Friday, July 01, 2005
Blogging is a whole different experience when you’re living in one place. When I was overseas and I went for three weeks without an update, I had to go back and explain how in the hell I ended up where I was at the time I was writing. I guess I could write about what I’ve been doing during the week, the weekends, etc., but for some reason that doesn’t interest me, so there’s probably a pretty good chance it won’t interest you.
About four years ago I plopped down on my flight from Phoenix to San Diego and found myself sitting next to an incredible guy named Derrick (I can’t really remember his name, but Derrick seems to fit). Derrick used to live in San Diego, worked internationally for Siemens, and had recently earned his MBA from the London School of Business. Derrick and I spoke about everything under the sun, but one piece of his advice stuck with me, “Don’t let your weekends run together”.
Can you remember you last ten weekends? Do they stand out as unique experiences in your mind? Peak experiences? Did you go out? Did you go to one of the four places you always go? Did you work? Did you do chores around the house? Can you differentiate one weekend from the one before it? Did you form unique memories or did you sleepwalk through your free time doing what was urgent rather than what is important? Do you know how many weekends you have left? If you're a man, the odds say you'll be dead by the time you're 74. Women, you have until 80. Take this number, subtract your current age, and multiply the result by 52. That's how many weekends you have left.
Derrick’s advice has floated back into my consciousness lately because I’ve noticed my days running together. My time at FMI definitely turns my crank, but it’s hard to remember what I did last Tuesday. Last Tuesday was the only July 5th, 2005 I am ever going to live, and nothing about that day stands out to me. The biggest problem I see with this blurred mental history is that it allows your life to accelerate. People wake up at 30, 40, 50, etc wondering, “Where did my life go?” because they haven’t focused on creating unique experiences. The past two years were packed with 30 years worth of unique experiences, but I don’t want to spend my whole life traveling. I want to find a way to create those mental anchors every day.
I read once that routine murders your creativity. I absolutely agree. So how do you mix up your routine? How do you make each day unique? Choose a different path during your runs? Drive a different way to work? Eat a new restaurant? Go to a place, a street, a house, that you’ve never been to before? Call someone you haven’t talked to in a year? Read a book you’ve never read? Take class in a topic you’re unfamiliar with? Try to meet someone new every day? Meditate or journal in a new place and at a new time each day? Find a way to scare yourself each day…to push yourself out of your comfort zone?
I could go on, but I’m not sure this stuff is even important to you. I think some people love routine. I love routine because its comfortable, but I see it as a life/creativity thief so I am battling it. A huge part of what I loved about traveling came from the unique thoughts inspired by the people I met and the places I saw, smelled, and felt. I have to find a way to keep those thoughts flowing…to pull myself out of the day to day…to find a way to remember and learn from the short amount of time I have left. If you have any good ideas, send them my way. I can use all the help I can get…