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  • Writer's pictureJesse Mahan

Meditations on 25


As I approach the dawn of what I hope to be the most productive and meaningful quarter of my life where I will be challenged to raise my son in a rapidly changing environment, maintain trajectory in my career, and continue to pursue my own happiness and peace; I cannot help but reflect on the twenty-five years that have led me to this moment.


Like many, I was faced with unique adversity in the early years of my life. My mother and father battled with traumatic health events, financial stress, and the overcoming of their own personal challenges that made for a less than ideal environment for myself and my brother to learn the softer aspects of the human experience such as forgiveness, self-worth, and nurturing. It was not until over a decade later that I had managed to reconcile this as being the best that my parents could do given the circumstances, as I had learned in Buddhist philosophy the concept of understanding others—that we must be careful to criticize others, as they are what we would be under similar circumstances.


This was the catalyst for an unprecedented period of neuroplasticity. I was constantly reflecting and reexamining what I would later learn to would be referred to in the practice of psychotherapy as big “T” Trauma (events) and little “t” trauma (patterns) that formed my behavior, impulses, thoughts, and personality. I read dozens of books on varying subjects ranging from self-help to eastern philosophy, studied various religions, and absorbed as much credible information as I could on finding peace and happiness while reducing the effects of anxiety and depression.

Through this period of reinvention, I discovered several truths that shifted my paradigm:

1. Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional//The boulder is only heavy if you pick it up

2. The root of suffering is attachment

3. Peace is found in acceptance, not understanding

4. The Roots of Feeling

a. Fear-What am I being invited to pay attention to?

b. Anger- What is not being of service to me?

c. Sadness- What needs to be let go of?

5. The reason for ‘winning the game’ is to be free of it

6. You can never get enough of what you don’t really want

7. Nature does not hurry, and yet everything is accomplished


My list of truths is still evolving, and during different phases of my life this list would have likely looked different depending on what I needed at that moment. I have committed to being a student of life, to learning from others and to helping those along the way. I have committed to accepting what circumstances I was given and to making the most out of them, because that is the obligation of those blessed with the privileges of good health and liberty.


On a less philosophical reflection, in this first quarter of my life I have managed to craft a beautiful foundation for the next twenty-five years. I have pursued and completed my formal education, obtaining a Bachelor’s from University, where I serendipitously met my now wife, Mckinzie. I have found fulfillment in my career, playing a developmental role in the lives of young adults while managing to pursue my own professional and financial goals with Buckle. I have bought a beautiful house in Evansville, Indiana which my wife has made a home. But most importantly, 17 months ago, I was given a son.


Lincoln Brooks is the greatest gift that I have been given. He has taught me what it means to live a life with unconditional love, unadulterated joy, and an unfiltered lens on the world. Being born again through the eyes of my son, I have watched the world evolve from a playground to a place of exploration. He lives a life without looking forward or backward, always present in the moment—a lesson that we could all take notes from. He teaches me patience, compassion, and how to live life like nobody is watching.


So, as I approach the dawn of the next twenty-five, I have a lot to look forward to: Lincoln will end this next quarter as older than I am now, I will have had a longer career than I’ve currently been alive, and I will surely have to reinvent myself again as a husband and father as the needs of our family shift over the years. Regardless of what comes, I look forward to the next twenty-five years of adventure, laughter, growth, and learning with my son and my wife.


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