Listening

Having spent some quality time with several good people in their late fifties and sixties this last week; I think I’ve noticed something…

1) They were each either fearing or dealing with the end of their working lives.

2) They were each ostensibly ok about it, but seemed subtly troubled none the less.

3) They all hoped in one way or another that either dramatically changing their lives or throwing themselves into their relationships would make it ok…

I’m not so sure. I think what they were wrestling was irrelevance, loss of status and fear of terminal decline. Who can blame them?

For my part, I just wanted to be where they are – so I could imagine a life without work as the constant metronome.

A few weeks off seems to tell me I’ll cope just fine with a life of leisure; but I’m sure when my time comes I’ll be wrestling my demons as they are.

Hope however springs from something each of these encounters (and several others with younger folk) have reinforced… Everyone wants just two things in the end: to be noticed, and to be listened to.

I reckon if you can stop and properly listen to people, you’ll always be in demand.

Time will tell; but I think a couple of my older friends were fearing people wouldn’t be so interested in what they have to say any more. I think they’re right.

All people want is for you to listen to them.

Dead Mum or Dinosaurs

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I was debating with a friend yesterday whether he should feel any more concerned by the beliefs and values of his dead mum as the behaviours of dinosaurs. Both belong to the past; we live in the present. And soon we’ll be down with the dinosaurs – extinct.

We were on the topic of ‘self limiting beliefs’ – ideas we carry around which help us ignore reality or choose not to tackle the big questions in life. And the big question we were discussing was: how much to save for old age and how much to spend in the middle years.

I’m persuading him (especially if he’s reading this) that save, save, save and worry, worry worry are to be finally and fully vanquished. (Paradoxical that, as I bow to no man in my capacity to worry about the future). But he’s just about ‘home free’ financially and just ain’t rational to keep on saving when your days are numbered.

Just because your folks were thrifty until their last breath, doesn’t mean it’s right for you. Life is for living. We’ll all be dead before we want and it behoves us to get on and enjoy ourselves if we can afford to.

I’ve often worried much more about the years to come than the ones I’m living. So I’m with the dinosaurs, get munching those leaves and worry less about the meteor.