What happens when young dreams grow old?
May 10, 2006 2:16 AM   Subscribe

How have your life lessons/philosophies/epiphanies etc changed over the course of your life so far? What has changed now? What don't you believe in now that you did ten years ago? And vice versa.

I'm trying to get an idea for how things you believe in when you're, say, 21 (as I happen to be), change over the course of your life. I'm sure I wont always have the same perspective on things as I do now, and I'm interested in how other people, as they've grown older, have changed in their mindset and outlook and all that.

For example; 'when I was 21, I thought I'd be in love forever and be a movie star, now I'm 42 and I'm happy but love doesn't last and dreams only exist to get you through the days'... or, you know, whatever.
posted by twirlypen to Religion & Philosophy (26 answers total) 32 users marked this as a favorite
I don't take myself as seriously, I'm less touchy and prideful, and I see more beautiful shades of grey than when I was your age.

I also suspect, were I to have gotten this response to your query at your age, I would have felt sorry for the old man and would have shuddered at the thought of losing my ideals and my burning desire to change the world.

But from my perspective, I've honed my self-perception so to see myself as I truly am, as objectively as I possibly can ,and believe I am more effective that way. I do, however, sometimes miss the soaring feelings of righteous rage and conviction that I alone know what is morally right. I miss my old Schwinn too.
posted by mono blanco at 2:44 AM on May 10, 2006

When I was in my late teens/early 20s, I was very shallow. I was thin and went out partying on the weekends and stayed out late. Looking at photos of me back then, I probably could have gotten any woman I wanted but I remember that my mind set was one of "I just want to meet a nice girl" and so when I did go out clubbing, I talked to a lot of women, even made out and felt up many of them, but never ever did I go home with any of them. This was partly because I had this very moralistic view that women should be treated with respect and not objects (a view I got from my mother) and also because, despite the fact that I would say back then I was pretty handsome, I was actually very shy on the inside and thought I was ugly.

I did meet a girl, eventually. She was a wannabe model. I was crazy for her. But eventually we broke up. It was the worst ever break up that I had ever had. To cope, I ate a lot. I got really fat. I stayed home a lot. I guess karma really did catch up to me.

But because I now had less affection from women and more free time on my hands, I started to read a lot. I gained an interest in politics. And my extra weight gave me a different perspective on what constituted beauty so I became less shallow.

I went to uni. I gained a degree. And now I'm 28 and I have a very important job that pays me a lot of money. And while I struggle to lose the weight I gained, over the years I've still dated a few women and given no regard to what they look like physically. That said, I've got a lady in my life whom I am very happy with and whom I also believe is incredibly beautiful on both the outside and, most importantly, the inside.

I also see the world a whole lot differently tnow than I did then. But to explain that would take up several more paragraphs and I've already rambled on for far too long.

So I guess I have changed a lot since those days. I am sure I've changed for the better. Infact I'm really kind of ashamed of who I used to be. I'm still pretty shy though and obviously, because of my weight, I still don't think I'm attractive. I'm not sure that those two things will ever change.
posted by Effigy2000 at 3:15 AM on May 10, 2006

Thought I'm sure there will be many interesting answers to this, I suspect the question is too much chatfilter and probably won't survive.
posted by Rhomboid at 3:23 AM on May 10, 2006

Similar to mono blanco, I have (hopefully) relaxed a bit and definitely gained self-awareness.

I've learned that most indignities that happen to me have nothing to do with me, personally (i.e. the landlord/registrar/grocery store doesn't have that stupid policy because they want to inconvenience or annoy me); in addition, the entire world does not need a blow-by-blow of that indignity.

That's a huge thing, I think. There is a person in my family who is my age (on the cusp of 40) who continues to go through life thinking that things happen to her. It's never her; it's her boss, or her boyfriend, or her doctor. She is incapable of seeing the role she plays in what "happens" to her, and she is stuck being a teenager emotionally.

I think of the time I wasted obsessing over - and dissecting - and discussing - every conversation and encounter, and I realize I must have been both exhausting and tedious.

Of course, all of this is something that comes with time, experience, and having the world kick you in the ass repeatedly. You'll discover that you can survive just about anything.
posted by SashaPT at 3:23 AM on May 10, 2006

I also see the world a whole lot differently tnow than I did then. But to explain that would take up several more paragraphs and I've already rambled on for far too long.

I'd like to hear about that, though.

BTW, I think this is a great question, twirlypen.
posted by bloo at 4:01 AM on May 10, 2006

Also agree that this is a great question.

