May 28, 2012
We had a great time at my brother-in-law’s wedding in Kentucky this weekend. In addition to the ceremony and the reception, we explored Louisville and even took in some races at Churchill Downs.
On the face of it, it was just another great time with family and friends. However, when I think about it more, there were some really funny things that happened… will one of them stick with us the rest of our lives? How about the half-life sized piñatas that the bride and groom had made of themselves? Or the story of one of the friends who had a little too much fun that night and whose wife won’t let him forget soon? Or how about the lady who swung too hard at the pinata and sent the stick flying into the audience (no injuries to report)?!
Will I talk about these stories when I’m an old man? (Ok, age is all relative since my nieces and nephews already think I’m an old man!)
There’s a good chance I will remember some of these stories, but that leads me to another question. Why do we focus the majority of our time on things we’d never care to talk about when we’re older?
Using this weekend as an example, my in-law’s friends were at the wedding reminiscing over some great times they had 30+ years ago. These stories sure as heck weren’t about how they received a killer promotion or sacrificed spending time with their families for their careers. No, the stories were all about adventures and great times spent with their friends and families. Adventures that are now passed on to future generations.
Are you spending your time on things you and your family will talk about for years to come? Here’s the important thing, money isn’t even an important element to making the stories. Some of my best memories from when I was a kid came with very little money spent… our many treasure hunting hikes through the woods, sports in the backyard, and swimming at the lake. Don’t let money be your excuse for not doing things you’ll like to talk about.
Going on adventures is something I need to work on. For the 8 years since I’ve graduated college, the corporate job has filled most of my time with stress, time away from home, and concern for the next promotion. I need to do a better job of creating memories with my family.
Three years ago, I wrote a five-year letter to myself talking about what I’d hope to accomplish. Now, I need to think more about how I’m spending my time and if I’m doing the things now that the old me will like to talk about. The greatest part is that I’ll have a great group of friends and family to talk about our shared experiences with.
Of course, time goes by so fast and before we know it we’re the old men. As the great economist and philosopher Adam Smith wrote, “A youth, too unassuming and too unambitious, is frequently followed by an insignificant, complaining, and discontented old age.”
Will the old you be happy with you?