As some of you may know, I will turn 70 years old on January 27th. Becoming 70 is a pretty remarkable thing. It is hard to tell yourself that you are still middle age. Although having my father alive who, at almost 92, is active and healthy, does help. When I turned 69, I decided that I should make the next decade of my life the best one yet. I gave myself a year to figure out what that would mean.
I knew some of it had to with fitness and health. I spend about ten hours a week exercising, and I have a very healthy diet. I also do exercises for my brain.
I also knew that this might be the last decade in which I could accomplish some significant things, at least for me. High on that list would be creative pursuits like writing music, maybe writing a book, doing video art, and producing a multi media Podcast. I want to continue my study of quantum mechanics and genetics. Having more success in business ventures would not be a critical objective. I thought that I might do something to help others beyond what I currently do. Surprisingly, the one thing I may accomplish in this category involves health care and goes back to my roots in medical science research.
Now it is almost a year later, and I have not yet put together my objectives for the next decade. Not only that, but I have been working harder at business then I have the proceeding ten years. I have also devoted a lot of time and effort to increasing the returns from my investments and finding ways to lower my tax burden. Even though I am very comfortable financially, and have no need to do this.
There are at least two drivers for this situation. I often joke “Retirement is when you no longer enjoy doing the things you are good at, and are not good at doing the things you enjoy.” There is a lot of truth in that, but in my case, I still enjoy doing the things I am good at and frankly, I am excellent at doing them. So I enjoy helping early stage companies especially when close friends are involved. I love technology, and I am still on the cutting edge in a number of areas. Business strategy continues to excite me. But most of these things do not leave me satisfied. I have had my successes, and now I am just repeating.
The second thing is that I am no longer patient, if I ever was. Many of the things I want to do require mastering tools. For instance, to compose music at the level I seek, I have to use a program called Logic. It is kind of like Photoshop for music. It is very hard to learn and to remember. While I have many tutorials, I get frustrated when I don’t get it the first time. I have had the same experience with video editing software. To write music, you have to separate yourself from distraction. But then I get bored, or I begin to think about other things. All those interactions I have that relate to business or investment actives, pop into my head. I start feeling the urgency of dealing with them. I leave my piano and go back to the computer and send an email. Of course, that means I will have to deal with the response I will receive.
Many of my friends, in addition to my wife, suggest that I try meditation. I understand why, but I find it extremely hard to do. For a while, I developed my personal form of meditation. I would get up early in the morning and work in on our garden building trails and small rock walls. That calmed me, but I kept hurting my back picking up rocks.
So I have decided to find a Life Couch. I always thought a Life Coach was a professional who could not find a job. I still think this might be true for most. But I decided to follow the advice of Dr. Mark Hyman and try one. I am interviewing someone tomorrow morning. Should be interesting.
Happy Birthday, Happy New Year and when you write your book I will buy it – no matter what the topic. i am a year behind you and have also found that doing anything new is harder and slower than what the same thing would have been just a few years ago – but is now even more rewarding.
A healthy skepticism about “coaches” is not a bad idea. Interview a lot of them and pick the one where the chemistry is best without much regard to skills or experience – it isn’t like picking a doctor!
Avram, I’m almost precisely 9 years younger and have been “monitoring your progress” for around this same period of time. I now have the roadmap of your past decade – that happens to start at my present age. Good luck with the coach.. Pls let him/her know that the fresh tracks will be scrutinized by curious onlookers..