From my early 20s to later 20s, I've become much more selfish. Selfish in the sense that I am less interested in "changing the world" and more interested in the relationships with my wife, friends, and family.

I'm much calmer, happier, and balanced.

When I was in my late teens/early 20s, I felt a great deal of pressure to "figure things out" and "fix things". Now I feel that it's not so necessary to have all the answers - for yourself or for others. It's more important to enjoy things - even those things tough and tedious - and to do things the right way.

I think that youth shows what's excessive in a person and old age what's deficient.
posted by BigBrownBear at 4:54 AM on May 10, 2006

Hmmmm. Well, it really would take a very long time to explain it fully but I'll try to be very succinct.

Basically, when I was younger and all shallow and simple, I thought that life was little more than eat, sleep, work, get a wife and kids, settle down and one day die.

Becoming fat made me very jaded and cynical. So it's of little surprise, maybe, that I came to know and love the work of Bill Hicks. I suppose there's an irony in taking the work of a stand up so very close to heart, but Bill and his words opened my eyes a lot. But of all his stuff, it was the following quote that most inspired me.

"The world is like a ride at an amusement park, and when you choose to go on it, you think it's real, because that's how powerful our minds are. And the ride goes up and down and round and round and it has thrills and chills and it's very brightly colored and it's very loud. And it's fun, for a while.

Some people have been on the ride for a long time, and they begin to question: 'Is this real? Or is this just a ride?' And other people have remembered, and they come back to us and they say 'Hey! Don't worry, don't be afraid - ever - because... this is just a ride.' And we kill those people.

'Shut him up! We have a lot invested in this ride! Shut him up! Look at my furrows of worry; look at my big bank account, and my family. This has to be real.'

It's just a ride. But we always kill those good guys who try and tell us that - ever notice that? - and we let the demons run amok. But it doesn't matter, because... it's just a ride, and we can change it any time we want. It's only a choice. No effort. No worry. No job. No savings and money. Just a choice, right now, between fear and love. The eyes of fear want you to put bigger locks on your door, buy bigger guns, close yourself off. The eyes of love, instead, see all of us as one.

Here's what we can do to change the world, right now, into a better ride. Take all that money we spend on weapons and defense each year and, instead, spend it feeding, clothing and educating the poor of the world, which it would do many times over - not one human being excluded - and we can explore space together, both inner and outer, forever. In peace."

After that, I no longer saw the world (and life) as I did before. I saw it in the way Bill explained; as a ride. An opportunity to have some fun and to not take things too seriously. Money, my job... everything I've gained... I've done it not because I think it's important that I do it, but because I wanted to and I gained some enjoyment out of it. If my job wasn't something I enjoyed doing, I'd quit tomorrow. The money that I earn from doing it is a large amount, but it's secodary to the enjoyment I get from doing it and the knoweldge I've gained to get to this point.

There's a lot more to how I see the world too. The economy; control of the working classes and the distribution of power within society. Now that really is too much detail to go into here, though. Indeed, I'm writing a book on it which, at present, is well into 100 pages and I can't see the end yet. But in relation to this thread, even that aptly demonstrates how I've changed. Back in my late teens and early 20s, I'd never have thought about this stuff. I'd never have written a book on it. Hell, I probably wouldn't even be a member of Metafilter.

But yeah, sufficed to say, I look back at me then, at the way I was, and I can see that gaining all that weight was a watershed for the direction my life would take. That and my sincere admiration for Bill Hicks, whose words would inspire me to think differently about things, and in turn persue knoweldge, a degree, and a whole new way of life.

That answer your question? :)
posted by Effigy2000 at 5:00 AM on May 10, 2006 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks to everyone who has replied so far. I know this could be seen as a chatty discussion, but it is a question that I'm hoping to find an answer for (insofar as a question like this has a definitive answer). It's not going to be as close-ended as 'how do I fix my broken laptop', but I'm not trying to just start an idle discussion.

I can try to imagine what it would be like to have lived through ten or twenty more years of life and what will happen throughout the years, but another way, or a supplement to that imagination, is to ask people who have actually lived through their own twenty years. It's a question that does have an answer (albeit a different one for each person) and it is those answers (and those differences) that I'm hoping to find.
posted by twirlypen at 5:18 AM on May 10, 2006

I don't believe that work & career are a priority or part of my identity. I did when I was 21.
posted by jamesonandwater at 5:54 AM on May 10, 2006

I thought I was incapable of expanding my mind & skills. If I was bad at math, it meant I would always be bad at math. If I was didn't get Shakespeare, it meant I would never get Shakespeare. In my 30s, I learned that I could master most subjects if I was willing to put in the work.

