I had an occasion to reflect last night on what it means to be 25 years old. A young brother asked me yesterday what advice I might have for someone attaining that age within the next week. Obviously he didn’t know he was opening the floodgates to an hour long conversation in the car. This is wisdom walking. I am brought to know that at 30 years of age this day, I still have gathered only minutia in the larger realm of understanding available in my life, but my feet bear the aches of exploration. This is trailblazing. My hands hold the scars of clearing forest brush to chart a path through from my present point of rest to my next destination and I have not stopped searching for more answers.
1. Do not stop searching.
If you have questions, pursue them. There is no room for you to become comfortable and lose time resting on the laurels of your previous inquiry. Once you have reached an answer that is acceptable to you, ask a new question. Rotate the elephant. Do you remember the story of the elephant?
The villagers were all standing in the dark around an elephant and each one was feeling the side. The trunk. The tusk. The leg. The stomach. The tail. As no one had decided to feel further around the animal, each one judged the creature based solely on the side they had come to know.
Don’t wait for the group to come an agreement. Feel your way to your own answer and share it with others if they are interested and then, keep walking.
2. Pursue your passions purposefully.
In the service of humanity, the only true reason to pursue passion is as a means of allowing you to connect, engage, and interface with other people. Art is important as a means of human expression, but never as important as the relationships it creates. Use it. Music. Dance. Poetry. Debate. Painting. Sculpture. Teaching.
Find increasingly more ways to extend the reach of your art for it will weave the tapestry of your person to person connections and experiences over a wider landscape. These relationships are symbiotic for they will serve again to feed your art in return.
These passions are an outlet. A valve for twisting to open yourself again and anew that the people around you will always know and be reminded who you are.
3. Question your ethics often.
It is nearly impossible for me to inform you of the right way to deal with the people in your life, but I can advise you that if you are always asking yourself the right ethical questions then you will find a way that allows these relationships to sustain themselves or be left behind as necessary. Relationships are fragile things. They need a consistent sort of care. The relationships which we build or break will directly affect the service which we are able to render in our human experience.
The old trope still applies. Your rep travels. Look at the ethics of your interaction and decide if what you are stating lines up with what you are doing. Look further. Decide if what you are doing is consistent the other things that you are doing. Look further. Decide if the people you are engaging is consistent with what you are saying and doing. Every point of engagement in your life has a purpose. Be sure that you are always aware of that purpose.
4. Be ageless.
This was not endpoint of is our conversation, but I have decided that I should not ramble on in this blog post as we did in the car on that faithful evening and in spite of all of my attempts, I could never dispense what came forth in that moment. This is the magic of person to person engagement. Speaking forth allows you to know the lessons you have retained as much for your benefit as for the person whom you are addressing.
There is quite a difference the between maturation and aging. Know that distinction and decide which one you should choose to do. One is not necessarily higher or better than the other. You might find that you choose to do both. I have decided to mature, but never to age. On July 10, I shall turn 29 with more vigor and energy than I had on the day preceding that one.