Making peace with ageing

Ageing has been one of my biggest insecurities.

I dreaded turning 21. I dreaded turning 22. I dreaded turning 23. I dreaded turning 24. I was okay with turning 25.

The last birthday of mine I ever celebrated was 20. I was in college, popular and high-status for once in my life. I hung out with a couple girls that night as we wandered around the walkable city of Ottawa, then I showed up late to my own birthday party. A girl I had a crush on greeted me with a long, spontaneous kiss on the lips, then I spent the rest of the night doing the usual house partying with the usual people. I slept over at that house that night, cuddling one of my best friends as her boyfriend was passed out right beside us. Even the fact that she had her leg around me instead of him the whole time didn’t tip me off to something obvious in hindsight.

I didn’t do anything special to celebrate 21, 22, or 23. For 24, I just ate a birthday cake-flavored protein bar on a concrete staircase, then used my backpack as a pillow as I attempted to fall asleep on that staircase. I was having a very fun day. For 25, I just got drunk by myself.

19 and 20 are the only birthdays of mine I’ve really celebrated since I was a kid. For my 19th, I went bar-hopping with a couple friends. (It was Canada, so it was legal) Pretty memorable night. For my 20th, the aforementioned house party. In middle school and high school, I basically just ate cake with my family. Didn’t do anything social since I didn’t have enough close friends for even a small group hangout.

In my early 20s, I HATED getting older.

I matured quickly in my late teens. Trauma and responsibility for it will do that to ya. And even before then, I was a responsible teenage boy with a ton of integrity and courage, despite my lack of what I considered “real life experience” at the time.

At 18, I was a sheltered, socially anxious kid who felt like the Real Adults™ were always looking down on him. By the time I turned 20, I could have conversations with people twice my age without feeling a power imbalance.

And when I was 19, something interesting started happening to me regularly.

People who didn’t know my age usually assumed I was significantly older.

A hiring manager at a store told me “you’re what, 24 and you’ve never had a job before?” when he looked at my resume during my first ever job hunt that defined Summer 2017 for me.

People my age at parties would think I was some random 25-year-old hanging around with a bunch of 18-20-year-olds.

2017 was a very eventful year for me

And in my early 20s, it was a bit of a running gag in my life that I’d meet a pretty lady in her mid-late 20s who was into me…

Until she found out that no, I’m not actually close to 30. And that’d be her deal-breaker.

“22? You’re so mature though!”

One girl even thought I was 35, and told me how hot she finds being with a much older man. She was 21. I was 23. I didn’t correct her.

27 is the most common age people have guessed me to be since I was 19, and I’ve joked at least a few times that I got all my ageing out of the way when I was 19, so I’ll still be looking 27 when I’m 40-50.

I was insecure about ageing for two reasons:

1. I won’t have this ego-boost of significant maturity for my young age forever.

It was fantastic when I was 20. Cute and edgy when I was 22. It got old at 24. (yay for accidental puns) By the time I’m 30, it’ll just be respectable. At 50, “not a loser” is all it’ll make me.

2. I used to feel like I never properly lived my youth, and I wanted a second shot at it. What a bullshit victim-mindset.

Owning the past

At this point, I haven’t simply accepted my past as it is. I LOVE my past as it is. I wouldn’t change a single thing about it.

I was looking back at a bunch of old texts from high school and uni yesterday, and all I could think about was how much I genuinely, intensely ADMIRE that past version of myself. No wonder I spent my early 20s missing being him.

That’s me right after turning 19, first semester of college, wandering the campus looking for my virginity after having recently lost it

As a teenager, I was insecure about a lot:

  • My “career path” and whether I’d even get into college
  • Everything about my body
  • My lack of a dating life
  • My intense personality
  • Failing in sports
  • My social life
  • All the “real life experience” I supposedly lacked. As a teen, I wished my life was like all the movies, TV shows, and books I was obsessed with.

I handled it all like a trooper. Faced all my fears. Put myself out there a lot. Took many risks and had many failures. Decided to live with integrity and treat other people well. Even when 16-20-year-old me was terrified or heartbroken, I still faced all my problems with courage and integrity. I wanted to be the best possible man I could be, no matter the circumstances.

Karmically, all my good decisions during those days paid off. I have no regrets about my past. The real value of those days was all the seeds I planted that I’m still reaping the fruits of, not my fantasy wishlist of Normal Teenager Experiences™ that I never fulfilled.

