I'm 27 years old now. It wasn't so long ago that I was giving some of my buddies in law school shit because they were "old men" at 25. These past five years have absolutely flown by. Now I find myself trying to justify why 28 will still be considered "mid-twenties."
One common reply that I've heard from people when explaining my new philosophy is that "life is short." I agree wholeheartedly—part of what ignited this self-examination was not only a dissatisfaction of where my life was, but also where it was headed. I was worried that I'd wake up one day at forty (or older) with a litany of regrets regarding missed opportunities.
We have no idea when we'll be hit by a bus or find ourselves faced with a major illness. I used to have a lot of anxiety regarding death—it was the only thing that seemed absolute and permanent. Even worse, I have little or no control over the ultimate result. This used to freak me out quite a bit.
Then I realized—because there's nothing I can do about it, why worry about it? I could either worry, be miserable, and wait for the inevitable, or I could take some affirmative steps to make sure that I spend the time I do have doing whatever I want to do, including improving the world in some meaningful fashion. Additionally, if you don't enjoy doing something, life is too short to "grit your teeth" and try to make it through. If you are miserable doing something, it is unlikely to change going forward, unless you have reason to believe that further down the line, things will get better in a meaningful way.
Absent that reason, though, you need to take control of your own life and sculpt a life that will make you happy. Happiness, love, family, friendship—these are the things you should be trying to maximize, because time is the only finite resource we have. Not green pieces of paper, not hours spent working, not some ethereal "prestige." Focus on the important stuff. Life is short. Act accordingly.
Questions? Comments? E-mail D.J. at firstname.lastname@example.org.