Conventional wisdom suggests that to be successful in life, you find a career that you really like, and that you work at that career until you retire. After many years of self sacrifice -and focusing on your family and career- you get to “retire.”
And then finally, in retirement, you get to do some of those things you’ve always wanted to do.
I say that wisdom is poppycock. It’s nonsense. And it’s frankly boring.
I like doing different things, love having different interests, and would be bored if I waited to retire to do things I love. Besides, I don’t think I’ll ever retire.
What Would Your Ancestors Do?
I love researching my ancestors, and I think about the variety of things they had to know how to do – just to survive, let alone have a good life:
- tend a garden
- care for livestock
- stoke a wood stove
- cook on a wood stove
- collect the harvest
- store the harvest
- make clothing
- make their own house
- help build a neighbor’s barn
They certainly weren’t just sitting around and watching Jelle’s Marble Runs on YouTube!
(maybe that’s just me?)
From research, I know my ancestors were actively engaged in their community – and that’s in addition to the work they did to maintain a home and family. In an average week they might:
- Go to church on Sunday
- Go to a political meeting
- Attend a board meeting for the county poor house
- Go to town to get supplies
- Visit friends, neighbors, relatives
- Host a church picnic
And this was before electricity and phones were in every house, and before everybody had a car: they were doing this with horse, buggy, pencil and paper.
And frankly, it wasn’t that long ago – maybe a hundred years at the most.
Could You Live Like Your Ancestors?
Have you watched those shows where modern day folks try to live as ancestors used to?
There was Frontier House that challenged three families to live in the Montana wilderness as homesteaders.
Or perhaps you’d prefer 1900? Try The 1900 House:
My ancestors worked really, really hard, most every day. And, if I was to swap places with any of them, I’d be totally clueless.
I will guarantee that I wouldn’t make it in either the Frontier House nor The 1900 House.
If I were to ever participate in something like this (and I have no idea why I’d ever agree to it) I’ll bet I’d be the one who pouts and complains all the time – lol.
When faced with the idea of doing things that don’t bring me joy (looking right at you housekeeping) I am more likely to go read a book.
What Would They Think My Life?
And I don’t know what my ancestors would make of my life.
I’m single, in my mid-50s with no children. I live alone, in a house I own. I work at a day job that doesn’t use a typewriter or a mimeograph machine. At my job, I rarely print anything on paper or take notes on paper. I mostly sit or stand at a desk and look at two screens; sometimes I talk on the phone.
And outside of my 9-5 job? I’m a life coach – a job description that still baffles people. I’m a recipe-collecting, book-reading, fashion-savvy modern woman.
And more importantly, I embrace all of the facets of myself – not just one little thing over there in the corner that will make me big bucks so I can retire and live “happily ever after.”
I’m more interested in living the happily ever now.
What Did You Love To Do As A Kid?
When I answer this question, one of my great loves was long stretches of uninterrupted time. That’s freedom to me – time to do whatever I want, even if it’s just sitting around doing nothing.
I love doing nothing.
I loved reading books and twirling my baton. I loved cute clothes and baking cookies. I still do all of those things – including twirling my baton every so often.
As I got older, I learned that I love listening to people tell their stories. It was even better if I listened carefully, and was able to make one or two suggestions that helped them see things in a new light.
That’s what life coaching is all about: taking those many things you love, and arranging your life in a such a way that it’s possible to do the things you love on a regular basis.
As in now, not someday in the future when you retire.
Besides, the retirement where you have a pension to provide for you is a relatively modern invention.
I doubt I’ll ever retire. There is no pension waiting for me. There might be social security – if we’re lucky and that support survives another 20 years.
Besides, my ancestors were pretty hardy and active. For example, my great-great grandfather Wallace passed away at nearly 90 – but only because he tumbled off of a ladder.
Meaning, if it hadn’t have been for that fall, he would have kept going indefinitely. And probably enjoying his life.
That’s my life goal these days: enjoying life, having fun, and doing a little something I love every single day.
Some days, that’s working on genealogy. I love the research part, and really like the detective work involved in piecing together the mysteries of the past.
And as a life coach, I here to help you figure out what enjoying life means to you.
We focus on now, not on “someday.”
Besides, I’d rather be an interesting find for some future genealogist, wouldn’t you?