I know age is a number, but getting old is real and how people treat and react to you is the behavior I notice most. I feel like I have a lot left in me and that my career can just keep going, but I know that is not always the way it will play out.
Part of doing different roles from gig to gig is to challenge me and keep learning new things since that exercises my brain.
For my body, I am working out harder but less often, which seems to work for my older body.
I have no answers to the overall theme of declining with age other than to focus on my family, my health, and then work but to always be trying to understand myself better. I think with age, we tend to not only get smarter about the world, but I am trying to get smarter about myself.
I will add that I started having kids pretty late and nothing like young ones around to keep you on some sort of edge.
I will close with this part:
A few years ago, I saw a cartoon of a man on his deathbed saying, “I wish I’d bought more crap.” It has always amazed me that many wealthy people keep working to increase their wealth, amassing far more money than they could possibly spend or even usefully bequeath. One day I asked a wealthy friend why this is so. Many people who have gotten rich know how to measure their self-worth only in pecuniary terms, he explained, so they stay on the hamster wheel, year after year. They believe that at some point, they will finally accumulate enough to feel truly successful, happy, and therefore ready to die.
This is a mistake, and not a benign one. Most Eastern philosophy warns that focusing on acquisition leads to attachment and vanity, which derail the search for happiness by obscuring one’s essential nature. As we grow older, we shouldn’t acquire more, but rather strip things away to find our true selves—and thus, peace.
At some point, writing one more book will not add to my life satisfaction; it will merely stave off the end of my book-writing career. The canvas of my life will have another brushstroke that, if I am being forthright, others will barely notice, and will certainly not appreciate very much. The same will be true for most other markers of my success.
What I need to do, in effect, is stop seeing my life as a canvas to fill, and start seeing it more as a block of marble to chip away at and shape something out of. I need a reverse bucket list. My goal for each year of the rest of my life should be to throw out things, obligations, and relationships until I can clearly see my refined self in its best form.
And that self is … who, exactly?
The reverse bucket list is quite a novel idea. I keep trying to strip down to the core and figure myself out so that I perform better at all that I do but continue to find contentment.
It’s not easy.