When you build a daily routine, you aware of what you are doing. Your senses are still fine, your motoric abilities function and you can think straight and agile. In contrast to an old man who just does things because he has been doing it for years and decades, you execute your routine with full intention.
I have always been doing it like that.
It is no secret that specifically old people have their standardized way of doing things (and their preferences) which they are not always fully aware of. You are. You know every automated process of your routine and can intervene when one part needs your manual adjustment. When you execute you are stubborn as a donkey and clever as a fox.
I encourage you to use an intentional routine as a feature for your life when you are 20, 30, 40, 50. For example, when you are able to apply a routine of going to bed early, waking up early and observing people around you, you learned things from old people already. With old people I do not mean the grumpy, grinch-like people with frustrated views of the world — although a negative perspective can help you see the world differently without getting dragged into a vicious spiral of negativity.
For the purpose of this exercise examine old people. Observe what they are doing, ask questions, also what is uncomfortable. Be a genuine friend to them and make them feel you were a humane reporter, with the difference that your article will be for your own eyes only (and maybe the old person’s when he can still read properly).
During my studies (2006-2013) on my way to university it was common to be in the train with old people. At 10am children were in school and other adults were working. In those years my fascination and pure interest for old people grew. I liked their relaxed way of being and seeing the world, and how they sometimes still struggle with what happened and had not happened in their life. You can see it in their face. Like the growth rings of a tree tell its age, the wrinkles in their faces show what they went through.
Those observations led to the idea that at the end of my life I would want to be an old wise grandpa sitting in his chair telling adventure stories. This is going to be the relaxed future me. I like relaxed and calm because it is important to act ouf of calm.
However, as part of my growth process I started thinking like a businessman (about 14 months ago). Before, I was a freelancer with an artist’s mindset ready and happy to starve my way through the days. Not very sustainable, no surprise. I discovered a new plan for my life, more ambitious and with a clear goal, a dream goal.
Had I not have had these observations of old people, the lessons I learned from them (also talking to them) and my longing for calm, I would not have re-developed this ambitious side of mine. Use old people as long as they are alive. Old people can be your mirror. You can see yourself in them. For example, my mirror are wood workers in the forest or construction workers in the city. They appeal to me because they stand for my longing to work, hard and hands-on.
Old people are only one example of what to observe. Your leisure time is observation — of what is inside and around you. When you are curious about your environment lift your head, walk around and let the world happen to your senses until they will have become old enough that a young man, like yourself now, will be watching you and you will share what he is going to learn and what to pay attention to.
With my 33 years, I recommend paying attention to old people. They are wise because they will feed you with wisdom.
This was episode 20 of the #weekendpunchline 👊. Every Saturday and Sunday.
Also published on Medium.