The Last Year With My Eyes Closed
Gary Vee has been consistent in one information he gives:
Close your eyes until you’re 30.
And I turned 29 today. This means I have exactly 1 year during which I definitely cannot let myself think I’ve done enough.
Then again, what is enough? Is there truly such a thing as “enough”?
I have realized there will always be more that I can do. And even more important, there will always be more I want to do.
The world has so many opportunities open for each and every one of us and it’s a matter of whether we want those hard enough.
Yes, I didn’t give much thought to what I wanted to accomplish in the long term before a year or so ago but I’ve noticed the many years I spent studying languages were all to get me ready for a bright future.
If I gave myself the opportunity.
Obviously, waiting for an opportunity to fall on your shoulder never really works and if you’re one of the lucky ones who do get it, you’ll often waste it for lack of preparation.
And now that I’m officially a 9-ender, I definitely don’t plan on getting to the big 3 0 my hands in my pockets, hoping for the best.
The past year has already brought me a whole lot, from self-awareness through introspection to a better understanding of what I wish to accomplish in the long run, to a much better appreciation of the small things of my life.
As so many people say:
I couldn’t be happier.
But I could though, right?
Since a year ago I couldn’t have ever hoped to be in such a general happy state, I can easily understand there are many more levels of happiness I could potentially reach.
And gosh, I want to experience those.
Why would you, dear reader, be interested in that though? I’m just a random Joe — well, Mathias — with a rather standard life after all.
The reason for which I am sharing this with you on my birthday is not that I want you to know my life. I’ve got my friends and family for that and that could be enough.
What I want to share here is my excitement for the future and for efforts.
No start date
I didn’t start really taking my future into my own hands until last year. On a dark night, being wide awake at 2 or 3 a.m due to jetlag, I suddenly got the urge to become better.
I hadn’t planned it. I didn’t even really think about it until I started.
In the end, it all comes back to being open to the idea of improvement.
And I was already getting close to my 28th birthday. Clearly, when I came across the whole “close your eyes until you’re 30”, I thought I was getting on the wagon a bit too late.
But here I am, more than a year later, with a completely different outlook on life. No, I haven’t changed friends. No, I haven’t changed jobs.
But one main thing has changed: how I perceive the world and my life in it.
Because I have found my long-term goal and, even more importantly, I have acted on it.
I haven’t done some big “life-changing” jump to anything. Instead, I’ve started small.
The pebble that changes everything
Mine was that sleepless night along with the 40-something apps I suddenly downloaded. Most of which I deleted the next morning, but the few that stayed were the real start.
I started reading again, for the first time in years, and in a matter of months, I had an idea of where I wanted to go: I wanted to change lives in my own way.
And it had to start with what I had pushed away for more than a decade: writing.
Why would writing be the key though? What could be that goal that needed me to write again and again?
I’ll tell you about my goal. You might think it’s still too vague, but it’s mine and don’t you dare try to take it away. Actually, you can try. No way you’ll succeed though.
My long-term goal is to make as many people as possible realize how simple and life-changing it is to learn foreign languages.
It has to start somewhere and people first have to understand that I’m not some “crazy genius monster” and that anybody can learn as many languages and even more!
But for this to happen, I first needed to truly understand myself and find my own voice.
What better way to have tens of thousands of words forging it?
Gotta keep things small
Yet, there’s one dark enemy out there: ambition.
Oh, my dear ambition! How much can I hate you and love you at the same time!
My lovely ambition which made me start a one-year writing challenge surprisingly going well. My beloved ambition that got me to accept my flaws to grow further as a person.
And my despised ambition which made me look back at my darkest times. My awful ambition that got me to notice how much I hated my job.
But wait. Aren’t all those positive in the long run? Yes, that’s the beauty of it!
Ambition’s varied aspects can always turn out to be positive in the long-run. Even if you go too far too soon.
It will be positive as long as you accept defeat. Failure shouldn’t be something to fear nor to ignore! It’s something to accept, look back at and learn from.
So I have to keep my eyes on the target, this far far away goal.
But that’s not just it either. I have to look at the present. After all, that’s also what Gary Vee means by his saying. I have to be patient.
Wait for all my efforts to compound more and more.
One pebble at a time. Today’s one sets a new basis for tomorrow’s pebble. And then the next and then again.
Life is full of surprises
When I first started writing in mid-October 2018, I didn’t expect many people to read me. Maybe I’d get some friends. Maybe even 2 or 3 random eyes once in a while.
And here I am, with people actually reading my article and, who knows, even sometimes enjoying what they read! (I guess if you’ve read until here, you must be one of those so let me take the time to thank you!)
Where could I be with continuous work for another year! I want to say that I’d like to know that but, in reality, I don’t.
I want to be astonished at my evolution in one year. And then the year later and so on.
After all, isn’t it much better when someone organizes a surprise party for you instead of having to set it up yourself? The lack of expectation is what makes it exciting.
What’s even better is that efforts make for even better surprises!
You’ve probably already worked on something and somehow finish with something even better than you originally hoped for, right? Well, how awesome would it feel if that something was your life?
So here we are
November 7th, 2019. 28 years behind. A whole lot more ahead hopefully.
With a new year ahead and 8,760 hours at my disposal, I can certainly accomplish quite a bit.
So here are my own no-way-I’m-failing-those goals for those incoming 365 days:
- Keep improving and discovering myself through books, writing, and learning
- Actually start developing my own learning method for others
- Become a better writer. Not becoming a writer. Becoming a better one. I may not be even remotely close to being the best, but I am one.
- Continue slowly working on being healthier and…
- Try a half-marathon! Because, after all, I have to, as a 9-ender!
I may not have accomplished much to put on a resume now. That’s for sure. But I did the best I could hope to do: accept and improve myself.
How about you? Will you set that first pebble and start your own incredible journey? Efforts will be needed. But even a tiny year will make you look back think:
“Gosh, that was a good one. Can’t wait to see what happens next.”