“Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” ~Carl Bard
Birthdays. They're supposed to be a joyous celebration, right?
That one special day each year when we throw a party and reflect on the day our amazing journey began.
The starting point.
I've had quite a colorful journey and certainly enjoyed many wonderful birthdays in my life.
Turning 50 this past year wasn't one of them. Here's why.
When we're little every birthday marks a major accomplishment. We learn to walk. Then we learn to talk. Then we go to school and learn our ABCs.
Everything is brand new.
When we graduate high school they tell us we have our whole lives in front of us. Whether we're off to college, exploring the world, or entering the work force, we begin a whole new chapter. Independence.
A starting point.
You can just picture that open highway stretched out to infinity before you, beckoning to a future somewhere out on that horizon that calls you to adventure. All that you will become lies out there.
In my twenties, I was a freewheeling single young man touring the world with rock stars. How bad can that be, right?
Turning 30 was awesome too! I was living in sunny Southern California, playing music, and making records in recording studios. Life was good.
Even 40 was great. I had moved back to New York to play in my own band and got married. Our life together had just begun. Then came children. I became Dad.
A starting point.
You're supposed to have accomplished your greatest life's work by now, right? Achieved all your major goals. Changed the world.
But what if you're still working on that? What if you're just now starting to figure out what you're really supposed to be doing with your life?
You can say many things about turning 50, but one thing you can't say with a straight face is that you still have your whole life in front of you.
At this point in the journey, life has shown you many of its cards. Not all, mind you, but you've got a pretty good grasp on how the world turns. If there are still any surprises, they have mostly to do with learning to change the way you see things.
But something else happened that was very difficult to escape. Much as I hated to admit it, I found that I was looking around and comparing myself to my peers.
This person has kids entering college and I'm looking at two young children and the reality that I'll be close to 70 by the time the youngest is out of school.
That one is retired at 50 and buying their second Ferrari while retirement doesn't seem to be in the cards any time soon for me.
When you view life this way, there's always going to be someone who you feel is ahead of you by your own estimate. And you'll never catch up to them. So that leaves you feeling behind in some imaginary race that can't be won.
And when the game is comparing yourself to others, you will never have enough. Ever.
Unknowingly, you build this imaginary scale to see how you measure up against your peers. Let's call it the Success/Happiness curve. Yet, no matter where you believe you fall on that curve, the moment you mark your place is to engage in a losing battle.
You believe that if you can just obtain that (figure of money in the bank, job title, certain car) that you will have arrived at your destination and will find happiness there.
But you won't. Because it's not out there.
Not in any material things you can obtain. Whatever it is will begin to lose its luster the moment you acquire it. Then you'll have to look for something new to replace it and give you another fix. And the cycle never ends.
So how do you break out of this destructive cycle?
Well first, I needed to learn how to let go of a lot of my preconceived notions about where I thought I would be by the time I reached 50.
Ultimately, I found the answer in meditation.
Through meditation you learn how to become present.
Most of us never learn to appreciate where we are at this very moment because we're so focused on what happened (or didn't happen) in a past that no longer exists and worried about a future that hasn't happened yet.
Meditation taught me that to compare ourselves to others is the root of human suffering, or samsara. Because it creates a separation between ourselves and someone else. A duality. A them and an us.
Armed with this new perspective, the next thing I did was to review my life and my experiences to figure out what was working and what was not. This brought me face to face with a rather harsh reality.
As much as I liken myself to be a caring person, I realized that I'd spent most of my career focused on my own self-interests.
Sure I spent a lot of time making music, which is something very personal that you put out into the universe in the hopes that you will connect with an audience and make them feel something.
But it turns out the giving was conditional.
It was like, “Enjoy this music and help support my dream. Please vote for me in this contest and buy that CD and help me or my band out.” The focus was all wrong.
And that's when I realized what had been gnawing away at me all these years. It was a yearning to connect with an audience in a meaningful way that focuses on helping them. On seeing the world through their eyes.
And so at age 50, I am only now seeing the light.
Only after allowing the hidden writer within to finally emerge did I realize that I have been telling stories my whole life.
With that came the realization that each of us has a unique story we're supposed to tell. That's why we're here. And I'm supposed to help people to tell theirs.
