So here I am.
I am soon-to-be-45 year old.
I am married to the love of my life and I have two children whom I adore.
Of the hundreds of times someone has asked me what I do for living over the past 20 years, I don’t recall an instance when I’ve had an answer that satisfied either party. I should probably just start saying, “I make it up as I go along” because that would be the most accurate answer.
I have a house in the country that I love. Lots of land. Sweet views.
I am healthy and my body is strong.
My hair that still bothers to show up for work grows whiter.
I’ve always had enough money to do and have what I want.
I got it good. Really good.
But as good as it is, I notice that I’ve still hung on to some projection I had about my life when I was 20 years old or something.
I was supposed to have millions in the bank by now.
I was supposed to be quite famous in my niche by now.
I was supposed to have a handful of New York Times bestsellers by now.
I was supposed to be jet setting across the country and globe, gracing others with my presence, picking up a hefty paycheck, and partying from town to town.
I was supposed to be… well, kind of a big deal like Ron Burgandy or something…
Now, I mention this because even though I don’t really think about these things too much anymore — I am too busy with the life I have created for myself — yet somewhere within me, I still cling to these vestiges of who I thought I was supposed to be. And when I do this, when I measure the life I have compared to the one I thought I wanted a couple decades ago, I notice that I feel bad. I don’t feel like a failure, exactly. It’s more subtle than that…
It’s more like feeling that I’m somehow behind in the race. That somehow I still have to figure out how to get “there,” even though I’m really not interested in chasing my dreams of yesterday. (I’m still down with having the millions in the bank, though.)
And that feeling of being behind — even just a little bit? No, it’s not exhausting. But it is annoying. Like that oil leak that stains your driveway. Or that one mosquito buzzing in the ear, trying to drive you from the lovely patio back inside for the night.
I noticed all of this this morning. A Monday. A rainy Monday. After being on vacation.
I woke up with the kids around 6AM and we did our thing. Cereal. Fruit. Entertainment.
By the time 8:30 rolled around, that 20 year old version of me wanted me in my office. Working. Doing shit. Getting back on the success train after such delightful, relaxing week of kayaking, swimming, biking, hiking, and drinking beer with my family (the kids stick to wine only).
I had to get back in front of the computer. Shake some things up. Make some things happen. Get myself back into fighting shape.
Instead, before I knew it, I was covering up my feet with a blanket on the couch, falling back asleep. Now I am not a very good napper, and certainly never before 9AM… But listening to the rain (and Sesame Street), I drifted into unconsciousness. And it was wonderful.
I loved hearing the voice in my head squawking at me, poking me to get to work, and deciding to just say, “No, I don’t need to listen to figments of the past anymore,” and rolling over.
I loved making the decision to say, “Phucket, I really want my whole life to be a vacation and here’s the perfect opportunity to live into this NOW.”
I loved allowed myself to sleep when I wanted to sleep.
So I conked out for an hour or so.
And I woke up so appreciative for the life I have created… the one that allows me the freedom to fall asleep on the couch pretty much whenever I want to, any day of the week. The one where I spend more time with my kids than working. The one where I am surrounded by nature. The one where I have a true partner in my wife. The one where things are quiet, both literally and figuratively speaking. The one that has me home instead of traveling. The one that’s so simple and mostly drama-free that it’s pleasantly boring. The one where I have what I want and I want what I have.
When I remember this… when I allow myself to see this… I tear my paper number off and drop out of my old race.
There was a time when I was very interested in races. And in winning, whatever the game.
But that was then.
This is now.
My dreams and desires have evolved.
And I have no interest in races to prove something to myself. I have no interest in the grandiose versions of success that I adopted when I was younger (mostly because that’s the only version I knew to be valid). I’m not interested in taking massive action in hopes of creating something down the road, that ironically, looks a helluva lot like what I have right now.
But I am supremely interested in relaxing myself into everything I want. That’s the game I wanna become masterful at playing.
How good and easy will I allow it to be?
When I look around and take stock of what’s around me, taking stock of the life I have instead of reflexively comparing it against the one I used to want, I see how well I am doing. I don’t notice anything missing, because nothing is missing.
And when you focus on how well you’re doing, right where you are, well, that’s the whole damn jam, right there…