It was my 46th birthday yesterday, so to mark the occasion, I thought back to 25 years ago, when I was 21, which was not a good point in my life, and the person I was at the time would most likely be pleasantly surprised with who I’ve become. I believe she would be especially shocked, but particularly pleased that I’m training Jiu-Jitsu, as well as writing this blog (the internet wasn’t even a thing back then!).
I often wish that I had discovered BJJ when I was much younger (and definitely before the age of 40!), but the reality is that I probably wasn’t ready for it until then. When I was 21, it’s highly unlikely that I would’ve even given Jiu-Jitsu a chance, and if I had, I’m guessing I would’ve quit immediately!
I once wrote that I couldn’t think of any benefits to being an older Jiu-Jitsu practitioner, and Kitsune commented “The advantages of being middle-aged are (usually) good ego control, self discipline, focus, and other mental advantages.”, and I realized that while I might’ve been better at BJJ physically when I was younger, I wouldn’t have had the mental strength to survive. It was too far outside of my comfort zone, and I wasn’t nearly as tough as I am now.
At the age of 46, I’m in better shape and I’m stronger than I was at 21, thanks mostly to Jiu-Jitsu. Although I’m not thrilled that 46 is closer to 50 than it is to 40, I know everyone isn’t lucky enough to live as long as I have, and when I was 21, I thought I would already be dead by now, so I’ll happily take all the years I can get, especially the ones where I get to train BJJ! If I could give any advice to the 21 year-old me, I think it would be “Don’t stop writing.”, but since I can’t turn back the hands of time, I guess I’ll just have to try to keep following that advice for as many more years as I can.
“I just play blues for fun.” -Howlin’ Wolf