“Mastering Life”, what does that mean? And exactly what is the “Second Half” anyway? I’ve scratched this slogan all over my YouTube Channel, here on this blog, and on every social media site I own. My girlfriend has praised it frequently, saying it’s a clever tag line. But up until now, I’ve never really explored what that means to me.
I had originally created a video script that semi-touched on this subject. But the more I stared at the story’s thumbnail image, the more I didn’t want to make the video. Because it was all about what I didn’t want. In the original version, it was why I didn’t want to settle down in the Florida Keys. Why living a slowed-down life was well in my future. Which is still true, but peering at the upcoming me from such a negative angle felt wrong. Mastering isn’t about “not”. And in that script I never touched on what it was that I did want to be.
So I rewrote it, from a current perspective. What makes me happy today? What can I share with people from a “Mastering Life” point of view. And I really didn’t like that version either. It was better, sure, but it didn’t tell me anything about the me I wanted to master. Just what I had managed thus far in life. And I also realized that just about every video and story I’ve created thus far has been in the mold of both this and the preceding paragraph.
Which brings us to this version of the story. (Which will be turned into a video script and released on YouTube in a few weeks, by the way. LOL) To address the question … “Who do I envision inhabiting my body in the year 2022 and what does his life look like?“. Because I really want to know if he mastered anything. And what mastering really means.
The Professional Me
I am currently a software professional. I’ve been writing code since I was 19 years old. I’ve been with the same company and client now for the past dozen years. I make a pretty good salary, the people and work are mostly enjoyable, and it’s a nice, solid gig. Absolutely nothing wrong with it, and I hope to be able to continue well into my aging years. But when someone asks me “What do you do?”, I hate to answer with this. Because it implies that it’s part of who I am. That I have a passion for it. And it’s not. And I don’t. It simply pays the bills in a completely innocuous and secure way. I’m good at it, but it in no way defines any part of me.
So how do I want to answer that question becomes the question. Occasionally I’ll respond with one of these:
- I’m a YouTube Creator
- I’m a Writer
- I’m Exploring My Creative Side, Looking For Opportunities
And all three sound either pretentious, or imply that “I don’t really have any idea”. This is exactly where I am now. I have always known that I had a creative side. It’s why I was a Thespian in high school, doing plays and whatnot. (Well, that and the cast parties. LOL). But I was also raised in that Protestant Work Ethic manner that says artistry is something not as important as responsibility, hard work, discipline, and frugality. In short, I was never encouraged to dance, sing, draw, or create. In fact, I have distinct memories of a certain parent asking me why in the hell I would want to even do something like drama. So my creative side has never really been allowed out to play. And I’m struggling with how to even make that happen.
But … we’re not talking negatives, right? So, what does the 2022 Creative Me look and smell like?
There are many aspects of what I’m doing now that really make me happy. YouTube, for instance. It’s like an upside bell curve sometimes, but generally speaking, I love it. The whole prep/organization thing, with the planning, story writing, and management of the semi-business side of things, really lights my fires. The video edit and release process is equally exciting and pleasurable. And the actually filming part is … well, it’s coming along. LOL! I actually enjoy doing it, but I’m still very self-conscious about putting so much of myself out there. “Hiding” behind the laptop on the other two ends feels safer right now. BUT! The 2022 Rick is going to love the limelight. That bell curve is going to be this solid straight line of joy, and I’m going to revel in all aspects of creating videos. And I will proudly state that “I’m A YouTuber!”.
The 2022 Me is also going to continue writing, like I’m doing this very second. Because I love the process of building a story. The tweaking, editing, and growing of an idea into something unified and complete. Yes, like “acting”, it puts one in the spotlight, and that’s a hard aspect right now. But the future me is going to “Master” that. So I might even answer the question with “I’m an Author!”.
But what I will probably be saying … and actually living … is a hybrid. I’m sure that two years from now, I’ll still be writing code for a large corporation. I’ll still be “working from home” and paying the bills with that salary. But it will just be a small part of the tapestry of me. Just like knowing that I use a certain brand of toothpaste, or that I like to sleep eight hours a night, being a software developer will be just part of my invisible infrastructure. And when asked the proverbial question, my answer will be “I’m a Creator”.
The Personal Me
What does a 58 (+1 next month) year old guy look like? What about the version in 2022 who is pushing his early sixties? Well, he can look like anything, I suppose. And that’s what I think “Mastering” really means. Because there isn’t a tried and true. What works for me may not, and probably will not, work for you. Do we have to conform to a pattern? Do we have to have a solid destination? Can’t mastering mean the journey?
If I were to look forward in time and watch my future videos, I would like to see a man who is extremely active. Who travels and explores new cultures. Who continues to push his limits. Who is probably outdoors twice as much as he is inside. Who is very social and has numerous activities every week of his life. I want to see a man happy, smiling, and focused solely on joy and learning. And that’s not really all that far from the 2020 Me. It’s just that the future version will have lost his hang-ups on what he’s supposed to look like.
I think that more than anything, to semi-wrap back around to the title of this post, I believe Mastering The Second Half Of Life is letting go, moving forward, and keeping the negatives at bay. It’s the willingness to be happy, whatever it is that makes that happen.
Aren’t Personal And Professional Me’s The Same?
Well, that’s a great question. Why should there be different “2022 Me’s”? Can’t I be just … Rick? With no lines dividing? And YES is that unqualified answer.
This part is very specific to me, but it’s part of the exercise. One that I hope anyone reading this decides to do themselves. If I close my eyes and visualize an average day in the life of the future me … what do I see?
- He will be joyfully social. He will not be shy to enter into new conversations or groups, and he will revel in gatherings known and not yet known. And he will plan and attend events often, because that’s one of his greatest joys.
- He will have unleashed his creative side. He will make videos frequently, with never a sideways thought as to what he looks like doing it. In fact, he will welcome the opportunity to share with observers what he is doing and why. And he will write, and write often.
- He will be an Ambassador of Life. Helping others. Sharing. Caring. Learning. Teaching. Failing. And Thriving. Not for what he looks like to the outside world, but because of what he sees in the mirror. He will be free to share his life, and he will take extreme pleasure in doing so.
So yea … the 2022 Me is going to be great. And even if he doesn’t quite live up to my current expectations, I’ll enjoy meeting whoever he is. And whoever he becomes in 2024. Or 2044. His life will be constantly blending and evolving. Growing. And loving.
Come to think of it … why wait? Maybe I’ll go enjoy meeting the 2020 Me as well. I hear he’s an OK Guy.