I’m laying in bed and just finished reading the an interview with Bruce Springsteen in the new Esquire Magazine, enjoying my first cup of coffee (there are usually several), watching the beauty of my wife sleeping and getting ready to go beat some things up (boxing workout) ....Pretty fucking good Saturday morning...(you’re probably reading this on Sunday so hopefully your morning’s starting out pretty well too)
One of the questions asked of Bruce in the interview was “Do you feel you have, at last, found your true self?”
“You never get there. Nobody does. You become more of yourself as time passes by. . . . In the arc of your life, there are so many places where you reach milestones that add to your authenticity and your presentation of who you really are. But I find myself still struggling just for obvious things that I should’ve had under my belt a long time ago. You know, when I get in those places where I’m not doing so well, I lose track of who I am. . . . The only thing in life that’s sure is: If you think you’ve got it, you don’t have it!”
I don’t know if any of us have really found our true selves or if it’s even possible. There are too many responsibilities, circumstances, obligations, situations beyond our control in today’s world that work to impede us from ultimately being 100% true to ourselves. But....We should be trying!
We’re all shaped by our individual experiences as well as what’s in our DNA. Combine those two things and that’s pretty much who we are; good or bad.
I was 17 years old when my father passed away. He was 47 years old. I remember it like it was yesterday even though it’s been 26 years. I was in the room when he died, holding his hand. My two younger brothers missed it. I often wonder whether or not I’m better of for having been there or if I’d be better not having that image embedded in my memory.
I’ll be 46 in a couple of weeks. My perspective has always been to live life to the fullest and that anything beyond 47 is “Bonus time”. It’s getting darn close and my boys are 15 and 12, younger than I was when he died, but older than my brothers were when our dad passed.
One of my brothers unfortunately also spent some time in prison. I remember visiting him and all I could think about was the loss of freedom. That there’s this whole world out there and you’re stuck in a box. (Fortunately, he’s been out for a while and doing great!)
Death and freedom have always played a big role in how I see things.
There’s a difference between living to the fullest and living recklessly...I’ve done both. I think I’ve learned the difference, but it’s still an ongoing process.
I don’t need to jump off a bridge bungee jumping anymore to get a rush. But I do need to compete, travel, play in a band, take more vacations then most...
Often “living”, or the “fear of living” is perceived as being irresponsible, immature or that we’re shirking our responsibilities as parents, husbands, earners, business people....That we cannot still be focused, achieve our full potential and be as successful as we can be. But by who’s standard’s anyway?
What really matters? What do we take so seriously and what should we just let go?
I’m too old for that. We really shouldn’t do that anymore. Nah, I can’t get out of the office to go see that concert, I really need to be at this conference, we shouldn’t take that trip...
What if we flipped it? What if we gave up the excuses? What if we focused a little more on the things we've yet to experience? What if we spent a little more time on ourselves, a little more money, a little more “Yes, I can” instead of “No, I can’t”. What if we even scheduled these things like we did our business obligations? What if they were as immovable and important as that board meeting?
My grandmother used to say “Coffins don’t have pockets”. For years we used to laugh at that comment. Every time we wanted something or talked about going somewhere or doing something, that was pretty much her answer...I get it now. You can’t take it with you. Use it, enjoy it, live it.
It’s not a throw caution to the wind justification for being ill prepared, not saving for a rainy day or working hard and by all conventional standards being “successful”, but it’s a reminder to ourselves that we should be spending more time living and enjoying and less time maybe trying to be someone else’s version of “grown up” at the expense of our true selves.
In Andrew Ferebbee's article 5 Insanely Simple Ways to Live Life to the Fullest (Starting Today) - link below - he writes:
Yes, we all have bills to pay.
But YOU need to remember why you are paying them.
What’s the point of putting a bigger and bigger roof over your child’s head if he doesn’t even recognize your face when you come home?
What’s the point of buying your wife fancier and fancier “stuff” if you never spend any quality time with her?
What’s the point of having anything if you don’t have the time and the freedom to actually live your life and enjoy it?
Who do you think is going to be there for you when you are on your deathbed?
Your clients or your family and the people who love you?
Pretty good points....
Bruce went on to say....
“I was well into my forties before I figured this out. I don’t know how to describe [that breakthrough] except you think you’re seeing all of yourself, and then it’s like a finger pokes at this boundary in front of you and suddenly a little brick drops out, and you look through [the wall], and you go, Oh my God—there’s this entire other world in there that I’ve never seen. And a lot of it, you’ve sort of been living in—I don’t know how to describe it—a cruel universe, and it’s just a little ray of light that allows you to see more of your experience and existence. [Pauses] I mean, what are you doing in analysis? You’re trying to take all this misunderstanding and loathing, and you’re trying to turn it into love—which is the wonderful thing that happens when you’re trying to make music out of the rough, hard, bad things. You’re trying to turn it into love. So along with that effort came the realization, through a lot of studying and analysis, of how rough I’d been on myself and had continued to be until a very late stage in life.”
One of the best aspects of Mid life is that we have more experiences to pull from, we’ve got a few more bucks to have some fun with, we’ve got families of our own to share things with, we’ve got friends we can take that weekend getaway with...
We don’t stop playing because we get old. We get old because we stop playing.
Here are a few links to some stuff I’ve read lately: