Home sweet home. That was my initial thought as I arrived at the ocean last week. And I was to my Life 2.0 home, in a setting that combined my Life 1.0 environment. But Life 3.0, that age of the evening of life, is not like the age of growing up, or the age of responsibility for others; it is the age of the forest dweller. For a discussion of the phases of Life please request our eBook.
It turns out, the stress of last year got the best of us; as we fought with loss and disease in our enchanted forest home, I had forgotten how magical of a place our Earth is. Is that not the purpose of vacation? I think it is.
I did not have my residual ear issues go away at the outer banks. I did not feel a deep connection to the surf. I was not inspired by the sun and the salty air. I was, however, living in the moment most of the time. But no more so than I can at home, if I choose to.
For the first time in our fifteen trips to the Outer Banks, we did not bring home a memento of our vacation. We did not buy a Christmas ornament. We did not bring back shells, or stones and I took very few pictures. Made no deep plans. For once, we simply relaxed. Walked on the beach, rode bikes and enjoyed some much-needed family time.
The ways in which we spent our time at Nags Head was not the only thing that had changed; for once, I did not “project perfection” on this place. The vast, multi-million dollar oceanfront beach mansions no longer called my name. The traffic was of the same caliber as the Hampton’s. The seclusion and openness of the beach was replaced with the same noise and congestion that pushed me away from Long Island many years ago.
I was surprised by my own perspective. I was aware of figments from the past, but focused on staying “in the now,” which I unfortunately found to be filled with people on “the Great Escape” that Americans try to fit in to one or two weeks a year, ourselves included.
I realized that my wanderlust had diminished, which is the opposite of what most people my age feel. I attribute it to my extensive travel in Life 2.0. It made me cognizant of my utter fascination and absolute satisfaction of this enchanted environment in which I live.
I left my home thinking that the environment was toxic. I returned home knowing that it was my actually thinking that was toxic. Toxic Thinking.
The challenge for us in Life 3.0, is to remove this “toxic thinking”. We developed these thinking patterns through the fulfillment of responsibilities in our past, whether it was through compromises or reactions to others. To enjoy the evening of life, we have to stop dwelling on and trying to relive the past, and enjoy the now. For me, I’m happiest with what I do when I live in the moment.
While I was on vacation, one of the things that I stumbled on was a planing in retirement blog entry that seemed to be tailored for people in their twenties and thirties. It was written with the optimism and the naïveté of youth, projecting that they would want to continue their present careers into the distant future. They pointed to a quote from an eighty-year-old doctor who had the attitude of a young, hopeful man. His desire to continue to love and work was made apparent. It reminded me of our own desire to help people near his age live, love, and lead in the second half of life. We applaud both the blog writer and the doctor that she quotes.
That doctor was living an onCORE life; it is my hope that young people are on that same path. In fact some of my clients have engaged with me as their coach because they want to do just that in the first half of life, rather than wait until the second. Perhaps they realize that the division between the first and second halves of life is not obvious until the day they die. Why wait until the second half? Why not just be onCORE from the start?
Many boomers stepped away from trying to live an onCORE life and started “playing possum” like the old Carly Simon song of that name. The song says something to the effect that you used to be so radical, and now you’re just playing possum and taking the easy way out.
At one point, I was radical, but I stepped away from that after Ronald Reagan was elected as president. My idealism survived Nixon, but after the country rejected Jimmy Carter, I took the blue pill and entered the matrix. I took the easy way out, which, it turns out was not being onCORE, and not really the easy way out. Most of my generation did the same. We became materialistic and valued expensive clothes rather than the person wearing them.
So, if you maintained your values as you when through Life 2.0, well done! If not, then do not fear; what I write will resonate with you. I hope that the people in life 2.0 today will choose wisely and be true to themselves. I hope they stay on course for their lives and not have to make major corrections. They can certainly look to the formerly idealistic, dual-luxury-car-driving Boomers to see where the path of being dishonest to oneself can lead.
But that is not my experience. My experience is that in “playing possum,” I have created a heap of toxic thoughts that my mind is begging me to abandon.
Bloom where you are planted, as the old saying goes. I came to the realization this week that it is not where you are planted that makes the difference, but it is your attitude. In order to bloom, you must relinquish toxic thoughts. Despite my altered view of the shore this year, I was able to learn more about myself through the experience. It also made me appreciate my home: home sweet home.