Category Archives: Age

Is Life Hard?

A couple of weeks back one of my students said this:

Life is hard!

He didn’t say it to me directly or to his teammates, but he just said it as a general statement. He said it with much fervor and disappointment just as a young kid like him would say.

I looked at him first. Then gave him a half-smile and half-are-you-kidding-me look.

How old are you again?! I asked.

Before he said anything else, he knew exactly what I meant.  So he smiled and sheepishly said:

Um, sixteen.

Everyone laughed. Me, him, and the entire team.

I pressed on.

Sixteen? Talk to me again 10 years from now.

We were all still laughing then but I also gave a sense of seriousness that he should take a second look at what he just said.

On one hand, I think he understood that his statement was a bit too foolish. But then again, he was still trying to defend himself that life is hard, even for a sixteen year old.

I wrote before that you shouldn’t compare your problems with other people no matter how grave or how insignificant your problem is. Each of has to go through a certain thing specifically designed for us to go through. I thought of this when my student said that life being a sixteen year old is tough. If you really think about it, life at any age can be tough.

When you were young, didn’t you also have the tendency to blow up everything out of proportion? A young person has the tendency to focus on one singular problem as oppose to when you’re an adult you get to face multiple problems all at one. Either way, in your youth or as an adult, a problem is still a problem.

We shouldn’t compare but we also have to understand the big picture. Whether you’re sixteen or twenty six or thirty eight or even older, we have to acknowledge that there are always bigger problems but also bigger solutions. I’m sure my concerns right now will look less stressful 10 years from now, who knows? Life doesn’t choose an age to be difficult, he choose randomly and at any given time. And besides, the thing about being an adult is that you realize that it’s already started when it’s too late.

After our training, one member had pizza delivered since it was his birthday. While we are all chomping down on pizza, the same student who said earlier that life was hard, excitedly said:

Life is awesome!

Well on that particular moment, at least for now, we could all agree with that.

when i was your age

 

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Are You In Your Prime?

Most people believe that you mature in your late twenties. It’s not only a common saying but I’ve also read two books that made the statement that you mature during that time or at least when you’re 28. The whole idea of being mature got me thinking whether or not people reach their prime. You see, maturity only touches a few things like intelligence and patience but what I’m talking about is a person’s prime that includes more. Physically, mentally, spiritually, and of course, maturity, in your prime should be the best years of your life. Even my old teacher said that you reach your prime before you’re 30 up until 33 or 34. Not too young and not too old.

The term “prime” usually resonates with the likes of athletes. We usually say Lionel Messi in his prime right now or the same can be said with Novak Djokovic. They are the best in their respective sports and almost nobody can match them in terms of winning. Being in your prime in sports usually discusses the athlete’s physical status. You look at the athlete’s style of play, statistics, how he carries himself, and you can honestly say that he has reached a level in his career that he is the best in what he does. An athlete, just like any other person, has a shelf life. We only get to be our best selves once; a brief moment in history when we are physically stronger and mentally wiser.

Being in your prime exceeds above the sporting realm. The prime of your life also extends in business as we have seen young entrepreneurs brave the wave and excel in making money. For a good 2-5 years, they are at the top of their game. They make right decisions here and there and seemingly making no mistakes in the process. They are unstoppable, relentless, and dangerous. This is like Apple and Steve Job when they first launched the iPod. It was one invention after the other. This is like Tom Hanks or Denzel Washington making quality films year after year.

Now, did you ever reach your potential? Can you honestly say you’ve reached your prime? My audience might be wide unpredictable but ask yourself that question. Are you or have you ever reach your prime? No one wants to see someone waste away their potential right? That’s why we see parents continuously nagging their kids to aim higher. We hear them beckoning us to strive for greatness because older people know the value of being in your prime or living the regret of not ever achieving it. It’s a small window that lets us peek into our best selves.

