35: Reflection on the Passage of Time

As I look back on the past 35 years, the overwhelming feeling that shines through is one of immense gratitude. I am grateful for the opportunities provided to me by virtue of being born in the West to great parents. I am grateful to be living in such an amazing age of technical wonder and opportunity. We not only live better than anyone in the history of humanity before us, but have incredible opportunities to pursue our dreams whatever they may be! I am grateful to my amazing friends who have always been there for me in time of need, to my doggies who shower me with so much unconditional love and to lady luck who has allowed me to lead such a healthy and prosperous life!

From such a solid foundation, I confidently embark on this next chapter of my life. I am looking forward to so many things! I want to go to a jungle survival training camp. I want to play in the World Series of Poker. I want to travel the world – climb the Kilimanjaro and the Machu Picchu, go on a Safari in Botswana, explore the Amazon, raft near Victoria Falls, adventure travel through New Zealand and Australia and so much more! I can’t wait to see where OLX will take me. It is still early in the lifecycle of that company and I still feel it has the potential to be huge! Beyond that, who knows where life will lead me – venture capital, philanthropy, public policy? Time will tell. I just hope it will be fun and interesting!

More importantly, the passage of time has taught me to cherish the present. I used to look down at the artificiality of birthdays or New Years which only marked one revolution around the sun from an artificially selected point, but no longer. We humans are quintessentially social animals and if such artificial dates help provide excuses for bonding, commemorating our friendships and the ties that bind us together, then all the better! If there was one thing I could fundamentally change in my life it would be to spend more time with the people who are dearest to me. I did not realize how good we had it when we all lived together in New York with no obligations and seemingly infinite free time to remake the world through our conversations. Today our lives and obligations have taken us afar – Bryan in Minnesota, Amanda in DC, Einat in Israel, my brother Olivier in Sao Paulo, Fulvio in Nice – and even with those who have stayed behind (Dan, Niro, Breo, Steph) the obligations of work and family have kept us apart. I am lucky my childhood friend William lives 5 minutes away and is available as he is. My commitment to my friends from now is clear: I will be a better friend, I will make more time for you!

Interestingly enough, as happy as I am with my life, my biggest fear (beyond my annoyance at our fragility and mortality) is now one of complacency. I love my life – my activities (tennis, skiing, poker, paintball, kite surfing, and intellectual conferences), my friends, my family, my dogs, and my job! Beyond spending more time with my friends and less time on business travel, there is fundamentally very little I would change. I love the person I have become and the life I lead. There is much I still want to accomplish, but I no longer feel the same urgency and inadequacy I felt in my teens and twenties and I wonder if I am not losing my ambition, drive and edge. This is all the more worrying as in fact I have less time to accomplish what I want to accomplish now which is made even worse by the seeming acceleration in the passage of time as we age. Sometimes I wonder if a bit of insecurity would not be a good thing.

Then again, things can’t be so bad if I worry about them and I truly love where I am today! Rest of my life: here I come!

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  • Happy birthday, Fabrice! Keep on pushing toward those dreams that inspire you as you inspire other people around you physically or virtually. -william, from ShangHai, China.

  • I can relate. I agree we're amazingly lucky to have been born where we were. I feel the same sense of time left to accomplish my ambitions slipping away, and worry that as I get older the raw drive becomes a little more tamed. Good luck on your travels – your plans sound fantastic!

  • Thanks, this is very inspiring to continue pursuing entrepreneurial challenges but not loose in mind fun & friends – hope you`ll enjoy the next 35 (and more) years to come as much as the first!

    Best from Berlin

    Jan

  • As I am reading your text on being only 35 years of age, it echoes a text I had written on the acceleration in the passage of time, coupled with the immensity of the universe.

    First, at roughly the same age (35), I started to feel the same acceleration of time along with a true feeling of being part of the chain of life events. I feel connected to early sapiens, to the history of humanity, and its struggle on earth. I agree with you, I am even more lucky to live in this day of technological intercommunications, and immense knowledge opportunities; it provides me a sense of optimism for future generations, despite the issues that we all know of.

    Secondly, I felt that I am a humble part of life in the immense universe. The intellectual knowledge of the universe — thanks in part to the course I took in Montreal: Introduction à l’ astrophysique par Hubert Reeves — was becoming an experience in itself, emotional and connected with deeper intelligence. Deeper intelligence was found pushing my own limits, as well as acknowledging them.

    The acceleration of time has not stopped. Every birthday makes it more relevant just like it makes more real the consciousness of my being interconnected with the universe. This universal connection has a spiritual meaning, spiritual in the sense that, as we we search for our inner self and the true meaning of life, I have found meaning in time, and through time. As you wrote: the passage of time has taught me to cherish the present. It is not a buzz word “enjoy life before you are dead”, but an understanding of our limits, our mortal limit, as well as our physical limits.

    Although you do not experience physical limits, I have through mine, understood the extreme value of cherishing the loves ones, and cherish them now. Love matters, matter matters and, thus, spirituality matters, in body and soul. Love is to give: time, attention, trust, understanding ; give your best, always give and loves comes as a true blessing.

    Time is the obstacle. How much time can you give? The passage of time takes away bits of our potential, however, we have the power to transform the acceleration of time, into an acceleration of the universe, as well as our own universe. I have learned that our universe is in expansion, just like mine. I am in expansion, I am here to open my minds to new worlds that I have envisioned superficially at a younger age, and that I explore deeper, now later in time, later in life. I plan to do so, more. Then, will come another consciousness, the one to accept death, the passage of age is ultimately meant for that.

    Joyeux anniversaire à toi.

  • Hi Fabrice, belated wishes and hope you have a wonderful life ahead. Reading your blog has been very refreshing, so thanks for it and hope you continue the good work.

    You mentioned ” There is much I still want to accomplish, but I no longer feel the same urgency and inadequacy I felt in my teens and twenties and I wonder if I am not losing my ambition, drive and edge.”

    When I read it, I felt an instant connect with the statement. I’ve been going through this phase ever since my daughter was born. Seeing your child grow takes up so much of the center stage that you really want to push everything else on the back burner.

    But I am sure this will be a passing phase (for me in particular) and the drive to create something and make a difference will come back and it’ll be ever more stronger.

    Best wishes,

    Vijay