Thursday, October 17, 2013

Live Deliberately: Not Waiting to Live

Not long ago, Matt and I were watching television on Hulu and a commercial for a retirement planning and investment company came on. I couldn't begin to tell you what company it was for or the word for word dialog but it went a little something like this.


"Because I have made smart investment choices I can finally live the life I've always wanted to."
These words were, of course, spoken by an active baby boomer who appeared to have everything together.

And we both cringed.

This is exactly the opposite of the way we want to and have chosen to live.

It isn't about making good financial decisions that can help keep you on track you as you age. That is pretty sound advice. But that kind of message implies something more sinister.

We are expected to delay doing the things we want to do in order to do the things society expects us to do.

That feels like watching life rather than living it. Like waiting for all the cool stuff to happen at you rather than making opportunities..

I made the decision not to wait for retirement. I didn't even worry about creating some sort of early retirement scenario.

Instead, I figured out what I really want to do and did it. 

I know that there are a lot of circumstances that play into every individuals ability and desire to make these big changes happen in their lives. But I do know one universal truth.

You don't know what will happen next. 

I don't want to face death at any age and be angry or sad that I didn't do all the things I wanted to do. I don't want to know that I waited even a day too long.

You're idea of living deliberately is going to be very different from mine. In fact, I practically guarantee it. I'm not saying you shouldn't love your job or that you shouldn't work hard but what I am saying is make sure that the thing you're doing is what you want to be doing. Don't imagine a day in the future when you can "finally" do the thing you want to do. What if you never get there?

This is deliberate living to me. 




4 comments:

  1. This is the best definition of living deliberately I have read.

    I have had 'this' conversation with people before and I end up looking like the odd one. There is something deeply bizarre about this complex: working hard to do what you want to do when you're too old too enjoy it (with respect to you retirees out there). I say f*ck that. The sooner one can get it, the better... surely?

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  2. Well said Laura and that beer is lookin' real good!

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  3. As a musician who mainly plays the organ (Hammond B-3 in a Jazz related context),
    I encounter old timers who wanted to play a similar instrument (mostly in pop or classical), they decide to build a pipe organ after they retire (usually in a palacial mansion that is complimentary to such an instrument), they die before they get it playable, their widow is stuck having to get rid of all the organ parts. They climbed the corporate ladder to accomplish feats like this by their retirement age.

    Maybe they had some experience on a piano or electronic organ when they were younger, but they were never able to play at a professional level, even by barroom (or community church) standards. I could get more music out of a $200.00, 8 bass Student Accordion, than they can get out of a $10,000+++ organ, and I am really not trying to boast.

    I have spent as much of my life in music or music related endeavors. Financially it would have been smarter to have been an investment banker or other corporate management type, somehow I have managed to avoid drugs (even being around them) in the music world, I would probably be on them to cope in a corporate setting.

    I do need to make a few improvements in my life, but I don't want to stray too far from what I am doing.

    Babbitt is the American success roll model, but being successful doing what you hate is self destructive,on the other hand you have to be altruistic about what you are doing.

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  4. My dad was "responsible" and put off almost everything he wanted to do so that he could save more for retirement. Never took time off from work for vacations. He died at 51 after 2 years of dealing with cancer. Totally changed my thinking.

    On the other hand, I work with older adults, and I see so many people who do not have the money they need for just the necessities in life. I see people who planned to work for many more years than they were physically capable of, and forced out of the workforce. I have seen hospice patients who are dying because they could not pay their copays to get treatment.

    I'm still trying to figure out the balance of living my life now while also saving for several decades of possible retirement. I haven't quite got it figured out yet.

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