Today I projected myself into my future life; my retirement at 94. It was a fun and if I am honest, quite a scary exercise, picturing myself at 94. Why? because life seems to be passing more quickly now I am getting older.
(there is a psychological reason for this, but it is too detailed to go into here)
But I did the exercise anyway. Now it isn’t quite as scary as when I wrote about one day you are going to die; or if you knew the date of your death and not quite as enjoyable as when I wrote about 5 things I would tell 10 year old me
As I Get Older This Happens…
I am 56 years old in a couple of months time (May 27th) and this seems to fill me with a sense of urgency. It brings home a huge sense of my mortality. This is a positive thing. When you are younger and 20 something, you feel like you have all the time in the world to achieve all those big dreams you have.
And that can cause one to procrastinate. Well, I think it did in my case, until I was 27.
So I Asked 94 Year Old Me 5 Questions…To Ensure I am Doing Everything I Can to Answer Them Well
Try asking yourself these questions as if you were retiring at an old age. See if there are any areas you would like to improve or make some major shifts in.
Did You Love Enough? And did you express it?
Some people say I love you rather flippantly at times which I think lessens its meaning. Other people think that words are enough. Whilst others never say it but show it with actions.
I am hoping to answer this question well; that I showed people how much I loved them with kind words said often and small acts of kindness.
Did You Give Life Your Best Shot (Not did you achieve)
This is one of the most tragic aspects in life in my opinion, if not the # 1 of them all.
As a coach I meet people who doubt their abilities and worthiness to make their life great. They have so much unused potential bubbling right under the surface of their uncertainty or low confidence.
It’s waiting to be unlocked and let loose on their dreams.
This is one area where I hope to improve my answer. I have achieved some of wildest dreams in life. Could I achieve more? Yes. Could I dream even bigger? Yes.
Did You Do What You Love to Do (That was feasible)
I have met people who have stayed in a job for 30 years because it offered security. others stayed because they feared taking a risk. I know people close to me who had unfulfilled dreams and who went to an early grave never attempting to do what they really wanted to do.
I will be able to answer this one positively. I love inspiring people. I love coaching people and seeing them achieve their impossible or giving them great answers to the curveballs life has thrown at them.
Did You Have Plenty of Wholesome Fun? (Not online gaming)
I find it quite sad that the toy giant Toys R Us are closing all their stores. Of course times move on and one has to move with (most of) them.
But to think that less and less families and friends will be ever be sat around a table playing ( And arguing if you are competitive) some of those classic boards games anymore.
I love technology and some of the games on gadgets are great. But to me there is one big problem with almost all of them: they are individual games. Yes, you can play against online gamers but that is remotely. You are wrapped up in your own world; there is no personal interaction.
More games should be played outside with all the family and good friends. It creates stronger bonds and fun, lasting and meaningful memories.
Although I am classed as a funny guy (I have my moments), this is an area where I need to improve a lot too.
Overall, Were You Happy?
Up until I was in my early thirties I was one of the most miserable, moaning individuals you could ever wish to meet. I don’t know how those around me put up with me. From the moment I woke up, until about lunch time all I could do was moan.
I am surprised I wasn’t shot.
Then one day somebody simply said to me, “You can choose to moan in the morning or you can pause and choose to be happy. It’s your choice”
It was like magic. Something so simple, yet it worked wonders.
I decided to change right there and then. The very next day I decided to be happy in the morning.
Of course before this I came out with that whopper of an excuse, “I can’t help it, I am not a morning person. I am night owl”
Happiness is not achieved when we acquire stuff
I see too many people saying to themselves and to others, “I will be happy when…”. But as psychology proves, you won’t be happy long term when you get that new car or win promotion or earn more money.
It’s called the Hedonistic Treadmill. For a short time after receiving what you think will make you happy or happier, you will simply revert back to your former mental and emotional state.
Generally speaking I think I will be able to answer this well. I have learned over the years that it really isn’t worth stressing all that small stuff. We aren’t here on earth for long in the grand scheme of things.
Much better to be happy whilst we are here.
It’s Never Too Late to Alter Your Sails
If you are going through life and feel like your answers could be better when you retire, then it’s not too late to change.
No need to beat yourself up with years that have passed that you cannot do anything about anyway. It is what you do now, in this moment, that matters most.
You will be surprised that if you make the changes you feel are necessary, how much your life will feel better than it already does.
Remember, live big, live well and anything really is possible.