We've all heard it.
And while I believe it's true, life's also really long.
I've been an adult for 6 years now and in that time I've managed to graduate university, have 8 different casual, part-time or full-time jobs, travel to 9 different countries and countless more life experiences. This isn't to boast, but rather to make the point, a LOT, has happened in those six years.
If we look at the average male life expectancy and do some simple maths, I hopefully have another nine 6-year blocks. That seems to be a fair bit of time.
So why does life appear to go so quick?
I believe it's from life being broken down into stages.
Periods in your life that are anchored by circumstances that determine your choices for that time. The harsh reality is, these stages that you cherish so dearly at the time often only span a few years at a time. This is why life feels short.
The problem is no one really tells you about these stages, and most people are too busy living through them to notice. They fail to be present and truly savour the life they are living at the time. That is, until they hit some sort of crisis that causes them to reflect.
Is the antidote to living a short-life then to be aware of the stage you're in and ensure you live it to its fullest?
If it is, then consider the below my personal roadmap to living a long life. The way I thought about it was by asking, "what is the experience that anchors this period of time and won't be repeated?"
There will other priorities at each stage occurring simultaneously, however they are experiences that don't have an expiry date. For instance, your career may be a priority, although you are likely to be working for 40+ years, where as the number of years each child is a toddler is fixed.
Give or take a few years for each stage, however it's more about appreciating how finite each stage is. To provide perspective on what should be done to ensure you don't reach the next one with regrets.
My life lived to date:
0 - 3: Mum is life
4 - 6: Learning the essentials: walking and talking
6 - 12: Learning the basics of life: friendship, maths, english and social behaviour.
13 - 18: Surviving trying to minimise emotional trauma
You're put in a fishbowl that is school where the hormones of you and everyone around you creates behaviour that reflects a swarm of bees who have been knocked off a branch.
19 - 21: My Party Years
Upon escaping from the fishbowl, and the constraints of school five days a week, I tried my best to live the partying dream.
22 - 23: Setting the foundations of my career
A period of time of unpaid internships, part-time jobs and finishing my study.
Forecast for the future:
24 - 30: In a utopia this is the age of freedom with minimal responsibilities. Freedom to explore who you are by having as many diverse experiences as possible.
Unfortunately, I see the vast majority using this age as investment. Investment in the future. I can't blame anyone, we arent taught any better. It's naturally the safest route. Get a corporate job that pays well and begin setting yourself up financially for the future. However, what future are you going to live if you dont first take the time to learn everything you can about yourself?
30 - 35: Investment in the future
In anticipation of starting a family in the next phase. I see this as the perfect time to begin laying the foundations of the future, to ensure that when you do bring another human in the world you are in the best possible position to do so.
35 - 40: Baby / Toddler Dad
Your children are only this small once and have all their 'firsts' when they are. I'm positive I don't want to miss my first 'dad' or first steps.
40 - 45: Building Wealth
With the freedom of children now attending school, I view this as the perfect time to grow the family nest egg and set the foundations of your wealth so that it can compound over the next 40 years.
45 - 50: Coach Dad
By this time we may have ex-professional players coaching our grass roots, however if we don't, I want to be the one there connecting with my child and all their friends.
50 - 65: Travel
Depending on how many kids you have this time will shrink accordingly, however, once they're all grown up I see this time for Travel. All those places you've wanted to see but the kids would have been unappreciated of or made it too expensive. This is the opportunity.
I've been told being a grandparent has all the joys of being a parent without all the tantrums. I intend to cash back in on that.
I'm by no means claiming I'm an expert on life, this is just how my perspective has been carved to date. I'm sure it will change over the years. However, the notable absence of career orientation is one thing I hope I never submit too. One most common regrets nurses report hearing from people's deathbeds is "I wish I worked less". I don't want to be one of those people.
To decide for yourself, invert your life and think about who will be by your side in those moments, I believe they are the people you should anchor our life around.
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