Can A 60+ Boomer Take Care Of The Important Stuff ?

June 1, 2009 by  
Filed under Personal Development

An occasional blog by Andy Carmichael

During the last few months, as I near a sixty something birthday I’d rather avoid, I’ve been thinking about the things that are important to me. Not urgent, not expected of me but just important. Important if I’m to live the rest of my life fulfilled and fairly free of regrets. That kind of important. A bit late, you say? I agree, but I never really got introspection and right now I’m feeling pretty good about getting this far, even if I am a tad tardy. As I started to list what’s important to me, I was struck by how my single most important thing is the single most difficult!
think-man

Number one on my list is to be a much better parent by being more consistently present in the lives of my grown kids (and my older daughter’s two kids). There’s a problem right there. My daughter and grandchildren live in Bombay, India. My wife (not their mother), Lisa and I live in Los Angeles. Bombay is not a weekend trip. You really have to plan on two weeks minimum. And is a two week stay really being “consistently present” in their lives? The more I thought about what I’d have to do – join them for part of their long summer vacation in France, meet up with them in London, host them at Disneyland – the more I realized that I simply don’t have the time to do all this and hold down my full-time job.

So here’s my dilemma. I need the income from my job, but I need the time off my job doesn’t allow. And I haven’t even got to all my other important things on my list!

This whole process started a year or so ago when I came across a book called ‘The 4 Hour Work Week’ (link). It’s written by a 32-year old called Tim Ferris who recounts how he balked at the life path being followed by his peers – you know, work-all-hours-till-65-then-retire-and-finally-do-the-things-you’ve- always-wanted-to-do. He literally re-orders his life. He reduces the hours he works, creates a hands-off business and uses technology to allow him to work those 4 hours anywhere he happens to be. This way he creates the income and – imagine this – completely frees himself from a conventional work arrangement to enjoy one to twelve month ‘mini-retirements’ to travel, to immerse himself in a foreign language, to learn the tango in Argentina, to kick-box in Thailand . . . so he gets to do what he wants to do now, without having to work all those years for a well-earned retirement – but at what cost?
partwork-man

Something about it really resonated with me. I’ve read it twice and listened to it on my iPod three times. After a few times, I realized that what Tim Ferris did as he turned 30 most of us don’t get to do until our 50s or 60s (and maybe never) and this book was in my hands for a reason. In fact, the book helps you, step by step, to identify what’s important to you. Not what’s urgent, not what others think you should do – but what’s IMPORTANT TO YOU. It also takes you through a process to figure out a business model that can allow you this level of freedom. And the great thing is this is all applicable whether you’re 65 or 25.

So, that’s where I am right now. I plan to blog occasionally about how I tackle this process – and I want to hear from you. If you’ve already been through this, tell us about it. If you’re currently experiencing it, let’s compare notes. If it’s something you’ve been meaning to do, stop beating yourself up and jump on board! And let us know what’s on your list of important things.

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