Twenty-five years ago a guy at the gym told me that one day I would hate looking at old pictures of myself because it would make it clear that the best part of my life was behind me.
I don’t remember what sort of response I provided other than a head nod because he had broken one of the cardinal rules of the locker room and I wanted the conversation to end ASAP.
When you are 19 and in college you feel like your opportunities are unlimited and the last thing you are interested in is being told that the golden road you are staring at is only that color because you are looking into the sun.
It is not hard to remember thinking about what I was going to do with my life and how I tried to figure out if a person really could have multiple careers.
Could I move to Israel, become an attorney, sports reporter and successful businessman? I thought about them all and tried to figure out if there was a way make them all work for me.
All I have to do is look at the pictures in the collage above to think about how life happens and the different choices I have made. Same guy in every pic with more/less/hair/responsibility/weight.
For those of you who know me in “real life” none of those shots are of me at 19. They are roughly 25, 24, 32, 25, 44 and 38, but I am not positive.
I miss the gray shirt that said Perpetual State of Transition. That was perfect.
Anyhoo, it is kind of funny for me to look back and wonder what the hell I was thinking in some cases and to see how even though I took the long way home I am doing now what so many people thought I would be doing.
Ok, I kind of expected to be working as a writer but I also expected to play Left or Center field for The Dodgers. I blame Hebrew school for helping to kill that dream. 😉
Dreams Deferred and Dreams Realized
What I really didn’t understand when I was younger was the concept of dreams deferred and dreams realized or at least I don’t remember thinking about it.
Maybe it is the advantage of age and life experience but I see how you put some dreams on hold for a while. Sometimes you make a decision based upon family and or relationships not to pursue some things because the timing is off but it doesn’t mean that the dream is dead.
It is just deferred.
And sometimes if you are willing to work for those dreams that have been deferred you find a way to breathe life back into them and you make them happen.
If I was to go back in time that is part of the conversation I would have with the guy in the top left photo. He was out with friends celebrating turning 25 and I think if he could see things now he might be horrified by some of it.
But he would be happy with other things and surprised by how much grief the current version was willing to put up with to get what he wants.
He would be surprised by some of the decisions and would aggressively question them but he would lose the argument because I am a hell of a lot craftier and meaner now.
The wily old veteran has learned a few tricks with age.
Why Does It Matter?
You may or may not relate to what I have written and that is ok. This isn’t a post where I am trying to convince you to buy what I am selling.
At the moment it is more of me thinking out loud again about how to write a speech for a Bar Mitzvah. Did you like how I tried to acknowledge the SEO gods with that last sentence. 😉
Won’t be long before I have to really write that speech and I am sifting through messaging trying to figure out what is going to work with one of the toughest demographics around, 13 year-old boys.
But really in this case it is what do I want my 13 year-old son to take away from it all.
That is why it matters. The kids are why I do much if not most of what I do. I make hard decisions based upon what I think is best for them and then we live with it.
That is why it matters and it is what I try to do personally and professionally. Figure out what is important and why it matters and then act accordingly.
What about you?