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#26: Backwards through time – Month 5

On December 11, 2022, I decided to travel backwards through time. In the six months until my 40th birthday, I want to reduce my biological age to that of a 20-year-old.

One month to go.

When I look in the mirror after showering, I recognize the fit young man I was twenty years ago. I didn’t drink alcohol then either. I started very late, towards the end of my school years. Over the years, my consumption slowly increased until I realized it was not good for me.

Aside from the joy of indulgence, the empty calories actually cause increased stress, even though we often drink with the opposite intention. Drinking alcohol leads to a long-term increase in cortisol levels. We need to drink more to feel its relaxing effects, but the next day we feel even more stressed.

And it makes you fat! Since I stopped drinking alcohol, I can watch my belly fat melt away day by day. I’m sure this is also due to my regular exercise. Ten thousand steps a day minimum, plus weight training three times a week. In the summer, I don’t need a gym or apps for that; the garden is my outdoor gym: digging up beds, hauling heavy bags of soil and pouring foundations add up to the natural fitness of a farm boy!

I regret that I didn’t take a photo in December to compare. The development is truly impressive!

But physical vitality is only one aspect of youth. Without it everything else is nothing, but by itself, it is not enough. I wasn’t aware of this at the beginning of my journey to the past and now it’s becoming more and more apparent.

Monday, 8:42 a.m.: As I approach my neighborhood after a short walk through the forest, I stop in my tracks. The last week was a warm preview of summer – after a long winter, spring has now fully unfolded even in the high reaches of the Taunus mountains. You could just see the first buds on the deciduous trees a week ago, now they’re showing off their countless shades of green.

Over night, the weather became colder and rainy again. Now the clouds are clearing, wisps of fog cling to the soft hills spread out in front of me. The air smells wet, earthy, green. Sensations that I sorely missed by the end of winter. I take a deep breath and stand rooted fully in this moment.

Isn’t that the biggest difference between children and adults? They don’t think about next year. Not about next week, not about tomorrow, not even about tonight (unless there’s burgers for dinner).

When did you lose your childlike innocence and let yourself become more and more enslaved? By the clock, by the expectations of others, by self-imposed obligations; always higher, faster and further?

These are the things that distract you from living in the moment.

That’s why I never get tired of talking about tidying. You can let go not only of material things, but also of obligations and acquaintances if they don’t bring you joy. There is almost nothing you have to do. That’s just what you tell yourself! I know, because I’ve done it myself often enough.

Let go of what’s not good for you and you’ll be free as a child. Without distractions, with time and space to focus on the one thing that’s happening in the here and now.

Adults call it flow, children call it play.


Yours, Ulrich

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