder than I’ve ever focused before on the task at hand. There will be time for idling later. We will make time for idling as necessary. But for now– to action!