The best motivation comes from one person: yourself
Last year during my mini-retirement, I picked up a copy of The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.
The Artist’s Way is a 12 week program mainly intended for artists to re-harness their creativity. Even though I am not an “artist” in the traditional sense, the actual program and exercises outlined in the book is applicable to anyone wanting to discover more about themselves and/or is interested in switching careers.
This article isn’t about The Artist’s Way, though I highly recommend it. One of the tasks in the book was to write a letter from your 80 year old self.
I wrote my letter, pondered it, and moved on.
But then last week while writing about my Decade Bucket List, I uncovered my letter again. And I was pumped.
Who better to get motivation from than your 80 year old self? I was ready to run through walls to be the best person that I can be.
We all struggle with the day-to-day, so reading a letter from your 80 year old self on a bad day, or even a good day is a great reminder that life is a marathon and not a sprint.
So today, I encourage you all to write your own letter from your 80 year old self. It’ll help you to put today in perspective, and remind you that we are playing the long-game.
Without further adieu, here is mine…
A letter from my 80 year old self
Today, I am turning 80.
I’ve now seen another 40+ years of life on this planet.
I am proud of you for taking the risk to leave your corporate CEO job and take your mini-retirement. Continue to enjoy it.
Don’t be afraid to take more risks.
Do things NOW that you won’t be able to do when you are my age. Take this RV trip around the country with the kids that you have been mulling over. Do it now, before you have constraints on yourself with the kid’s school, schedules, etc.
Make your marriage the best it can be. Surprise wifey with a weekend trip or something spontaneous every now and again. Be supportive in the way that she needs.
Put the time in to be the best father that you can. Engage with your kids. Be there for your kids. Build lasting memories and important relationships now.
Don’t take things too seriously. Life goes by quick. Remember the bigger picture. Our time on earth is short. Be present.
Live life to the fullest. Don’t have regrets. Don’t let the fear of failure stop you from doing anything that you want to do. Keep adding to your failure resume.
Take good care of your body. Stay healthy. Workout. Walk. Play basketball. Play golf. Be active.
I want you to be able to look back, like I am, and know that you have done everything that you can to be the best person that you can be.
But also, don’t get caught in the weeds. Enjoy life. Cross off the things on your Bucket List, then create a new list.
Never stop learning. Always stay mentally sharp one way or the other.
Don’t be afraid to simplify your life. Get rid of the unessential. Constantly work on peeling back the junk.
Be a good person. Lead when you are called upon, and step back when you don’t have to.
Money doesn’t matter, except for the bare necessities. Even if by some unfortunate event you were to lose all of your money, don’t sweat it. You’ll find a way to be happy with nothing. You’ll make the most of it. You don’t need money, or accolades, or anything else if you have the hearts and minds of your family.
Give back to the world more than you take. Give often big and little. Make someone’s day with a $20 tip. Help us old folks at Costco. Donate to nonprofits that you believe in. Bottom line, leave the world a better place than you found it.
Love with all of your heart. Don’t half ass anything. Full ass everything.
Cheers and remember,
Remember, we are playing the long-game
I hope you enjoyed the letter.
I’d love for you to now go and write your own letter from yourself. Really go for it.
Give yourself all the advice that you need right now, and more.
Challenge yourself to become a better person.
Make sure you are on the road that puts you in the position you want to be when you are 80.
Listening to your 80 year old self
My letter also begs some action. If my 80 year old self wants me to be healthy and sharp, there are things I need to start today.
It’s not enough to say “stay healthy,” I actually have to plan for it now.
Same goes with going on an RV trip, keeping my marriage strong, and building great relationships with my kids.
I have to take action.
I can’t sit back and wait for life to happen.
What do I really want to be like when I am 80?
Lastly, I wanted to consider a bit more, what I really want to be like when I am 80? Here is what I have come up with so far:
- I want to be a healthy, active 80 year old.
- My wife and I will be happily married and traveling the world together.
- We’ll still be pursuing our interests and spending plenty of time with our kids and hopefully our grandkids.
- We’ll live part time at the ocean, and part time in the mountains.
- I’ll keep busy with my 4-5 hobbies: golfing, reading, boating, astronomy and whatever else I am into at the time.
- I want my mind to be sharp. I want to be continuously learning new things.
- I’ll want to be doing something productive or meaningful such as working for a nonprofit, donating time, etc.
Now that I have a solid idea of what I’d like my life to be like when I am 80, I will start to ponder what else I need to be doing to be this person.
And if I ever start to drift off course, I now have this published letter and this list to live up to.
I hope that you too choose to go out there and write a letter from your 80 year old self!
Remember, we are playing the long-game. Your job is to craft the life that you want. Don’t let anyone tell you differently.