Hi everybody, this is Mondays with Mike, a weekly video series where I answer questions from people just like you. This is a hard question.
I’m coming up on a birthday, it’s a big one. I hate aging! Please don’t say it’s better than the alternative. What can I do to come to terms with my age and the fact that there are many more years behind me than there are in front of me?
Wow, that’s a tough question.
Well, you didn’t tell me what the big one was. Let me just tell you, I don’t think it’s a big one until you hit 60, 70, or 80, in terms of the context of what I’m about to share with you. I’m not judging your perspective, I’m just saying that when you get in your mid 50’s and forward they become bigger.
Let me tell you why. I’m not going to give you all the gory details about the research but I will tell you this: there are stages in life, the earliest stages in life, mid stages, secondary, third stages, so forth, and then the end stages. If you are 55 or older and asking this question (and I assume you are) then you’ve entered into a period of your life that I call the reflective period. It’s not really the reflective period in terms of reflecting back on your life but it does create a question exactly like the question you’re asking. This is why it makes me think that the big one is 60, 70, or 80 – because the question you asked (and thank you for this question) is the exact question that people ask when they enter that stage in life. And it’s generally a subconscious question, so congratulations to you for asking this question consciously.
What can I do to come to terms with my age and the fact that there are many more years behind me than there are in front of me?
This is a contribution question. The underlying notion of this question, I’m assuming, is “Have I had an impact?” And that’s how you come to terms with it. You come to terms with the reality of it, maybe you need to do a little grieving of it. I totally get it, I’m going to be 60 years old in October, I understand the need to ask that question.
What I want you to do though is look at the years ahead of you that you have, more than the years behind you, in terms of contribution. In terms of impact, in terms of what you’re going to do with those years in a meaningful way. Maybe you’re still working. I fully plan on working for a while! So what I’m trying to figure out is what does my impact look like in the years to come? And that’s what I think you want to ask too. What does your work look like (unless you’re retired) and what is your impact going to be? How are you going to impact others in a meaningful way?
When it comes to the years that have passed what you want to do is ask “Where have I put a meaningful dent in the universe?” (As Steve Jobs said), “Where have I had impact?” And everybody has! In some way there is always time, as long as you have breath to breathe and days to live, you have a way to make an impact. So that’s how you come to terms with it!
I hope that’s helpful!
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