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Better with Age

I don’t really drink bourbon.

It’s not that I dislike it – I just don’t know a lot about it and can’t appreciate what I’m tasting. So, I’ll sip at whatever I’m offered and occasionally enjoy a Manhattan or an Old Fashioned (mostly if my brother makes one for me).

A couple weeks ago, though, I went to Kentucky with my dad to experience the Bourbon Trail.

We went on a tour of the Maker’s Mark distillery, and it was incredible. If Disney put on a distillery tour, they’d do it like Maker’s Mark. The grounds are beautiful, the buildings pristine, and guides as friendly and knowledgeable as you’ll find anywhere.

Again, I know nothing about bourbon – so I had a lot of questions and our tour guide patiently answered them all.

He mentioned that Maker’s Mark bourbon ages for five or six years – to get it just right.

That got me curious.

I don’t have a particularly refined palette. So, I wondered if I’d be able to tell the difference between a bourbon aged, say, four years, versus five or six when it’s fully matured.

“Oh yes,” he said. “A year makes an extraordinary difference in the quality of the bourbon. Tasting it at four years compared to five years would be an entirely different experience.”

Bourbon has no free will – no power of agency. Yet it manages to get better over time.

I do have free will – I have the power of agency. But I’m not sure I’m getting better over time.

I can’t help but wonder if I’m living the same year over and over again.

I don’t want that.

I want your experience of me today to be different than your experience of me a year from now. I want you to detect stronger notes of grace, to sense more humility, to taste more love and joy and kindness.

I hope you want the same.

Let’s resolve – together – that we’ll be better a year from now than we are today.

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