Are you as young as you feel?
In 1984, author Gail Sheehy wrote the book Passages: Predictable Crises of Adult Life, and it is still selling – and selling well – 30 years later. The book discusses the different periods in a person’s life – their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, and onward – and the issues and challenges you are likely to encounter during each passage and as you get older. It’s true, the book discusses some of the typical problems that come with aging such as lack of energy, personality changes, sexual changes, relationship changes, and so on, but it also discusses how each passage in life carries with it new opportunities.
Now that I’m in my early 60s, people are invariable asking me when I plan to retire. Two or three years back, I just assumed that was next in the cards and the next step after that would be six feet under. However, something happened that I still cannot really explain that has changed all of that. Instead of waiting for the next unfortunate foot to drop, I wake up every morning looking forward to the new day and, most importantly, thinking about what I can do to help my clients.
So now when someone asks me when I plan to retire, all I can say is that it is the last thing on my mind.
So what happened to cause this entirely new and unexpected passage to surface? I cannot pin it down to one thing. Instead, it appears to be an accumulation of things, including the following:
Getting an office downtown. For twelve years I worked out of my living room. No matter how busy your social life (and mine is not all that busy), it does get confining working at home. In fact, I would go as far as to say you lose touch with the world around you. Getting an office was definitely the first big change.
Starting the morning on a high note. Previously, I would start each morning with a cup of coffee and the New York Times, reviewing all the woes of the world. Or, if I really wanted to be sadistic, I would turn on cable news. One day I just stopped. I picked up a book that for me is very uplifting and each morning I read a few pages. The other day, instead of reading an uplifting book, I returned to my old routine and read the newspaper. Within minutes, I felt a cloud come over me. I no longer want to start the day under a cloud of world problems.
Meditate. I’m sure I may lose some people here talking about meditating, but closing your eyes for a few minutes and just breathing silently to yourself twice a day can really pay off over time. I have found that quieting my mind opens the door for some of my most creative business ideas to materialize.
Staying physical. Having grown up in California, I have probably always been a member of a gym, but the amount of time and enthusiasm I have for training had certainly waned in recent years. Not long ago I pulled out what is now an old exercise book, Body for Life, and using it, not only have I lost some weight but I’m sure it has made a very strong contribution to the evolution that has occurred.
Bottom line: You can always make changes. Even the decision to make changes can start a new life and shape your world. Just make the decision.
Robert “Buzz” Kravitz is president of AlturaSolutions, which works extensively with B2B industries such as the professional cleaning, foodservice, hotel, hospitality, and Green-related manufacturers and organizations. Contact him at www.alturasolutions.com