“Twenty years from now
you will be more disappointed
by the things that you didn’t do
than by the ones you did do.”
— Mark Twain
Over the past several years, there has been a shift from people retiring from work at 62, to people stepping into their next careers in their 60s, 70s, and even their 80s. While many people are choosing a new career at this age in life, we know that some people must work to stay afloat financially which can add considerable stress to life. Yet, for both groups, there is an opportunity to consider what they have always wanted to do and to move toward that as their next career.
For many people the shift from a long-term career to the opportunity to “do what I’ve always wanted to do” is accompanied by a sense of disappointment that they waited so long to do what really mattered in their lives, and for others, their sense of what really matters in their life doesn’t come into clear view until they have walked away from the pace of their day-to-day work world. The key to understanding what you want to do in life comes from carving time out of your day to think about what’s possible.
Take a moment to reflect on the quote from Mark Twain. Whether you are 20 years old, 50, or 75, spend some time answering the questions below and see if you can determine whether there is something that you are not doing that really matters to you. Once you have the vision, you can begin to explore the ways that you can create opportunities to make it a reality in your life.
- Is there something that really matters to me in my work life that I want to explore? Whether it’s developing a skill, shifting your focus, or changing jobs entirely, take some time to consider if you can move toward what matters to you now.
- Is there something that really matters to me in my personal life that I want to explore? This could be anything from pursuing health and fitness, to traveling, to getting into therapy to heal old wounds, to working on important relationships and/or developing new ones.
- Is there something in my community that really matters to me that I want to explore? From social justice work, to contributing to a local school, to joining a board, to supporting the humane society, to helping create earthquake or tornado readiness, to… well, anything you can think of!
Finally, spend some time this week thinking about yourself in 20 years—and see if you can guess what the you of the future will be disappointed that you did not do—and then take the steps toward making it happen. You’ve got this!
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