Everyone is posting digitally altered pictures of themselves, processed to look 20 or 30 years older. It’s fun and kind of eerie. I did it, too, mostly because I wanted to reference this joke by the great, late Mitch Hedberg:
One time a guy handed me a picture and said "Here's a picture of me when I was younger." Every picture is of you when you were younger! "Here's a picture of me when I'm older." You son of a bitch, how'd you pull that off? Let me see that camera.
If Mitch only new…that camera is the tiny computer we carry around in our pockets.
I’m not afraid of aging, or looking older. It’s not a hang up for me…I look forward to the challenge of aging gracefully, and my goal is to be one of those old dudes that get comments like “Wow, he’s spry!” or, “He looks pretty good for 103.”
However, looking at my older self smiling back at me, I did think…what do I want 70 year old Dan to think and feel as he reflects on his life? I’m close to 40 years old…what am I going to do over the next 30 years that I’ll be able to look back on and feel satisfied? What current problems will (if I don’t work on dealing with them NOW) blossom into full-grown regrets?
No one gets to avoid pain. There are things that we don’t control…other people, freak accidents, the weather…but I know for myself that there are numerous issues that hurt me and my loved ones that I can affect. I can’t control the world, but I do control me.
For the next 30 years I choose to work hard, steward my resources and time, show up for my family, and tend the garden of our life with purpose and focus. I choose to create and play music daringly and share the best of what I have learned (and will continue to learn!) in order to help other guitarists and musicians get the most joy and satisfaction out of their music making.
And in order to do all those things with as much energy as possible and for as long as possible, I’ll take care of my body and mind…cultivating a humble and teachable spirit, being conscious of what goes into my body, and staying active.
Even reading back over the last paragraph, doubt and resistance crops up and says…”I don’t know, man. Maybe you won’t be up to the task. Seems pretty ambitious and maybe even unrealistic.” I can get discouraged before I even begin, but that’s really just self-defeating internal dialog.
And let’s be real…what choice do I have? If I try, I might fail, but I will also likely have some success…but if I don’t try, I will certainly fail.
Forget trying to age gracefully. I’m shooting to RAGE gracefully.
Onward and upward.