As of today, my life has been four dozen years.
I rarely open my inner self in settings visible to business colleagues, but today I’m sharing a few personal reflections.
In many ways, this has felt like the year I turned old (or at least “middle-aged”) in terms of health, business, and family. I’ve heard it said, “aging is like paying an increasing penalty for a crime you didn’t commit.” There’s some sadness, and an occasional big wave of nostalgia, but also many things are positive.
Health: • I’ve never worn eyeglasses, but this year I need them for near and far. In my youth I was proud of being “eagle-eyed”, so now I’m grateful that with glasses my super-vision has returned! • I have begun to see those vertical “old man” lines on my neck. • There’s a daily sprinkle of grey in the whiskers, instead of just one or two on occasion. • I have a cardiologist (thankfully no serious problems). • Careful diet and 4x/week in the gym are no longer enough to shed the waistline that confines my best clothes to the closet; progress towards the last 15-20 lbs of my goal is glacial. • A third glass of wine risks a bad night’s sleep, or a second cocktail means a certain headache. Even two coffees in a day feels reckless.
Business: • I’m no longer the starry-eyed entrepreneur who thinks he can accomplish anything; now I help others to navigate past business obstacles they lack the experience to handle. • I no longer attend TED and the world’s grandest conferences, but I now produce my own events. • Where I once saw business travel as an exotic honor, I now consider time at home the ultimate luxury. • Sometimes I miss the roller-coaster of excitement that is “startup life”, but I had my turn at it — along with some very good years. Now I’m much happier with the stability of consulting, and delighted to be represented by 10x Management.
Family: I saved the best for last. It brings me great comfort that my family is stable. After living single for most of my adult years, I’m happily married. This year my wife and I settled into the home we expect to occupy for at least 10-20 years, and that feels fantastic. Our daughter is healthy and oh-so-very happy, and while we don’t yet know her future schools, all the options seem good. My wife is wonderful. We both still work harder than we hoped to at our age, but I enjoy a measure of peace from the feeling that “finally, things are in place”.
In my 20s I was immortal. In my 30s I lived to have the broadest possible range of experience. Now, I care only about longevity, to see my child grow old, and to give her as many years as I possibly can.