Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Standard Equipment

Many baby boomers are reaching that place in their lives when they know that they are probably at the three-quarter mark. I know that it says “your whole life’s in front of you” at the top of your screen, but that just means you still have plenty of time to go places and do things. It doesn’t mean you get to start over.

All the more reason to get the most out of your life NOW! What’s past is past. Regrets and failures do not matter any more. If you have 15, 20 or 25 good years left, why not make the most of that time. Wipe the whiteboard clean and start thinking about what makes you happy. Does this sound like something a typical baby boomer would say? Yes. Do baby boomers often think of themselves above all else? Yes (most of the time). Do I care that it sounds selfish? No.

What we should care about now is packing in as much life experience as we can. Stretch the boundaries of your comfort level. I’m not talking about bungee jumping. I’m talking about having an open mind when it comes to new experiences and not automatically ruling out things you never used to do (or thought you wouldn’t like).

It’s actually somewhat exhilarating to put some of your preconceived notions behind you and try something new. Foods you’ve never eaten before. Travel destinations that were never on your list. Physical activities that you thought were beyond your capability. Book genres you never tried. Social interactions that you typically avoided.

What could go wrong? Failure to launch? So what. You can argue about who said “it’s better to have tried and failed than never to have tried at all” but the truthiness contained in that phrase is irrefutable. The only thing stopping us more often than not is our own inhibitions, and with our limited remaining years, should we allow them to prevent us from finding contentment?

So here’s a car metaphor mantra for going forward: Happiness is not an option. It really should be standard equipment.

Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept and at BoomSpeak. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.