I’m a believer that everything we need to succeed is already deep inside us. I’m also a believer that we’re all that holds us back. If we could just get out of our own way, we could do amazing things.
This summer I read The Seeds of Life, a highly entertaining book that shows just how difficult it is to let our beliefs go. It looks at the timeline of what it took to discover the question of where babies come from. This isn’t what you tell your kids; it looks at the timeline we went through as humans to discover the process of what creates a new life. And trust me when I say you’ll laugh out loud at some of our beliefs.
Today the science behind it is all too easy for each of us to understand. Boy meets girl. Sperm meets egg. DNA from both mother and father are combined to produce a new life.
If you go back even just a few hundred years though, man couldn’t get past the thought that HE was the key to life. He controlled everything – why not the procreation process? Women were mere vessels to grow the baby, but life, that was all up to man. Until one tiny discovery changed belief forever. Men had no choice but to climb out of their heads – their steadfast beliefs – and alter the way they approached the world from that point forward.
Suddenly, everything seemed so clear. For someone that was watching, they could tell that the world was about to change. A new discovery led to new thinking.
If you were stuck in the old way, you got left behind. But if you opened up and worked to understand the new way, your world opened up like never before.
Of course, answering where babies come from is a lot different than what we face today. Our world changes much faster than anything a person experienced even just a hundred years ago.
A fifty year old today grew up without mobile devices and computers sitting everywhere they go.
I remember receiving my first calculator as a gift – it did little more than basic calculation.
I remember the first PC we brought into our home – who thought we’d ever need more than floppies as storage devices?
A phone was for calling. Until texting became even better. I remember a day when I questioned why anyone would type when they could just punch a button and talk. Now – like the rest of the world – I rarely push the button that lets me voice my opinions to someone on the other side.
Could all of that be predicted? Can you see things that are coming, even before they arrive? Of course. If you know what to look for.
Trend #1 Retirement
Let’s look at the history of jobs in a fifty year old’s life.
I went to college and started out at my first job while watching my father lose ground with his position. After 30 years with a company, he spent the last 7 of them re-interviewing for his job again and again. His only goal was to reach the age of 55 when he could take an early out. He planned to take the retirement package and run, get a job he enjoyed, and use dual income sources to continue to build for a healthy retirement. He never made it. He died three months short of his goal from a heart attack due to stress.
Companies began to shut down every benefit available that made it worth sticking with a company.
- Health insurance? You now pay most of it yourself.
- Pension? They may offer something, if you’re lucky.
- Raises? Maybe.
- Job security? No way.
Now I’m not saying a job with a company isn’t the way to go for a lot of people. But compare it to the jobs that existed thirty years ago and tell me how well the average employee is doing?
Social security is failing. Taxes are rising. Stagnant employment is a new reality. There are even questions about whether artificial intelligence will make jobs extinct. I could go on and on.
The point is if you’re watching with eyes wide open, you know that retirement for a person born in the 1960s or 1970s will not be the same as for people born in the 1930s, 1940s, or even the 1950s.
And if you aren’t planning for the difference, you’re going to be in for a rude awakening here in the next couple of decades.
Trend #2 Food
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Hippocrates
A long time ago, we understood the importance of food. Feed your body well, and your body will stay in good shape.
But this last century, we lost the meaning of all that. We want food faster, quicker, better. So companies got involved and “improved” it for convenience. And a profit. And that changed everything.
As a child, eating out was a specialty, a treat. We ate basic food at the dinner table every day, for all three meals of the day. The portions were small. Even the snacks were usually handmade.
But that changed the older I got. When I compare my diet as a small child to that when I was a teenager, fast food had jumped in full force. Packaged goods were the rage, and they lined our pantry and countertop.
We’ve been marketed to death on everything that involves making it grow faster, get it to market faster. But is it good for you?
Everything points to no. Look around at people fifty and older; most are in need of some type of prescription medicine.
Prescriptions can’t solve a problem. Medicine can’t cure what ails you – not for the long term. It can only manage the symptoms you have. (This is my belief from years and years of research raising a vegetarian daughter.)
What’s the answer? Good food. Good eating practices. Slowing down and watching what you consume rather than looking for a quick fix.
Our bodies can no longer survive on a heavily processed diet. Obesity, heart disease, cancers, diabetes and other diseases are telling us that.
The answer lies with our food supply. If we work to eat better, have better food in our pantries and refrigerators, and spend the time to learn the importance of what we put into our bodies and how it impacts our health, we can live another fifty years … in a healthy way.
And if we don’t, sickness, prescription dependency and the strong possibility of never making it another fifty years are all we have to look forward to.
Trend #3 Medical
If you haven’t seen the changes coming in healthcare, you haven’t been paying attention.
Through your watch or your phone, you can track everything from your calorie consumption to how many steps you take each day, to your heart rate and beyond. And technology changes every day. Artificial intelligence is taking over some of the most important parts of our healthcare system. AI will give us robots as nurses and caregivers, bring greater precision to surgeries, and give health care providers access to an unlimited database of conditions they can draw from throughout the world. No problem will be too small or too obscure; simple searches will lead a doctor right to the solution.
Can we foresee a day where the average age will jump from the 80s to the 100s, possibly to the 150s and beyond? Yep.
With the medical advances coming, mindblowing change is the only thing we can expect in the coming years.
My midlife goal is to live another fifty years in exactly the same shape I’m at today. Same weight. Same health. Same activity level. Same strength. Same everything.
But that means I have to work at it every day. If I don’t investigate what is happening today to impact my body, I’ll miss important indicators that will improve.
We may call our 50s midlife now, but I see a time in the foreseeable future when our 50s will see us barely getting started. This will be our infancy, our timeframe where we are growing and expanding our mindsets with everything we do.
And I plan on doing that in the best shape possible.