I heard a radio interview yesterday while driving to a meeting; accomplished athlete, she’d won lots of medals and championships, reflecting on her career, recent attempts to re-start after recovering from injury – discussing the range of possibilities for future work inside and outside her sport. She mentioned two short term goals with no expectations or plans beyond that.
She is 23.
My thoughts were many – recollecting my own ‘youthful/capable/failure to see the future’ hasn’t changed much.
Recognizing as well, if I was being interviewed today, I might give similar short-term-plan answers, which is not to suggest I don’t have long term plans, dreams, ambitions – because I do, but recognizing this reluctance to give voice to our long term dreams/plans is neither new or only connected to youth.
I wonder, is it the same for everyone at the other end of the spectrum?
The young person without specific long term plans because they believe they have unlimited time, and at 23 we probably all thought that way …
But add 30 or 40 or 50 years, how do we see things?
You see, that’s my point. We don’t see longer term because we are older – but any actuary will tell you that if you’ve survived to mid-50’s, 60’s or 70’s, there is are really good chance you aren’t going to die soon, which begs the question, why aren’t we making long term plans?
Many will counter that with a laundry list of retirement-period-wishes. Sure, fine, but I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about ‘what are you doing with your life?’
Ponce de Leon, unlike all others chasing the fountain of youth, has achieved immortality because his name is so associated with that pursuit than many things he did in life. Ponce de Leon’s pursuit was probably a myth – but his life wasn’t and when you consider all he did in 47 years of life, such as “30% of the modern population of Puerto Rico descend from Juan Ponce de León and his wife”. And he had a lot to do with colonization and development of Florida – and I understand most people there are either in pursuit of youth or the extension of their later years. His legacy was, without doubt, not as planned or as generally believed.
When we are all gone, will anyone know what did or what we dreamed of doing? Likely not, but what historians record is something none of us control. But that doesn’t matter so much, does it?
What is important I think, is to ask ourselves what we want to do – and then advise ourselves to do it …
Days when I feel young and ready to take on the world seem to be more frequent lately. Days of feeling less valued or relevant are on the decline.
How is that?
Am I reversing my aging process, am I a later-day Juan Ponce de Leon?
No, I’ve not moved to south Florida, but feeling younger and stronger. Might just be the hope and expectation of being outdoors, the rights-of-spring but it seems both more and different from that …