A Matter Of Age?

Michael Reuter

I’m rel­a­tive­ly young. Yes­ter­day, I turned 45, and that’s one year younger than the aver­age Ger­man in the year 2014. Sta­tis­tics say that my life expectan­cy is 90 years; most prob­a­bly I’ll die on the 13th of April, 2059 — anoth­er 45 years to go. And yet, game could be over tomor­row. Who knows?

A Mean­ing­ful Life
How­ev­er, my per­son­al plan is to say good-bye much later — I love life, I want to expe­ri­ence as much as I can and I would like to play with my (prospec­tive) grand kids. And to achieve a max­i­mum of well-being right now as well as being able to live a decent life even as an octo­ge­nar­i­an, I try a healthy lifestyle: I run, I do pilates (could be more often), I pre­fer healthy food to junk, I med­i­tate. I don’t smoke, don’t drink too much, and I don’t watch TV. All this not to pre­pare myself for a brighter future only, but to opti­mize my well-being here and now: I live now and I want to do mean­ing­ful things instead of wast­ing time.

The aspect of “now” has become more and more impor­tant for me in the last years. I think the main rea­son is age itself: the older you get, the more you think about the mean­ing of life and what is still in for you. Anoth­er rea­son for focus­ing on the actu­al moment is your own off­spring: if you see your kids grow­ing and if you real­ize how fast they become young adults, then you don’t want to waste your time with some irrel­e­vant stuff. For exam­ple, I try not to worry about things in gen­er­al. If some­thing goes wrong, I don’t offer resis­tance, but I’ll search for a way out — and there always is a solu­tion. Not to worry means a daily chal­lenge, and cer­tain­ly I lose my tem­per reg­u­lar­ly. But I try not to. And I’m get­ting bet­ter from day to day. Ulti­mate­ly, every sec­ond of resent­ment is wast­ed time. A sit­u­a­tion is as the the sit­u­a­tion is — it’s up to me to make the most out of it.

Feel­ing old?
Do I feel old, then? No, def­i­nite­ly not — although every­body younger than 40 years would gen­tly dis­agree. In fact, I feel quite young when it comes to all work-related aspects: since I work in the app econ­o­my and — togeth­er with my great part­ners — I run my own quan­ti­fied self app, we’re active in a quite inno­v­a­tive and fast-moving area: you can’t real­ly grow old here.

A cou­ple of times dur­ing the year I give some lec­tures at uni­ver­si­ties. Work­ing with stu­dents is a lot of fun and it’s a chal­lenge, too: I want to teach the things I earn money with in a play­ful way that — at the same time — guar­an­tees a knowl­edge trans­fer. And, guess what? There’s absolute­ly no prob­lem at all to pro­vide the stu­dents with inter­est­ing and state-of-the-art con­tent, in most cases our daily work offers enough inno­v­a­tive aspects to sur­prise mas­ter stu­dents. I know I could be my stu­den­t’s father, but…hey — when it comes to learn­ing and inno­va­tion, I’m quite com­pet­i­tive at 45.

Wanna be younger?
Do I want to be younger? No, definete­ly not. I real­ly loved being a stu­dent in Bayreuth, a small town char­ac­ter­ized much more by its uni­ver­si­ty than the Fes­ti­val The­atre. But I would not want to be that stu­dent again. From time to time I envy those guys in their twen­ties, when they dis­cuss their daily party plans — com­pared with me and my most­ly business- or family-driven sched­ule. But, being an entre­pre­neur, I can quite eas­i­ly arrange my days as I want to have them arranged. So — no need for being 25 again.

To be clear, if a 25 year-old ten­nis play­er comes along, he’ll destroy me on the court. And 20 years ago I did not have to do any addi­tion­al exer­cise to keep my fig­ure. All that has changed. But I can com­pen­sate many defi­cien­cies with some wit and life expe­ri­ence.

Life Achieve­ments
And — dur­ing the years I have adjust­ed some of my goals: where­as I want­ed to be the best in some aspects of life, I don’t com­pare myself with oth­ers any more. If it comes to money, social sta­tus, or just gain­ing the upper hand in dis­cus­sions — all that was impor­tant to me before, but isn’t today. Psy­chol­o­gists would argue that peo­ple lower their expec­ta­tions as they get older because they have learned not being able to achieve more. My feel­ing is, that this isn’t cru­cial in my case: I just stopped to care about those things. And this is the most adorable aspect of get­ting older for me per­son­al­ly: to learn and to know what real­ly is of impor­tance in my life.

Impor­tant Aspects Of My Life

to be in good health
to live with a lov­ing and car­ing fam­i­ly
to build com­pa­nies with great part­ners
to live in the now.

Every­thing else is a bonus.

That’s why I don’t think I’m specif­i­cal­ly old or young. I just don’t care at all. Not any more. And I strong­ly rec­om­mend that atti­tude. Just do it!

After all:

Hap­pi­ness is not a goal; it’s the by-product of a life well lived. (Eleanor Roo­sevelt)

The photo was shot at Cas­tiglion­cel­lo, Tus­cany.

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