Recently, an 81-year-old Nepalese man was in the news for ditching an attempt to break the world record of being the oldest person to scale Everest. I don’t know what you took away from that piece of news, but for me, I was inspired. I don’t see him as a quitter at all. In fact, if you read the article, the elderly gentleman Mr Sherchan was actually a record-holder, having successfully climbed the mountain at age 76, but his record was recently taken over by an 80-year-old Japanese man.
As I read the article, I couldn’t help but marvel at the drive and determination of these older folk. It’s inspiring because most people would associate post-retirement years with round-the-world trips on a cruise ship (if you’re lucky) or gossipping with neighbours at the void deck. While there’s nothing wrong with the above two activities, Mr Sherchan and Mr Miura (the Japanese climber) are impressive examples of how rich and fulfilling our lives can be as long as we have goals.
Too often, I’ve met people who seem to be drifting aimlessly through life. They have no fixed plan and seem quite content living each day to the next. I get that there are genuinely happy-go-lucky folk who go wherever life takes them, and that’s fine. The aimless folk I’m referring to are those who are stuck at a station in life, and instead of trying to get themselves out, they resign themselves to their situation and start blaming everyone but themselves for their predicament.
You know what? It’s easy to navel-gaze and think of what could have been. If you really want to shake up your life in a major way, you’ve got to act. And the easiest way to bring about change in your life is to set goals. Take these elderly climbers, for example. I’m sure they did not cruise through life only to have a sudden desire to climb the world’s highest mountain when they were in their 70s. I’m sure they started by scaling smaller mountains first, and once they cleared those, they set their sights higher.
The same theory applies to our lives. To avoid falling into the trap of humdrum existing (versus fulfilled living), we need to constantly challenge ourselves by setting up milestones throughout our lives. For example, right now my goal for 2013 (what’s left of it anyway) is to get my Advanced Open Water Diving License. Other plans in the pipeline include learning the keyboard and getting my driving license. Your goals don’t necessarily need to be major, world-changing ones. As long as you have something to work toward, it will give you a sense of purpose in life and that vigour is what fuels you to achieve amazing results.
About The Author: Vanessa Tai is a founder of Material World who has previously worked on magazines Simply Her and Cosmopolitan Singapore. Now a freelance writer and a full-time contributor to this website, the 26-year-old dreams of attending every single major music festival before she turns 30. Follow her on Twitter @VannTaiTweets.
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