I learned that it's hard to reach a certain level of maturity without getting married (or getting into a marriage-like relationship). I suspect this is because when you're single, you live mostly for yourself. Now I live for "the team" and would take a bullet for my wife. I suspect that one matures to another level by having kids, but I wouldn't know, because I don't have any.

In my early 20s, I had really strong opinions -- just to have opinions. As I got older, I started to examine them, and I realized that most of them were based on flimsy logic and faulty information. I think the two wisest things that anyone has ever said are "Everything old is new again" and "This too shall pass." Most things that seem really new are actually really old. If you see an experimental play or movie, the "experimentation" was probably already tried by Shakespeare, hundreds of years ago. The whole battle over downloading music? People used to go to Gilbert and Sullivan operas, transcribe what they were hearing onto sheet music, and sell illegal copies on the street. If you learn some history, you can put most of today's events into some kind of context or perspective. And however bad -- or good -- things get, this too shall pass.

I used to "know" what was going on in other people's heads. I could "tell" that Bobby had a crush on Sally, just by the look on his face. I was a master armchair psychologist. I've learned that I don't have psychic powers and that I need to be VERY careful about assuming what goes on inside someone else's head.

I've learned that feelings are NOT mirrors of nature. In other words, just because I FEEL something is true -- even if I feel it very strongly, that doesn't mean that it is true. Paradoxically, I've learned that feelings are the most important things on Earth. They're not important because they're true; they're important because they're feelings. Because, more than anything else, they affect us.

I don't know much about art, but I know what I like. When I was younger, it was important to me that I read the "right" books, hold the "right" opinions, admire the "right" paintings. Now I read books that I like. I used to be puzzled by abstract art. I was sure it held some deep, complex, intellectual secret which I was too dumb to understand. Or it was a scam ("A black blob on a white canvas! Bah!") Then one day I had an epiphany. I get confused by (or scoff at) colors and shapes on the wall of a museum, but I enjoy them (and don't worry about what they "mean") if they're on a t-shirt or a dinner plate. Now I love abstract art. I go to museums and revel in the colors and shapes.

Most educated people go through an intellectual decline as they age (I'm not talking about senility). I've always loved to read and discuss history, science and philosophy. But now that I'm in my 40s, I've noticed that most of my friends have virtually stopped reading (except for maybe newspapers). I'm getting lonelier and lonelier. I don't want to discuss this stuff with a 22 year old, even if he does read as much as I do, because he doesn't have my life perspective. But my 40-year-old friends have moved on to coming-home-from-work, watching TV, and then going to bed.

When you're 20, it's really hard to relate to people in their 40s, 50s and 60s. When you're older, it's really hard to relate to people in their 20s. One day, you'll be that obnoxious old guy who tells people to turn their music down.

When I was younger, I wondered when I would finally be a grownup. I'm still wondering.
posted by grumblebee at 6:43 AM on May 10, 2006 [1 favorite]

I'm only 29, but there are two areas in which my views have changed significantly.

Marriage - I used to be stridently anti-marriage, believing that it was only for weak people who needed their relationships validated by the church or the state. Now I can well understand the desire to have a huge ritual love feast, in which you and your partner get to be the king and queen for the day. There are also better legal rights for married couples where I live now (in the UK) so marriage can be a prudent financial decision as well as one based on love.

I'm also far less likely to automatically dismiss people whose beliefs I disagree with as stupid - I still find many beliefs stupid but I can better differentiate people and beliefs now. It's a complex world, people believe what they do for any number of reasons, most to which I'll never be au fait, and people with stupid beliefs can still be very interesting people to talk to and discuss the world with.

Stupid people, on the other hand, still just piss me off.
posted by goo at 6:55 AM on May 10, 2006

At 21, I figured that things would work out on their own. I would have a career, a family, health, a life, simply because I showed up.

Now, at age 43, I know that these things only happen (or will happen) because I MAKE them happen.

I think I've shifted from thinking that there is "me" and there is "the world" to thinking and believing that I AM the world, and any changes I want to see in the world, either my personal world, or the world at large, must come through my actions.

I've come to believe that the old "If you aren't part of the solution, you're part of the problem" is very very true.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 7:04 AM on May 10, 2006

This cartoon says it better than I ever could.
posted by runtina at 7:31 AM on May 10, 2006

I think this thread should be a rare exception to the "no chatfilter questions" rule.