The epiphany was that as a music producer and a songwriter, I had been doing this already for many years helping artists to realize their vision.
Suddenly everything felt different. Like I had steered the boat back on course. Like a new chapter.
A starting point.
Suddenly that really successful person I follow who I want to emulate, the one who seems so far ahead in their journey, finally, it all gets put into perspective.
We think they just arrived where they are today.
We never got to see all the years they spent toiling away in obscurity. Experimenting, missing the mark, failing. Trying to figure out the very things we're looking to figure out now.
Until they honed their craft to excellence and were finally rewarded by the world for their efforts.
We never stop and give ourselves a break for simply being on the path. It may be a path of discovery. It may be a path toward a specific destination. Or it may be a path away from our old ways.
But you're walking the path. Celebrate that.
The law says that if you take steps in the direction of your destination every day and keep walking, no matter how slow or how far you must travel, you must one day arrive there.
In Tibet they have a tradition. After a long and arduous journey, no matter how difficult, they seek a high vantage point and look back to see just how far they have come.
Age is irrelevant. Wherever you are in your journey is a starting point. Whoever or whatever it is you're chasing, slow down.
Realize there is no race.
Whether you're 20 or 50 or 80, if you never stop seeking then you'll never cease to be amazed by what you might find.
And if every point is a starting point then every day can be your birthday!
How will you celebrate today?
Photo by girish_suryawanshi
About Mark Hermann
Mark Hermann is a music producer, songwriter, and blogger with the occasional whimsy to create mosaic art. He teaches musicians & other creators how to unearth their inner rock star and deliver the soundtrack to their story. Read more of his stories about how to discover your own personal legend at Rock andRoll Zen. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.
Quotes about New BeginningsStarting over, want a fresh start, then be inspired and encouraged by these new beginnings quotes as you start a new chapter in your life.
Every day is a chance to begin again. Don't focus on the failures of yesterday, start today with positive thoughts and expectations. Catherine Pulsifer
We celebrate another year ending and a new one beginning. Let us look back and appreciate the experiences we had and learn from the mistakes we made. And better still let us look forward to this new year with the anticipation and excitement of a child. Embrace the New Year with a positive outlook and a determined spirit to make all your dreams come true. Catherine Pulsifer
New Year Quotes |
Each day is a new beginning, the chance to do with it what should be done and not to be seen as simply another day to put in time. Catherine Pulsifer
New Year Poem |
As you begin to live a more positive life, it simply makes sense that you take a look at your dreams and goals to see if you are living in a way that will best allow you to accomplish them. Chris Johnston, 101 Greatest Life Lessons, Inspiration and Quotes From Joel Osteen
Inspirational Quotes |
Before any beginning, there needs to be a plan of how you are going to get to the end. If you do not create a plan, it is like deciding to play football without the ball. Byron Pulsifer, Achieving Goals
You could consider a new beginning as the start of a new year. A fresh start, a new goal, a year to make your dreams come true. Be determined and persevere. Catherine Pulsifer
New Year Wishes |
Let us make each day our birthday - every morning life is new, with the splendors of the sunrise, and the baptism of the dew. S.A.R., The California Birthday Book
Every single day is an opportunity for you to start anew; I call this my '24-hour Reset Button.' Each new day stands alone and brings you another chance to move closer towards your goals, so make each day a Great Day! Tamara Tilleman, Postive Mental Attitude: Inspiring Stories From Real People Who Applied Napoleon Hill's Most Important Success Principle
Positive Attitude |
For better it is to make a beginning of that which may lead to something, than to engage in a perpetual struggle and pursuit in courses which have no exit. Francis Bacon, Complete Works of Francis Bacon
Do not despise humble beginnings. The Son of God began His life in a humble manger. Miriam Kinai, Boxed Set 1 Quotations
Words of Encouragement |
A fresh start - a new day - a new month - a new year. Do you see each day as a fresh start or are you carrying yesterday into this brand new day. See the possibilities of beginning anew. Theodore W. Higginsworth
Possibilities Quotes |
There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning. Louis L'Amour
The bad news is that most people give up; they settle for second best; they don't start over; they stay stuck. Please don't allow that to be you. Doug Fields, Fresh Start: God's Invitation to a Great Life
