Age is amusing. Getting older is a continuous process. We've made it a stepwise function. "Years" are the discrete blocks to gauge it by.
Nevertheless. Birthdays are points to reflect. To think about age and time. And, theoretically, they're unique. More unique than temporal holidays like New Year's Day.
People evolve and grow over time. I (currently) believe our past selves change alongside our present selves. Not the factual events that took place. The story we tell ourselves changes. Our view of the past changes. Our story that connects the dots between then and now changes.
Graphically, the dots themselves don't move. We redraw the curve through them. We uncover more information to improve the curve. Or, maybe, we've reasoned that the new curve makes sense. Even if we don't have the data to back it quite yet. The curve changes. Our trajectory shifts as a result.
Age is a conveniently discrete timepoint. Which means I get 22 dots to plot out before I connect them.
My game pieces. The set of events such that (A) they stick out in my mind and (B) age[event] = floor[time_alive[event]].
0 - the origin, I was born on Long Island, in New York.
1 and 2 - driving my parents crazy, probably.
3 - started playing basketball.
4 - started playing soccer.
6 - went to see The Black Crowes, my first concert. didn't get the memo that you sleep after the concert, not during.
9 - went to CSI sleep away camp. called my parents crying because I felt alone. also got my hands on iodine – camp instructors weren't as impressed by my metallic orange hands as I was.
13 - decided to go from public school to private school.
14 - started high school, learned what an AP course was, got my first laptop.
15 - became terrified of Chemistry.
17 - tore my ACL, went to therapy (physical and mental), rehabbed. Wrote my first line of code, went to the Galapagos Islands – my first time out of the country, built a computer. Moved to Atlanta, started college.
18 - joined an immunoengineering cancer research lab, competed in my first hackathon, started journaling.
19 - started ballroom dancing, took my first job at a startup, launched my personal site and blog, and planted the seeds of my own startup.
20 - took my second and third jobs at startups. also, COVID-19 pandemic!
21 - went full-time on my startup; learned a lot about leadership, relationships, and work-life balance. Moved to Memphis, started learning salsa :)
The current curve
4 years ago feels like forever. 3 months ago feels like a lifetime.
Bitbucket Journal Jared, Journal I Jared, Journal II Jared, and Journal III Jared are completely different people. Journal IV Jared will be similarly unique.
I remember each of them, though. Reading the lines brings me back. To both good times and bad times. But they all remain my times. And I can smile at all of them. They taught me so much.
I'll never forget opening an even older notebook to see the words "BREAK FREE" scrawled in all caps and underlined. I had forgotten writing them until then. I was immediately reminded of how I felt at a low point during my ACL recovery.
That low point was a positive inflection point. From there, I worked to understand my values. I identified what I wanted to change. I was able to build my own foundation.
The people I've gotten to know as friends have been so amazing and supportive.
The teams I've been so fortunate to contribute to taught me how to lead and deliver results.
The relationships and subsequent breakups taught me so much about communication, people, and myself.
The mentors in my life have guided me through so many decisions.
Resilience, gratitude, and love. The three parameters that define the current curve of my life.
Here I am, 22 years after being born.
I feel like my trajectory points up. It's currently positive. For that, I'm grateful.
I'm incredibly excited about the vision we've set at Augment Health.
I also have 5 personal goals for the next 5 years of my life:
- Grow my relationships. Become closer with my existing friends, while also making new ones.
- Positively impact 1000 people's lives.
- Be healthy.
- Spend 500 hours volunteering.
- Be fluent in Spanish.
I have no clue what the rest of Journal IV will say. But I can't wait to read it and start inking Journal V.
I'll close with a few pieces of "wisdom." From myself to myself. All written out of love and compassion. Extracted as reminders for me. Maybe helpful to someone else.
"The only thing worse than being bad is not showing up" (January 12th, 2019)
"But perhaps that's the blessing of these moments. You can have great moments, but the greatest moments are the endings because they mark a new chapter" (June 18th, 2021)
"I need to always finish strong, because I might not get a redo" (February 14th, 2021)
"Don't let "what if," get in the way of "what is," looking back. Don't let "what is," get in the way of "what if," looking forward" (June 17, 2021)
"It'll be a big week this week. It always is. Let's do this" (March 3rd, 2019)
Thank you for joining me on this journey. Thank you for everything - past, present, future, and everything that's drawn in between.
Here's to the future. Here's to twenty-two.