Finding balance in a chaotic world

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You’re Older Than You’ve Ever Been

There is a funny They Might Be Giants song (aren’t they all) called You’re Older Than You’ve Ever Been. The lyrics are simple: You’re older than you’ve ever been and now you’re even older. A not so subtle reminder that we all age. With my 20 year high school reunion coming up next week, I think back on what happened to those 20 years. It is a cliché to say that they went by quickly, but I can’t help but feel it is true. I look at the things I had hoped to accomplish by this time and I also look at all the things I did accomplish. All told, I’m quite happy with the result.

 

Not everyone can say that, of course, but it is important for us to look back every so often to see how far we’ve come. I know a few people that take each birthday as a sign that they are running out of time to accomplish their goals, but for me, it is not like that. I do use birthdays, anniversaries, and reunions to serve as check points and hopefully motivate myself to move forward on my goals, but I also like to look back at my life and realize all of the things I can do now, that I couldn’t 5, 10, 15, or 20 years ago.

 

I know in my life, my purchasing power is far greater today than it was 5 years ago. What is interesting about that is that it is not because I’m earning significantly more. In fact I’m just about at the same earning level I was 5 years ago, which means less actual purchasing power due to inflation, but since we eliminated our debt, I actually have more money to spend. While 5 years ago my writing career made strides, I had not really finished anything of meaning. Now I have a completed novel under my belt and two more in the works.

 

My relationship with my wife is better than ever, something even I’m a little surprised about. Still, we communicate better, partly because money is less of an issue for us now, and have more fun together than we did before. My friendships continue to be strong and I actually see them more now than I did 5 years ago, meaning they are more important to me than before. My weight is down by 40 pounds (mostly due to stress, but I’ll take any weight loss I can get) and I am stronger now than I’ve been in almost a decade.

 

Of course my kids are amazing. Piers wasn’t around 5 years ago and Hope was just 1 so there are obvious changes there. Life is never boring, although it is tiring, with them around. They continue to amaze me and entertain me.

 

Not everything is better five years later, of course. The Porsche still sits in the garage covered in dust, I’ve still had no fiction published, I’m still positioning myself to do what I truly want to do (teach college courses), and my inflation-adjusted earnings are down. Still, none of those things are insurmountable and mostly just take me actually taking action to start down the path.

 

So there you have it, my 5 year checklist. When was the last time you looked back on your life and seen how far you’ve come? I bet you’ll be amazed at how far you’ve come.