So many lessons learned, but I'll limit myself to a few:

When I was 17-20 I thought I would pick out a job and do it all the rest of my life. By 29 I realized that life was a lot longer than I thought, and that I had no idea of what I could or would do. I see kids in their late teens/early twenties pressuring themselves to decide what they will do with their lives, and they just don't understand that their present decision just isn't that crucial. It's not like you're choosing between the roads to heaven and hell. You're picking one road out of several available, but there will be plenty of other options, detours, scenic routes, fastracks, and opportunities to backtrack along the way. Life allows for a tremendous amount of waste and renewal.

Another thing I've learned is to avoid the slash and burn approach to relationships. You don't have to burn bridges with people if you've discovered you no longer enjoy being around them. Just gracefully ease out of the relationship by decreasing contact (that is, if they're platonic ones - since romantic relationships are exclusive you need to let the other person know it's over so as not to waste his or her time). If you have an annoying co-worker there's no need for open warfare. Just avoid them when you can and be very professional when you can't. Who knows when and where you'll meet these people again. Would you rather have them thinking of you as the person who rejected and hurt them, or as the person with whom they just seemed to lose contact?

Another big lesson: I'm a generous person and used to exhaust myself trying to help those I cared about. Then I realized there are limits to how much you can help people, that people need to run their own lives and solve their own problems, and there's no helping someone who isn't committed to change. So, now I set limits as to how much I will do, and I communicate that to the other person. She or he feels supported and knows what she or he has to depend on; I know that I have been a good friend without sinking an endless amount of time and energy into a black hole.

When you're 20, it's really hard to relate to people in their 40s, 50s and 60s. When you're older, it's really hard to relate to people in their 20s. One day, you'll be that obnoxious old guy who tells people to turn their music down.

I have had the opposite experience, perhaps because I have an excellent memory. I don't get over emotions easily, and even if and when I do get over them I don't forget how they felt. As you can probably guess, this can be a curse. But it can be a blessing, too. I can relate to younger people because I remember so clearly how it was to be their age. I was stunned to read that most adults think that failing a grade isn't a big deal to a kid. I had friends who failed a grade, and they were devastated and depressed all the next year. I'm not saying I choose my closest friends from among people a decade younger than me, but certainly I can enjoy talking to them and meet them on their own ground without (hopefully!) that head-patting "you'll learn better" condescension that drove me so crazy at their age. And they in turn add something to my life with their fresh viewpoints and their openness to change. I don't want to become so set in my ways that I can't tolerate new things and different viewpoints, and having children and young people in your life is a good way to combat that.
posted by orange swan at 7:40 AM on May 10, 2006 [2 favorites]

I'm 31 now. When I was a teen, I was a very cynical and pessimistic person. Shortly before graduating high school, I took that cynical and pessimistic person out onto the hill overlooking my high school and strangled him. He was dead weight.

At 19, I joined the Coast Guard. The trip to basic training opened my eyes to just how much my life and my fate were in my own hands. "I did this to myself," I realized. "I gave it some thought, I signed my papers, and now I'm here. And I'm not going to wake up back home in bed at Mom's house ever again."

Two years ago in LA, I was looking for a wedding ring and my girlfriend started looking for her own apartment. My life fell apart. I found a new girlfriend in Seattle, and I took a risk and chased after her. It has paid off in every way (except financially!!), and I wouldn't have done it if I hadn't been through that jarring experience of going off to the military.

As a teacher now, I realize that most teens don't really have that grasp on how much they can change their own lives through their own actions. But for the relative few that have been through a life-changing trauma, they generally believe that life generally carries on as it always has. It's not a lesson you can teach; they have to learn it through life.

In my late teens & early 20s, I thought I believed that there was no single, fate-based "one true love" for everyone. I was in my mid-20s before I actually believed it.

Ten years ago, I knew we could be in the shitty situation we are today as a nation (the US), but I didn't think we actually would be. I thought there were enough safeguards, enough common sense, enough general goodwill. Now I know better, and I'm not so much jaded as I am frustrated.

Ten years ago, I thought it was silly that much of my own sense of morality was derived from comic books, rather than from religion like most other people seemed to. Now I thank God for that influence every day, 'cause a lot of God's followers scare the hell out of me.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 7:54 AM on May 10, 2006 [1 favorite]

The longer you hold a belief, the more suspicious of it you should become.

