Kobe’s last game reminded me of something profound Larry King said in a recent interview. Pro athletes leave the game when the rest of us are in our peaks. Think about that. Kobe is 37. That is young, though those of you in your 20s will disagree!
Most men don’t hit peak income earning years until 40 or 50 or 60. I didn’t figure out life until I was 35. At 38, my life arc is heading up.
The best is still ahead for most people. Yet athletes like Kobe have been the best. They have to completely redefine their identity.
Some will say Kobe can go into business, and that’s true. It also shows a misunderstanding of obsession. Kobe was one with his art. I wouldn’t stop writing if you offered me a check for $100 million dollars. What the hell would I do with all of that money if I lost my ability to express myself and process the world through writing?
Your life is a subjective perspective.
You might envy a pro athlete, because what a life.
Going up is a great high. That’s the high you see when you watch TV. Once the lights go out, there’s another arc.
Going down is depressing even if your low point is still higher than most will ever know.
Our experience with reality and our feelings of happiness are always subjective, and will always be judged by where we – rather than someone else – started.
Tomorrow Kobe Bryant will be a bigger deal than 99.999% of the world will ever be. And tomorrow, or maybe the next or week, he’ll become deeply depressed.
Tomorrow will be Kobe’s first day as a mortal man.
Kobe is going to struggle with the same existential questions as you do.
I have no idea if he has the mental fortitude to keep pushing forward in life, recognizing that he’s in a new state of life and can still be great, and I don’t watch sports or care about him.
But during his final game it’s worth reflecting on meaning, and especially the connection between identity and aging.
Life really is what you make of it, at any age.
You can define your identity based on what you’ve lost.
We hear people do this often. People lose a childhood they deserved, and thus talk about their parents well into adulthood or even int their own 50s or 60s.
People lose relationships, and remain bitter about divorces for decades. Businesses fail, and that is how people define their lives – based on what was lost.
People lose their innocence, and become traumatized or jaded.
You can define your identity based on what you have to gain.
The great news is that you can define your life however you like. Your identity is a choice.
You can define your life based on what you lost, allowing your past to control your future, or you can define your life based on what you have left and what you might gain.
Kobe is 37 and will never be a pro athlete. That is a huge loss. He has 50 more years left on this earth, a huge amount of time to make a difference.
The same is true of you.
Anthony Bourdain is 59. Still killing the game. Trump is 70. They aren't even running TRT/HGH. "Old" has a new meaning these days.
— Mike Cernovich (@Cernovich) April 11, 2016
You have lost, but there’s still time to change.