When I was fresh out of college, I started to lie about my age.
I hated how dismissive people were when I told them I was 22. In my head, “25” sounded so much more grown up. So every time I met someone new and the subject of my age came up, I lied. I’m sure it didn’t make any difference — I now understand the difference between 22 and 25 is nominal at best — but at the time, I wanted the sophistication of age. It didn’t matter that my behavior was solidly 22 — I did way more day-drinking at my first job than I should have. “25” was my number.
I bring up my age-related fibbing because I’m about to turn another year older, and age is on my mind — so much so that when it came time to think through our word of the month, the first thing that came to mind was “old.” You see, I don’t want to be 22 again (even though 22 was actually a really good year), but I’m not necessarily thrilled about how quickly time is passing. I breezed past 25, blew right through 30, blinked and there went 35. And I find myself looking back on everything right about now and wondering how I can dig my heels into the ground, wrap my arms around Father Time and force him to slow the fuck down.
When I told my intern — who’s newly 21, by the way — I was toying with the word “old” for the month, she looked at it in a more positive light. She thought we could play with the word “old.” We could have fun with it. I loved where she was going. It was a strategy that embodied her youth. “Old” is so far away when you’re young. It’s like it’s not real.
But the more years start to tick by, the more real it becomes.
So we started playing with alternatives to “old.” We talked about “classic” and “vintage” and “seasoned”. Then we found “timeless.”
I love the word. It makes me think of Audrey Hepburn and little black dresses and black-and-white photos of New York. But it also means so much more than all those other words — particularly as it relates to how you build your brand.
When something is #timeless, it’s good always. Not now or then — forever. It’s easy to create something that’s good in a moment — a trend that explodes and then, like a firework, fizzles to nothing. But building something that endures is nothing short of incredible.
That’s what I want for my business and for every business I work with. I want to build something that lasts, something that stands the test of time. It’s always important to bob and weave, to adjust as need be. But it’s like the story of the three little pigs: If you build something right the first time, you’re sitting pretty while everyone else is scrambling to come up with plan B. (Can you tell what’s on my 2-year-old’s nightstand these days?)
So much has changed since 22. For one, if you would have asked me if I’d ever become an entrepreneur, I probably would have just stared back at you, blinking slowly, not talking. It wasn’t a thought in my head back then. Neither were my two gorgeous children, or the dozen places I’ve lived, or the things I’ve done, or the stories I’ve collected. So I guess I still believe age is a good thing. I just no longer have a need to lie about the specifics.
Thank you for listening, and here’s to another fantastic loop around the sun.