There’s that quote by Foer about how we learn to live life only as we live it—and wouldn’t it be nice if we could know all that earlier.
That’s how I often feel. I’ve lived life well, mostly because I had a kind mom and a wisdom tradition, Buddhism, to help me along. Meditation has been my best friend, along with talking with and listening with community, and my bicycle—ah, fresh air and movement without destroying our dear planet.
But I’ve made mistakes, of course, too, sometimes 108 in a day. And wouldn’t it be nice to take all this hard-won learning and begin again, a la F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Benjamin Button.
Wouldn’t it be nice to know which relationships to avoid (only a few) and which to show up more fully in (ah, so many). There have been a few women in my life who, as Paul Newman says in Hud (with darker undertones, only in this context, lighter), “you’re the one who got away.”
Wouldn’t it be nice to know not to go in for that seemingly-minor surgery with Redford, the one that took him from hiking and running along with my bike and put him into 24/7 shaking with pain before killing him. Wouldn’t it be nice to know when to invest what little money I’ve ever had, or to know to wear natural fibers 20 years earlier (good bye, vintage cool but smelly poly cowboy shirts). Wouldn’t it be nice to spend more time with mom along the way, and less with some useful idiots, the friends of our youth who added up to very little in terms of our own character growth.
But, at the end of the day, at the end of 1,000 and then 10,000 days, it’s nice right here. In the midst of mistakes and growth, aging and achievement, we have the opportunity, again, to fall in love with our life, to breathe in and out, to celebrate this moment, whatever our moments before or ahead.
And for that, I am grateful. And if that is to be the only thing I can teach a child when I am an old codger, well, that is something.
Get my second book, if so inspired, or gift it: It’s Never too Late to Fall in Love with your Life.