Ages at odds (JP Lifestyle Manifesto #1)

posted by Jeff | Monday, October 20, 2008, 6:24 PM | comments: 3

Gonch's comment to my last post had me thinking about a tangent topic. Why does age and experience seem to put personality traits at odds?

There is so much research out there that indicates certain aspects of our personalities change with age, some for better, some for worse. I read a great article (maybe it was in Wired or Fast Company?) that indicated, after watching Baby Boomers reach their 60's, that the transition culminated in one particularly turbulent time that comes in the 40's (and speculating that it'd be the 50's for today's teens). The mid-life crisis, as defined by this article, was that people suddenly realize that they've let go of their ability to dream, be creative and cling to ideals, in favor of being realistic and practical. The result is a great deal of self-loathing that they've "sold out" or let themselves grow too far from their younger ideals. The article went on to say that this also was a source for resentment toward younger generations in the work place, but that's a topic for Gonch's blog. ;)

As this scenario relates to me, I think what I'm striving for is to have both. I want to be a dreamer, creative and idealistic, as well as realistic and practical. Being naive and stupid removes the constraints that would prevent most people from making serious mistakes, but it can also enable them to do really great things.

This is not a regret thing for me. I'm not self-loathing for feeling that I missed out on something or let go too much. My life has seen a great deal of chaos, especially these last three and a half years, but I'd never trade it in for what I've learned. It's true that joy is much sweeter when it can be contrasted with a great deal of pain.

So I declare the first well-defined characteristic of the J-Pizzie Lifestyle Manifesto:

"Leverage all that experience has brought to you, but always balance it with the hope and fear of limitless possibility."


Comments

CPLady, October 21, 2008, 3:00 AM #

people suddenly realize that they've let go of their ability to dream, be creative and cling to ideals, in favor of being realistic and practical.

That hits the nail right on the head.

I know I'm much more cynical and in many cases way to "realistic" in my old age, and as much as I bitch about the seemingly lack of respect and self-responsibility of a lot of younger people I deal with through work, if you look at my friends, you'll see a great deal of them are much younger than I.

But on the other hand, I've already had my mid-life crisis where I questioned where I was at and where I was going with my life. The one thing I learned from it is that I still have to do things for me now and then, even if I do have a ton of realistic responsibility. That sometimes means being a little irresponsible.

My most common advice to those younger than me is "do it now". Take those risks now. Pursue your dreams now. If that means making a move across the country, do it. If it means quitting an 8-5 to start your own business, do it. It is so much easier to recover from bad decisions and mistakes when you are younger because the older you get, the harder it is to decide to take those risks, to not overthink all of the consequences, or to disrupt what we consider "security".

Something Catherine (my coaster buddy) posted today:

People who do too much look to the world for satisfaction and happiness. Outward success displaces self-fulfillment. We concentrate on things that we want but might not really need. In order to redefine success, people who do too much need to reflect on self. Sometimes simplicity is the key to finding out what is really neceesary and really makes us happy not just exhausted, frustrated, and fleetingly satisfied. This self-exploration can be scary because we might have to give up some of our work, but it is worth the momentary discomfort.

Carrie, October 21, 2008, 4:04 AM #

There is so much research out there that indicates certain aspects of our personalities change with age, some for better, some for worse. I read a great article (maybe it was in Wired or Fast Company?) that indicated, after watching Baby Boomers reach their 60's, that the transition culminated in one particularly turbulent time that comes in the 40's (and speculating that it'd be the 50's for today's teens). The mid-life crisis, as defined by this article, was that people suddenly realize that they've let go of their ability to dream, be creative and cling to ideals, in favor of being realistic and practical. The result is a great deal of self-loathing that they've "sold out" or let themselves grow too far from their younger ideals. The article went on to say that this also was a source for resentment toward younger generations in the work place, but that's a topic for Gonch's blog. [/image="/Jeff/images/wink.gif"]

Oh my sweet heaven... so much irony, so little time.

Gonch, October 21, 2008, 4:08 AM #

Dude. The way I see it, you and I are at a perfect age.

Old enough to know better, but young enough not to care. ;)


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