I was dedicated to my fitness and health, and went from 120lbs to 160lbs of muscle at 5’7″. I also decided to own my hair loss and shave my head entirely in 2017 onward, which actually suits the shape of my head. I’ve made peace with being a mediocre athlete in high school too. I’ve accepted the fact that like most people, I simply don’t have the genetics to be a great competitive athlete, and I’m built to succeed doing more intellectual, creative work. All fitness is to me now is a way to keep my body strong and healthy and capable, whereas as a teen + former aspiring powerlifter, I’d care all about the numbers and how I measured up to the other guys. And as a former aspiring fighter, my values simply didn’t align with those of the culture. The other guys did it for status and victory in the ring. I’ve always treated martial arts as a mental, intellectual discipline + a way to experience the simple joy of hitting another guy while he hits you back.

All the struggles I went through personally and professionally during those days (and after, and even today) have become fantastic fuel for fiction. I have a vast arsenal of internal and external problems I’ve faced that I can also put a character through, and make a great, emotionally engaging story of it.

As for girl stuff, I was a flirt in high school but didn’t get any of the girls I “wanted” (lusted for despite us being ultimately incompatible). My dating life didn’t begin or gain any momentum till college, and lemme tell ya, the education I got meeting a bunch of random girls was better for my career than anything I learnt in a classroom during those days.

I used to agonize over going back to school. What’ll I study? Can I complete my degree instead of dropping out this time? Will I meet my future wife doing this? Will I be popular in “the scene” again, or be too mature this time to befriend anyone? When is the best time in my 20s to do this? Will I still be “young enough” to fit in as a student instead of being the token older guy in the classroom?

Now every skill I’ve cultivated that could possibly get me paid, I didn’t learn at school. 😉

And I truly don’t give a shit about having a “social life”.

20-year-old me wanted to be at all the parties, get invited out all the time, befriend as many people as possible, impress all the hot girls with how interesting and alpha I am compared to the other guys…

Now 25-year-old me doesn’t give a shit. Just give me meaningful work, a few good friends I can have nuanced and engaging conversations with, and one special girl to love, and I’ll be happy.

I can go through the motions of being a fun, social guy when I’m in a party setting or at a group hangout or befriending people casually, but I’m not impressed by people’s cliques and social status anymore. I’ve realized love and deep connection are what truly matters to me, and I can’t be arsed to pursue anything less than that. Even back when I was partying all the time, my only motivation to show up to those things was to meet girls and potentially get laid or married. And of course, the ego-trip of being a popular, high-status guy who’d get invited to these things multiple times a week, every week.

I’ve accepted that I’ll never be a “normie” sort of guy, despite trying hard to fit into that scene earlier. I’ll always be a polarizing, weird wildcard. Some people are built to do conventional things extremely well. Some people are built to defy the conventional extremely well.

I’ve made peace with Who I Am this year.

Sometimes, I get nostalgic. I look back at old photos and videos. I listen to music I loved during more formative years. But I don’t crave closing my eyes at night and waking up back in 2016 knowing what I know now like I used to.

What did I really miss or get wrong back then?

Nothing, really.

Owning our diverse Life Paths

The things you’re insecure about are serving you exactly as they are. I’ve told you about how my former insecurities were actually blessings.

How about yours?

It’s obviously not something I can deconstruct here, but I hope I got you thinking.

You’re not some broken, flawed, damaged person who needs to be “fixed” before you can be happier and more successful in any domain. Nor is anyone else.

Our problems make our lives INTERESTING. You can’t have a good story without them. This Earth is not a place souls come to to live effortlessly blissful lives. We’re here because our souls WANT to experience challenges, pains, struggles, and limitations. There’s nothing to “fix” about our lives.

Trust me, I’m an extremely intelligent guy who used to have a massive Savior Complex. I dedicated my early 20s to solving as many psychological and spiritual problems as I could. I read all the theory, learned all the models and frameworks, constantly challenged my pre-existing beliefs and assumptions, and got a ton of experience in the field, after already having gotten more than enough during my college days. If the fact that deep down, people PREFER having their exact problems wasn’t the case, I’d have become a successful cult leader by now. Our society would be praising and deifying me as The One to save us all from our emotional, psychological malaises.

Some people PREFER being broke. The challenges of financial non-abundance are what they enjoy, and they find this to be a more interesting story than financial abundance could ever give them.

Some people PREFER being victims, and no education on mindset or personal responsibility will ever get them thinking “hey, maybe a lack of gratitude and responsibility is the real cause of all my problems in life”. They find it INTERESTING to be a powerless victim at the mercy of men, women, politicians, their parents, societal oppressors, etc… They ENJOY living this exact story, one where they have no agency and never know what their latest complaint-worthy experience will be.

Some people PREFER having stable, boring, sexually depolarized relationships and flings. And they’ll never take my advice on masculinity, femininity, game, or relationships. (if this wasn’t the case, I’d be a millionaire by now)

Whereas me, I’ve built massive sexual polarity with every girl I’ve ever liked. Some of them liked it. Some of them didn’t, and if those girls would be happier with a stable, unmasculine sort of guy, that’s what matters. Unmasculine men and unfeminine women deserve love too. I’m hell-bent on being a millionaire by 30. I take massive responsibility for anything I can in my life, and never play the blame-game. This is how I prefer to live, and it doesn’t make me any better than those other people. I have problems. I have challenges. I have insecurities. I simply experience the ones I find to be the most interesting story for me. That’s how Reality Creation works.

