I’ve been putting this post off since May. It feels strange to talk about getting older. If you’re busy enough you don’t notice the time passing. That’s how the last 10-12 years have felt. Work has got bigger and more significant in many ways as new opportunities have come along, and my life has increasingly centred itself around family, both as a husband and also as a dad to (my now) 4 children.
It doesn’t feel any different being in your forties than your thirties.
I try not to worry about what other people think of me (still hard).
I’m genuinely more open minded and think I know less than I did when I was in my twenties.
I’m learning to trust how I see the world. It matters less to me now what other people think, but I care deeply about doing good work. Good work that works for other people.*
I get tired more easily and have to manage my health more. My hearing lets me down badly, but it has made me focus on becoming a better, clearer communicator.
I get anxious that I can’t work and get through life with the same intensity and energy that I had 15 years ago.
I don’t run for trains anymore (it was never worth it).
I still like football. The longer you support a team the broader the context you have for judging how well (or how badly) they are doing. I remember the 1990’s.
I still like music and I need to make more time to play the guitar.
I don’t have enough close friends. It’s easy to lose touch as life carries on around you and priorities and attention shifts.
Experiences have become more important to me than the things I own. I like to visit new places, and just as often, the same old places with my family (we love Cornwall). Memories are the most important currency that we have together.
I hope for good health, good relationships as everyone around me grows older, and to keep giving my best.
It was the 22nd anniversary of my Grandad’s death last September. He died aged 81. If I get just over 40 more years I hope that people will still say that I was a little like him. He was gentle, calm, self assured, and always made time for other people.
Life remains open to all the possibilities ahead of us, whatever happens.
*Everyone gets to choose how they see the world. Your work should represent how you see the world (Van Gogh’s sunflower paintings for anyone that has heard me speak about this).
Ben Holliday is an experienced designer, leader, writer and speaker. This is his blog (started in 2005). You can follow all of Ben's blog posts by subscribing to the RSS feed, or follow him on Twitter for more regular updates.