Yesterday I officially became ‘over the hill’, celebrating my 51st birthday. Birthday’s are always those melancholy moments to reflect on the past and reimagine the future. This morning I asked myself what kind of halftime adjustments I should make to finish the second half of life. I began to contemplate the ‘performance measures’ of a life well-lived. For me those are Faith, Family, Friendships, Fortune, and Fitness. Now as I get older, I think it is wise to evaluate these measures more than every birthday, and ask myself these daily questions to maintain focus on a balanced future and a strong finish.
Faith – Am I confident that my actions reflect my character, my morals, and my beliefs?
Hebrews 11:1 defines faith as a measure of confidence in things we cannot prove. While this definition is provided for eternal context, I think it also applies to an internal personal context of how we define our lives. Are we confident in our character and capabilities and are we using them to generally make the world a better place?
Family – Does my love show through life’s busyness with every opportunity?
Our culture seems to limit our capacity to spend quality time with our family. Scheduling dates with a spouse seems formal and impersonal, but necessary to ensure a happy marriage. Our time shuttling kids to and from school and activities isn’t the ideal time to connect, but every opportunity is precious and we will never get those moments back.
Friendships – Am I showing up for those I choose to do life with?
For years the majority of my friendships were somewhat isolated to clients, colleagues and co-workers. All of which I consider great relationships, but more professional than personal. We are all built for meaningful connection, but that requires showing up for others during the good, bad and ugly times. It requires an investment of time that many of us do not have, but it is an investment that often has the highest returns.
Fortune – Am I measuring a rich life beyond financial terms?
Often we fail to recognize the riches found in time and contentment as we pursuit our financial fortune. Our professions carryover beyond the 8 to 5 daily grind and often rob us of the ability to be fully present in the moment and realize the richness already surrounding our lives.
Fitness – Did I compromise my mental or physical health for sake of convenience or comfort?
Getting older, I am realizing that longevity in life is completely dependent on the daily habits, whether good or bad. All too often these habits are compromised for the sake of convenience or comfort, in a reactionary response to the pressures of life. Health has to be a priority.
Benjamin Franklin famously quoted the ancient proverb about being ‘healthy, wealthy, and wise’, and it is definitely the goal for all of us. But without frequent and intentional evaluation of the measures that matter most in our lives, we may find that Ferris Beullers wisdom of “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it” is more applicable.