That moment I realized I’m the same age as Evan Spiegel
And what weird moment it was
Evan Spiegel and I are born 4 days apart. At age 34, my partner is one year younger than Miranda Kerr. We have one child together and he, a boy from a previous relationship. The only difference between us and the billionaire & supermodel duo is that I am far from the life of private jets and he is hardly fit for a Victoria’s Secret runway.
After a bit of looking around, a lot of the rich and famous nowadays are approximately the same age as us — Taylor Swift (29, singer), Mark Zuckerberg (34, Facebook), Nathan Blecharczyk (35, Airbnb) and John Collison (28, Stripe). Heck, even Pewdiepie (YouTuber) is only 29.
After a brief existential crisis and ‘what have I been doing with my life’ kind of questions, I stopped to reassess my life in general.
It’s kind of funny that when you’re growing up, everyone else just seems so much older and more experienced in life. Then one day you suddenly find yourself in that position but haven’t really achieved much — not at the grand scale everyone else seemed to have done.
There are people from my high school that are now managers or co-founders of something. There are people from my University classes who are now professional lawyers, doctors and everything else in between. To add to it all, most of the people our age in TV shows and movies are all telling their stories and living their amazing lives.
Then there’s me.
Days of Our Lives
The funny thing about watching the lives of others is that they’re just living their life. Their adventures, their daily tasks and everything else they do are actually just them going about their day. What we view as extraordinary is simply just another day.
There’s even a long-standing soap of the same name that’s currently got 13,508 episodes and has been airing nearly every weekday since November 8, 1965.
We live vicariously through the lives of others that we forget to live our own. We settle for second best but dream of getting the first place trophy. We dream of making games, of writing novels, of doing the hundred and million things we wish we could do but never do anything about it.
And that’s our problem.
We sit around and indulge but never do the things that are necessary to get us there. We might become temporary inspired by success stories but don’t have the habits and drive to sustain our sprints.
So we fall back to the default and continue to live our current life as is.
Quitting the indulgence
Over the past few months, I’ve removed myself from social and general media. I stopped reading entertainment news. I stopped following the lives of my peers. I stopped watching things that allowed me to live in another fantasy world. This includes shows, movies, fiction books, and success stories.
I purposefully deprived myself of the indulgences.
The result of the withdrawal was interesting. It cleared out the clutter inside my head and gave me space to figure out what exactly I wanted in life. It prevented me from comparing myself to others and I stopped trying to emulate their success.
In my quest to read only 12 books this year, I stumbled across an interesting concept that was so obvious but commonly overlooked and dismissed.
Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today — 12 Rules for Life, Jordan B. Peterson
When we compare our lives to those who we consider much more successful than us, our existence usually sparks a sense of failure in every aspect.
And that’s where the root of issue lie.
It’s like being that kid who always comes last in track races. When you’re always feeling like you’ll never make it, there’s a higher chance of you giving up.
By removing the catalyst that constantly paralyzes me from doing the things I need to do, I am able to start taking the small steps towards where I want to be — at my own pace.
The mind manipulations of other people’s successes
The successes of others can often motivate or give us a reason not to try. What we often ignore is that we are currently only seeing the highlight reel but not the struggles and consistent work.
Not everyone inherited the life they’re currently living. A lot of the people we watch and see created that life through a series of choices they made.
Every now and then there might be a movie about the struggle but we only remember the end result and not the actual journey. We just remember the feel-good feelings of the aftermath and experience none of the struggles, the frustrations, the brain blocks, financial and relationship difficulties.
Work On Your Own Life Story
We often look to the lives of others for motivation and inspiration — but often they remain just that.
We go to work, we come home, we eat, Netflix, scroll for an hour or two on our phones and then sleep. Our habits, routines and life choices will certainly make a pretty boring movie.
There is no passion project, no love for the day you’re creating for yourself, no adventure, no anything that makes it deviate from what you’ve been doing over the past few years or even decades.
We’ve settled and become comfortable — yet annoyed at our own existence at the same time.
To live a life that’s currently different from now, you have to do something different. You have to wake up from the dream and start writing your own life story. The pen is in your hands. It’s always been in your hands.
Late to the game is better than never be in the game
While I was feeling sad and sorry for myself for not having made my first billion at age 28 like all the mega-rich and glamorous in the media, I stumbled across an actress named Emmanuelle Riva.
I’ve never seen her or heard of her before. But in 2012, she was nominated for the first time as Best Actress at the Oscars — wait for the plot twist — at age 85. She was up against Jennifer Lawrence, Jessica Chastain, Quvenzhané Wallis, and Naomi Watts — all big and household names.
Riva didn’t start her acting career until she was 32 and kept producing work. Eventually, she got recognized for it. The Oscars was her highlight reel, the part of a Hollywood movie that gives us the feel-good feelings.
In fact, a lot of great writers, actors, and musicians didn’t enter the game until they were a bit older. Alan Rickman didn’t start his acting career until he was in his 30s. Bryan Cranston didn’t become a household name until he was 44. Leonard Cohen didn’t start his music career until he was 33. Even J.K. Rowling took her time and finished the first Harry Potter book at 30.
While everyone around us seems to be making it at such a young age, there are plenty of those who are starting a bit older and making it too.
We just keep getting caught up with the numbers.
We miss the plot completely and don’t do the things necessary to get us to where we want to be. There is a disconnect is what we want and the actions we take.
When start doing the things we need to do on a consistent basis then we start making progress towards writing that life we’ve always wanted.
It’s better to start now than never start at all.