Nov 13, 2008

The 100 Year Lifestyle

Something else that had made me rethink what I was doing with my life (and therefore made it easier to accept the lay off) was a book called The 100 Year Lifestyle. I didn't know the lay off was coming when I read it, and I happen to read it only because I thought this was a book about healthy lifestyle, like eating right, etc., which I was into because of all the health issues that I was having. The book wasn't about what to eat or how much to exercise: it was about taking a long-term view of your life and reflecting what kind of life you want with an assumption that you are going to live to 100.

It wasn't like I had never thought about my life before this book: I used to think about it whenever I dealt with my health and wondered how long more I could go on. But it always gave me rather depressing perspective. I mean, if I get sick or whatever so easily when I'm trying to eat right and exercise, what's the point? It made me focus on the immediate future - like, "I can't lose my health insurance", or "I can't plan that far out".

So "If you were to live to 100 (and the chances are that you might - the average life expectancy is getting longer and longer), what do you want to change now?" was an interesting question for me. Here are four main thoughts that came to my mind:
  • Network of friends and family - I was so consumed with my work that I often neglected my friends and family(and mind you, it's not like I have a big circle of friends or large extended family. I'm very picky when it comes to friends). But if I were to live to 100, I want to make sure that I have a solid network of people that includes more variety of age groups and interests.
  • Health - I also would want to make sure that I'm going to be a healthy 100 year old, physically and mentally. I don't want to be hanging around with my body and mind not functioning right. Do you?
  • Life-long passion/mission - I want to have life-long missions, the purpose and meaning of life, that I can work towards to, instead of only focusing things right in front of me at a given moment.
  • Finance - Well, I hate to think about it, but no, I don't want to live to 100 with no means to support myself.

I'm going to have to think about how I'll be earning my living, but having this type of long term vision in determining what you'll do next is completely different from thinking only about career advancement. In fact, right now, it seems to me that thinking only about the career advancement completely conflicts with thinking about my life.

Anyway, the book further explains what areas to change, how to change, etc. It points out that change is easy if you recognize that it's a process (not perfection that happens instantly), and it's much easier and less consuming than resisting change.

I think that's true. It's just difficult to remember that all the time. I need to start reminding myself of that.

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