When you get to my age and most of your best years are behind you instead of ahead of you… it is a little easier to both appreciate what you have and to regret what you will never have again.
—Michael on Randomness and Disconnection
In this culture, we’re bred to believe that every step of our lives will affect the next one with dire consequences. If you don’t choose the right classes in grade 10, you’ll be stuck in something you don’t like in grade 11, and end up scoring poorly. If you score poorly in grade 11, you’ll limit your options for grade 12. If you don’t have the right classes in grade 12, you’ll have fewer universities from which to choose. So on and so on, until the C+ you got in history class means you’ll be mowing lawns for the rest of your life.
Maybe this is why I always feel like it’s too late.
I wish I never stopped learning piano, so I could have another medium to express myself. I wish I grew up learning Tai Chi, so it’d be more natural to me. I wish I bought a house sooner, so I could have capitalized on amortization in the rising housing market. I wish I had started contributing to my RRSPs at a younger age, so I could retire at the age I want. I wish I paid more attention in French class, so I could still use it as a language. I wish I had gone to therapy earlier, so I wouldn’t have messed up the relationships that mattered.
All these situations where I feel like I’m too old and passed the point where I can achieve something efficiently, or maximize my gains.
But then I see how happy some people are, who are twice my age, and haven’t planned for retirement yet. Or some who still live in an apartment, without a house or car for equity. Some are newly single at fifty, and dating, and happier than they’ve ever been (and here I am, thinking that I’ll be single for the rest of my life because everyone my age is already married). Even Lloyd, who just obtained his doctorate last year at 36, told me that one’s skills can take them anywhere, and that age is never a matter. I’m not sure if I believe that yet, but I’d sure like to.
It all makes me wonder: is it really too late? Are my best years really behind me?
Perhaps they’re not.