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May 26, 2010

So it’s my last year in my twenties- that’s a crazy thought. Yesterday morning my friend and I were talking about what that meant. Should we begin to be more “adult” and “responsible”? Are we to get married and start having kids? I don’t really attribute much to age, it’s just a number. While researching for my new careers I found a forum discussing rankings of Landscape architecture schools. Someone posted how had been working in the magazine industry for the last 15 years, and now at 46 he was looking to change careers. It made me feel much better about things. It reminded me that you’re never too old to start anew. Which is good news, cause I’m finding myself hitting the reset button once again. Moving to new city, going back to school, making new friends, still searching for love, and finding new hobbies. I won’t lie, I feel a bit behind starting over again at this late in the game. But the truth is I don’t regret any of the decisions I’ve made that have brought me here, for better or worse.The theme of “no regrets” has been a common one in my life recently. During my road trip to Seattle my travel companion and I were talking about regrets. Things we regretted doing in life, and it was a nice feeling to realize that I didn’t really have any big regrets. Sure there have been things in my life that have caused me harm, things that I feel bad for doing, and bad habits I held onto for too long. But at the end of the day I don’t regret those things, for they have given me lessons I’ve learned from, and they have enriched my life for the better. In improv comedy the number one rule is “always say ‘yes'”. No matter what silly idea or skit comes your way you need to accept it and run with it. I find this rule applies wonderfully in life as well. During a PA gig in Los Angeles my Production Coordinator asked me if I knew how to drive a stake-bed truck. I lied and said “yes”. I figured I’d be seen as more useful, I wouldn’t have been passed up for future jobs involving a stake-bed truck, and at the end of the day I would have learned how to drive one. Obviously this rule must be taken with a grain of salt. I don’t think we should do things that hurt others or compromise our morals. But I think you miss out on much good life if you don’t take chances. When I look back I certainly have more regrets about things I didn’t do than things I did.

In Japan they have a concept called “kaizen“. Loosely translated it means “improvement” or “change for the better.” It’s a philosophy typically attributed to business and industry that believes work flow should be constantly improved through various employee suggestions. It’s believed to eliminate wasteful processes as well as improve employee moral. Anyhow, applied to a more day to day example I take it to mean constant enhancement of one’s own life and self. I think this belief helps us in living life to the fullest, daring to take risks as long as we learn from them. I don’t regret living in a city I did not love, one that ultimately made me unhappy. I was blessed to live in such a vibrant city, experience wonderful culture, to meet incredible people, and have the chance to grow closer to old friends. I don’t regret past relationships that ended in heartache. I was blessed to have such incredible women in my life and I learned how to be a better partner, communicator, and lover. I don’t regret following a career path that led to a dead end. I had the amazing opportunity to work in “the biz”, experienced incredible things, meet great people, and gain talents that will help me for the rest of my life. As long as you’re always learning, growing, and adapting I don’t think any experience can ever be a negative one. Like they say, “It’s ok to lose as long as you don’t lose the lesson.”

As I get older I feel like I’m becoming more and more myself. And I think it’s because I’ve taken risks, and live without regrets. I’m doing more things I love, and I’m chasing things that make me happy. I think it’s so important to try to find a positive spin to even the worst occurrences. I think it’s so crucial to living a full and happy life. It gifts us courage to dare, the ability to adapt, and the blessings of personal growth.

Barn’s burnt down —
I can see the moon.

~ Masahide

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