In my early 20's I thought that was ridiculous advice. In my late 30's, I adopted it. I now seriously question anything I've believed for 10 years in a row.
posted by klarck at 8:14 AM on May 10, 2006 [1 favorite]

When I was 21, I had a set plan -- a kind of "Game of Life" perspective on what success was and how I was going to get there. You know, gather people and things around you, move up the career ladder, etc. At 31, I realize that live to other people's standards of success, living to impress rather than what makes me happy, is a futile waste of time. There's a perfect life for me that's not based on anyone's formula.

I thought doing well in a college degree meant I'd do well in the applicable field. I've since had a smack to the head with the real world that I wish I was armed with during my undergrad and grad degrees.

I used to work really hard to try to impress people who were difficult to impress and I discounted those who liked me immediately. Now, I like myself more. Therefore I realize the people who are a pain in the ass to please often are impossible to please and not worth the effort. And people who like me often make better friends, lovers, etc. than the a-hole category.

I used to count my value in the number of friends in my phone book. Now, I value my friendships more based on how comfortable and excited I am to be with the people around me. And I've come to accept that I'm much more of an introvert than the social butterfly I used to pretend to be.

I used to do things just to prove people's advice wrong. Ten years and a divorce later, I listen to people's advice and try to figure out where they're coming from, even if I disagree. (Except my mother. She is always wrong.)

I used to be a staunch atheist, but then I picked up all these weird superstitions to supplement my need for belief. Now I go with my gut and believe in things like fate and dramatic irony playing a role in people's lives, without feeling the need to believe in or decry a god of any sort.

I used to like cats. Now I'm a dog person. Yeah, that one I just can't figure out.

I used to be self-hating, desperate for attention and extremely self concious. Now I channel all that into creative ventures and have turned into a far less funny person that actually enjoys life.
posted by Gucky at 9:43 AM on May 10, 2006

I think this thread should be a rare exception to the "no chatfilter questions" rule.

I think this thread should be typical of what's allowed in AskMe. AskMe's great at this stuff. It's why I read it, not to find out how to install a hard drive in a new computer.
posted by jdroth at 9:47 AM on May 10, 2006 [2 favorites]

Mod note: re: chatfilter. Any question that has some sort of a problem to be solved is usually fine here. twirlypen explained why he/she wanted to know and the question isn't going anyplace
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:55 AM on May 10, 2006

I look at aging as the process of inner childhood issues coming to the surface. For me it's also the experience of tempering, and sometimes shattering, the beliefs and expectations I held in my 20s and 30s (I'm 46 now). That's the most surprising thing to me, that many of the beliefs and expectations which comprised the foundations of my existence in youth seem obsolete now. I never expected that to happen. I don't mean that I was a liberal and turned conservative, just that my understanding of life has changed so much, but changed gradually and almost imperceptively as I got older. Now I perceive much less organization to life. It seems more chaotic and unpredictable.

Also with age comes wisdom (hopefully) and the ability to understand the sequence of events starting in childhood which brought you to this moment now, and this realization has less to do with idealization and ambition than it has to do with tempering your sense of identity and being able to accept life on its own terms.

Life takes you in surprising directions that you can never anticipate in youth, and when it does you have to welcome change even if it means losing a little bit of what and who you think you are so you can find out who you actually are.
posted by gallois at 10:41 AM on May 10, 2006

Now I can well understand the desire to have a huge ritual love feast, in which you and your partner get to be the king and queen for the day.

Yes, that can be fun, but it's not the aspect of weddings that's most meaningful to me. I also though weddings were stupid when I was younger. If you love someone, live with them and do things with them -- why do you need a ceremony.

Now I understand what's important: the vows. I don't believe in God; I don't care how The State classifies me. But I do care about promises that I made to another person. Of course, you don't need a wedding ceremony to make such promises, but for me, the fact that they were made publicly in a formal way underlines their importance and seriousness.

Which reminds me of something else pertinent to this thread: when I was younger, I thought of longterm relationships as simply being about love. They're still about love, and I hope that always will be the most important part of my marriage. But I now realize that an "adult" relationship is a partnership in every sense. My role isn't just "to love." It's also "to support", "to cheer on" and "to grow old with."

I used to think, if you have to work at a relationship, you should get out. Now I know that relationships involve work. Hopefully, they are not ALL work -- and naturally there comes a point where people should bale out. But work is a part of it.

I remember the day that I realized I would stick with my girlfriend even if she became a paraplegic. That's when I knew I was ready for a partnership. A marriage.

When you're older, it's really hard to relate to people in their 20s...

