As a young man, 50 was well beyond the furthest I could imagine. I find myself living in a future I never imagined and it’s pretty good.
This (enjoyable) future is humbling because, on reflection, I had a tremendous amount of bad ideas along the way!
Fortunately, I failed to execute on my worst ideas.
Watching my kids navigate the world, I see bad ideas appear to be universal – at least in our household.
Two things I’m teaching them to help reduce the impact of their impulses:
First idea, not, best idea // it’s just my first idea. It might not be my best idea. I don’t need to act on, or believe in, everything I think.
Change slowly // I’ll use a recent example. I’ve been thinking about moving across town. As I think more and more about moving, I can get myself worked up about the move. The “move” is purely my creation.
Each time I notice the above, in one area of my life, I see how I create stress from forcing myself to execute my (first) ideas quickly (and these ideas might not be good ones!).
You are much more likely to predict your reaction to future events than the events themselves.
Here’s your crystal ball… Research from your older mentors, friends and family:
What do people like me value when they are older? There is a rich history of people, like each of us, that have walked the path we follow. While my life is completely different than ten years ago, my values are similar.
Invert the question and watch… What do people like me lack when they are older? The easiest way to understand what the psyche lacks, is to listen quietly to what people say.
- Control (over schedule, over self, over others)
- Sex, Connection, Intimacy, Release
- Stability (financial, emotional)
- Health & Vitality (strength, energy, capacity to execute)
So perhaps you spend 30 years chipping away at:
- Spend less than I earn
- Make myself marriage material
- Get to know my kids
And you arrive at a wonderful middle middle-age, pat yourself on the back and wonder what’s next?
Where to make an effort?