Something I do well is back-fit a future goal on top of my present reality. It helps me stay the course.
As you age, what’s it going to be like? I have coached some very special older folks, and paid attention. Here’s what I’m expecting.
- More time but less energy — the energy “step down” from 45 onwards was a surprise — the fact that it was happening before I saw it, is something I remind myself as I head towards 60.
- You are going to want to delay the inevitable physical decline — there is a lot of good news here — if you start building your physical reserve then you can push the decline WAY WAY out. I’ve been fortunate to watch athletes manage themselves from 60 to 70 and beyond.
The key recommendation for you, if you plan to live past 60 then start strength training now, just a little.
When I was a speedy young man, there was a controversy about strength training. As a coach, I’d be asked “where I stood on the topic.” Sitting here a couple decades down the track, it makes no sense that smart people argued passionately against strength training.
There is a guaranteed large future payoff when you create a strength reserve – against aging, against illness and against injury => aging, illness, injury => unless you’re taken out in an accident, these events are absolutely certain for your future self.
That’s the physical.
For the mental, I see two components:
- Humility & Patience – a useful combination if one desires to be seen as a wise old man!
- Kindness (towards the ugly) – consider it self-love for my future self 😉
I have a vision for what I’d like to be doing. My daily writing project during the first 20 weeks of COVID was a test run. It went well.
By the way, you can create a personal niche, while learning about favorite topics. The game plan: one classic book per week and choose the best idea inside. Cap yourself at ~450 words for a summary that includes three personal examples. Do that every week for two years. ~45,000 words across 100 good ideas.
A friend sent me Stray Reflections, which gave me the above idea and reminded me… don’t be put off by a lack of experience, rather, make a daily habit of doing what it takes.
How will I know I’ve succeeded? Well, success doesn’t matter.
Freedom matters. Not being owned matters. Personal safety matters. Being engaged in working towards mastery, matters.
I’ve done so much and it’s all in the past. None of my success has stuck with me. If you are a striver then I’m a voice from your future. What stands out in memory are my setbacks and errors. They motivate me to avoid repeating mistakes and iterate towards better. A feeling of moving towards better matters.
Beyond the grave is a sentiment I felt strongly immediately after our third child was born. In 2012, I spent a month writing my kids a book. Now that they are older, I give my kids myself, rather than my work.
In sharing myself, I offer an ethical framework through which my kids can navigate the world.