We Only ‘Get To’ Work a Third of Our Lives, If We’re Lucky

I was talking to my 97 year old great-aunt recently she said something that struck me — she commented that she’s been retired for 31 years and can hardly believe it’s been that long. 

Immediately I thought, “that’s ‘only’ a third of her life”.

No doubt she has lived a lot of life and experienced a lot in her 97 years. She was one of the first female Marines. She is the proud mom to seven kids (and numerous kids and grandkids). She is an avid genealogy researcher. And so much more.

In fact, that’s how we met. A few years ago she reached out to me on 23&me. We communicate primarily by email. She’s 97 and knows how to email, text, and use technology software like 23&me 🤯.

I think often about how much the world has changed in her lifetime (it blows my mind tbh). 

What struck me about my aunt’s comment was this: 

What if we looked at our lives in seasons?

If you’re reading this you are likely also in a season of work. If you’re around my age (35) then you’ve been in this season for 10 years or so. So if you’re like me, we’re ‘already’ ten years in— so about a third of the way through.

Now think about what you want to create during this one-third ‘season’ of your life. 

The first third-ish being childhood and young adulthood and the last third being retirement and mid-to-old age. I’m not a fan of these terms but they’re the easiest to use here.

I often think about an anecdote — the days are long but the years are short. 

What if we kept bringing our awareness back to this being just a season of life, rather than focusing on the minutiae of the day to day. The commutes, the getting the kids ready, the never ending zoom calls, etc. 

The years are passing no matter what way we think about them. 

Why do we want to waste them — ‘I just want this to be over’ — to get to where? 

I’d rather practice coming back to the question: what do I want to create in this season? If I ‘only’ have 30 years or so (or 40, or choose your number) in the season of my career, what do I want to create? What do I want to offer? What do I want to contribute?

Someday you will look back on the life season you are in with great fondness and nostalgia. These will be the ‘good old days’. Why not acknowledge this now and APPRECIATE the ‘good old days’ while you’re in them?

What do you think? Send me a note and let me know — I’d love to hear what you want to create in this season of your life

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