Looking back at 48

Photo by Adi Goldstein on Unsplash

He who has a why to live can bear almost any how. Friedrich Nietzsche

When you’re my age, you’re thinking of three things: family, work, and, sleep.

More than a year into the pandemic, my family kept me sane, in checked. They fed me. Entertained me. Challenged me.

They gave me purpose. They are my purpose.

Meanwhile, at work, it’s been insane. Screen time was up. The volume of work increased. I spent more time in two to three hour meetings, listening in front of a computer. Face time was down to a minimum. Working from home was the default. Driving to work was less stressful. Traffic jams were less–a silver lining, maybe?

Then, there is sleep. And I mean my health. I’m getting four to five hours of sleep a day. My sleep app recommends six hours or more. But I wake up early most of the days.

They say sleep helps you recover. Sleep repairs the body. Sleep reboots the mind. Having enough determines if I’m cranky or bubbly all day.

Screen time competes with sleep these days. Binge watching is a bane for most of us. Streaming made it easier for us to consume content. It is designed that way. (Click the Next Episode…right about now!)

I also cut my social media time. I deleted most of these apps from my phone. I fire up a browser to check out Facebook. I took out temptations to feed on snackable content. Goodbye Tiktok. I kept Twitter for news and people I follow. I want to delete YouTube. But it’s a default app on my phone. Thanks Google.

Photo by Drew Coffman on Unsplash

I read more this year. I finished five books, going on my sixth in a few days. Thank you Kindle! It’s not a competition but Amazon has made reading social. Goodreads connects you to people who are sharing their progress in their reading. This is subtle peer pressure to keep on reading.

These are the topics of my recent reading: the future of banking and the financial industry; life lessons from a physicist; a refresher on writing short; the insane life of an entrepreneur; and a modern philosopher’s take on wealth, life, and happiness. I’m about to finish a masterful account on the psychology of money. Lesson so far: wealth is not about having a lot of money.

See, I read to learn mostly. Entertainment is secondary. A friend and mentor kept reminding me how I should apply what I read. “Study nature,” he often says. I do.

Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you. –Frank Lloyd Wright

Books are a great source of ideas, history, and inspiration. Reading is also my way of flexing that grey matter. They say it builds new networks of neurons.

For posterity, I’m recording some personal milestones so I can remember 2021:

  1. I got vaccinated for COVID-19. So did my wife, my eldest daughter, and my 86-year-old father-in-law who witnessed World War 2, and now, a pandemic.
  2. I’m close to paying off another loan. Lesson: Pay off your debts first.
  3. I’m now a registered voter (been so long since I was one). Time to vote the next capable leaders next year.
  4. I’m getting more sleep. I have mastered turning off the noise in my head before I dose off. Reading helps.
  5. I deleted social media apps on my phone. No mobile games too. #ReduceScreenTime
  6. I’m deliberately spending more time connecting with my family, friends, and “strangers.” I’m not much of a talker, but I love to listen.
  7. I’m reading more.
  8. I got another dog. She’s bringing us joy. She also wakes me up in the morning.
  9. I pick and share God’s words. He offers wisdom and answers to life’s questions. Period. It’s me, and it’s not a persona.
  10. I’m learning to focus more; and not to sweat the small stuff.

An ex-journalist. Teacher. Dad. Loves Guitar & Books. Writes when inspiration hits him.