I have had the opposite experience, perhaps because I have an excellent memory. ...I can relate to younger people because I remember so clearly how it was to be their age.

So can I, but I still find it hard to relate. It's not that I don't get their feelings -- I just don't share their passions and they don't share mine. They (not ALL of them, of course) want to go out and party; I want to stay home and read. While they're listening to the latest Indy band, I'm listening to Stravinsky; while they're talking their new relationship; I'm talking about my 10-year-old marriage. We lack the common ground for meaningful discussion.
posted by grumblebee at 11:04 AM on May 10, 2006 [3 favorites]

I think less about what's right and wrong, society's rules, etc., and more about "what do I want? how can I get it?"

A little more aware that life is short, I'm less interested in waiting long enough to make something perfect, more interested in being good enough, moving through experiences faster, more experimental in how I figure things out (example, I stress less about what computer to buy -- it's like, eh, I'll trade it in in a few years anyway, let's see what this type of computer is like).
posted by salvia at 11:17 AM on May 10, 2006

Twenty years ago, I was one of three punk kids in my suburban high school. I remember a conversation with my mom in which she said, "your dad doesn't like you dressing this way, because he thinks people will see you and not like you, but I just figure you'll grow out of it."
At the time, I was more annoyed that she said I'd "grow out of it", because I really didn't care what other people thought of me back then. I'm not sure that I have grown out of what was "it"- to me, "it" was asserting my individuality, being comfortable with myself, and wearing/thinking/saying what felt right and real to me. That's still important to me, but what is honest and real to me has changed over the years. I'm less interested in being visually identified as part of any group since I've become more secure with myself and my relationships with other people. I'm more interested in what other people think, not necessarily about me, but about anything else. I'm just more interested in people in general, rather than being dismissive of the whole human race other than me and my close friends. It's taken many years to develop a reasonable set of social skills (in high school, small talk or chitchat was beneath me), and in all honesty, the key things that helped immensely with overcoming my intense shyness were alcohol, a job in retail, and smoking pot, in chronological order. I'm possibly even less tolerant now of shallow, incondiderate, and insensitive people than I was twenty years ago because it just seems such an unproductive state of being, but I'm much better at reserving judgement until I've gotten to know people, and appreciating all the nuanced qualities humans have to offer. I've learned that other people, friendships, relationships, are more important in my life that I thought they were when I was fifteen. I realized that figuring out what I admired in other people (honesty, openess, thoughtfulness) could be part of me, too- and by doing so, I attracted more of those sorts of people. I really don't think I've changed hugely, it's more like I've teased out a few of my better qualities and tried to clamp down on the more awful ones. While I'm not embarassed by the kid I was, I would never go back. I'm a much more comfortable, interested, confident and slightly less introverted person now. Good food and sleep have become much more important to me than they used to be.

I remember thinking when I was a teenager that it would be great to be an adult and do whatever I wanted. Now that I've been an adult who could do whatever they wanted to for awhile, I'm still pretty thrilled by that notion. That's one thing that definitely hasn't changed.
posted by oneirodynia at 11:38 AM on May 10, 2006

I no longer believe that all problems have acceptable solutions.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 1:37 PM on May 10, 2006

I've agonized over many problems and many decisions in my life. In retrospect, I find that things always worked out for the best, or at least very well, but rarely - almost never - for the reasons I thought they would at the time.
posted by ikkyu2 at 10:08 PM on May 10, 2006

Three points:

* My perception of time has changed dramatically in the past twenty years. At 17, time seemed to randomly shift between fast and slow periods -- sometimes it seemed as if time stood still, that I wasn't in control, while other times it seemed as if time was rushing forward and I had to get things done rightnow. I realize now that I'm in control of these perceptions, and I should've recognized the awesome amounts of time I had back then to do a whole heck of a lot more than I did. "Remember that one time, when we had that party at the beach? Why didn't we do that everyday?"

* I no longer care about what things are cool. I care about what things are useful. My 3-year-old watches Thomas the Tank Engine cartoons, where the ultimate compliment one can receive is to be called a Really Useful Engine. I'm beginning to believe that this is the secret to the universe.

* I didn't care about money back then. I used to toss out the quote that "Money is only useful if you don't die tomorrow." Well, it turns out that you're probably NOT going to die tomorrow, so having some scratch is a Good Thing. I'm not saying that money is the end-all, be-all. Merely that money is a Really Useful Engine.
posted by frogan at 11:10 PM on May 10, 2006 [1 favorite]

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