I turn 34 today

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Hi friends, thank you for all the greetings. It certainly brightens up my day, knowing i am being remembered! ­čÖé

34 years does seems like a long time to be alive, and i feel i need to reflect what i have learned so far.

I feel older, and wiser, and more reserved, and i feel i have been through many battles already in my life. Spending most of my years in a startup environment, is really something.

I can say, my life has never been a straight path, and not a lot have been planned out. Even if i did plan things, there’s always deviation from the original expectations.

By now, i have learned to accept my limitations. Of course, this comes with age and time, and there will be more limitations to learn from. I can say, if i used to dream i can be anything and everything, now, i accept i have to choose wisely. I have picked the few paths i will follow, and i hope they will be the best for me.

I have also learned to accept failure more gracefully. If i fail, i might not show tantrums, but it certainly is hard in the inside. Now, i use a bigger picture, longer time view, to help me put my learnings and setbacks in perspective. I can say, i have learned more about why time is important to me, and how i want to spend it.

Accepting that i can’t be everything to a lot of things, i am focusing my time on really key projects at the moment. My work at Caresharing and my family. Both are in a pivotal growth stage (e.g. Oldest kid is now 10yrs old).

I admit i’m not going to live forever, at the current state of things, i’d say 80 years is a good estimate. At 80, it means i’m almost halfway. I believe i should live at least 3 kinds of life in this life.

The first one is being a kid. It’s a pre-requisite, i can’t skip this one. The second one is being an entrepreneur. Which i am currently in. And the third one is being an adventurer. I don’t know what’s that like yet, but i’m certain coming 40, i’ll probably be climbing peaks and doing something crazy. It’s also a good timing to start it, when my kids, are more or less self sufficient (aka > 18 years old).

Knowing this timeline, helps me prioritize things. One of which is financial independence. As much as i don’t live for money, i need it to build a base set of assets that will support me to spend time on less profitable activities.

Another is building a good base on relationships. And relationship is built on being present with family and friends. I’ve been a futuristic person for so long, that i feel like i already overshoot my distortion field. Being futuristic is needed and important when building a startup. And now that a lot of the company has been built out, and there are more people coming on-board to help, plus we have grown tremendously more smarter how to go about it, i feel, it is now time to take it easy. I can now step back from the future, and spend more time in the present.

I’m not saying we know everything we need to do, or we have everything we need. I feel that we have grown smarter to know how to move forward, how to pick the battles we can win, and how to defend in case there are troubles. Generally, we’re becoming more resilient. And in this ever changing world, i’d rather stay resilient and agile, than be very sure and stable.

I have made a point to treat 35 years as a big milestone. So i have a year, to figure out and finalize that.

I’m on a 10-day trial trip with Rose today, to see how it will go if we go on a trip for this long. We’ve made plans to travel starting next year, in a more, sustainable and self-contained way. Some call it backpacking, but i can’t really compare it to that. For one thing, we in our 30s and we are not really the college kids cash-trapped ones. Though i don’t like to splurge and check-in in all 5 star hotels, but i do need my hot water for my skin allergy. And of course, some occasional traveling shortcuts, like hiring a van point-to-point, in case i get sick (which annoyingly happens to me often).

And unlike those who can just drop everything and wander the world, we have 3 kids we have to check now and then. We have devised a system to leave them with family and relatives, but them kids have really grown up, that they demand an explanation already.

Alrighty, that’s about it for now. I hope to write more, since i find it helps me be more grounded in the moment. I plan to write more in a “diary” (I use Day One for iPhone and iPad for this), and publish them in this blog if appropriate.

I also plan to maintain a creative photo blog, in my Instagram. You can find me there using my nick ‘markjeee’.