After your 40th birthday, each subsequent birthday becomes an opportunity for reflection. You start to assess your successes and failures and try to figure out how to best live the remainder of your life. Today, I celebrate 41 years of life and I feel quite comfortable with who I am and what I believe.
I have a few regrets, but I don’t harp on them. I’m satisfied with the things that I’ve achieved, but I’m far from complacent because I know that I have more work to do. I’ve felt extreme disappointment and unspeakable joy. All of these experiences have helped me to develop the following philosophy on life:
My personal religious faith is important to me. I struggled for many years to come to the point in my life where I accepted and understood the teachings of Christianity. Now I’m confident in what I believe and it gives me peace and comfort. What troubles me is the way Christianity is often portrayed and hateful behavior of some Christians. Mohandas Gandhi’s quote, “I I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ,” motivates me to always show loving kindness as an outward expression of the faith that resides within me.
Keep learning and exploring
I have an insatiable desire to know everything I can about a variety of subjects. I consume books, magazines, newspaper articles and websites. When I find a topic that interests me, I become passionate about it (my wife might use the term obsessive). My bucket list is long and I intend to scratch off every item. In 2010, I started taking guitar lessons. In 2011, I will take piano lessons. I told my 7 year-old son that I planned to take some courses at our local community college. He looked surprised and said, “Daddy, you’re too old to go to school.” I laughed and replied, “Son, you’re never too old to learn.”
Build authentic relationships
I’m an introvert so it is perfectly natural for me live within myself and avoid human contact. But I know that I wasn’t created for a solitary existence. People, including introverts, yearn for connection. Although technology has given us more ways to connect with people, we often feel disconnected and empty. Building relationships takes more effort than sending a tweet or updating your Facebook status. Small things such as sending a handwritten letter, scheduling a lunch/dinner date with a friend, or making a phone call go a long way building connections.
Last summer, my family took a trip to Colorado Springs. On a whim, we decided to drive to the top of Pike’s Peak. After a few minutes of driving, I started to question the wisdom of this decision. As I navigated our minivan through the treacherous switchbacks, I felt an overwhelming sense of terror. “What if I lose control of the vehicle and plunge over the edge of the mountain?” I thought. I could hardly hold the steering wheel as my heart raced and my palms dripped with sweat. At the top, I breathed a sign of relief and felt an overwhelming sense of calm. I felt more confident and secure driving back down. When I was safely back in the hotel, I told my kids about the fear I experienced while driving up the mountain. I wanted them to understand that fear is natural, but we have the power to overcome it and pursue our goals.
Life is too short to live with anger, resentment, disappointment, and hate. It’s important to laugh and enjoy the time we have on this Earth. Find a reason to smile every day.
Question: What is your personal philosophy?