Writing A New Life Chapter

by Alberto Matus

A few thousand tequilas, a ton of whiskey, beers, and another 365 days around the sun later and I’m still breathing!

Growing old. But gratefully

Yes, you read that right! I’m thankful enough to be able to see the start of a new year, many people actually don’t get to see that. Friends and people I know have come and gone. One day you’re here, and the other you’re gone. Though it’s not been without its narrow escapes – I’ve escaped some near-death experiences in road traffic accidents, assaults, and a few retarded situations that I’ve somehow crawled my way out. Some of the people close to me say I’m either truly lucky or I have the lives of a cat. Nevertheless, these scars that years have cemented on me only serve as a reminder to be truly thankful for another day in life. 

In my earlier years, another birthday was just a reason for another party or a few days of binge drinking. However, over the years this mindset has slowly changed, and now it’s more of appreciation for the lessons learned over the years. “Another birthday,” some of my friends say with the follow up of “we’re getting old”; some panic at the fact. It’s true, we are aging, and the vanity in our youth that we once had has slowly changed. I mean who wouldn’t want to stay young forever right?

But that’s life! It reminds me of a quote in a favorite old country song of mine by Kenny Chesney and it says 

Don’t Blink, Life goes faster than you think.

Kenny Chesney

You really can’t flip that hourglass and start again.

When I really start to think of it, it feels like just yesterday I was a boy; dreaming of all the things that I wish I’d have. And while at that age, most of us want to grow up so fast to reach those things. Wishing we could move out of the house. Wishing we’d have the job and money. Wishing for that house and car. And so many other different things. Not knowing it comes with a lot of responsibilities.

Fast forward to today – I do make my own decisions. I have my degrees, and thankfully a job. I own my house, car, and most of the things I’ve wanted. Yet sometimes, I ask myself ‘For what purpose’? Despite the fact that some of these things bring stability and prosperity depending on how we use them, I believe that the feeling comes from sometimes missing out on the joy during the process of achieving them. At Least that’s my case. We often forget to appreciate the beauty in the process of moving forward to these goals. We want these things to happen so quickly, and fail to realize that happiness lies in the journey of achieving these goals. I’ve learned that if we do not enjoy the journey we miss out on so much. So now more than ever, I try to see the beauty in every goal set forward together with the processes involved. Each is a lesson learned.

But that’s life! Some chapters haven’t been that great, especially in the last year. But some have been. Life’s brought its smiles and tears, privileges and judgments as I’ve crossed personal and professional challenges. Some of us learn, and make things differently while some of us simply don’t. But we can’t make age an obstacle! Instead, I say – we should learn to embrace it as a privilege and gift that is not granted to everyone.

With that said, I have a few things I’ve learned and try to live by:

  • Happiness is not always getting what you want. 
  • Find a beautiful soul and not just a pretty face in a partner.
  • Build a strong mind and a strong body. Exercise daily if possible.
  • Learn to survive alone. Everyone leaves. Voluntarily or involuntarily. That’s life.
  • Be eternally optimistic to see what the next day brings.
  • Your material wealth won’t make you happy or perfect.
  • Don’t compare yourself to others. Compare yourself to the version of you from yesterday.
  • Actions speak louder than words. Talk is cheap.
  • Better to be disciplined and consistent; not just motivated. Motivation is enough to get you started but not enough to get you going.
  • You can always achieve something in life. It’s a shame to die without realizing our true potential.

A few notable sources and material that has had an impact on how I view the above are: 

To close this off, let’s view aging as the Taoists do – to see wisdom and clarity, it’s something to be proud of rather than to fear.

You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.

Albert Camus

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