I am not that old! As comedian Chris D’ELia would say – “I am the youngest person you have ever met”, but of course, this is not true. Recently I turned twenty-eight, and as is customary with people like me, we think back at previous birthdays, and reflect on the years that have passed, but this time I went down a rabbit hole about time.
As my birthday approached this year I was already in a reflective state( that’s my personality), but I was thinking a lot about where I am, and where I want to be. While thinking back on this last year, I acknowledged some wins and losses, and like so many people, I am constantly wondering about the path I am on. I routinely ask myself: am I doing the right thing, should I just look for a “real” job, what happens if I don’t reach my goals, what are my goals? Then, in the midst of asking myself these questions for the hundredth time, I was hit with an epiphany. All of a sudden I realized how quickly this thing called “life” progresses, yes sometimes it seems to drag on, especially in our most painful circumstances. Though when you look back at your last ten years, it is too easy to wonder how the hell it all went by so fast.
This epiphany, though somewhat recurring, made me realize that the next ten years will likely go by even faster, because of the nature of our experience. Generally, as time goes on, we perceive it as going faster, this aspect of time reminded of the distinction between destinations and journeys.
We are all familiar with the concept of focusing on the “journey” instead of the destination, but most our lives are based on reaching destinations. However, when you reach a certain amount of destinations, you realize how quickly the feeling of accomplishment disappears. Once you reach a goal, it is passed immediately, and you must focus on the next one. This type of thinking can often get us stuck in a loop of “destination” focus, where we become totally incapable of enjoying experiences, because we are already moving to the next one as fast as possible. However, once you pass enough destinations at high-speed, you start to realize you should start enjoying the ride a little bit, because it only goes faster, and everyone’s final destination is ultimately the same: death.
I understand that people will disagree, for some, the unbreakable focus on outcomes, destinations, and goals is precisely how they want to live, yet many people who do not want to live this way find themselves stuck on a hamster wheel, always looking to the next “destination”. When you feel stuck on a ride you do not want to be on, it becomes inevitable that you wish it to be over as soon as possible, until you realize the ride is coming to an end.
For me, I am trying to approach things with a balance: trying to balance my insatiable appetite for personal success, with my equally strong desire to enjoy the best parts of life like: lifting weights, dancing, doing Taekwon-do, learning languages, and of course – women. Since I am realizing how fast this ride goes, it has helped me understand that the mile-stones we set for ourselves are important, but they are also just sticks in the ground that disappear once we passed them.
With this new perspective I hope to strive for success, but with the understanding that the time I have now is the most valuable thing I possess.