Fortune Friday: “You are going to have a very comfortable old age.”

Woohoo, I’m going to win the lottery!

Okay, probably not. True, my initial response to this fortune was centered on my future financial security (or lack thereof). But as I like to do, I let this fortune sit with me for a few days; and new thoughts began to emerge.

I heard this statement once and it made me laugh. I wish I knew who said it, but I’ve been unable to locate the source. It goes something like this:

“When you’re in your twenties, you worry what people think about you. When you’re in your forties, you don’t care what people think about you. When you’re in your sixties, you realize people were never thinking about you.”

Sad, but true. We spend so much of our precious life time worrying about the opinions of others. We want to be sure we’re doing it the right way. That we’re going to the right schools, associating with the right people, living in the right parts of town. We want to marry the right person and pick the right career.

We are so scared of doing it wrong.

But why? I mean really, who cares? The truth is it is mostly us doing the worrying. Everyone else is too busy trying to get it right—they don’t have time to worry about us. It’s a self-feeding cycle.

It reminds me of a time when I was going for a walk with my wife. Our pace had quickened to a point where I finally said, “Babe, why are you walking so fast?” She said, “Me? I was trying to keep up with you!”

But as I’ve gotten older—now in my forties and not caring so much what others think—I can see that “getting it right” is all an illusion. There is only one right way for me to live my life: My way. And for you, your way. That’s it. And this is where the comfort comes into play. The older and more mature I get, the more comfortable I am with myself. I am okay with my dumb jokes that embarrass my kids. I’m okay with my middle-age body, wrinkles, and graying temples. I like how I laugh and how I think. I am more comfortable with me, as I am, than I ever have been.

And if the trend continues, I will be very comfortable in my old age.

To your good fortune!

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