Contrasting when I was in my thirties against being 40+ years old now, there’s a significant shift in my attitude, perspective and thinking.
Maybe it is similar for many others, too. (Including you?)
Typically, the first 3 decades of our life is spent growing up, and acquiring skills or knowledge. By the time we’re 30, it’s time to put it all into action.
If one word could describe how I felt around that age, it would be “hungry”.
Hungry for fame. Hungry for success. Hungry for wealth.
And for achievement, making dreams come true, and reaching for the stars.
Like a heavyweight boxer who knows every punch he lands in the ring carries the terrible impact of hundreds of hours of training, I knew that my actions will also pack a powerful punch. Behind that lies the force of all the learning and practice that went earlier.
And I was eager to get in as many as I could on target.
Turning forty added one significant shift. Knowing the power that’s available on tap, the question arose of whether or not to use it, and when.
The word that now took precedence over “hungry” was – “reflective“.
No, the ambitions didn’t weaken. The dream didn’t fade. The vision wasn’t growing dim.
But alongside it, another presence grew stronger – and it kept asking “Why?”
There was a time when I wouldn’t think twice about staying up all night working on something important, just to get it done. Today I wonder if that’s really necessary.
There were occasions where I would happily plot the downfall of someone – a competitior, a rival, a critic – who got in the way of my eager enthusiasm to work towards a challenging goal. These days, I don’t think it matters so much as getting things done in another way, bypassing him (or her).
There used to be circumstances when I’d place my fiery desire for a worthy result ahead of everything else in my life. Now, the passion still burns strong – but isn’t a constant, roaring, all-consuming flame.
I have grown reflective.
Because my philosophy has changed.
With wider experience, more reading, intimate interaction with more people, and a deeper empathy with cross-sections of humanity I’ve never known (or cared much for) earlier, there are many more and variegated threads in the rich tapestry of my life.
As I ponder these changes at the end of the first decade of a new century, I can’t help but wonder how much more will evolve at each succeeding landmark – fifty, sixty, seventy, and beyond.
I can’t wait to see!
(If you’re older – or even younger – and would care to give it a thought, tell me what YOUR word is for the decade that’s gone, and the one that is. Tweet me @drmani on Twitter!)