5 Reasons It's Not Too Late to Change Your Life |
If you've been lurking around here for a while, you'll know that I believe your middle years – say 40 to 65 – are the greatest years of your life.
I'm now going to give you five reasons why.
When I was young, dumb and full of energy, I was like a puppy who'd been let off his leash. I had a bajillion ideas but zero experience in how to execute them. I didn't care. I tried dozens of things and failed at almost all of them.
Back then, I was the idea-of-the-week man.
I pursued some of them for well over a year, but others I quit almost as soon as I began. It really didn't seem to matter because I knew I had plenty of time.
But now it's different. I'm 49-years-old – I know I don't have forever. That's why I'm a lot more selective about where I direct my attention. I have bills to pay. A lot of bills. If you have kids and a mortgage, you'll know what I mean.
Yet I honestly believe this is the very best time for me and you. In fact, I'm just getting into my stride. One of the reasons for this is I now have a few guiding principles that weed out a lot of the ideas that flow through my Shiraz-addled brain. Mostly, they need to have some kind of purpose behind them other than just making a buck or looking cool to my friends. These days, I honestly don't give a sh*t what people think of me or my failures. The only person I'm competing with is my current self. And boy, does that make life a lot easier.
So if you're like me and you think your best years are still to come, I'm going to give you five reasons why you're absolutely right!
1. You know who you're NOT.
Spend any time at all on social media and you'll witness a cavalcade of people who are faking it till they make it. You'll see people claiming to be super-successful at doing XYZ, and for just $97, they'll share all their glorious secrets with you.
I'm not one of those guys. And maybe you aren't, either. That's fine. Let them be that person.
Likewise, thousands of people think that having a million followers is where it's at. But you and I know that followers do not a life make. In many cases, they don't equal a business, either.
For me, I know I'm not a short-term thinker, I'm not a pushy salesman and I'm sure as hell not a guru standing on high trying to brainwash a group of disciples. I'm just a guy who has failed at many things and is busy building a life that has purpose, meaning and satisfaction. Some of that requires money, yes, but it's only a by-product of the service I render. If I'm good at it, I eat well. If I'm not, I have to be happy living on beans and rice. And I'm fine with that.
Knowing who you refuse to be gives you a real edge over the young pups who'll jab at anything for a quick buck or a boost to their social following.
2. You have experience.
In the old days, having experience meant something. And it still does, believe it or not. It's just been clouded by the concept of celebrity, where you can become known for just being…known. Thank you, Kardashians.
But if you have experience in something, no matter what that thing is, there are other people in this world who will probably benefit from it. And because your audience is everywhere today (thanks to the Internet), your unique experience can find an audience on the four corners of the globe. That just wasn't possible 25 years ago.
But another advantage your experience offers is the fact that it's YOUR experience. That means it's coloured with your unique perspective on things; your scars, your successes and disappointments. These are all valuable commodities, and they lend an air of authenticity and humanity to the thing you wish to share with the world. No one can replicate this.
That's why it's possible to enter a crowded field and still be successful. It's because your voice and your take on things will resonate with certain people, where others won't.
In short, there's room for you.
3. Skills are easy to acquire.
My dad is going to be 81 next month. He was a builder his whole life. Every single structure he built, he hammered in the nails by hand. He was old-school, and he was a true master at his craft. It would have been easy for him to shun new ideas. After all, he lives in the mountains surrounded by nature and his needs are few and far between.
Yet the old guy has embraced technology and continues to build his skill-set. He's been retired for years, but he has a laptop, an iPhone and Wi-Fi in his mountain home. He knows that new skills and the knowledge required to build them are just a few clicks/taps away. And so he continues to learn.
And it's the same with all of us. We're no longer hampered by the old limitations. We don't need a university degree or rich parents or even the right connections to make a go of something new. There are online training courses, free podcasts, ebooks and online communities we can join that will have us skilled up and ready to tackle just about anything we can dream.