Never Quit |
You should not be panic when you will face some challenges in life or will have a hard time in your life. You need to learn from your mistakes to start a new beginning because if you stop then you will not able to accomplish your goals in life. Ivan Hakin, The Fastest Way to Accomplish a Goal: Your Way to Success
Retirement is not just walking away from work; it is also walking toward something new. Sara Yogev, A Couple's Guide to Happy Retirement: For Better or for Worse . . . But Not for Lunch
Top Ten Retirement Quotes |
Graduation is a time of completion, of finishing, of an ending, however, it is also a time of celebration of achievement and a beginning for the new graduate. Catherine Pulsifer
And as I rise to greet a new day, may I always remember the source of my abundance and wealth flows from deep within, and that no personor material resource can hinder this progress of peace, love, and joy. Ntathu Allen, Love Your Life!: 26 Inspirational Poems to Nurture Your Spirit through Hard Times
No one can ever take your memories from you - each day is a new beginning, make good memories every day. Catherine Pulsifer
Everything begins at the beginning, and quite often the beginning begins when you shift your mind in a new direction. Louie Herron, Driven By F.I.R.E.: Ignite the Flames of Success Through Faith, Intensity, Re-Invention and Enthusiasm
Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense. Ralph Waldo Emerson
If you are struggling to live within your means, if you have limited financial resources to support your everyday needs and obligations, if your life is lacking in love and support, a sense of lack may prompt a desire for a fresh start. Vivian Jokotade, Fresh Start: The Step-by-Step Journey to Rebuild and Renew Your Life
It's a new day. You don'’t have to look behind and relive the past with regret and you don't have to dream of a distant future to try to capture happiness. Today is your time and you can be happy today. Patricia Edwards, Enjoy Life Today and Every Day
RETIREMENT - now life begins. Catherine Pulsifer
Every year we have an opportunity to make ourselves into whatever we want to be. It's a great chance to start fresh and evaluate our goals for the people we want to be. Sharlene Snow, New Years Resolutions - Discover How To Remain Committed To Your Goals And Achieve All Your Goals For The New Years
Believe In Yourself |
Almost everything comes from nothing. Henry F. Amiel
Funny Quotes about Life |
You can learn new things at any time in your life if you're willing to be a beginner. If you actually learn to like being a beginner, the whole world opens up to you. Barabra Sher
Year's end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us. Hal Borland
All of us want to make changes in our lives, and while we should not have to wait until the beginning of a new year to make some of them, it's actually a very good time to make the change. It's truly a new beginning and it provides a launching point to boost the difference you are going to make. Preston Brady III, New Year Resolutions: How to Make Them Work
Our life is an apprenticeship to the truth that around every circle another can be drawn; that there is no end in nature, but every end is a beginning, and under every deep a lower deep opens. Ralph Waldo Emerson
Today is a most unusual day, because we have never lived it before; we will never live it again; it is the only day we have. William Arthur Ward
Part of the process of beginning anew, or changing directions is to know where you want to go. I know this sounds simplistic and easy, but this is one of the most difficult of choices to make with clarity. Byron Pulsifer, May Is Not Just For Flowers
This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24 (NLT)
Think of aging as a new beginning and making the most of what you've got and what you didn’t have time to enjoy before! Susie Harper, Aging: What Really Matters?
If you wish to be happy right from the beginning of your day, then it is about time to leave behind your past. Lorin Hopper, Wake Up Happy
Each day is a new life. Each moment is really a new life. What we call memories are really present thoughts. What we call anticipations are really present thoughts. No one has ever lived in any moment except the present. Emmet Fox
Deepen the friendship: In the beginning, give more than you receive in the partnership. Edmund Ronen, Unlock Your Inner Achiever
I discovered that a fresh start is a process. A fresh start is a journey - a journey that requires a plan. Vivian Jokotade, Fresh Start: The Step-by-Step Journey to Rebuild and Renew Your Life
Inspirational Sayings |
Let your first success be just a beginning. Let your dreams chase you. Amit Ahlawat, Seven Ways To Sustained Happiness
It is important that you make sure that your boundaries are made clear at the beginning of a relationship. Jeffrey Dawson, Boundaries: Line Between Right And Wrong
A Life In Balance |
Let us begin today, taking the first steps toward becoming people great in prayer.