When I was young, to aspire was to breathe. I dreamed so many vivid dreams. At 10 I wanted to be the next Mickey Mantle. At 11 I started music lessons and I dreamed of being a professional musician. I started writing songs and thought they were pretty good, so I aspired to be a songwriter and ordered songwriting courses.
In high school I aspired to be an author (specifically a famous novelist), to teach accordion to children (my instrument choice was not visionary). I wanted to get drafted by the Phillies as a pitcher after graduation.
In college I aspired to become a college professor. I started to get entrepreneurial urges, but, in my family and in every family I knew, aspiration was to get a good-paying, secure job. So I suppressed my entrepreneurial urges – although I do remember during rest periods at my summer job in the college years designing restaurants that I might one day build.
After college I got that good-paying, secure job in Hartford, CT, did great, and then promptly threw it away to go into sales because I aspired to do “more” – although I didn’t yet know what “more” was. Then I sucked at computer and insurance sales for a couple of years until I found the courage to start my own advertising business (with $200 in the bank and Marianne pregnant with our 2nd child). Sure I was stupid and unrealistic. But I aspired to aim higher with my life. I was determined to live out my aspirations and successfully support my family.
That aspiration turned into almost 40 years of ever-aspiring business and personal growth that turned into a fulfilling and meaningful life. Then I retired and continued to feel a need to again aspire higher starting an Internet consulting business and, eventually, this EverAgeless.com blog with my wife.
As humans our remarkable brain is hard-wired to aspire.
We aspire to improve, to better ourselves, to reach higher for “more.” So why do so many of us as we age find ourselves dissatisfied with the arc of our life, with what we have done, or not done, in our life? The world imposes limits, borders, barriers, structure and rules. Other people impose their perceptions, opinions, jealousies and self-interest that change our perspective and continually challenge our aspirations.
“You’re not experienced enough, skilled enough, smart enough, educated enough, old enough, too old, too heavy, too thin, too pretty, not attractive enough, not passionate enough, not tall enough, not capitalized enough. Your aspirations are too risky, too ambitious, too cautious, too costly, too unrealistic.
Does this sound too familiar?
As we age, barriers, bad experiences, rejections and disappointments can add up. Life happens. We can lose confidence, get discouraged, lose the energy and motivation to work through challenges or take on new ones. Complacency, fatigue, illness or loss of faculties can overcome our aspirations. Anxieties and fear can overwhelm us as we age.
Job one in aging well is to defiantly and creatively fight through these barriers. Some are imposed on us. Many we impose on ourselves. Aging is as much a mindset as it is a physical deterioration of body and mind.
This determination does not have to be unrealistic. We all get older. We all will lose some things as we age. But aging defiantly preserves and energizes our innate ability to ASPIRE.
Without aspiration we give up a profound piece of our humanity.
So our job today and every day is to toughen up and fight through any barriers, imposed or self-inflicted, that hold us back from living our most fulfilled and meaningful life… an ageless life not confined by or defined by our age or by anything else.
I consider myself a warrior still, after 77 years, engaged in a quest to continually find meaning in my life, fighting windmills along the way, overcoming disappointments, momentary failures, occasional regret, sadness and even despair, but never deterred from my quest.
Fight your way through the barriers. Find emotionally important goals that will pull you through, over and around anything that gets in your way to finding meaning and purpose in your life.
Aspire higher every day.
Keep moving forward. No excuses. Let nothing overpower your true, authentic, aspiring self.
Never give up on dreams.
Never give up.