I think it's important to experience kindness so that you can experience it more in the future. I believe that patterns of emotional behavior are set down before adolescence. And I think that if you have not observed kindness, you will not recognize it. You have to experience kindness in order to be kind.
I had the classic 40 meltdown. I did. It's embarrassing. It was pretty funny. But then I recovered. To me, it was like a second adolescence. Hormonally, my body was changing, my mind was changing, and so my relationship to myself and the world around me came to this assault of finiteness.
I was not popular in school, and I was definitely not a ladies' man. And I had a very painful adolescence, because it was all very strange to me. It wasn't like I got beat up, but the humiliation and isolation, and the existential 'God, I exist, and nobody cares' of being a teenager were extremely pronounced for me.
Life flies by, and it's easy to get lost in the blur. In adolescence, it's 'How do I fit in?' In your 20s, it's 'What do I want to do?' In your 30s, 'Is this what I'm meant to do?' I think the trick is living the questions. Not worrying so much about what's ahead but rather sitting in the grey area - being OK with where you are.
My childhood, adolescence and high school days are unusually important. If there has ever been a time that I developed a uniqueness and sense of humor and the ability to organize, it was then. In those early days, I developed the skills that gave me a certain degree of success in American politics.