I am not one for lamenting about my birthday. It doesn’t usually cause me anxiety about the number or wonder about how I actually got to be 53. However, this year it has given me a reason to pause and think about the last thirty years. There has been much accomplished that I probably didn’t think about when I was 23. Wouldn’t it have been interesting if I had written down my thoughts as a 23 year old to what I thought my life would have been like as a 53 year old?
As a financial planner, we look to the future when establishing a plan. What will you need 30 years from now? How do you picture your life when you are 83? And how to we prepare for the financial aspect of your future life?
What about the emotional aspect of life and preparing for it? What would I like to tell my 83 year old self now? Is there any wisdom from my 53 year old perspective that might come in handy when I am 83?
The middle is an interesting place to be. You can look back on the fond memories and experiences, and you can look ahead to how the next thirty years might play out.
So I thought I would write down a few thoughts for my future 83 year old self as a cheat sheet for what I hope for my future:
- Be kind….to yourself and others. An issue that is easily overlooked. Always remember that you may not understand all of the hardships that someone may have had to overcome. Give them the benefit of the doubt. Excuse their bad behavior and be compassionate.
- Don’t complain about the aging process as we all know that aging is hard. It is not for the faint of heart and the difficulty of dealing with the aging process is not easy. No one is spared.
- Have fun and laugh as much as you can. Regardless of the situation. Enjoy the little things and appreciate the time that you have been granted. Not everyone has the same luxury. As difficult as it may seem, try to enjoy the moment. And laugh. At the craziness of life.
- Keep your friendships going as good friends will make this stage of life all the better. Who else can understand what you are going through than those who are experiencing the same things? And those who have shared your journey will keep you grounded and help you keep perspective on the good old days and how much of life you have enjoyed.
- Remember to be nice to your daughters as the last thing that I would ever want to be is difficult. Listen to them as they will be the ones who love you the most and want the best care for you. Appreciate them, for who they are and who they have been.
- Enjoy the little things like Christmas morning, a rainy day and a good movie. Take a moment to appreciate all the goodness in life. Avoid saying “things were so much better when I was younger” and understand that things may be changing and different than you would like.
- Be a teacher and pass along the life lessons to others especially your grandchildren. It will be an invaluable lesson to talk and teach them about the past and their ancestors. It might not seem as important as it is. Everyone should understand the struggles and achievements of those who paved the way for them. Make them aware and they will benefit as well as their children. Information is more powerful than you think.
And hopefully the financial aspect of your future life will be well planned …..as it may be easier to deal with all of the difficulties that aging may bring. Planning is paramount to being prepared for the aging process. It will make the journey a little bit easier.
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