Mark Twain once said, “Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” So why is that one is occasionally reminded that years, are mile-markers of life, that puts you in a reflective state of mind.
Past few days have been a reminder of the time spent on the journey of life. It all started with a coffee earlier this month with a wiser, more mellower Justin Kan, who was a constant presence at our NewTeeVee Pier Screenings, live streaming his less-than fabulous life as part of Justin.tv. The nine years have passed since we first met — these days he advises other startups and works for YCombinator — and since then, starring in the movie of us is an everyday thing.
Another young friend, Peter Rojas who co-founded Engadget & GDGT came to visit me in San Francisco. The shaggy haired, thin as whip kid who sat next to me at Red Herring, extolling gadgets and the rise of the remix culture at the turn of the new century, showed off photos and videos of his kids, and talked about writing a book. It was as if someone pressed the rewind button on life.
Already looking over the shoulder repeatedly, today, in particular I stopped and reminded of the summers gone by — as boys of summer took the field of dreams in Minneapolis today. And it was all because of one person, I have never met and perhaps never will — Derek Jeter.
Jeter, the New York Yankees’ captain has been a constant fixture of every summer for most of my American life. An immigrant’s struggle is often lonely and sometimes at night, I would watch Yankees and became a fan of Jeter, though I felt kinship for Bernie Williams. Derek’s right attitude is what has made him special and perhaps that is why I admired him, often wondering to myself if he was the right role model for a good entrepreneur. Nike has created a website to accompany its Re2pect ad-campaign that fetes Jeter and that captures his life so well. How many of us will have a career that is full of admiration from even those who disliked his tribe?
This is his last season of playing baseball. Today is the last time he played in an All Star Game. It feels a full stop in the middle of an unfinished sentence. And today, I feel that my youth is faded a little, hidden perhaps in the lengthening shadows that come with the fourth inning.
While the sense of time will linger, the feeling of wistfulness will past quickly. Why? because as Henry Ford once said: “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.”
I was reminded of Ford’s good counsel today, when I clicked my way through the fabulous 40 over 40 in tech list put together by TechCrunch. It started out as a lark. Back in January, mostly as a response to the ever-increasing number of 30-under-30 in tech lists, I asked for nominations for the 40 over 40 list. The responses came pouring in. Somewhere, someone thought it was a good idea and put together a list of amazing people — many of them have become friends over the years.
“There is no shortage of over-forties taking big and small risks, changing the world and inspiring many,” writes Frank Barbieri, who co-created the list. And just look at the list of responses to my original tweet in January. For me, those folks and the those on the TC list are a reminder that, a lot more is left to be done, many more miles to travel. Or to paraphrase Whitney Hess, “my heart tells me I’m an old pro, my mind tells me I’m a little boy!”
Twain, it seems is always right!