So, how do I want it to end?
I’m 43 now; I’ve now been a legal “adult” far longer than not. I’m starting to see an end coming out there on the horizon, distant and fuzzy, but certainly closer than it was a decade ago.
Time is precious. Time is short.
When you’re younger, you crave attention and admiration. You want to be with people who are cool and can make you cool. But as you get older, you start noticing that some of your so-called friends are toxic. So you drop them. Things that you once felt compelled to do no longer feel worth the effort. You cut free from things not giving you value. You prune down more and more to the people you love and the things and activities that give you joy, the things and people that are worth the time and effort you put into them.
I have started making choices to invest time, in family, in friends, in people who ask me for help, for mentorship.
I put money into causes I care about that, things that I see as investments in the future. The environment. Libraries. Public health. Art. People.
I try to say “I” less and “we” more. (Clearly, that needs work.)
I don’t put myself out there as some “ally,” but as someone who, being a mostly-white male American, is going to make a lot of mistakes when it comes to non-white, non-male, non-American issues, but is going to keep trying until I get it right.
I write. These last two years have been my most prolific for writing. The comments and responses I’ve received from these months of the Pastry Box make me happy that others are taking my little words and turning them into far bigger things in themselves. They also make me regret not writing those years when I chose to work too hard instead.
But time is short. The end is coming. Like Monty Brewster, I am in a rush to spend my personal capital before time is up. Am I doing enough?
I have my own doubts about my intentions. Vain and egotistical? Perhaps. I worry that my need to invest in others comes off as pseudo-colonial, like I’m trying to fix other people, even though I shy away from offering pat answers… or even answers.
But all you can do is keep trying, failing, cutting free, learning from your mistakes, and keep pushing yourself — and others — to be the best possible version of yourself you can be. To be better than you were yesterday.
So how do you want it to end?