Life & Philosophy

What It Feels Like to Be You (and Me) 👶👱👴🎉

There’s something embarrassing about getting older, especially if we haven’t accomplished anything truly significant. To make things worse, we start comparing ourselves to other people.

Today is my birthday. I’m 31 years old, just as old as Mark Zuckerberg who’s already created an Internet empire called Facebook. What have I done/doing to change the world?

I’ve made some contributions:

  • I wrote a book to help people cope with their OCD. I’ll write an updated version at some point.
  • I write a new blog post every day in an attempt to make other people think differently.
  • I’m a tastemaker. I don’t conform. I lead. I’m always looking for new things to show other people whether it’s apps, articles, or new music.

At the same time, there’s also something humanizing about aging. We start appreciating life and what we have. I’m a husband, a brother, and son. The family is close and strong. I’m in good health. I improved my posture. I still have my curly hair. I’ve started transcendental meditation.

The older I get, the more honest I become with myself and other people. I want to be me. I don’t want fake, celebrity friends. I want to say what I want and inspire people to take it as they wish. I also want to keep getting better, and stronger. The brain is elastic.

I have a special chair that I sit in every morning to think in and journal. I’m writing this from the chair right now. Perhaps it’s in these still moments that we begin to appreciate who we are and how much life we have left to go. We understand how it feels to be us. Comedian Bill Murray puts it best:

“What does it feel like to be you? What does it feel like to be you? Yeah. It feels good to be you, doesn’t it? It feels good, because there’s one thing that you are — you’re the only one that’s you, right?. So you’re the only one that’s you, and we get confused sometimes — or I do, I think everyone does — you try to compete. You think, Dammit, someone else is trying to be me. Someone else is trying to be me. But I don’t have to armor myself against those people; I don’t have to armor myself against that idea if I can really just relax and feel content in this way and this regard. If I can just feel, just think now: How much do you weigh? This is a thing I like to do with myself when I get lost and I get feeling funny. How much do you weigh? Think about how much each person here weighs and try to feel that weight in your seat right now, in your bottom right now. Parts in your feet and parts in your bum. Just try to feel your own weight, in your own seat, in your own feet. Okay? So if you can feel that weight in your body, if you can come back into the most personal identification, a very personal identification, which is: I am. This is me now. Here I am, right now. This is me now. Then you don’t feel like you have to leave, and be over there, or look over there. You don’t feel like you have to rush off and be somewhere. There’s just a wonderful sense of well-being that begins to circulate up and down, from your top to your bottom. Up and down from your top to your spine. And you feel something that makes you almost want to smile, that makes you want to feel good, that makes you want to feel like you could embrace yourself.

So what’s it like to be me? You can ask yourself, What’s it like to be me? You know, the only way we’ll ever know what it’s like to be you is if you work your best at being you as often as you can, and keep reminding yourself: That’s where home is.”

Bill Murray
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By Wells Baum

Wells Baum is a daily blogger who writes about Life & Arts. He's also the author of and four books.