Life is a maze full of wrong turns and dead ends. But if we live long enough—and pay attention—we can learn from the past to make better decisions in the future.
Our focus is sharper once we aren’t as distracted by youthful exuberance. Looking back, we can agree with Elizabeth Kubler-Ross and David Kessler who write in Life Lessons,
There is a comfort … in the recollection that youth is many things, not all of them easy. It may be the age of innocence but it is also the age of ignorance. It is the age of beauty; it is also the age of painful self-consciousness. It is often the age of adventure and, just as often, the age of stupidity.
I would add that youth is the age of vision and vitality; it is also the age of myopia and squandered energy. It is the age of optimism and immortality; it is also the age of hubris and foolish risks.
By middle age we should have a better understanding of the game—including the sobering fact that everything goes back in the box when our marker is pulled off the board. The only thing of any value we leave behind is our influence.
The older we get the less energy we should spend on extraneous nonsense. We should have a clearer idea of who we are and what we can accomplish.The daily challenge is to parley that hard-earned knowledge into strategic action.
“For many the dreams of youth become the regrets of the old,
not because life is over but because it was unlived.”
– Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, David Kessler