May 9, 2017

5 Things We Can Stop Worrying About


Have you ever seen the movie, The Curious Case  of Benjamin Button? The lead character, played by Brad Pitt, gets physically younger while the rest of the world ages. Eventually, it does not turn out well for him. He dies as an infant but with old age dementia. 

In real life, there are actually some advantages to getting physically older, which is good since we don't have much choice. Here are five that came to mind:

1). We don't care nearly as much about how we look in a bathing suit (or birthday suit). When we were younger, the effort expended to drop some weight before summer began was a common occurrence. Time spent jogging or at the gym become a fixed part of our schedule. Looking younger than our years was important. Face creams and lotions are a multi-billion dollar business. 

While the health aspects of staying in shape remain important until we shuffle off our mortal coils, the reason changes. We are more concerned with our interior health than our exterior appearance.

2. We have stopped trying to keep up with the Joneses. By now, we have learned that the consumer merry-go-round is a circle, meaning there is no end, no finish line. No matter how much we buy, collect, obtain, or control, someone else will have more, and most of it does not make us happy, just tired. 

As we age, our priorities change. We surround ourselves with what makes us happy, not what makes us maintain a certain look.

3. We no longer worry as much about how the kids will turn out. By now, that part of our job is done. Unless you have taken on the admirable job of raising grandchildren, your own kids have learned what they need from you. Now, it is up to them to figure it out. Should you provide help and counsel if one of them gets in trouble? Sure. But, the heavy lifting of raising another human being is over.

As a parent I know my daughters will be in my mind everyday until I die. But, my worries are different then they were when they were much younger. 

4. We no longer worry about how our careers will turn out That ship has sailed. Whatever choices we made to support ourselves and a family are past history. Office intrigue and in-fighting, a constant battle for more and more business, hours wasted in a daily commute, the effects of technological change on your chosen profession, even the power and prestige that came with your success - are over. As we move through the journey of retirement, we have new things to focus on. 

5. We no longer care as much about the small stuff in life. We have come to accept that life is short, our mortality is assured, and the world will spin on without us just fine, thank you very much. That means we spend less time sweating the small stuff (read this little book if you haven't!).  

Growing older is not often easy, but some of the struggles that occupied us in the past, are gone. And, frankly, the alternative to growing older is not one I'd choose. Bring it on!

13 comments:

  1. #3. It is junior year and I have no idea what my grandson wants to do after he graduates. it does keep me up at night. I look forward to the day when that ship has sailed along with the others.

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    1. I remember the day I got an answer to the worry of what my son would do after high school. An acquaintance said - It's not your worry; you've done that. He has 2 choices; he'll go to school or he'll go to work. That's a simplified answer but it put things into perspective for me. I listened to a motivational speaker once who said - Birth: big stuff. Death: big stuff. Every thing in between: little stuff.

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  2. I love this post. It is so true, and reminds me of why, for the most part, I am more satisfied with my life these days than I ever was before.

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  3. Yes, I think you've made 4 good points. But as for me, I'll worry about the kids until the day I die!

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    1. Me, too. It comes with the territory. It is just a different kind of worry.

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  4. Thanks for sharing your insight. I agree on the kids part...although you will still always worry to some degree and want them to be happy, you realize your control in this is limited to nonexistent and that eliminates a lot of the worrying.

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    1. My youngest daughter travels all over the world for her business. Each time she goes somewhere I worry until I get a text that she has landed or is boarding for the flight home. That flutter will never go away.

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  5. Number 4 - We no longer worry about how our careers will turn out - gave me pause. I am just transitioning to retirement. For so many years, I have been focused on building my career. I understand, theoretically, that my career is now behind me and that I am moving on to something else. But it hasn't really hit home yet. I guess recognizing that that ship has sailed is particularly difficult for me and reaching a comfort level with this change will be gradual.

    Jude

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    1. I can certainly relate. I spent almost 40 years in the same industry and always defined myself by it. It took awhile to not wonder "what if" and to miss the part I played in the business for all those years.

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    2. Bob, I relate, directly, to both you and Gideon in this matter. I suppose I still have an active "ego" in terms of my 40 year career. I suppose you might say that my "ego" fears that my "contributions" to the industry will be missed or forgotten. After 7 months of retirement I am beginning to realize that the industry was 100 years old when I started and will be about 170 years old when I have passed. Somebody, besides me (I am beginning to accept), has 30 years (after me) to make it better than ever without even consulting me. Go figure!?

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  6. One thing I notice, is vehicles. An older generation (today) cherish the vehicles they had when they first started their family. Classic Cars even become a fixture at area car shows! Of course they dont make them like they used to, but I notice alot of retired people hold onto their memories and tokens of their path to get to where they are through the "family vehicle". Good Read!

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    1. Sharp eyes! Yes, a classic car from the 50's or 60's does bring back some powerful memories. Seeing the prices on some of these cars, they make nice investments, too.

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