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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