Recently while visiting Chicago, I had the pleasure of going on a lunch date with friends of a friend.
What started as a casual meet-up and a very calculated way to be able to order more dishes to try (i.e. more mouths at the table) turned into a profound lesson for me. A deeply felt lesson and a pivotal change for my life’s viewfinder — and more importantly, for my behavior moving forward.
At first glance, this pair seemed like any other couple I’ve encountered. Nothing stuck out as other than ordinary. I didn’t initially notice the age difference between us, as I usually don’t dwell on such matters when making new acquaintances.
Noticing The Difference:
“I couldn’t help but notice the gentleman I had just met moved slower”
As the pre-order lunch conversation flowed, we had many decisions to make since we all agreed to order many different things off the menu so we could have more to taste. While we were reviewing the culinary offerings, I couldn’t help but notice the gentleman I had just met moved slower than the rest of us. Slower in a way that made me notice the difference. For example, the three other of us at the lunch table quickly pulled out our smartphones to read the QR menu code. Our fourth party member did not. It quickly became clear that he had every intention of letting his partner handle that. That was the first indication that one of us was not like the others.
As we delved deeper into discussions, additional small hints and clues began to unfold before my eyes. It slowly dawned on me that this man was much older than I initially thought. As I came to find out later, he was 82 years old.
In the moments post-lunch a slow unraveling began in my head. The realization hit me like a ton of bricks – I have about 23 years left until I reach his age. Suddenly, the word “doddering” kept resonating in my mind, as I subconsciously associated fragility and dependence with his advanced years and slower movements.
It was a moment of reckoning, a stark reminder that life is indeed fleeting, and time is our most valuable resource. Amidst the laughter and camaraderie, I couldn’t help but feel a twinge of melancholy. I realized that I hadn’t given much thought to the finite nature of life. How often do we pause and truly consider the number of years left on our clock?
Always Have A Choice:
“I decided to embrace this newfound awareness as a fine filter for how I spend my time and energy.”
So, I have a choice. I can let this revelation cripple me, demoralize me. It can be overwhelmingly depressing to consider the end of one’s life — or even the end of one’s vibrant life. But instead, I choose to use it as a catalyst for a change in perspective. I decided to embrace this newfound awareness as a fine filter for how I spend my time and energy. Life is too short for mediocrity and lukewarm engagements. If an opportunity doesn’t ignite a resounding “HELL YES” within me, then it’s a swift and polite “No, thank you.”
Yes, I know this has “Come Across as a B!tcH” potential all over it. I don’t intend to be rude or dismissive, I truly don’t. But I also want to minimize – heck, stop – disappointing myself. Maybe being more discerning about the activities and commitments that truly align with my passions and values is a good thing. This isn’t about chasing after adrenaline-fueled thrills but rather about making conscious choices that lead to personal growth, fulfillment, and meaningful connections.
Now, let me clarify that the significance of the 80-whatever-year mark may not be meaningful to anyone other than myself. We all lead unique lives, and some people may be living their best years at any and all ages. I am very well aware that age is but a number and our vitality is influenced by a multitude of factors, including our mindset and lifestyle choices. But this experience served me as a powerful reminder to seize the present and embrace each moment as it comes.
It’s easy for me to get lost in the relentless pursuit of success, societal expectations, and the fear of missing out. However, this encounter has pushed me to embrace a new approach to life – one that’s about presence, gratitude, and joy. It’s about finding pleasure in the small things, cherishing the company of loved ones, and reveling in the beauty of nature and the world around us.
Accepting The Nature Of Life:
So, how do I plan to make the most of the time I have left on this earth? For starters, I am committing to nurturing my passions and dedicating time to pursuits that bring me genuine joy. Whether it’s pursuing a new hobby, embarking on new travel adventures, or sitting in a cold dank dark theater, I want to fill my days with activities that resonate deeply with my soul.
Moreover, I am taking a closer look at my relationships and making a conscious effort to invest in meaningful connections. In this fast-paced digital age, it’s all too easy to get caught up in virtual friendships and superficial interactions. Instead, I want to prioritize face-to-face interactions, heartfelt conversations, and moments of genuine connection.
“My journey towards intentional living also involves decluttering my life, both physically and mentally”
My journey towards intentional living also involves decluttering my life, both physically and mentally. I am freeing myself from the burden of unnecessary possessions and toxic relationships. Simplifying my life will enable me to focus on what truly matters and create space for growth, creativity, and self-discovery.
Life’s New Fine Filter:
Embracing this brand-new life’s finer filter doesn’t mean that I’m withdrawing from the world or shying away from challenges. On the contrary, it means that I’m aligning my actions with my authentic self and pursuing endeavors that align with my values. It means being open to new experiences, taking calculated risks, and stepping out of my comfort zone when necessary. It also means a quick and no-guilt “No, thank you” to those situations that feel off to me.
As I write this, I am aware that I don’t have all the answers, and life’s journey is full of unexpected twists and turns. But that’s precisely the beauty of it – the unpredictability and the chance to evolve, learn, and grow. If this experience has taught me anything, it’s that life is too precious to be taken for granted.
So let’s just say I have 23 good years left. For me, it’s learning how to embrace this newly acquired life’s finer filter and live with greater intention. And as I embrace the lessons from my lunch date, I am counting on a lot more “HELL YES” moments over the next couple of decades.