A few nights ago, I witnessed a very intriguing conversation. It was a dialogue between younger me at 17 and older me at 60. And they were talking about current me at 30.
And it helped define a whole new way to look at my life.
Does the fact that this all happened in my mind make it any less real? Am I just going crazy? I’m not quite sure. But it was so insightful to me that I had to write it down. My hope is that there is something beneficial in it for you as well.
Older Me: Hey kid, how’s everything going with you?
Younger Me: Things are good here. I have a new girlfriend, winter break was nice, but preparing for college is pretty stressful. I’m definitely ready to move on from high school and start my adult life as soon possible, that’s for sure.
OM: Very understandable.
There’s someone I would like for you to meet. Your 30 year old self.
This is a picture of him.
OM: So what do you think?
YM: Not bad! I look pretty successful.
OM: Ah yes, interesting observation.
YM: He must be standing in front of his own beautiful home, right?
OM: Well, no. He doesn’t have a house. He moved back in with dad not long before that picture was taken.
YM: What? Seriously? Living at home? At 30? Sounds pretty pathetic. Well he must have a really good job by now right?
OM: Not exactly. He left his career in corporate wealth management because he realized it wasn’t in alignment with who he is. He is trying to figure out what he wants to do and currently isn’t making any money.
YM: You’ve got to be kidding me. I’m starting to feel bad for the guy. What does his wife or kids have to say about this?
OM: He’s not married and doesn’t have any kids.
YM: Yikes. What else do I need to know about him?
OM: He has been dealing with depression over the past year and has really bad days sometimes. He doesn’t have very many possessions and just spilled a ton of water on his laptop while typing this sentence.
YM: Okay this is getting ridiculous. You mean to tell me that 30 year old me doesn’t have his own place, isn’t making any money, and isn’t married? The very things we are told define us and our level of success in this world? The things we work so hard to acquire? I am getting very concerned for my future. So what the hell does he have?
OM: He is beginning to discover something that is more important than a house, a relationship, or money ever could be.
YM: What could that possibly be?
OM: He is discovering that even without all those things he thought he needed, he is still breathing. He is still healthy. He can still smile. He is still himself. In fact, he can now see himself much more clearly. He is more at peace now than he has ever been.
Because he is beginning to see that he is enough, just as he is.
He is learning it’s possible to be happy without any of those things he once thought he needed. He has the ability to cultivate his own happiness and peace from within and doesn’t need to depend on things or people to attain it.
And when he eventually does bring in the money from a fulfilling career and gets married and has a place of his own, he will experience a beautiful freedom alongside of it. They will be a wonderful bonus to his life, not something he must hold onto at all costs to sustain his wellbeing.
Let’s be clear. 30 year old you still wants all those things but the big difference is, he no longer needs them to feel complete. And when that shift takes place, everything changes. Life becomes icing on the cake. A place to create with patience and ease. He can play in the world without needing anything from it. The illusion of needing himself or others to be perfect begins to dissolve. He can give and love unconditionally. Pressure softens and joy emerges.
Of course, change will still happen, challenges will still appear and loss will still occur, that is life. But it will all be experienced through a much stronger foundation.
This wellspring of inner contentment is what life has been trying to show him. He is now beginning to access it and trust in it to guide him.
So keep doing what you’re doing kid. Just remember, what you are truly seeking is not something to attain. It’s already within you.
YM: Wow. Maybe success is something different than I was led to believe. I suddenly feel much lighter than before.
OM: A very common byproduct of this way of being.
YM: Thanks old man. But before you go, I have to ask, what does life look like at 60?
OM (smiling): Oh, you’ll just have to wait and see.