The slower we move the faster we die. Make no mistake, moving is living.
– George Clooney, Up in the Air
It’s irnoic that line is the one that will be remembered most from the first big movie in 2010 or in this decade. Maybe that is why I’m running so much these days.
The new decade is here and what a decade the last one was. It is easy to look just back at 2009, but that would be a short-sighted and very depressing one. Wrought with health issues and a world economic crisis, even looking back 2 years might not even be what we need to be able to look back on the past decade with perspective. As I ran down 2009 through a series of runs through the Streets of San Francisco I tried to reflect a little on the past year, but kept pulling more memories out . As I looked farther back, I began to realize that I didn’t just need resolutions for the coming year (don’t like resolutions anyway). I needed to look ahead to the whole next decade! I haven’t written in a bit just because I wasn’t sure as to what to say as the thoughts kept flooding in. “Just put it to paper and let the rhythm flow without thinking” (to paraphrase the words of the lead character in Finding Forrester). So as I put my running shoes and headphones on and listened to my new favorite song, Good Life by One Republic, what I saw was a past that is shaping our future in new ways and some that we could never have imagined.
There’s so much to think about when looking back and trying to eliminate the macro-factors of societal changes and focus on only the things you really can control. For me it was about family, health, work, and friends. How can I proactively move towards making sure I better control these issues in the new decade.
In order to look ahead at the next decade and what it should look like for me, I found myself back in time in 1999 as we were selling our house and i was getting back into the venture business. Yeah, remember the Y2K craze and how much were were going to have to evolve when the computers came crashing down? It was a whole cottage industry for a doom and gloom that never came. We’re still here though. I think I had 3 jobs this past decade and hopefully won’t do that much switching in the next decade. I would never have expected in 1999 that I would end up doing what I do today, but my current job is one I’ve been at longer than any before. Is this my legacy?
Personally in 1999 I was a new dad in San Francisco wondering how I could move to a bigger place in the suburbs. Well we did do that, but we moved back to San Francisco. Not before we became ice cream moguls leaving a mark with a franchise in Marin County as well as purchasing another one in San Francisco. Anyway, now I’m a seasoned dad with a 10 year old and a 7 year old. So what does that mean? At the end of this decade I will just about be an empty nester as my two kids will hopefully be off to college. It doesn’t leave much time for me to think about how to afford their education and prepare for how I will prepare for my retirement if something like that would ever exist for me. If I thought my children dominated my life this past decade it will surely be a decade of building what will be a lifelong relationship. Maybe I shouldn’t even mention retirement as it won’t happen until after 2020 for sure.
The past decade also came with health issues as well. Losing a parent (which I could have predicted as my dad was already in poor health) was hard to take but reminded me of how important a parent-child relationship is and how fortunate I was to have my children meet their grandfather and develop a deep relationship with my own mother. Emotional preparation for the potential loss of another grandparent in this decade would be something I could easily see in my future. Cancer was something I never would have expected to be part of the last decade. In fact it was a large part with my mother and then followed by my wife and friends. Bad Health is never something you really plan or prepare for. I don’t know how much the next decade will be interrupted by health issues but age will not come without some aches and pains for sure. I have already started preparing myself. The last two years of training have built my stamina to a high level. I maybe not as strong or fast as I used to be, but if not getting sick at all for the past 18 months is any indication, I’ve definitely been fortunate in keeping healthy and maybe if I just keep moving…..
I don’t need to write much about friends and extended family and my expectations there given some recent posts, but this past decade has been about revitalizing past relationships. I only expect that to continue. It seems to be a natural processs as you get older and start to reminisce about times gone by. These are the people who will remind you about your past someday so its probably good to keep them close so that they remember it accurately. For sure their memories are already declining, not to mention their deteriorating eye sight. It just makes me wondering as the baby boomers will be moving into their 50s and 60s, will those people still be wanting to deal with small screens on their cell phones and buttons that don’t work well with arthritic fingers? Remember that this decade started with us using PDAs with a stylus. Now we just push things around with our thumbs. Will everything be voice-activated over the next decade? Will we see the first wave of brain cancer resulting from overuse of cell phones?
We now have a black President. Will the next decade bring a female President? An Asian President? A Hispanic President? A Gay one? Maybe 2 of those. We talk about national security as getting tighter given the terrorism that has started in the US. Is it possible this could get worse? Will the idea of being “green” work. What would people have thought if you used that term back in 1999? They would have thought you wanted to be a vegetarian and were giving up meat. For me all of this just heightens the urgency to show my kids parts of the world that they might never ever get the chance to see or at least the way they could see it today. The world is changing rapidly. How fast? The eco-system even in the SF Bay area was so drastic that one minute the sea lions that inhabit our piers had peaked at over 2 thousand last November yet today there are about 6. The plankton and the water temperatures have caused them all to move to areas up North where they can find more herring. A migration that grew over a 20 year period just disappeared in a matter of months. Will Alaska still be cold in 2020? Will there still be arctic glaciers?
As I continue my running regimen I’m not running from the past but running toward the future. It isn’t necessarily a bright one or even a better decade than the past. It will have its own challenges and we can only prepare ourselves for what will be more of the same yet with more intensity. Of course, we have a chance to shape our own path by planning it before the future comes and dictates our actions.
Perhaps while this decade might not mark the beginning of a new millenium that it might end up being much more important than the past decade This may be the decade where we take control of our destiny and start to dictate what history will be. Maybe Live Strong won’t be an attitude for fighting cancer, but to beat Father Time and prevent him from catching us.
For me the answer is to not prepare for the end, but prepare for the future. Don’t look back too far, but just remember to keep looking forward so that what you left behind stays there and what you want to take with you in the future moves with you. For me that is simple. 10 years from now I want to be standing there proudly with my wife at my side as we watch our son thrive in college as he prepares for the real world and a career of his choosing and our daughter moves off to college strongly independent such that her parents will know that she is prepared for that next stage of her life. Me? I’ll be cleaning out their bedrooms figuring out how I can convert their rooms into my own 3D home theater and 24 hr. fitness club.