The Best is Yet to Come

The Best is Yet to Come

by Thomas L. Hardin, CMT, CFP Managing Director, Canterbury Group and David Oeschger, PhD Clinical Psychologist

You're probably familiar with the old adage, "I wish I'd known then what I know now." It implies that by the time you figure things out, it's too late to do you any good. Your only recourse is to leave a legacy of wisdom to the generation behind you, and hope that they'll use it before it's too late.

This approach to the twilight years sounds discouraging and pessimistic, doesn't it? Luckily, there's a better alternative. We believe that when the rock and roll generation achieves a mature age, we'll have the potential to be at our peak in performance and productivity. However, achieving peak performance later in life and entering those years with enthusiasm and optimism will require us to do something no previous generation has ever done before: Train for longevity.

Consider for a moment this concept of training and how it differs from exercise. Exercise is beneficial; when we exercise, we feel vitalized. But training involves the ongoing practice of disciplines that help us achieve and maintain a performance state for extended periods of time. It requires a synergy of mental, physical, and emotional variables. World-class athletes don't just exercise, they train for success. Specifically, they discipline themselves to think healthy thoughts, eat properly, maintain their physical health, shape optimistic attitudes, and develop hidden potential.

For many of us in the rock and roll generation, our beliefs and values about longevity were shaped by our parents' beliefs and values, and their thinking was shaped by their parents who lived during the Great Depression. During that time, a prevailing atmosphere of pessimism affected how people lived and envisioned the future. We rock and rollers have the opportunity to supplant this pessimistic atmosphere with a positive one. Rather than looking at the future as bleak and something to protect ourselves against, we can view it as if it were a fine wine - something that only gets better with age.

Life can be more meaningful and fulfilling as we get older. Recently, a national newspaper reported the results of a survey on longevity issues. It asked people at what age they would freeze time if they could stay that age for the rest of their lives. Respondents aged 64 and older chose 59 years of age. While this response may seem surprising, it's around that age that people have acquired a lifetime of wisdom, while still preserving their health and an active career.

A strong training mentality can help us make our second 50 years the best years yet. Training for longevity involves making a long-term commitment and practicing every day. By restructuring our core beliefs and values, and improving our mental, physical, and emotional health, our second 50 years can be a time of revitalization rather than a period of decline. Given the choice, which one will you pick?