When we are born, we have big, round, squishy heads and bodies that lack definition. By way of analogy, one could say that we are all born out of focus.
The process of coming into focus takes many years. As we develop into young adults, our faces and physiques and personalities and mental acuity and power continue to gain definition – and for a long time change is accelerating. But then the acceleration of coming into focus begins to slow, first gradually, but then more quickly. Finally, people reach a point during early adulthood where the health and vigor of youth peaks — the inflection point — that brief span of time during which it is unclear if the ascendency has stopped, if it is continuing slowly, or if the descent has begun. For that brief window of time, each of us is smarter, healthier, sexier, more resilient, and more tireless than we have ever been been before or will ever be again. For that brief moment, as with a firework suspended there in the sky, drifting slightly, we too become aware of the cessation of acceleration. For the first time in our lives, we appreciate growth and ever-increasing vigor precisely because we become aware that these feelings have gone quiet.
Then we spend most of our lives falling out of focus. After the inflection point, during the descent, we feel ourselves getting weaker, tiring more easily, becoming absent-minded, being less capable, being less attractive. This decline, this ever-present and accelerating change along a negative trajectory is also felt. But during that brief span when things are most in focus, when our capacities peak, as we drift momentarily — at the inflection point which is in fact the most significant change in our life’s trajectory – is also when for a brief instant, because of the momentary cessation of physical and mental change, we feel the most constancy and the most settled with our capacities and our physicality. For that brief instant, we begin to fully acclimate to our bodies, our minds, and our capabilities. For that brief instant, four perception of the phenomena is as clear and constant as it will ever be. For that brief instant, we do not feel that there is more development to come or more capacity to lose.
This perspective highlights that we live in transition and transition is our constant. We spend the vast majority of our lives defined by the potential of what we are becoming or of what we might possibly could have been. For a brief span early in the journey – the inflection point – we are in focus.