How to know what to do with the rest of your life…

This week I read a post by James Altucher that forced me to reflect on my life, summarize it in 1 sentence and define what I want to do with the rest of it.

Basically, you only need to look into the past phases of your life, then what you want to do in the future will reveal itself almost automatically.

Read on to see how to do it. But first, here is what I came up with:

“My teens were about rowing without direction, my 20ies were about floating arrogantly through life avoiding decision-making, my 30ies were about change of direction, opening my mind and setting it to learning every day. My forties will be about lifestyle design, maximizing family time, becoming a happy person and working only on what I love doing.”

I have almost 4 decades of life experience…in the country where I live the average life expectancy for men of my age is 68,63 years…looking at it in a simplistic way I’d say I lived 4/7th of my life…too late for a midlife crisis, so let’s skip that and get on with important stuff.

Bob Seger in his song “Like a rock”:

Twenty years now, Where’d they go? Twenty years, I don’t know, Sit and I wonder sometimes, Where they’ve gone

I did not want to reflect on my life because it is much more convenient not to. Realizing that I don’t have that much time left (well, theoretically still 3 decades…)… it suddenly matters a lot to me to take a step back, take stock and focus on what really matters. So, what could that be?

There are a lot of philosophical questions like “what’s my purpose”, “why are we here”, “what should I do”…it took me a long time to understand that I have to stop trying to figure this out because there is no right answer…so I stopped wasting time and moved on…

Chuck Berry in his song “You never can tell”:

“C’est la vie” say the old folks; It goes to show you never can tell.

It makes much more sense to me to think of life as a series of phases…just like in the movie “the pursuit of happyness”: this part of my life is called running…. this part of my life is called being stupid… this part of my life is called happiness…

“In my twenties I thought I knew what I was doing. In my thirties I would do anything to make money. In my forties I only do what I love doing. You find what you love by going back to what you loved in your twenties and keeping expectations low.”  James Altucher

When you apply the “life as a series of phases approach” you can choose the decades of your life or any other sequence that works for you…. then write down what this phase was about and highlight the keywords to summarize it.

Have fun writing your own summary

My late teens

 

This part of my life was about: Rowing, rowing, rowing, being part of a competitive rowing team and wondering how to find out what I want to do without finding any answers; being confused by people who said that I need to know what I want to do…but I had no direction “how am I supposed to know what I want to do if I have not tried anything yet”;
My 20ies

 

This part of my life was about: Being as arrogant as possible, since the first job thinking I am a hot shot and have all the answers, being spoilt by the luxury of living and studying abroad; never required to make a serious life decision, meaning still no idea about what I want to be or what I want to do; decision avoiding floating
My 30ies

 

This part of my life was about: Change of direction; from thinking my research is the most important thing in the world to becoming a family man, opening my mind and setting it to learning…guitar, blogging, yoga, speed reading, remote working…..
My 40ies

 

 

This part of my life will be about: lifestyle design, maximizing family time, becoming a happy person and working only on what I love doing
My summary “My teens were about rowing without direction, my 20ies were about floating arrogantly through life avoiding decision-making, my 30ies were about change of direction, opening my mind and setting it to learning. My forties will be about lifestyle design, maximizing family time, becoming a happy person and working only on what I love doing.”

 

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