Happy Birthday To Me!
Last month, I celebrated my 45th birthday. I’m not exactly sure how I expected I would feel about being this age. A couple of years ago, my mother handed down her “It’s-my-midlife-and-I’ll-crisis-if-I-want-to” mug to me, so perhaps I was expecting that my mid-forties meant that I would wake up on June 27, 2013 feeling as if life had punched me in the mouth and that every choice I ever made was the wrong one.
While that didn’t happen, I did have an “awakening” of sorts. The other day, as I was getting ready for work my mind flashed to a video game my girlfriend Larissa and I used to spend hours a day playing called “The Sims”. If you’re not familiar with the game, it’s essentially a “life simulation” video game in which you create virtual people (Sims) and place them in houses, get them jobs, direct their moods, and help satisfy their desires for learning, relationships, etc. Once they get jobs, you essentially lead them around their environment until it’s time to go to work or sleep.
Oh my God!, I thought. Has my life become a Sims game?
It was at that point that my awakening occurred. It was as though I crawled out of a tangled brush of rules and expectations and, for the first time, I truly started to gain perspective about how I want my life to look (and, conversely, how I don’t want it to look). I feel as if I’ve been looking through a pair of unfocused binoculars for years, and have just now discovered the focus wheel.
Additionally, because the universe always gives you what you need when you’re ready for it, I recently discovered an awesome book of essays, The Life and Times of a Remarkable Misfit, by writer, designer, and entrepreneur, AJ Leon. In it, Leon describes how he moved from a six-figure career in finance to a life of world travel and philanthropy. He offers his book for free on his blog, Pursuit of Everything.
Leon suggests sitting down to write a description of how you want your life to look in two years. I’ve decided to take him up on this by creating a manifesto describing my intentions for living the next 45 years of my life. Note: I reserve the right to update this as needed based on new things I learn along the way. After all, had I created a manifesto even five years ago, it would probably look somewhat different based on things I’ve learned since. As Muhammad Ali said, “A man [or woman!] who views the world at 50 the same as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.”
With that, here it is….
(click the image to enlarge — you don’t want to miss anything!)