I’ve learnt not only to own my path, but to let other people have theirs. Maybe they have different and equally valid values and definitions of “success” than I do, or they’re dedicated to being irresponsible losers and there’s no advice that could possibly get them on a different path. They create their own realities. No one else does.

Now, don’t assume I’m lacking empathy or compassion here. Some of the things we go through are absolutely TERRIBLE, and it’d be a dick move for me to be like “it’s all for the best” or “everything happens for a reason” or some shit. Loss and grief, physical or psychological damage, severe mental or physical health issues, sexual assault, poverty, homelessness, discrimination and isolation, abuse, addiction, crime, etc… These are very traumatic things (almost all of which I’VE been a “victim” of), and giving people going through them advice on how to overcome them is useless. These people don’t need “advice” or logical information. They need love.

They need to be reminded that their soul, the human spirit is more powerful than they may think. It can overcome all odds, no matter how hopeless things may seem.

I used to be insecure about ageing because I used to think there was something WRONG with me having experienced all my problems. And I somehow, for some reason, needed to go back and “fix things”.

Not a single thing, not a single problem of mine I’ve written in this article is something I haven’t found INTERESTING.

Back in high school, wasn’t it interesting to be going through the same problems and insecurities everyone else was, even if you may not have known it?

The popular kids and the not-so-popular kids all feared “not fitting in”.

Everyone was struggling with defining what their life path should truly be.

Everyone was scared of “not measuring up” to some arbitrary standard of social or personal success, whether or not they’d indeed measure up.

We’re all human.

Some of us handled these things with integrity and open hearts like I did. Some of us handled them with pride and closed hearts.

What I really missed about being a teenager and a college student was feeling like I and the people around me were all in this together. Like I was part of a community, not just some nomad separate from the normie path.

Because right here is the true value of all the self-improvement advice people like us love to consume.

Human connection. Community. Being with people, not alone.

I was insecure about ageing because I felt like getting older meant I’d never have a shot at this anymore. I felt like I’d peaked with human connection in high school and college, and my only shot at reclaiming it was biologically de-ageing myself, then going back to college for a Round II with the most “abundant” days of my life.

(I’m still working on biologically de-ageing myself, but we’ll have to wait at least a decade to see if all my theories and experiments and educated guesses on it are viable)

Working through problems together connects you to people and meets your emotional needs. Whether it’s facing the challenges of adolescence together, tackling work together, working through dating/relationship issues with someone you trust…

These problems all have the potential to create extremely powerful bonds between people.

So you shouldn’t want to solve your problems ASAP. Instead, relax. Allow them to be instead of fighting them. The alternative is your life being a little less interesting, and you missing out on one of the most powerful forces of human connection.

Of course, some problems of yours, you can absolutely solve on your own using logic and reason. You can’t be outsourcing every part of your life to your own emotional whims, or expect other people to be your panacea. The more personal, individual responsibility you take for all aspects of your life, the better.

But if you’re stuck on something, and it feels like there’s no moving forward for you…

Sometimes talking to another person about a hard thing can make it hurt a little less.

Then you give it time, and you realize it’s not actually a life-defining problem. It’s not that you need to “overcome” it somehow, and live a life that checks the boxes of what someone your age, in your stage of life “should be” experiencing.

Some of these “problems” never go away, or take years or decades to run their course. And in this case, all you can do is surrender to YOUR life path instead of wishing you had someone else’s.

What makes your life interesting?

What do your problems and your ability to bravely face them say about what kind of person you are?

Think about that.

And when you’re ready to make years’ worth of progress with your girl problems in mere months, come see me in coaching.

I won’t solve them for you. Only you can do that. Every client I’ve worked with has had moxie. Chosen to have moxie. Chosen to define his life by what he does, not by what randomly happens to him.

If you’re a man of integrity who’s…

* Dedicated to his fitness

* A professional success or on his way to it

* Not sure what the hell he’s doing with the ladies, or does decently and wants to reach the next level

You’re like I used to be, and like all my clients are.

They’d have made it in years without me, and they made it in months with me.

The link to the application is right here.

Take care,

– Ben

And if you want more articles of mine where I explore vulnerability and human connection…

“Is vulnerability manly”

“You’re not special (and that’s okay!”

“How to Find Love and Meet Your Soulmates”

“How to eliminate your social anxiety and fear”

“4 mindsets of a mature adult”

…are all great reads. 🙂

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