Random Reflections After Turning 35

Over the weekend, I turned 35! It’s a big number! I feel like I’ve made significant progress in #Adulting. But who knows… when you were a kid, you thought that the adults knew what they were doing. Now that I am an adult, I’m not so sure… 😀

I told my wife before my birthday that if I were to die at 70 years old, then I am already in my mid-life.

At this age, birthdays are really not that a big deal. They come as just another day, only a little bit more special because loved ones remember it and they greet you (thankfully there’s Facebook and social media to remind us of each other’s birthdates).

People my age did cool stuff. But there’s a handful who STARTED something at this age. I came across this interesting website that displays “Things Other People Accomplished When They Were Your Age.” Here’s the list of what people did when they were my age:

At age 35:

• Based on a nightmarish dream, Robert Louis Stevenson wrote The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
• Russian ambassador Aleksandr Borosovich Kurakin introduced the practice of serving meals in courses.
• Frederic William Herschel, an English astronomer, invented the contact lens.
• American sprinter Evelyn Ashford won her final Olympic gold medal at age 35, old for a sprinter.
• Amedeo Avogadro developed Avogadro’s hypothesis.
• Law School professor Anita Hill charged that Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas made indecent remarks to her.
• Margie Profet proposed a new theory of menstruation which claims that menstruation protects against infection and won a MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant.
• Astronaut Buzz Aldrin achieved his life’s ambition at age 35 and wondered, what do you do after that?
• Julia Child began to learn to cook.
• Mozart stopped composing and started, well, you know.

It’s certainly an interesting list. And I know that I still have a lot of life, energy, and daredevil in me.

At age 35, my own father had 2 kids and pursuing his calling as a Pastor in his first church appointment after leaving the seminary. I was 9 years old then while my sister was 7. He was disciplinarian and driven, a little too intense most of the time.

I’ve been blessed career-wise. Like my father, I pursued my calling and ended up working full time in the church, though not as a Pastor. But this had given an opportunity to meet awesome people, work on a lot of exciting projects, and see the world.

At this age, you begin to feel pain and funny stuff in your body. I often tell my younger friends that they should relish their youth, because once they cross the mid-twenties threshold, they will no longer have the same energy. It’s definitely true for me.

I still love coffee though I’ve cut back on the number of mugs I drink daily! I started young. Probably got it from my mother. Though I now hate 3-in-1 coffee products that are just too sweet for my taste.

I should exercise more. Though I am proud that I have kept mostly in the 144-155 lb (65-70kg) weight range.

I probably need to upgrade my wardrobe. Sometimes I feel that I don’t dress like my age. I still like wearing jeans and t-shirts, though my friend Rei teased me one time about wearing long-sleeved shirts and looking more serious than I used to be.

Steve Jobs was right: “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.”

If you’re in your twenties, you should try to discover your passion and seek to understand yourself and the things that you enjoy doing. But don’t be afraid to experiment, to fail, and to pick yourself up. I certainly had my fair share of those.

The first big uncertain plunge I took was resign from a good paying job in a budding career and into a full time volunteer position. It’s not easy to do that, especially if everyone around you is starting to build careers and good lives.

I’ve had smaller uncertain plunge over the years, but the most recent uncertain plunge I took brought me from my homeland halfway around the world and into the United States.

Don’t worry if you feel like you haven’t found your direction yet. Commit to something–to ONE Thing–and do it really well. Persevere in spite of doubts. Grow your knowledge, skills, and attitude. Sometimes the skills come before the passion does.

Periodically look back and connect the dots. You can do that annually–at the end of the year, or at the beginning when you’re trying to map out what you want to do in the year. Big numbers such as 20, 25, 30, and 35 are also good numbers to pick to look back and map out what’s next.

Having a loving wife beside me is a godsend! I’ve often referred to her as my anchor to reality. You see, I am a dreamer and she’s the one who reminds me about keeping my feet on the ground.

I’m glad I married when I did. I was 28 when I tied the knot. Looking back, I would have done it earlier. If you feel like you’ve found the person you’d like to spend the rest of your life with, then get married in your twenties.

It’s amazing how much more focused you get when you have a child. In the years B.C. (before child), I just pursued too many projects… too many in fact that I ended up compromising my time with my wife. When he arrived, boy did I have to get my act together! So I streamlined my life and projects. I’m glad I did.

The best is yet to come! It’s just an age. Meanwhile, life goes on and I get to pursue what I believe God is calling me to do in this world.

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