(If you were unsure of what to get me, just get the best.)
I don’t generally get excited about birthdays, which I think may be fairly typical of a summer baby. I wasn’t usually home for my birthdays, so I never had big parties or anything. But, with all that said, I do love being adored. And so I enthusiastically accept any and all phone calls, cards, presents, emails, facebook messages, and fireworks. (hint hint wink wink nudge nudge cough cough)
But this year in particular I feel… carefree about my birthday. Like now I can finally RELAX about my age and my life.
Somehow I got it in my head that I needed to have my life 100% figured out by age 28, as though it would freeze frame and the state of my life at 28 is the state of life I’d have for the remainder of my life. If I wasn’t married, didn’t like my career, didn’t have kids, didn’t have friends, didn’t have a life purpose… I might as well just give up at 28, because it would never get any better.
But now that I’m actually at 28, it’s not looking anything like I could have ever planned for myself, which calls into question all the other assumptions I had made about life. And I’m realizing that, statistically, I have another sixty YEARS of life ahead of me.
How on EARTH did I ever feel scarcity about time?
And I think to all the things that I stopped doing because I didn’t see results quickly enough. I stopped speaking French because I wasn’t fluent after like 2 months (ignoring the fact that it took me at least 10 years to achieve fluency with Spanish). I didn’t even start playing guitar, because I thought it would take too long before I started enjoying it. I get frustrated that I’m not a world-class weightlifter after only a few months of lifting.
No wonder I was always chasing the end result and ignoring the journey. I had no time for a journey! Not only did I need to achieve what I thought I wanted, I needed time to evaluate whether or not I wanted to keep it. If something didn’t work out, I scrambled to find a substitute.
What a relief!
Sixty years, man. I’ve got nothing BUT time now! So now I’m thinking about goals, imagining that I have all the time in the world to be “perfect” at it, meaning to make real life match my imagination, and the possibilities are so abundant. If I only learn one chord a month on the guitar for the rest of my life… well, I don’t actually know how many chords there are to learn, but I bet I’d be able to accompany myself while singing John Denver songs after like… a year, probably.
By contrast, do you know those deathbed regrets people post every so often? That nobody wishes they’d spent more time at the office? Let me tell you what else people probably wish they hadn’t spent so much time on:
Body hate. Body shaming. Dieting. Trying to lose weight. Not living their lives because they didn’t like the way they looked. Waiting for perfect.
So the question this week is, What would you do if you had unlimited time to do it? Or unlimited time to make it perfect? And what’s something that has the potential to be a deathbed regret? Can you release it?
Here’s a toast to all the years in your life.