I’m now 25 years old.
Now that I’ve spent a quarter century roaming the earth, making friends and mistakes, I’d like to take a moment to reflect on the past, present, and future with these three questions:
- What are the best lessons I’ve learned so far?
- Who am I now?
- Where to go from here?
It’s doubtless that, even reading my posts from 2018 and 2019, I have slowly learned to communicate better, cherishing brevity, honesty, and accuracy. If I could time travel back to the start of my University experience, or even back to high school, I’d smack myself upside the head and tell myself that in order to get to this point, I’d need to stop worrying about perfection.
From what I have experienced, perfection is the absolute enemy of improvement. As a kid I would worry constantly about saying the perfect thing, straining to pay close attention to the mood and (assumed) thoughts of those around me. Having matured, I know that making mistakes is exactly how you achieve greatness. If you don’t put yourself out there, you’ll never get the experience you need to grow and improve, and you will stay a terrible communicator forever, afraid of mistakes.
As explored in Jordan Peterson’s works, staying true to yourself and listening to your conscience are the greatest ways to not hate yourself. It is rare these days that I think to myself “I wish I had spoken to that girl” or “I should have been more assertive in that meeting” because now I do what I burn to do.
Fully embodying your conscience is an amazing and incredibly freeing way to live. While it does come with social consequences, the conflicts you have will chip away at your rough edges, and you’ll come away better for having had those fights.
Finding solid moral ground to stand upon is an essential part of the personal foundation you need to fully embody your conscience and true inner self. Without assurance that certain actions are binary right or wrong, you’ll spend a staggering amount of time struggling with the vague questions of the universe and never accomplish anything productive in your life. I do not worry about how I am perceived because I do what is right.
(I completed the first half of this in the morning. I’m doing the rest of this in one go with little editing. I will only edit for spelling and grammar after today to preserve the essence of the moment. The second half of this post devolved into a highly personal and hopeful promise for the future, so read knowing that it may not apply to you, reader, but you may pick up something for yourself regardless.)
Religion has become far more important to me as I have grown older. Although I grew up atheistically, like most other young men in Canada, the presence of God was slowly revealed to me over my University career.
As noted by the Athenian Socrates and many others throughout time, there is an inner voice deep within you that is fundamentally good, moral, and firm, yet does not overpower your other daemons. This voice is independent from you. It is the voice of Holy Spirit. Harmonizing my external actions with my inner conscience, and harmonizing my conscience with Holy Spirit, I have become mighty, grounded, and at peace. I know that the path ahead of me is legendary. After all, it is written that the light will grow brighter and brighter!
With all of these lessons learned so far, most bought with much pain and suffering, I look to the future with great hope. Where earlier in my life I would have fretted over whether the story would have a happy ending, I know now that to live (to truly live,) is to relish every bite, every swig of milk and honey, every climb, and to struggle eternally and grow. If I die tomorrow, I would die happy, knowing that to my end I lived as genuinely and happily as I possibly could have.
To my past self, an 18 y/o boy, I would say:
- Build physical strength. For others to love you, and for yourself to love others, you must first love and accept yourself. The easiest way to do this is to show respect for your body as a living shrine to Holy Spirit.
- Seek Christ, community, and friendship. On your journey you will make very good friends, but you still need all the help you can get. The more you help others, the more you will see positive changes in yourself.
- Don’t consider suicide. No matter how painful, life will get so much better, don’t despair or consider the easy way out.
- Don’t begin relationships out of loneliness. To be lonely helps to cultivate inner strength, and the pain of existing in a relationship you are incompletely committed to is worse than loneliness.
To my future self, I would ask:
- Build the AUTORANCH. You have always dreamed of having a partially automated farm. You are more than capable. Make it so.
- Bring your family closer. Continue your good work regularly seeing family. Once you have greater mobility, make sure you visit Grandma and your siblings regularly.
- Become wise. Take time to be scholarly and retrain yourself to read and think deeply again. Read The Word. Read poetry.
- Become the strongest man. Be a pillar of great strength for those around you. Become a mighty man of God, as you were designed to be.
Ultimately, I hope that going forward I am able to cultivate a beautiful life for myself, and be the most horrific and impossibly brutal danger to any man who would endanger my dreams.
Strength. Wisdom. Salt and light.
These are the things I wish for myself.
Per ardua ad astra.