Precious gift of 20 years

Its 2018 and I am almost 58. Life expectancy has increased significantly over the past decades. I have been given the potentiality of 20 extra years. Not at the end of my life, but now, between 50 and 70, before I get really ‘old’ ;o).

I feel, as Marie Catherine Bateson puts it, that I have been given 20 years to finally do things right. With all the knowledge, experience and wisdom that I have (hopefully) acquired up to now and without the short term pressure that has also driven my life before 50. These 20 years did not exist before! It’s new territory, a new adventure and an opportunity to finally focus on all that contributes to a better future for all and everything. I hope I will use them well…

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Sustainable long term solutions vs conflicting short term interests

Should I resolve my shoulder pain with a quick fix operation or should I change my personal behaviour in order to resolve the source of this pain? Should I go on pushing myself or accept a drop in income now in order to create space and time to secure a more suitable and sustainable source of income for the rest of my life?

Even in such crucial topics as our own health short term interests (such as income or defending our trusted assumptions in live) almost always prevail are even when they are counter productive on the long run. And actions focused on realising what is good for us on the longer term are being pushed forward. This is not only true at a individual level but at group level (in organisations, politics etc.). In long and fruitless debates (in our mind or with others) we strongly defend our personal short term interests leaving us with the unsatisfactory feeling of knowing that we harm ourselves in the long run.

Reason for me to bring this up is that when we manage to discuss that very same topic whilst putting our personal short term interest aside for a moment (which is a challenge in itself), it very quickly emerges that we usually hold a very similar or non-conflicting views on the ideal longer term solution….. It then becomes clear that what seamed to be a difference in opinions in fact is no more then our fear of the short term consequences of that solution for our personal interests. This realisation creates room to move our energy from building defence lines to clarifying these very understandable fears and helping each other to resolve these.

Holland village, Singapore, 1996

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