I stopped and listened to a friend lose it one day.
“I’ve reached a point in my life where I just don’t care anymore. I don’t want to do anything extra at work because I only have a few years left. I don’t want to move because my house will be paid off soon. Why take a class and try and advance my career? I just want my pension. I’m just too old to start over. Yet I’m bored with my life. I wish someone would tell me what to do.”
For many of us, we’ve finally reached an age where we see the light at the end of the tunnel.
- The mortgage is almost paid.
- The retirement date is on the calendar.
- The pension is where we want it to be.
- The job is easy enough to do in our sleep – why mess with it?
We become complacent.
It always reminds me of Oh, The Places You’ll Go by Dr Seuss.
You’ve made it to … The Waiting Place.
…for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or waiting around for a Yes or No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.
At our age, we grew up in a time where you worked to a certain age, took retirement, and everything was taken care of for the rest of your life. We grew up expecting that to be our lives too.
Our minds told us to expect one thing, while the world around us told us an entirely different story.
Oh, what to believe – the easy way or the hard way?
Our “never worry” side told us to sit back and let everything be okay.
But somewhere in the back of our minds, we watched as things happened to “other” people.
People have pensions disappear. If the company didn’t it fund it correctly, it isn’t secure.
People lose their jobs just before they can cash in on retirement. So much for the security blanket.
My own father died after enduring year after year of stress, interviewing for a position he hoped to keep until his 55th birthday when he could take an early out. He was a few weeks short of his goal.
Yet we inch towards midlife – 40s, 50s and beyond – and expect everything to remain as it always was.
We hit the waiting place …
We’ve done our time. The generation before us had it good. They’ve defined retirement. They’ve shown us how good it can be.
So what about me?
I don’t want to play this game. I want the good life. I want what I learned about all those years ago. I want what my parents had. I want what they promised me. I want it easy …
So we bury our heads in the sand.
Until the wakeup call hits and our lives are changed forever.
- Pink slip.
- Cancer scare.
- Stock market crash.
- Or just a friendly kick in the pants.
What if we spoke about reinvention in another way?
What if we looked at it as a second chance to get things right?
What if all the things we put aside a decade or two ago could now move to the front of the line?
What if we defined reinvention as our second chance at life? The life we dreamt about before they changed our minds in school. The life we fantasized about until we followed the path they told us would be best. The life we really wanted before reality set in.
- Here’s your pink slip.
- Here’s your cancer scare.
- Here’s a death that shakes you to your core.
You don’t have to wait. Your call can come right now, today. Consider this your push to move towards something new.
Step One: I like this
Finding your passion is simply a matter of picking one thing you like and doing something with it. If you like to cook, sign up for a cooking class. If you like to paint, buy an easel and some paints. If you want to start a business, find someone who’s doing something similar and map out your plan with them as your model.
Step Two: Make time for it in your life every day
That means you’re going to have to find the time by giving up something else. No more morning coffee with the girls. No more television at night. If you want to be a writer, you’re going to have to write.
Step Three: Push a little harder
If you like what you’re doing, do a little more of it. Make it become a bigger part of your life. If you like to travel, make sure you always have a trip on the calendar. If you want to move to another city, start filling up the boxes with donations, so you have less to move. What step can you take today to get closer to your reality? That should be what you ask at the start of every day.
Step Four: What am I learning today that can help me move forward
When you have a new direction, it can put more “oomph” in today. It can make you sign up for the class you’ve always avoided. Maybe it’ll further your skills and help you with starting your business. You can take the promotion; maybe it’ll give you more funds in your quest to travel the world.
One of my favorite quotes is:
Life isn’t a destination; it’s the journey that matters most.
The average life is somewhere around 30,000 days. Why waste one single day of it when there’s so much to do? Why not use every single day to reach out and become what’s most important to you?