with age.

Change is a topic I’ve thought a lot about. Recently I’ve been noodling over how I’ve changed over the years. My tastes. How I make decisions. How I interact with the world. What I value. How I spend my time. What I worry about. What makes me happy. All that stuff. Recently I’ve found that my random thoughts on this have sort of cohered a bit.

What’s different now that I’m in my 30’s? I think it’s a certain comfort.

There are a bunch of things that over the last 10 years caused me a ton of churn and tumult. Things like career decisions and changing jobs. I would obsess over details and get caught up in the back and forth that always happens in these things. I’ve recently been having some conversations with a company about joining. Then, all of a sudden, the process seemed to go off the rails. A few days later, the recruiter sent me an email reassuring me that all was good. When I got that email, I chuckled a bit, because I realized that years earlier I would have been craving to hear this, constantly looking for this email. Instead, here, I sort of shrugged, “OK.” Things have ups and downs and a bunch of random crap happens. If it was going to come together, after I did my piece, it would. On Friday night I was talking to someone older, smarter, and more successful and mentioned all this– he just nodded knowingly. It’s just one of those things. Once you’ve been to the rodeo, you eventually know what rodeos look like. So it’s calmer.

It’s not just professional stuff either. When I first moved from NJ to Cincinnati and then from Cincinnati to SF, those experiences really rattled me. While I was deeply excited about both moves, I was also leaving behind friends and the life that I had built for the unknown. I so vividly remember that feeling. Now the act of moving is more a turbulent blip.

At the top of this post, I described this feeling as a comfort. But I guess it’s also just a certain confidence. It’s not just success that develops this peace/comfort/confidence, but also the mistakes. I feel like I’ve made more, and greater, mistakes than most people. While remembering all my poor decisions should wreck my comfort as I approach future decisions, it actually hasn’t. I think that’s because I’ve recognized these mistakes. Instead I have solace that since I’ve made the mistake in the past and am aware of it, I’m less likely to make it again. Or, failing that, despite it happening, I survived it and could again if I needed to.

Other than the occasional grey hair, the growing bags under my eyes, losing the ability to sleep in, the increasing soreness after physical activity, this is what I think I’ve gained with age. With age, I’ve gained the quiet confidence to believe that life most often works out.

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