I recently celebrated my 25th birthday. 25, yikes, I know. It all depends on who you talk to - to my 79 year old grandpa, 25 is sounding pretty good right now - to the 2 year old I babysit, 25 makes you seem prehistoric. As much as I hate to admit it, turning 25 made me stop in my tracks. It startled me a little bit to realize I was 1/4 of a century and just as close to 30 as 20. I never imagined I would be one of "those people" who have this ridiculous age complex, and I don't really. But I began to wonder what I have done with the gift of these past 25 years of life, and what will I do with the next 25?
I guess this is a good thing to ponder. I would hate to breeze through 20, 25, 30, and all of a sudden wonder what I had done with it all. I would rather spend a few days moping about being in my "mid-twenties" than miss the gravity of it all together.
What have I done?
A few things. Nothing super extraordinary, like cure cancer, fly into space, make the cover of Vogue, or complete the New York Times crossword. But in general, I'd say for my size, abilities and resources, I'm content. One always hopes that you will have done more - what you've got is never good enough. But if there's one thing I learned from spending a few months in Brasil, it is the power of presence. It has made me weary of the incredible emphasis we have placed on accomplishments.
So, being instead of doing. How 'bout it?
It makes me think about things a little differently, with a little more purpose and value. Don't get me wrong, there are still plenty of things I'd like to do - like go to graduate school, learn how to can fruits and vegetables, hike to Machu Picchu, publish a book, have a farm in Africa, learn several languages, make bread and wine for the eucharist, and see the Redwood Forest - I'd just like to do them with a profound sense of being.
I'm incredibly thankful for these past 25 years of life. I am remarkably blessed. My hope is that I can say the same at 50. Screw the 5 year plan, I'd like to spend the next 25 years being deeply present, wherever I am, so that at the end of the day/month/year I don't so much wonder what I have done as how I have done - purposeful, fully present, and with thanksgiving.