Age is relative. And I know I’m still young by most measures. But I’m also well aware that I’m getting older fast. And time is really starting to pick up (see point #2).
There are some benefits to this aging process:
1. Getting some perspective
At 22, I understand much more about myself and the world than I did at 12. I can look back at my childhood years and teenage years and give myself a bit more forgiveness for what I did wrong, give up resentments that seemed important at the time, and forget a lot of unimportant bad memories and useless information.
At 32, I’ll be able to do the same thing with my 22 year-old self.
2. Experiencing time differently
You start to realize that you’re playing for keeps when time starts speeding up. And for me, time is really speeding up.
I can see my days passing quickly in front of me. I can zoom out and see how much time it takes to create a big change in my life. And when I do that, I stop messing around. I start projecting my current negative behavior out into the future with more clarity, and that future really scares me.
This experience of time makes it easier and more practical for me to plan out what I want my life to look like. And it also makes it easier for me to commit to regimens and tours of duty – with time passing so fast, a year of a healthy daily practice doesn’t look so hard or so long.
3. Appreciating (and understanding) my elders
As I get older, I start to understand my elders a bit better. I know better now why my parents made the decisions (good and bad) that they made when I was young. I can sympathize, empathize, and appreciate my elders and what they have done for me. And that’s helpful beyond simple gratitude – I still have to work and live with those elders, so understanding and appreciation improve our relationships.
4. Offering younger people a hand up
With a few of my young adulthood years under my belt, I’m better able to encourage younger people who are setting out on similar paths. I’m always excited when I meet a really smart, ambitious, hardworking, and creative 18 year-old. I remember what it was like to BE them. I remember the challenges, the fears, the doubts, and the relative loneliness. It feels so good to be able to say some encouraging words and welcome them into adulthood.
5. Taking responsibility
Obviously. I never experienced real freedom until I took responsibility for my life. And getting older (in a healthy way, at least) involves taking more responsibility to myself and out of the hands of others.