July 4th always marks for me the heart of the summer. When our kids were still in school the 4th was a reminder that there was still plenty of summer left (despite the Back to School ads in the newspaper). The holiday marks the passing of time in a gentler way than, say, New Years’ Eve. I was reminded of this again by, of all people, John Mellencamp. On a recent episode of CBS Sunday Morning, Mellencamp said: “I only have so many summers left and I intend not to waste them being old.”
While I’m not a huge fan of most of Mellencamp’s music, I can certainly buy into his philosophy. Life in this world is short. There are so many things to do, see, learn, feel, explore, and love. There’s no sense in wasting time “being old.”
Mellencamp might take an edgier viewpoint of that statement, but here’s what it means to me. As you age:
- Don’t be afraid to take risks. If you haven’t done it (whatever it is), give it a try. Write that book. Start a business. Do the side hustle. Run a marathon. Check the boxes off of that bucket list.
- Take the time to travel. Having just returned from an incredible trip to London and Tuscany I can tell you that I wish I would have done much more traveling far earlier in my life. I hope to be able to do much more. I speak with enough elderly people who wish they would have traveled when they had the chance. I’m glad our children have already had the opportunity to do some traveling in their young lives.
- Cherish the summers. And for that matter the falls, winters, and springs, too. Every season of the year has something to celebrate. Make the time to do just that with friends and family.
- Spend your money on experiences instead of stuff. The older I get the more I realize that “stuff” and “status symbols” are far less important to me. I’d much rather make memories with my family and friends. Since we live in Orlando and are Disney fans, we spend some money on annual passes so that we can enjoy experiences there. This goes, of course, for travel (see #2) too.
- Take care of your health. Keep your doctor appointments. Go to the dentist. Get your exercise. Eat well. Doing all this will ensure that you’re able to make the most of the summers you have left. You won’t waste them “being old.”
I don’t know how many summers I have left and I intend not to waste them being old.
How about you?