How do you think Elon Musk learned about space travel? He pulled up Google on his laptop and started reading, that's how. Then he borrowed and devoured dozens of textbooks. Once he had a foundational level of knowledge, he sought out and learned from others in the aerospace industry.
Now I would swim across an ocean of thumbtacks just to be eclipsed by the long shadow cast by Elon's learning accomplishments, but I've done similar things myself. When I wanted to be a photographer, I bought books and magazines on the craft and I practiced my arse off. Then I sought out the wisdom and expertise of others who were already successful photographers and practiced some more. I was relentless. And that approach got me through the door of one of Australia's top magazine stables – at the ripe old age of eighteen.
Nowadays, you hardly have to spend a cent. Make Google your friend and a world of knowledge will bow before you.
4. The Internet is the ultimate multiplier.
I once helped my dad with a fencing job. As a reward for my work, I received a beautiful vintage camera collection, which the grateful client gave to my father. From that day my interest in photography began, and it’s something I’ve been passionate about since I picked up that first Voigtlander rangefinder in 1980. I was twelve years old.
As a mad dirt bike rider, I immediately set about honing my skills at the local track. I'd photograph everyone, then attempt to sell them prints the following weekend. It was a good little earner. Later, my attention turned to real estate agents. Armed with a collection of Cokin filters, I tried to make a name for myself photographing houses for sale in a more artistically appealing fashion. I scored a few regulars but it was hard work since I didn't have a car back then.
Now contrast this with today's opportunity. Thanks to the Internet, you can work for people all over the world. Email and file-sharing sites make this a doddle, while platforms like Freelancer, Upwork, Medium, Shopify and WordPress make it possible for you to start with little to no capital investment whatsoever. And you can do it from anywhere! We've never had it so good!
Nowadays, you can create something (tangible or digital) and send it out into the whole damn world from your kitchen table. No generation before you has had that kind of opportunity.
5. You'll probably live longer than you think.
One of my favourite sayings is, “Your biggest mistake is you think you have time.” The spirit of this is simple. Time passes quickly. We put things off till tomorrow, only to grow old and crusty and wonder, where did all the time go?
But valuable as these words are, we're also living in a time where medical science and holistic living has elevated us to new heights of good health and longevity. I wrote about this recently in a post called, I’ve Decided to Stop Ageing.Just 'cause you're 45 or 65 doesn't mean your ship has sailed. If anything, it's been waiting for you all along. Click To TweetThe bottom line is, getting healthier and living longer to pursue your long-held dream is easier than ever. Moreover, immersing yourself in the happiness of pursuit can make you live a longer, happier, more fulfilling life. And isn't that what we all want?
Just because you're 45 or 65 doesn't mean your ship has sailed. If anything, it's been waiting there for you all along. Your job is simply to swim out to it, hoist yourself aboard and set a course for the life you want. Everything you need is right here at your fingertips.
I don't care how old you are. The bottom line is, midlife mastery is easier than it's ever been. So get busy; the world is waiting for your special gifts.
Now tell me about some of the things you've done to transform your life. It could be a new set of habits or a new hobby. Maybe, like me, you've realised you're living through an incredible moment in history, and that it's time for you to write your own chapter. Leave a comment below.
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Thanks for stopping by and I hope we get to hang out more in the future. And in the meantime, please feel free to share your own experiences. You can email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. I respond to all emails. If this was beneficial to you, please consider subscribing and sharing with someone you think would also benefit.
Disclaimer & Disclosure: I'm not a psychologist, and I'm not a financial advisor's elbow. This material doesn't constitute financial advice but rather a collection of personal opinions, based on my own experiences. Some of the links on my site are affiliate links, which means that if you make a purchase, I will earn a small commission. This commission comes at no additional cost to you. I provide links to services or products I have used and liked or researched and recommend. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you believe they will be beneficial to you
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