Here’s to the Next Thirty Years!

For several reasons I’ve been thinking about longevity, health and “work”. One take-away from my recent family reunion is that I have a damned good genetic heritage, and with a little care I can reasonably expect to be healthy and productive for at least another 30 years.

When I look back 30 years it’s the beginning of 1985. That’s before digital video; before the Internet; before ATMs; before Amazon; and in Australia you had to get to the bank between 10 am and 3pm Monday to Friday! Most of what I do on a daily basis was simply not possible thirty years ago. The Macintosh was only announced a few months earlier.

The world has changed a lot, and will change even more in the next thirty years. My challenge is how to optimize myself for that period of my life.

Since 2011 I’ve been working to reclaim my health and I think have done a pretty good job of reversing out of the premature “middle aged body” that I’d managed to acquire with an exercise program consisting mostly of “leaps of logic”, “jumping to conclusions” and “running up the tab”!

These days a mix of walking and swimming, and real food has returned me to robust good health and positioned me well to take advantage of that genetic propensity, and support that next thirty years.

Thirty years – that’s close to some people’s entire working life! What will the next thirty years bring, when the last thirty have been so amazing? Well, consider this article on how the world of computer animation has advanced in 17 years (just over half that thirty).


Where is computer graphics going to be in another thirty years? Visual Effects?

I think it’s impossible to predict the future so I am focusing on how to deal with thirty years of change.

First and most obvious, is that I will need to maintain my robust good health. Eat real food; do some exercise; keep away from the mainstream medical profession as much as possible; and have a damned good reason to get out of bed in the morning.

Second is to have long term career goals. My pattern has been about 5-10 years in a “career” covering video production, educational design, corporate governess, radio host/producer, software product manager and designer, and now Content Metadata, which I figure is exciting enough to give me another 10-15 years before I’m done with my goals there. I’m interested in what the career after this might be. Or the two careers after metadata? There’s a very good change it hasn’t even been developed yet.

Third is to keep an open and ‘plastic’ mind. They say that middle age is where our broad mind and narrow waist swap places, as attitudes get set. I believe that we have to keep learning new things to keep our mind plastic and able to deal with change. The more “new” and outside our normal life the new learning is, the better. (For me, it’s currently singing.)

Continual learning is essential both for personal growth and career development. If you’re not spending at least four hours a week on personal skill development, you are falling behind. With the plethora of free, and inexpensive, webinars and online resources, there’s no reason not to learn new skills regularly. If you’re in the practice of continual learning, the challenge of learning new workflows, editing paradigms and technology shifts won’t be as intimidating.

Being open to change is hard. It’s not really part of our native skillset as historically change happened very slowly, but the pace of change is rapidly expanding. The way I’ve adapted to change so far is to deliberately and consciously embrace the new: be it technology, workflow or lifestyle. It was only a couple of years ago that I realized I’d subconsciously adopted that approach as a result of reading Fred Hoyle’s The Black Cloud as a teenager, although you really have to get to the end before you encounter the reason.

Being open to change means being open to reviewing all the decisions that have got you to this point in life, and deciding if they’re still the best options for us. Being open means continual learning. It means acknowledging change and not valuing the status quo over the new.

Is every change for the better. Heck no, and we have to make those calls as life unfolds, but we have to remember that change that isn’t comfortable to us personally in the short term, might well be the right thing when considered from a longer term perspective.

Small continuous adaptions are also much easier than big ones. What happens is that the constant small adaptions generally avoid the need to make big, sudden adaptions which are harder.

So here’s to another thirty exciting years. Bring it on!

4 replies on “Here’s to the Next Thirty Years!”

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  1. I think we all have to decide what “healthy” means to us. To me that means real food: not processed or minimally processed; nothing GMO or intense feed lot/caged animals. Preferably organic in source.

    However that last point is probably just not valid. “food” is a problem? The Center for Disease Control has already acknowledged that salt is not a problem. Processed sugar did not exist 4 million years ago, nor did processed food. Processed food and food-like substances that result are part of the problem. it’s also true that slight calorie restriction does seem to extend life.

  2. Thanks Philip:

    You bring a tear to my eye, but also, a renewed affirmation to my reality as this work week comes to a close. When I was fifteen, which was about forty years ago, I made up my mind to make physical, recreational exercise a normal part of my life, for the rest of my life. And, while I’ve had a very few “down” years in the interim, that commitment is still with me today, and it’s a commitment I’ve ever only had one regret from – when I’m not doing it.

    In no small part this commitment came from observing those that seemed “old” to me at the time, who were physically active, mostly in the realm of bicycling and running. Between the ages of 15 and 25 I really began to notice how many people who were well into retirement were still out doing marathons, (and training for them), and riding metric and imperial centuries, and walking, and swimming – every week and all of the time. I just thought, I want that to be me when I’m that age.

    As for food, I’m of a similar mind: As I’ve moved more to organic I’ve noticed that I feel a bit better, and, even if it’s psychosomatic it works on two levels – I “feel” better eating it, and, because it’s often more expensive, I eat less of it. It works!

    I’ve worked on the technical/production side of broadcasting for a little over thirty years and have really appreciated your insights and contributions to all things production.


  3. Actually, there were ATMs in NYC when I lived there starting around 1979. ChemBank had ’em. Just the same – the rest, Yep.
    I was syncing dailies for “real” features with an 8 gang synchronizer, squawk box and viewer. Those “2nd sticks!” were my undoing. I kinda miss the physicality of an upright Moviola, my film teacher Adolfus Mekas man handling the brake with a 1 inch long cigarette ash teetering from his clinched teeth. Mmmm good times. Change? For the better? Some yes some no.

    1. New York City perhaps, but not in Newcastle, NSW, Australia! It took a few more years to reach the antipodes!

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