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Archive for January 19th, 2007

QOTD: If you don’t believe in yourself…

Friday, January 19th, 2007

“If you don’t believe in yourself, then who will believe in you? The next man’s way of getting there might not necessarily work for me, so I have to create my own ways of getting there.”
— Michael Korda

Week 1… 2,499 more to go

Friday, January 19th, 2007

I forget who it was that I was talking to recently, but we were discussing how the retirement age keeps creeping older. It will be at least 70 by the time I’m old enough to tap into the Social Security fund. (Not that it won’t have been bankrupted by then.)

The way I figure it, I have about 50 years of work ahead of me. I have half a century of work ahead of me.

That means, assuming I work only 40 hours a week and actually take two weeks vacation each year, I have 100,000 hours of work left before retirement. That’s 2,500 weeks or 17,800 eight-hour days of work in my future.

So now I conclude week one. Only 2,499 more to go.

But seriously. Do you know how much you can do with 50 years? How many stories you could tell. How many people you could meet. How places you could see.

  • I could spend one year in each of the 50 U.S. states. Imagine trying to fit that resume on one page.
  • I could make it a point to meet at least one new person each day. Even if only one person each year ends up as a friend, that’s 50 friends who will show up to fill the pews when I die, and more than 18,000 acquaintances over that period.
  • I could chronicle my life and the world as it stands each year. By retirement, I’d have an encylopedia’s worth of biographical material. (Though, it’d probably be in 20 different formats, most of them out-of-date.)
  • I could spend a decade in the Peace Corps, or just pack up and go on different tours whenever I want a break from my real life.
  • I could read 100 books each year. By retirement, I’d have 5,000 books in my repertoire.

Seriously. Fifty years is an insane amount of time. It’s about two and a half times my current life so far.

One of the younger professors at my university, whom I talked to as I began my job search, told me that it was an exciting time for me because there was nothing I couldn’t do. She said once you take a job, those doors start closing. Already I’ve experienced that a little from the editors who’ve contacted me since I accepted a job. One can’t help but wonder what other amazing opportunities were cut off by taking one path in favor of others. But you can’t take two roads at once (as much as I’d love to venture down a few to see how they’d pan out). All you can do is pick the one you think will take you closest to where you want to be and jump. You might hold your breath when you do it, afraid you’ll fail and fall flat on your face. But eventually, if you want to get anywhere, you have to jump and take that first step toward somewhere else.

Thinking about how I have 50 whole years ahead of me to try anything I want puts it in perspective. Sure there are doors that are slamming shut to me now. But I could go back later to see what was behind door No. 2, or better than backtrack, just see where I end up. As long as I learn something and enjoy the road, what is there to lose? Nothing.

So, here’s to the next 2,499 work weeks of my life.