47, is it just a number?
Happy Birthday wishes are flooding in from close and far friends from about every electronic platform I subscribe to. I'm grateful to all of those and feel loved by having so many reach out. It's become easier to wish someone a birthday wish than in the past, now its just a small slice of time but even then with so many things tugging at our focus, even that is something to be cherished.
As I wake up to the realization of being on this planet for 47 years I recognize I'm not the typical "party hard" for my birthday but I tend to go down more of a reflective course. Where am I with my life, who have I surrounded myself with, what connections have I made, where have I been, where am I going. Thoughts that could lead one down a path of self deprecation or perhaps a path of hope in the future. I choose hope. I have determined one never gets everything done they want either in a day or a decade or a life time. I find myself passionate about a lot of things, from filmmaking to photography to health to adventure in all forms. I also realize time is real and it continues to move no matter our best intentions of ignoring it.
What we do with the time we are given on this planet matters. Or at least it should. Who do we matter to, whose lives have we touched. Were we a positive or negative to that life. When it is all said and done, why were we here in the first place and would we be missed. What legacy do we leave behind. I just returned from an event where many of those I call close friends are literally 1/2 my age. Seeing life through their lenses is an interesting experiment and one that can invoke youth back in ones own thinking. I highly recommend it. Having the courage of youth with the wisdom of age is likely the best takeaway I could make to my real life character I am portraying.
In the book, The ONE Thing, it speaks of the path of mastery. "When you can see mastery as a path you go down instead of a destination you arrive at, it starts to feel accessible and attainable." At 47 I realize there is no destination per se but rather a journey that continues to blossom along the way. Wisdom comes from applied experience. Experience is typically what you get when you are not getting what you want. And there is the rub. If we don't fail, we can't succeed. Fear of failure can paralyze some while catapulting others. The beauty is, it's always our choice. The book also speaks of mastery coming from doing the one thing for 10,000 hours. The 1993 psychologist K. Anders Ericsson published "The role of deliberate Practice" stating that the 10k hours is a rule, not a guideline. Consistent effort over time trumps natural talent every time. Golf legend Jack Nicholas spoke of his body shape not being ideal but that his practice couldn't be beat. He practiced himself to greatness. His stubby fingers and stocky build be damned.
I find myself passionate about so many different things it is easy to feel overwhelmed on whether I will ever master any of them but instead be the Jack of many trades. I've never liked the term btw. But I press on and follow those passions and incorporate as many as I can into my life as long as they give me growth and enjoyment. Stretching oneself is likely the best way to never grow old. Once we believe (inaccurately) that we have arrived... We have lost. Once we believe we can no longer make a difference. We have failed. Once we believe that who we are is all we can be, we are forgotten.
I truly believe that anyone can achieve what they set out to be, do, become. It takes time, consistent effort, and a passion within to find what moves your soul. As I enjoy my 47th I hope to all of you who read this to enjoy your day as well and realize there will never be another day like today. Take it, love it, absorb it, record it however you must. But above all remember it. And take each day to grow just a little bit. And when you are 47 or whatever that number is for you, you will look back on all those days and discover how they were all responsible for making you who you are today. Hopefully someone you can be happy with knowing.
I am happy with who I am, where I have been (good and bad) and where I am going and especially who I have become in the process. I look forward to the next 10 years or even 20. Life is a mystery and our thoughts ultimately give definition to that mystery. The wave becomes the particle. (a topic perhaps for another time).
So, here's to 47! Cheers!!
Adventurist at heart, David Mays looks to inspire others to live their life with focus and purpose. Experience and expansion is why we are here.