30 December 2014
I have been reading your posts off and on…
The ‘life coach’ you plan to hire (I did not know the concept – living in Morocco with frequent visits in Holland, Belgium, France and so on, I may be forgiven…) got me thinking about the way we take control over the later stages of our lives (at 63, I have still a little to go to reach your stately age, but getting there…)
The points I think we can make
– as we grow older, we must gain more control because we become more aware of a dwindling resource, time…
– we also should be better equipped for control because, to the best of our abilities, we give much thought to the issue
– however, the way we have been leading our lives determine very much, for good or bad, the way we can hope to enact control
Taking these points in reverse
Choices in life (passive or active ones)
– at one extreme, the ‘coach potato’ lifer has little chance to control anything, simply because, by leading a passive life, we lose our flexibility and our capacity of imagination
– another option is the choice, made early in life, to try diverse endeavors – a bit of which you are suggesting by piling music, the arts, gardening and business on top one of the other. Made early on, this really is a choice bringing obvious satisfactions …and frustrations (somehow, we will never be as good a gardener as we hoped, or as good a potter, or as good a lawyer or whatever)
– social pressure exposes us to a third way, where the company we work for, the social group to which we happen to belong, family expectations and so on…, more or less command our choices – neither passive nor completely freely, in a sense…
Thoughtful control at later stages in life
– I will state that, as one gets older, the ability to control empowers us by virtue of experiences gathered throughout our lives
– I do not suggest the ability is directly available, shelved and for the taking but, building on our past mistakes, our neglect of many things as well as on positives we encountered, the ability to recollect and to gain control definitely is there
– At issue is how the process of filtering bears down on what really matters to achieve control. Call it ‘meditation’ if you want but, in truth, it is not…(as you surely will recognize)
Gaining more control as time fritters away
– “How to” gain control certainly does not require a straightforward answer or one-to-one correlation between ‘best practice’ in life and expected results
– Some aspects appear obvious to me, but may be very different for someone else…Personally, I would list creativity, along with imagination, as crucial but I can see how faith or dedication to one’s family holds many answers as well…
The point is, with or without coach, one has, later in life, the ability to consider what truly matters, what strains of gold our many layered experience leave in our hands…and to enhance the truly valuable aspects of our lives becomes our program.
I would suggest, from your successful career in business and in investing, that ‘business expertise’ probably does not define how you truly feel about your path in life.
There have to be more subtle aspects you value, of which you know they are difficult to repeat but worth enhancing, maybe worth sharing or worth applying to new very different ventures; you may call it creativity, insight in the future, human perception of the abilities (or genius) of your colleagues or anything else… and, in my view, these special abilities should dictate (and concentrate) your choices in life, and not whims (sorry…) you just do not have the time to grow into the special abilities you already master.
Well… a bit long, I am afraid…
Cordialement, W. van Wijk
PS Your register asks me to enter a site, which I am doing here (my business site, still in development, sorry about that…!)
Any time of life is a good time to create a life you love. There is no time limit on starting over. Wishing you lots of happiness in the future.
Considering the other comments on this thread, I’m young at the age of 30, and though I don’t call myself a life coach, it works out that way sometimes. I got an engineering degree, but found the jobs boring/frustrating, and realized all my bosses were too busy to care what I did anyways, so long as I didn’t cause problems. Now I’m self employed and call myself an Executive Assistant and I help those “busy bosses” get organized. Now they appreciate the work I do, and I find the variety so much more interesting.
For instance, one of my clients, a 68 yr old exec. wanted to write poetry, so I helped him get his computer files more organized and taught him some useful software apps which allowed him to hand off some responsibilities, I helped him clean and fix some things around his house (very much a DIYer he didn’t want someone to just do it for him), and found him a local poetry group/class to attend. We get together for a day or two a week and it’s a mutually enriching relationship, as I get to learn from him as well.
So if a Life Coach doesn’t seem like the right fit, maybe an assistant would be? If you want to send off that business email, you could ask the assistant to without getting as distracted. You’d have someone to collaborate with on the software you are trying to learn, or music you are trying to write, or physics topic you want to explore. It helps with the boredom just to have someone to hang out with, and by simply being around they can help you to hold yourself accountable to the goals you set yourself.
If I lived anywhere near you I know I’d love such a job. But I’m sure there are plenty of younger folk out there who would feel the same. Good luck on your search.