I‘m 28 years old. And as an older, wiser version of David Berry, I get a kick out of reading the things that 22 year old David Berry used to write. He was convinced that he knew it all; that he was some kind of renaissance man with insights into life and love that were far beyond his years and inaccessible to anyone else. In reality, he was just more naive. Who knows – maybe he was better off that way. But enough of speaking in the third person.
At this point in my life, I find myself wishing I was still as naive, but I’m extremely thankful for the (alleged) maturation I’ve gone through since I was 22ish. So what has that maturation brought me? Another list:
1. Insecurity will never go away. The things you’re insecure about will change and, hopefully, shift to things that are less superficial. But feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt? They’re are readily paid as taxes.
2. Getting older isn’t such a bad thing. At the age of 28, I’m at a point where my life is (mostly) in order. I know more about myself and about people in general and I feel like I’m making real progress towards the fulfillment of my personal destiny. Take that, college-aged David!
3. Your body matters. For aesthetics? Sure. But you don’t even have to hit the age of 30 to know that some bones and joints don’t work the same way they did in your teens. And in a head-t0-head match-up between your teenaged metabolism and fast food, well, your metabolism used to win every time. Used to. Now if you’re not smart, you’re already saddled with high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and saddle bags.
4. Your friendships should be nurtured often. Don’t be fooled by Facebook. You don’t have 500, 1,000 or more friends. In all likelihood, you probably have three or four. The ones who know your farts are repulsive, that you make poor dating decisions and can’t handle your scotch – but still stick by you anyway. That’s love, kids. And it’s rare. Protect it.
5. Family matters. You may move away and you may create your own life, but don’t for a second let go of the people who made you. If what I’m saying seems obvious, let me clarify – once a month phone calls won’t cut it. Immerse yourself in those relationships and cherish them. Soak up the experiences and soak up the memories. While you’re aging, guess who else is? Nothing – and no one – lasts forever.
6. Don’t get boring. The greatest risk in aging is the assumption that being adults means casting off your youth. Eff that. Have parties with your friends. Take random day trips. Makeout in your backseat. The last thing the world needs is another neutered adult in business casual who forgot he ever played basketball all night and got his hands dirty. Wake him up – he’s still in there.
7. Leave something. Financial planning through IRAs and life insurance policies are smart, responsible decisions. They’re a part of your legacy, but they are not your legacy. Do something meaningful with your life. Be an exceptional father or volunteer. Make a habit out of helping someone who has no business helping you back. Build something that’s bigger than you.
8. Quit something. In my early 20s, I felt a tremendous obligation to ‘be’ everything all at once. The best employee. The best volunteer. The best softball teammate. Well, I couldn’t. Write a list of the activities that make demands of your time and rank them from 1 to 10, for example. And if you only have room for five? Well, start cutting. It’s one of the most liberating things you can do – and do it often.
9. Commit to something. It doesn’t have to be work and it doesn’t have to be a relationship, though it may be. But commit to something and care enough about yourself to make sure you’re passionate about it. For me, that thing is Radio Lollipop. You should’ve figured this out by now, but life’s fulfillment doesn’t come from more money; it comes from the pursuit of passion. (I think.)
10. Love isn’t just butterflies, but it’s that too. I still don’t know what love is, but I do know more about it. The best looking guy or girl may not always be the best catch, but the nicest and sweetest may not be, either. But somewhere in there is the best person for you. It’s not supposed to be perfect and it won’t fit into two hours of a loosely-conceived chick flick plotline. So what’s my best effort at defining it? Here it goes: Love is seeing someone as they are, and loving everything that means.
David Berry is a Miami-based copywriter who has delivered writing solutions for a wide set of clients with a diverse range of needs. From books (fiction and non-fiction) to blogs, feature stories and everything else in between, he’s written for restaurants and retail clients, hotel chains, cosmetics companies, universities and more, as well as magazines, Fortune 500 companies and numerous entrepreneurs.
Berry has an MBA from Florida International University and draws passion for his craft from a wide base of interests, as he’s also a NASM certified personal trainer, former stand-up comedian, and volunteer, having won Miami Children’s Hospital’s 2011 Volunteer of the Year award while raising more than $100,000 for the hospital’s Radio Lollipop program.