Almost exactly 10 years ago, I threw myself off the cliff of starting a company. I did it because: a) of where Ian helped me realize I was on the risk/experience curve (i.e., more risk tolerant than inexperienced); and b) I was optimizing for minimal regret. In other words, I was very privileged to have had a lot more to gain than I had to lose.
10 years later, I’ve been extremely fortunate to have gained a lot–though not necessarily what I set out to. Most importantly, I now have an incredible wife and 2 amazing healthy kids. Gratitude has become central to my worldview, but being truly grateful also means acknowledging what you have to lose.
I used to never question that every new day could be better than the last if I made it so. But I’m now grappling with the reality that time doesn’t just give indefinitely. At some point, it starts to take too. Yes, some things will hopefully continue to get better: every day our kids get older brings new joys; and I’m excited for what lies ahead in my career. But I’ve also reached the point where my obliviousness to mortality is being steadily chipped away: the older family members or friends’ parents or even friends we lose continue to move from rarity to reality with each passing year. It’s a tautology to say that our time becomes more precious as we get older, but it’s still a hell of a thing to experience for yourself.
I’ve found it challenging to reconcile 30+ years of ambition and competitiveness with the fear of missing out on time with my wife and kids. I used to primarily define my success by achievement, but I now find enjoyment increasingly important. I guess I’m still using a regret minimization framework, it’s just what I don’t want to regret that’s changed.
I’m hopeful that 2019 will be my best year ever just as 2018 has been. But I’m aware that one day–hopefully many years from now–will be as good as it ever gets for me, and I likely won’t realize it until long after the fact. We cannot freeze time to savor those perfect moments. So what can we do other than what the beautiful Ted Rheingold made it his mission to teach us: #EnjoyEveryDay?
Wishing you and your family your best year ever!
Originally published at jstrauss.