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The art of courage and longevity

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Longevity is about time: Somewhere between a detached focus on the long term and an obsession with the present lies the sweet spot.

THE concept of longevity speaks about living—and doing so for
a long time. Most people would say it is all about how long we live; not many would offer that longevity is about quality of life. I wonder why that is.

They might be stuck in the familiar approach of “that does not apply to me.” Few believe they will get in a car accident, especially one that would put them into a wheelchair for the rest of their days. That is one reason some people drive like it does not matter; because, for them, it does not matter.

So what is the state of mind of someone who seems detached from most of the rest of the world? The quality of their life seems to be independent of interactions with others. This could be a gift. Maybe we all ought to do that. We could be missing out on living our own lives.

Let’s go the other way for a moment. What is the state of mind of someone who seems intimately attached to the rest of the world? Their quality of life seems to be almost entirely dependent on interactions with the rest of us. This could be a gift. Maybe we all ought to do that. We could be missing out on living our own lives.

For me, my own life lies somewhere between those two extremes. Ah, there it is. Living my own life, not just living. I am going on the premise here that living long but living other than my life is an empty victory. As the Cirque de Soleil song Let Me Fall says, “Someone I am, is waiting for courage. The one I want, the one I will become, will catch me.” Here we are, in between the extremes and not quite sure what living my life means, waiting for courage.

Longevity, living in that courageous place, the one I am meant to become, and for a long time, I suggest, is the sweet spot. Did Terry Fox enjoy longevity? I never met him. Though the long part of longevity didn’t happen for him in the usual sense, it
is happening. Somehow, at an early age, this young man chose to do this crazy and big thing that, in his mind, needed doing; and he was going to be the one to do it.

Feisty, determined, oblivious to those who would oppose his idea, he started and continued, feeling absolutely well used day after day of running on a highway, rain or shine. Detached, where it worked for him, completely engaged where he thought it mattered (with me even now, it seems), Terry Fox found longevity.

At this point we could notice a dangerous idea forming that says something like, “If it does not make the 6 o’clock news, it does not count as living my life.” Not from what I have seen. Admittedly, I have a huge advantage over some of you. I am no longer 22 years old. I have been that crazy driver and swung full pendulum to the total external focus and forgetting myself.

I am feeling in that sweet spot now, but only after exploring the extremes, and so much so that I want to help others find their sweet spot too. No, you didn’t miss me on the news, but my belief and how I feel is that longevity is all around me.

What is that phrase all those 22 year olds keep using? “Just sayin.” Yes that’s it. This is my take on longevity. One chooses to have longevity or not. Why not choose sooner rather than later?

More Insight: Check out this helpful article on the art of self-care.

Author: Joseph Seiler, MCC, is a success coach who helps people to be clear about what they want and to then go get it. You can find him here.

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