Posted on | April 29, 2014 | No Comments
I’m not really that old. I’m 45. But every now and again I feel like a cranky old man. Usually it’s after I observe a teen or twenty-something kid who thinks they have it all figured out. This is what goes through my head in those instances.
#1 No one owes you anything.
I can’t emphasize that enough. No one owes you a job, promotion, a loan, a price break, entry into a club, you name it. No one owes it to you. The sooner you realize that you are not entitled to anything “just because” the better. Now get over yourself, work hard, treat people with respect and, maybe, you will earn something good. Sure, some people will have things handed to them. Who cares? It happens. That doesn’t mean it should have happened to them or that it should happen to you.
#2 You don’t know as much as you think you know.
Neither do I. In fact, no one knows as much as they think they know. We all get up every day and learn. You might be smart. Maybe even really smart. But the guy who sells you your coffee in the morning could probably teach you something. So could the homeless woman you pass every morning. A million things happen to people in their lifetimes and there’s a good chance most haven’t happened to you yet. But you can experience them through others before they do happen to you. Ask questions. Listen to the answers.
#3 It’s never to late to plan for the future.
Eventually you’re going to be old. Being old is a lot easier if you plan for it. It’s not depressing or tragic, it’s reality. You can live in a land of make believe and fail to put money away for it or you can plan to have a pleasant and perhaps actually enjoyable time growing older. Sign up for that 401k even if you’re not sure what it is. Future you won’t think past you was a total idiot.
#4 Having stuff gets old.
Speaking of getting old, collecting crap and worrying you don’t have the latest whatever is a losing game. In the end you have a bunch of crap that you have to put in storage or throw away. Travel, spend time with your family and friends, help someone who could never help you back. If you think eternal happiness lies in a new 60 in. flat-screen TV that will be obsolete a year from now you may need to read #3 again.
#5 You can’t do anything you want.
I know, we’re taught that we can do anything, be anything, etc. It’s just not true. I was never going to be able to dunk a basketball or win a Nobel Prize in physics. I don’t have the physical tools for the first one or the intelligence for the second one. Wanting to do either one wasn’t going to change that. And that’s fine. There are a billion other things I can do. Some with really hard work, some naturally. Pick those things. Be incredible at them. Some people will dunk a basketball and some will win a Nobel Prize in Physics. But probably no one will do both.