Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Slide Through a Lifetime

I've often thought about how cool it would be to be able to create a fairly accurate picture of a future life. Physical appearance is a key part of our identities, and I think it would be fascinating to see what I might look like in my late 50s, which is why I need to try The Amazing Aging Machine.

Right now, you have to travel to a place like the Ontario Science Centre to get your photo taken and have it virtually aged to reveal a glimpse of your future face, but wouldn't it be cool to have this kind of software available to everyone? What a great complement to a tool that lets you create a mosaic and timeline of your future lifestyle choices. Perhaps not for everyone, though...even the little demo makes your mortality fairly clear.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Odyssey into Self-Employment, Part X

Jory's using a family transition as an opportunity for some powerful reflection on her life direction, and thankfully she's letting us listen in: A Soloist's Spiritual Housecleaning:
"In this fashion I've inventoried my physical and aspirational assets and, likewise, feel taken care of, if not disappointed that many of the things I would have valued so highly a few years ago I am willing to forego. Me, being the practical person that I am, wonder if I can't get anything for some of these former achievements, accomplished more out of fear and survival instincts than faith and love, on eBay.

I'm disappointed that the world is not always going along with my program, the one I had plotted so carefully, thinking it was all meant to be because it flowed so powerfully from me. I'm convinced that my life concept is still a good one, but apparently there will be more plot twists and challenges thrown in."
These few sentences are just loaded with smart references to how we envision the arc from our present and past lives to future possibilities. How well can we inventory our own aspirational assets? How many of us could articulate our own life concept, rather than just living by the twists and turns?

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Delayed Life Transitions

Brian The Experience Designer is thinking about Delayed Life Transitions, which is a really nice descriptive label for many of the issues I've been touching on here: delayed adolescence, twixters, yeppies, college degrees as the new high school diploma, couples delaying parenthood, later (or no) retirement, later marriage, etc. He expands on some ideas we chatted about over here recently as well:
"While people still do have children during their (supposed) years of highest production, these children often spend more time in daycare centres than family environments. The parents are often driven by a two-income lifestyle that fragments their family time into discrete pieces. The idea of quality time it seems to me is really a retrieval of the desire to belong, and possibly an excuse for not belonging enough."

Friday, November 18, 2005

Commit to the Value

An excellent post on goal setting: Set the goal, commit to the value.
"What she talks about here--goals taking on a life of their own--is a very real trap. The same is true with many planning systems; we need to understand who we are and what we're about, and realize that values come first. If our goals are revealed to be out of sync with those values--or our understanding of those values changes so they are--we change the goal. Putting the goal down and committing to it makes it more likely to be achieved; however, we must understand we are committing to what the goal represents to us. The goal is a means to realize our potential and productively apply our values; it is not an end in itself."
He was also bouncing off a great related post about getting what you want on another interesting blog: overexcitable.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Enhanced Lifestyle Planner

Pretty cool outline of what this author calls the Enhanced Lifestyle Planner. It seems so obvious that a simple, powerful tool to help people envision their future lifestyle(s) has all kinds of learning applications, from financial planning and financial literacy to life coaching and goal setting.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Eat, Sleep, Work, Consume, Die

Wired News: Eat, Sleep, Work, Consume, Die This article has a great, warm tone while questioning the constructs of our modern work life:
"Just because technology makes it possible for us to work 10 times faster than we used to doesn't mean we should do it. The body may be able to withstand the strain -- for a while -- but the spirit isn't meant to flail away uselessly on the commercial gerbil wheel. The boys in corporate don't want you to hear this because the more they can suck out of you, the lower their costs and the higher their profit margin. And profit is god, after all. (Genuflect here, if you must.)"

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Guess I'm Technically Retired

From Worthwhile, a quick insightful post about what people are doing when they semi-retire from their "real jobs"...some wonderful comments as well.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Looking Back at Potential

I love getting a glimpse into a stranger's reflections on their childhood potential. What did you think you were going to be when you grew up, and now that you're older, how did it turn out?
"Here I was, a really smart kid with lots on the ball--gifts that I hadn't even begun into tap yet--and I thought my life was over. I graduated from high school fearing the worst. I might eke out a few years in minimum wage jobs and then...magically expire. And it didn't help matters that I had a high school counselor for four years who gave me the excruciatingly mixed message of steering me toward a slate full of college prep courses only to tell me my senior year that she thought I had a great future ahead of a legal secretary."
Thanks to Jory's ThirdAge Carnival for the pointer.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Post-Gasoline Future?

You Can 't Get There From Here - Or Can You? Over at The Future of Work, they're also thinking about what a future lifestyle might look like if almost nobody could afford to drive to work. It's a more optimistic vision than most, and isn't predicated on a global economic collapse. Some nice side benefits for communities and individuals:
"Oh, and there’s a little hidden bonus in this vision thing of ours – you get to keep all that money you’re currently dropping into your gas tank. Maybe, just maybe, you’ll spend some of that “free cash” on local businesses like restaurants, coffee shops, florists, movie theaters, continuing education programs, concerts, and art galleries. Up goes your quality of life. And up goes the health and well-being of your home town and its residents."

Friday, November 04, 2005

Think Arete

Brian Johnson on the concept of retirement:
"Who came up with that? Work like crazy doing something we're not passionate about so we can accumulate enough money to pay the bills from our stress-caused illnesses while we complain about what we should have done when we were still young."
I guess he wrote a manifesto a few years ago called Think Arete, and turned it into a site focused on an ancient greek word for the process of self-actualizing and striving to reach your highest potential. The site has wonderful quotes, notes and articles like this one about writing your goals. Lots of wisdom there, and it looks like he even offers consulting using his philosophy.

Thanks to Jill, who consistently stretches my mind.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


Rob Paterson often thinks and writes about what it means to be truly alive. One section in a recent post resonated with me and I wanted to save it. Most of us would say that our closest relationships were among the most precious things in our lives, but what's the first thing to get sacrificed when we get stressed and busy? Our friendships.
"Think of a time when you were so busy that you drifted away from others. How did you feel? More human or less? Think of a time when you were strongly linked to others. How did you feel then? The paradox is that when we have a difficult challenge in front of us, we often default in the doing and lose the connections and hence our power."
This connects directly to some of the thinking I've been doing about gaps between our stated values and how we actually choose to spend our time and money, and flies in the face of what we're learning about happiness. Rob's also pondering what kinds of lifestyle decisions we'll be making five years from now if the price of gas goes up a buck a year.

Out of Alignment

I think there's some real truth to this: passionate work takes less brain juice. When you're really engaged in work that matches your interests and skills, it isn't draining -- you lose track of time and have energy left over for the rest of your life. Curt bounces off an article about creativity to synthesize this insight. A quote:
"In contrast to that state of flow, I've found that following a career path that is out of alignment with who we really are can cause a steady hum of anxiety and effort, just to maintain the status quo."