As we go along in our everyday lives, it’s hard to keep that level of thinking that you should always have a goal. More often than not, the perils of living day in and day out makes us stagnate and settle. This exceeds more than just finding the right job or the perfect family. I believe it’s a mindset that we have to continue to push ourselves to strive for greatness.

Fortunately, there are examples in history when have achieved success despite their age. When Michael Jordan first retired in the summer of 1993 and then come back again in 1995, people said that his best years have already left him. You couldn’t blame the critics because Michael got older and he spent 18 months away from basketball to play baseball. In his first playoff series since returning, the Chicago Bulls lost to the Orlando Magic raising doubts and questions will he ever go back to his former self. Of course, you know what happens next. He worked his body back into basketball form and unleashed a maniacal and even pathological rampage and his team won a record setting 72 wins and only 10 losses in the regular season and capping his comeback with a fourth NBA championship in six years. He didn’t even settle after that. He won two more titles making the Bulls the best basketball team of the 90’s. He came back stronger than ever. You can say that he reached his prime twice! He won those championships in his late thirties. That’s unheard of not only in sports but in any field.

Scientists and psychologists say that you mature and you reach your prime in your late twenties all the way up to your early thirties. The beauty of life is that you can reinvent and redefine yourself no matter how old you are. Physically you might lose your strength when you were younger but you might be smarter and wiser as you age. You might not be able to do a sprint anymore but you probably can do a marathon better. That’s why in the world of running and triathlon, a lot of people compete in their 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, and even 60’s! When I talk to triathletes, it’s as if they welcome their growing age with open arms. Not only is their endurance and race skills develop but they compete with only a handful of people when them get older thus enabling them to win more.

Whatever it is you want to be and whatever it is you want to achieve, the possibilities are endless. Yes, time is short but there’s always time to be who you want to be. And then even for a brief fleeting moment, you can be the best and be in your prime.

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Are We Really That Old?

Age has and always will be a touchy subject. Particularly for grown ups that is. It is amazing that when we were young all we can think about is our next birthday and growing up but as adults we do everything we can to stay young.

I believe people generally worry about age because time is moving too fast and life is simply just too short. Age represents a certain period in our lives and if you’re age doesn’t match what we’re “supposed” to have achieved at this particular time, we feel old and at a loss. I put in quotations the word supposed because I believe this perception is pressed on us by society. We see celebrities, pioneers, and great thinkers of our time and match our lives to them. We aspire to be them in terms of achievements but not only that, but also in terms of how old they were able to achieve them.

What do we do then? I say set your own pace and your own goals. It’s true that life is short and we try to achieve everything because we always think time is running out. But don’t get bummed out if you’re not doing one thing at a certain time and at a certain age. I’m not saying it’s wrong to aspire for something more out of your life but you also have to appreciate everything that you have now. There’s a time to overachieve and a time to settle and you have to balance that out. Fall Out Boy’s song Rat a Tat puts it this way:

We’re all fighting growing old

We’re all fighting growing old

In the hopes to get a few minutes more to get on St. Peter’s List

But you need to lower your standards

Cause it’s never getting any better than this

Now it’s up to you admit that this has all life to offer or on the other hand you know in your heart that there’s more. At the same time, I say it’s also okay to grow up. Old people aren’t kidding when they say you mature and grow wisdom in the future (Though there are immature and childish old ones here and there). I mean think about it, do you really want to be stuck at a certain age? Stuck in high school? College? Or even a person below 30? You are where you’re supposed to be. Believe it.

Yes we’re that old, but we’re also that young at the same time. Age does not dictate what you can still do or what you haven’t done. It’s a reminder, a reminder telling us that life is too short not follow our dreams. When you’re alarmed at your age, your soul is merely telling you to do what you said you’d do. It may simple silly things to learn how to cook, how to drive, or even start a blog. Worse, you’re age is telling you stop pushing aside your goals in life to start a business, start a family, or just something you put your commitment to. Cheesy as this may sound but our age helps us remember to follow our hearts and essentially our dreams. So stop counting, and just live.