Changing your reality isn't always an option


You really have to hand it to Emile Ratelband.

Never heard of him? He is the Dutch motivational speaker who filed a lawsuit against his government to change his birth year from 1949 to 1969. That’s right – he wanted to be 49 instead of 69.

If only things were that simple. A court in the Netherlands last week shot down this crazy idea, but did tell him he can act as young as he likes. Sadly, he is still 69 years old.

He said he felt discriminated against because of his age professionally and – here’s the real reason – on dating apps. He said his doctor told him he had the body of a man in his 40s. Sadly for him, that 25-year-old woman he is trying to hook up with online still sees him as a creepy old man.

I don’t know how successful Ratelband is as a motivational speaker, but he has certainly motivated me. I am so motivated that I am going to just start randomly changing my realities.

For example, I would like everyone to know that I am now 35 years old. Yes, I was born a couple of years after I actually graduated from high school. Strange, right?

It’s a good thing that I am only 35 and am basically as fit as an Olympic athlete. I am going to need that when I travel to Mars as a scientist to study the red planet. Yes, I am also an astrophysicist.

So, I am young, super athletic and a super brainiac.

Yes, that all sounds weird – just as weird as randomly wiping two decades off of your age. To be serious, though, why do people want to change who they are?

I don’t know about you, but I have been working on myself for 55 years now. OK, maybe 53 years. Those first couple of years are spent trying to master things like walking, talking and not to spitting up on your onesie.

But after that we are working on becoming who we are meant to be. And it takes a lot of years and a lot of mistakes to get it anywhere close to right. And many people don’t ever get it right, even if you have a very liberal interpretation of what “right” is. Just watch an episode of “Live P.D.” and you will see what I mean.

People spend a lot of time these days trying to escape from reality, and I completely understand that. Movies are an escape from reality. Great books are, too. So are video games and theme parks. We have built entire industries around escaping reality, and there is nothing wrong with that.

But if you are 69 years old, you are 69 years old. If you are fat, you can lose weight. If you are uneducated, you can go to school. But if you are 69, you can’t magically be 49 again.

But that’s OK. You earned those 69 years. You earned those life lessons that you have hopefully taken to heart and learned from.

Personally, I wouldn’t want to be 35 again. I didn’t know nearly as much then as I know now. I am a better, more complete person now.

I do wish I had the hair I had at that age, however. Can we make that happen?