I remember back then when I used to be a bundle of energy. I would be taking on every challenge that would come my way. Because of course, our society tells us to push ourselves to the limit, whether that be physically or mentally. To always reach for the stars to accomplish great things for yourself and for your community. To dream endlessly of the fruits of our labors.
I guess there is in essence nothing wrong with this mentality. Because of course, it is our responsibility to be the best version of ourselves that we can possibly be, so that we can lead a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life.
As I grow older, I’d say that my mindset has shifted just a little bit. I no longer have the endless bundle of energy that I had in my teens. I am slowly starting to realize that old age comes for all of us and that we need to begin to manage our time and decisions wisely. We can no longer say yes to everything that comes to us. We can no longer push ourselves to the so-called limit.
Even little things that I’ve been experiencing have been good teaching lessons for me to utilize going forward. My wrist has been hurting a little bit these past couple of weeks, probably because of doing too much housework or perhaps because I started using dumbbells that were too heavy for me to handle. I’m not exactly sure what is the exact reason.
In the grand scheme of things, I know that a sprained wrist is not a big deal. It is not a needle mover. It won’t change the world millions of years from now in any grand shape or form. However, for me, I do notice small differences in my own little life because of this ordeal.
Even things that I used to take for granted are a little bit harder to do now. I have a harder time cutting fruits and vegetables. It takes me just a little bit longer to open a jar or turn a doorknob. And I am having a harder time playing piano as well, especially the faster pieces that require more wrist action.
I’m starting to feel that there is so much that needs to be done and managed throughout the course of our lives. We need to make sure that we are continuously sustaining ourselves mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally. And that is not easy for anyone.
Now I can understand why it takes so long for society to figure out these big existential problems that we inevitably need to address, like climate change. Who has time for that, when you need to take care of your own health, bring the kids to school, and make sure you pay the electricity bill on time? Who has time for that if you need to dedicate yourself as a caretaker to a loved one? Who has time when you need to work endless hours at the office just to support your family and put food on the table?
So, for me, I understand that I need to manage my risks more wisely and make decisions with greater consideration in advance. I can no longer afford to take these uncalculated risks that I was so willing to just jump into when I was younger, even just a few years ago.
I remember a decade ago, I wanted to check out North Korea. I was seriously considering booking a tour to go there and witness what it’s like for a person living there – granted that I’m sure those tours will be heavily filtered from start to finish. But these days, I no longer have the desire to do something like that anymore.
I guess I was very privileged when I was young, to be able to have the safety net and the leverage to take greater risks. When people are younger, they have youth and energy on their side. They have a greater thirst for knowledge and growth. When people become older, I feel like they value safety and comfort more and more.
And there’s nothing wrong with that. For me, I no longer force myself to go out to these networking events at bars with hundreds of people chattering back and forth endlessly. I used to force myself to go out drinking with my classmates just because I thought it was the right “social” thing to do. Alas, our culture paints a very positive and lively picture of the cool guy at the bar chatting it up with hot girls.
Thankfully, as I grow older, I am willing to discard the ideas that don’t serve me and invest more time and energy into the people and the projects that I feel to be more suitable to. I have greater willingness to disagree with things that don’t apply to my unique circumstance, even if the advice that I’ve been given comes from so-called experts who have dedicated decades to their field.
I am more willing to think outside the box and admit my limitations. I simply don’t have the bandwidth to do everything or take care of everyone that I’d like to. I am just human, for better or worse. So, it’s okay for you to pick and choose your battles. You don’t need to fight for everything. You don’t need to support everyone. You need to figure out what’s best for you.
Because at the end of the day, a better you will inevitably lead to a better world.