Here’s a thought experiment. Would you rather:
- Go back to being 18, knowing everything you know now, or…
- Go the same amount of time into the future, exponentially growing at your current growth rate?
The answer depends on how much you’re growing today, and we both know what most people would choose.
In the West, especially in America, we overvalue youth.
The less progress one makes as they age, the more they overvalue it.
The media glorifies the young. Look at your celebrities and how they are presented. Age is not respected, wisdom is shunned, and being forever young is glorified above all else.
I’m sure you know a dozen or more people who would talk your ear off about “the good old days” if you let them. The thing about these people is that they haven’t progressed at all since those days.
They go to the same places and do the same things with the same people as always. They are the human equivalent of stagnant water. They’re going nowhere and you can practically smell it.
The sad thing is, they don’t realize the truth about the good old days. It’s right in front of their face, and they still don’t see it.
The good old days are here and now.
Today is the best day of your life. It always has been, and it always will be.
How could this be? It has to be, because it’s all you have. You don’t have anything else.
Like the old song said, “Time keeps on slipping into the future.” That’s the reality of life in The Mist.
What is time, anyway?
Time is simply how your brain processes change. Without a concept of time, you couldn’t process change. With no before and after, how could you understand it?
The problem for these way-back-when folks is that they aren’t changing. They’re stuck in those “good old days”. They can’t move forward.
The thing about the good old days is that the past isn’t real anymore. You don’t have it. It’s gone.
It also seems that the harder you try to cling to a fond memory, the less you retain it.
The past is gone, and the present is fleeting. This current moment is constantly ending and entering the past – you have no real “now”. “Now” is slipping into “then” as you read these words.
You don’t have the future yet, either. It hasn’t happened yet. What do you have, then?
You have the immediate future as it becomes your current reality.
What’s more, this is constantly in effect. What you do today directly determines who you are tomorrow.
You are accumulating experience. Skills. Knowledge. You are (or you should be) learning every day.
If you aren’t, then you aren’t living enough. That’s a recipe for regret.
One day, and it will feel like one day soon, you will be an old man.
What will that man think as he looks back? What will he think of the man he was?
This is what you should be thinking of instead of looking back on a past that no longer exists.
What will the future you be like? What will their day consist of? Their resources, their needs and wants?
Are you taking care of the old man you will one day become? Or are you forsaking them in favor for trying to retain your youth?
Your youth wasn’t even that great.
I don’t care how happy you were. It simply wasn’t. At least, I hope it wasn’t.
You’re better today than you were ten years ago. You have ten years of growth and experience under your belt.
Unless you don’t.
Maybe you spent that decade trying to be the same young buck you were back then. Maybe you went to the same places, with the same people, doing the same things.
You can’t reverse time. You are ten years older, and you’re as well off as what you’ve done with that decade.
Whether you wasted that time or not, here’s my recommendation:
Make the You of ten years from now a better life than the one you have today.
There are 315,360,000 seconds in the next decade. Make every one of them count.
Be ten years wiser. Ten years stronger. Ten years better.
Grow as you age. Remember, you’re either growing or dying like a tree.
Whether you struggle and survive or strive and thrive is up to you. It’s your responsibility, no one is going to do it for you.
Contrary to what you’ve been sold, your story doesn’t end when you lose your youth. The story ain’t over until it’s over.
Remember, all stories are circles.