Lately, I find myself falling into a trap in my thinking. It is the misguided belief that I will somehow have perfect results, sometime in the future.
“Next week I am going to finish all my tax receipts.”
“Next month I am going to start exercising every day.”
“Next year I will win the World Championship of Public Speaking.”
The fallacy in this thinking is that there is no ‘me’ in next week, next month or next year. I only exist in the now. And the ‘me’ in the now is lazier, makes more excuses and often avoids doing things I should be doing.
Taking this a step further, I can see that I create these idealized time frames in my life in larger ways. I set goals that extend far beyond the realm of my reality.
“I will be a Millionaire by the time I’m forty.”
Well – sorry to say – forty has now passed and I ain’t no millionaire. The years leading up to forty years old I didn’t take enough action to make my ideals into a reality.
I often wonder at the value of these types of thoughts. Do they help to keep me inspired? Or do they serve to keep me avoiding action in the present moment?
I think anyone who sets goals has an ‘idealized age’ by which they will have achieved everything they want.
But in reality, the idealized age is fake. It’s a mirage on a horizon that disappears as you approach it.
It’s a weird feeling to watch people younger than you achieve things you want in less time. There are people ten years younger than me, who are richer, better known as speakers, and more successful. Part of me admires them, part of me resents them.
The difference between me and them is that instead of creating an idealized age, they created an active now. The time they lived in was full of actions that created results. It wasn’t all easy, but they kept taking action. Meanwhile, I kept telling myself I’d be better next week, next month, next year.
I am not sharing this because I feel like I am a failure. On the contrary, I am more successful than I have ever been, in many areas of my life. Yet the idealized age still haunts me. I still have these fantasies that at some stage all will be completed, all will be achieved.
It’s very easy to fantasize that someday you will achieve everything you want. What’s hard is to go for it in the now.
The small wins that you can create each day will start to stack up. Although the fantasy version of life might seem nice, there is no greater feeling than a small win in the moment.
Do everything you can now.
Now is the antidote to the idealized age.
2 thoughts on “The Idealized Age”
Thank you for this. I turn 30 this summer, and I’ve been in a weird place about it, back and forth for several months. I’ve done a lot of things in my life already, but I feel like I haven’t achieved enough. Maybe that’s just me. But, I’m also grateful for all the experiences I have had. I’m not letting the big 3-0 hang over my head. I look forward to it.
Thanks Laura, yes I think any time a decade rolls by you feel the gravity of it. I know that I had lofty ambitions for years in the future that never came to pass by the time I made it there. But on the flipside, I had a great time in the ‘now’ while I was working towards that age. And the things I did achieve are almost somehow better than what I’d planned. Best of luck for the next decade!! DMS