Most of us would like to view our lives, or at least our life expectancy, as a continuum projecting our lives out to infinity. The unfortunate truth is that our lives can more practically be viewed as being on an arc comprised of a beginning, middle and an end. For some odd reason, perhaps self preservation, we tend to park ourselves comfortably in the middle of the arc, regardless of our age.
This creates the impression that our lives are static, rather than continuously moving forward. Understanding this fact can radically change not only long held habits, but how we perceive our place in the world.
For example, many of our consumption habits may have been developed when we had little or no money. As we accumulate money over time, we can definitely afford to change our spending habits but don’t because we do not see our lives moving on the arc; we see ourselves stuck in a moment of time. Therefore, we may still take the Super Shuttle from the airport instead of a cab or limo not because we cannot afford the other choices, but because we don’t realize our life has changed and we can afford more convenience. How about bothering a relative to do drop off or pick up duty at the airport in order to save us the cost of long term parking?
We can look at the cost of driving instead of flying, settling for the cheapest concert or play tickets rather that ones that may offer a better vantage point as signs that we have stopped evolving. How about philanthropy? Do our giving habits reflect our station in life, or are they based on where we were financially twenty years ago?
An awareness of where we are in the “circle of life” is not something to be feared. Reassessing our position on the arc can help us to appreciate each phase of life as well as reduce anxiety. This awareness can also give us an interest as well as the courage to embrace different experiences, with different people as we ride life’s arc. Here’s wishing you the ride of a lifetime.