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!