The Rocking Chair Factor

With many of the decisions I make or the directions I take in my life, I weigh it with the perspective of what I call ‘The Rocking Chair Factor’; in other words, when I’m an old man looking back on my life, am I going to be in a rocking chair with a smile on my face reminiscing about the wonderful experiences and adventures I created for myself?  Will I feel satisfied that I lived  a life of integrity and ethics and accomplished what I set out to accomplish and lived the life I dreamed of?  Or am I going to be a bitter and cynical old man, constantly thinking “If only I had….” and wondering how time got away from me.   This kind of decision making process might not be useful to everyone, but for me, it is a constant reminder of what is really important in my life and how incredibly valuable and precious our time is on Earth.

Columnist David Brooks of the New York Times recently asked people over the age of 70 to send him ‘Life Reports’; essays about their lives and what they feel they’ve done well and areas in their lives they regret.  His column provides a fascinating snapshot of some of the common themes from those looking back on their lives.

From both the strategies of the successful as well as from those who harbor regrets in their lives, there is a ton of useful knowledge that we can all learn from and grown from in these essays.  While some of these themes might seem to some simple common sense, I would challenge everyone to ask themselves what area of their lives they can improve or change.

Read the column by clicking here

What do you think?  Are you living the life you want?  What will you be thinking when you  are in your Rocking Chair?

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1 Comment

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One response to “The Rocking Chair Factor

  1. I don’t regret that I pursued a career that was not my first choice. Journalism provided an outlet for my creativity and shaped the professional person I am today. It was interesting, challenging and at times very tough. You don’t climb corporate ladders without earning your dues.

    I see a world of opportunity out there – even in these fire-the-old-peole first and hire-only-under-40 environment. New business ventures beckon. Many careers don’t care how old you are. Some artists didn’t start painting until they were in their eighties.

    On one of my trips to Albuquerque, I looked up my old boss from the Farmington Daily Times. I didn’t realize it at the time. I was just starting out. But, my boss gave me a lot of rein, only once pulling me into her office to tell me the reservation beat reporter had thin skin and was nervous about me (Native American on both sides of my family) hunting stories on the reservation. I had plenty of opportunities to write stories on Indian matters without venturing onto the reservation. Other than that one request, I was allowed to meander far and wide in search of stories that were fun to cover. I chased balloons, visited archaeological digs and even had the opportunity to ride a narrow gauge railroad during the dead of winter. I also covered a lot of the entertainment offerings for the tiny burg in the corner of New Mexico.

    I was so focused on my career that I wouldn’t realize for at least a decade that I had a great job. Because Farmington is so remote, I wouldn’t have a lot of competition for my job. It all turned out well. There were serious stories I covered, too. You don’t get opportunities like that often.

    My career in writing has been a rich and abundantly rewarding experience.

    What was my first choice?

    I was a fine arts major. These days, I am pursuing art and writing.

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