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May 22, 2019 21:12:32

What will you be at age 30, 40, 50...

by @jasonleow | 395 words | 369πŸ”₯ | 407πŸ’Œ

Jason Leow

Current day streak: 369πŸ”₯
Total posts: 407πŸ’Œ
Total words: 203987 (815 pages πŸ“„)

"So your 30s is basically cleaning up after your irresponsible health, financial, spiritual, emotional, and mental decisions of your 20s?" - @mrmedina

So I chanced upon this tweet today and it made me think about my own 20s and 30s. I'm moving on to the big four-zero this year, so it's a transition that feels doubly significant. Thinking about my decade milestones in life made me recall a memorable quote by Confucius, a Chinese philosopher in the 500BCs period who was most famous for his philosophy on ethics and politics:

"At 15 my heart was set on learning; 
at 30 I stood firm; 
at 40 I had no more doubts; 
at 50 I knew the will of heaven; 
at 60 my ear was obedient; 
at 70 I could follow my heart's desire without overstepping the boundaries of what was right."
- Confucius

I wondered, if I were to write something similar in my 70s, what would it be? I could write about my 20s and 30s now, and try to envision what I wish to be in the decades leading up. It'll be a fun experiment, for the future me. Here goes, inspired by Confucius' decades:

At 15, I was ignorant but idealistic;

at 20, I was lost but later found a path;

at 30, I ran the path too hard and was cheated - the path belonged to someone else;

at 40, I discard all paths to face the wilderness, alone;

at 50, I discover a path - my path - that makes my soul sing, for the very first time;

at 60, I attain mastery in my craft;

at 70, I no longer have any burdens nor care about mastery, and could follow my heart's desire;

at 80, I release all paths and desires, and live according to the will of heaven.

Of course, the second half of that list is completely made up and idealistic. I'm not even sure I know what I'm writing about, to be honest. Like, at 50, what path? At 60, what craft? How to know if I can attain mastery when I don't even know what craft it will be? I might not even live that long. Who knows for sure anyway? But even if my future 80-year-old me would laugh at the present me for writing this, I will still try. I must. 

The road ahead is hazy for sure, but one can dream!


Just realised this after posting - this is my 200th post on 200wad! Woohoo! 🍻 

From Jason Leow's collection:

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  • 1

    @jasonleow Age is an interesting concept, particularly in how one's perception of age changes as one ages. I appreciate your take on it with this post. This is my take on hitting the big 4-0: https://theascent.pub/a-reflection-on-turning-40-am-i-now-over-the-hill-7f280cc9d53

    Brandon Wilson avatar Brandon Wilson | May 22, 2019 10:02:06
    • 1

      @brandonwilson yes. I'm guessing that my perception of what 50 means will change as I get closer! Hopefully a good change. Your reflection on being 40 is super comprehensive - interesting exercise to jot down what each age can legally do in your country. Might try that...

      Jason Leow avatar Jason Leow | May 23, 2019 10:59:22
  • 1

    @jasonleow - just saying 'Rumi' and I knew I was in for a treat. Thank you.

    Brian Ball avatar Brian Ball | May 22, 2019 08:20:21
  • 1

    @jasonleow - congrats on the 200th post. I feel like I'm surfing. Each day, the world brings its waves and I jump on for the ride. At the end I don't want to have saved up days without waves.

    Brian Ball avatar Brian Ball | May 22, 2019 07:44:35
    • 1

      @brianball love the wave metaphor. Reminded me of Rumi - "This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival.":

      The Guest House
      This being human is a guest house.
      Every morning a new arrival.

      A joy, a depression, a meanness,
      some momentary awareness comes
      As an unexpected visitor.

      Welcome and entertain them all!
      Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
      who violently sweep your house
      empty of its furniture,
      still treat each guest honorably.
      He may be clearing you out
      for some new delight.

      The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
      meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

      Be grateful for whoever comes,
      because each has been sent
      as a guide from beyond.

      β€” Jalaluddin Rumi

      Jason Leow avatar Jason Leow | May 22, 2019 23:00:48
  • 1

    @jasonleow Thanks for sharing the quote from Confucius. Let me add that reaching 70 is a liberating shock. Liberating in that you are free to focus. A shock in that you are unprepared for your liberation. Anything is possible, but everything is urgent.
    Thanks for sharing.
    - Mike

    Mike Byrnes avatar Mike Byrnes | May 22, 2019 09:17:44
    • 1

      @mikebyrnes "Anything is possible, but everything is urgent." - wow this is so powerful. I'm assuming that you're in your 70s now? I'm really curious to read your list now, especially after 40! ;)

      Jason Leow avatar Jason Leow | May 22, 2019 22:29:28
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      @jasonleow I'm only on my 2nd day at 200wad. But I'm committed and have a sense of urgency. Stay tuned. And thanks for your provocative post

      Mike Byrnes avatar Mike Byrnes | May 22, 2019 09:48:56
  • 1

    @jasonleow I absolutly loved this post, definitly the best thing I have read today so far. I can empathise so much with everything you said. I recently hit the 30 milestone, so I'm still working to process the last 3 decades of life. I think i'll have to write a proper reply to this later on when I have more time because this is something i've been thinking a lot about recently! so, hold that thought! i'll be back later!

    Anna Kaczynski avatar Anna Kaczynski | May 22, 2019 14:43:41
    • 1

      @soulinantarctica thanks glad you liked it! Looking fwd to reading your post now! So that we can compare notes and trade war stories 🍻

      Jason Leow avatar Jason Leow | May 22, 2019 21:47:59
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