The Journey to 70
From my perspective, 35 is not a small number nor a big one. Its somewhere in the middle. Which is presumably where I find myself in the course of my life. My formative years of high school, college and early working life lay behind me. It wouldn’t be unreasonable to be scared or sad about this but at some point in my twenties, my fear of getting older began to retreat. This of course is subject to return at any time but I feel confident saying I largely sit without it at this time. What does concern me as I age is my life becoming less dynamic and being replaced by predictability and routine. I do not believe all routine is a bad. In fact, routines and habits help me make decisions and get shit done in an efficient manner. What I fear is routine and comfort beginning to reinforce the life I'm living rather than allowing new thoughts and experiences to enter. To allow my curiosity and zeal to fade.
As I think about how the world appears through my eyes at 35 compared to 25 or 15, one change is the overwhelming amount of gray I see now compared to what I previously may have seen as black and white. To quote my muse Anthony Bourdain, “It is my joy and my privilege to travel around the world being wrong about shit."
But as I stand before the world, open to having my mind changed, I began to ask, "what I do believe in as I approach 35?" Here are a few things
The world is full of wonderful and interesting people. It is easy for us to find people or movements we dislike or loathe be it the state of our country, economy, “kids these days”, [insert group here]. But when I step away from that noise, I remember how regularly I meet good people. The world is full of people worth knowing.
There have been many moments recently in my job, which I'm fortunate to enjoy, where I have found myself feeling high levels of stress. As I contemplate my ascent to seventy in this post, I hope to hold onto the mindset that work is not worth being stressed about. As I near the end of my time in this life, I would feel some regret if I hadn’t practiced improving my ability to return to a calm mindset when problems at work or in life find me. Its not worth it.
Keeping up with “breaking news” is not worth my time for two reasons
Its often hyped by outlets and algorithms to kick our fight-or-flight brains into high gear
Breaking news is by its very nature an incomplete data set and can lead us to a judgement or conclusion without the whole story
Saying “i love you” and “thank you” often to friends and family is something I will never regret.
I am often harder on myself than anyone else. I’m an imperfect human being, like everyone else, and I need to be kinder to myself.
I need to practice embodying the “hell yeah or no” mindset of Derek Sivers. Since time is the one thing I cannot have back, its important I become more honest with myself about how I want to spend my time. This is less about being selfish and more about dedicating myself to the people and causes I find value and joy in.
What will seventy year old Chris think about all of this? I hope he has the opportunity to read and comment one day.
Go Forth Boldly