Life, The Universe, Everything
Am I going to be one of those guys who writes a lofty, reflective blog post every year for his birthday?
I’m officially 42 today.
As I look back on the last 30 years of my life, I could very easily come up with an extensive list of mistakes, failures, and disappointments—but I won’t. Because while those experiences may have set me back in many ways, they made me who I am today.
I’m happy with who I am today.
I don’t feel like an adult. I’m just me. Older.
Discovering I’m the oldest person in the office is novel, but it’s an uncomfortable novelty. It leads down a path of futility—regret and doubt. “I wasted so much time. I don’t have much time left. It’s only going to get harder—and I’m so far behind right now, I may never break even.”
I think less about what COULD be and more about what will LIKELY be.
There’s an urgency; a holy-shit-I-gotta-do-something-about-this-before-it’s-too-late state of panic that only gets louder the longer you can’t immediately do anything that moves the needle.
My mind jumps from worry to worry, in a feeble, seemingly futile OODA loop.
None of my big dreams are possible until I pay down the debt once and for all. But is the $20 I might make selling that Star Wars figurine on Ebay worth the hour it took to photograph, list, and ship it? And, really, with $80k in student loan debt hanging over my head, are $20-an-hour jobs the best use of my time? Shouldn’t life be about more than just paying bills?
Man, I made some really bad calls.
And yet, there’s hope.
If I knew then what I know now, right?
But here’s the exciting part—now might as well be then.
I’m only 42. Statistically speaking, I’m over-the-hill. Average life expectancy for an American male is only 79 these days—but even now, I know lots of dudes well past 80. One in particular, who’s north of 90, recently had a fight with his garage, and calmly hosed down the driveway while waiting for his son-in-law to come drive him to the hospital after breaking his nose and knee in the process.
We can’t change the past. Tomorrow may never come—but I feel like I’ve easily got a good 50-plus years left in me. So maybe I really DO know then what I know now.
42 is the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything.
You’ve probably heard that before. Yes, it’s from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy—but did you know that 42 is also ASCII for the asterisk? Did you make the connection that the asterisk is a wildcard for search queries—and means “whatever you want it to be”?
I asked for a watch for my birthday. I have a couple others, each special in their own way, but this one cost significantly more. Nothing exorbitant, by any means, but pricey enough to feel like more than a timepiece. More like a retirement gift—because I’m retiring from being young and stupid.
Every time I look at it I’m reminding myself “42”.
Instead of how much time stands between me and what I want to do next—what can I do right now, in this fleeting moment, to make everything that comes after it better?
V & P are my universe. Everything I’m doing, I’m doing for them.
I want V to see that the guy she married—who has long struggled with pessimism—has tapped into the power of optimism, hope, and love. I want her to see I choose joy and no longer waste time on petty anger and all that bullshit—and that it pays huge dividends.
I want P to see that her dad—who maybe didn’t always agree with her on things—cared enough to learn how to sell her on the big, painful life lessons he learned so she might know at 22 what he did at 42 and put her on the path to the good life.
The Gearhead Project might be the thread through it all.
It’s a place to share hopes and dreams, confidence and fear—and hopefully make a few bucks. It’s the culmination of 20-plus years of deeply rooted personal interests evolving in a churning sea of experience.
It’s cars. It’s the people who own and love them. It’s a global melting pot of ideas, and a collective, however small right now, of individuals who understand rising tides lift all boats and many hands make light work.
It’s a place where those of us who believe we can find honest, scalable ways to make money by making a difference in the lives of others can put our heads together and do just that.
It’s too easy to look back with regret, or look forward in fear.
I’m sure I’ll always struggle with it. Human nature, I guess.
But today, today I’m 42. I’m thinking about life, the universe, and everything.
And I’m filled with gratitude and hope unlike anything I’ve ever felt before.
The best is yet to come.