Just When I Thought I’d Learned the Ultimate Life Hack in the Back of a Taxi, Hubris Dealt Me a Bitter Lesson

I wish I could tell you that fateful taxi ride changed everything.

But it didn’t. I was too far along an arrogant path of betting on myself. It was a bet I lost. You win some, you lose some; so it goes. The unfortunate part is I let that failure define me for the better part of the next two years.

Two. Years.

Until one day when I didn’t even recognize the face staring back at me in the mirror.

I had decayed inside and out; becoming so unhealthy in body, mind, and spirit that I had my doubts I’d ever recover.

It was that moment in the mirror when things made sense. I’d been chasing pyrrhic victories and participation trophies; gratified by achievements that ultimately rang hollow. There had been some great moments along the way, but none of them brought me closer to the answering the end-all-be-all question: Why?

That moment in the mirror, looking into the eyes of a discount version of myself, brought it all together.

We live in a funny world. On one hand you have nonstop advertisements telling us we can live whatever life we dream of. On the other, the cold reality of our fears and insecurities brings us back down.

In that moment I realized my why. I wanted this to matter. I desperately wanted this whole thing to matter.

I also realized the best way to make this matter was to matter to other people. And like Scrooge in Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol”, it dawned on me that it wasn’t too late. Not yet.

It wasn’t too late to become the best husband I possibly could; the best father I possibly could; the best colleague, leader, friend, writer, golfer, and maker of Bolognese sauce I possibly could.

It’s never too late to become what you might have been, but you better get going, the clock is ticking.

Tick. Tick. Tick.

essay about change, time, and self development

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