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On finishing life with no regrets
Old 01-10-2012, 04:52 PM   #1
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On finishing life with no regrets

"Even if their lives were nine decades long, the elders saw life as too short to waste on pessimism, boredom and disillusionment."

Interesting article in today's NYT. The Cornell Legacy Project summation of input from 1000 older Americans on what they did right and wrong during their long lives:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/10/he...1&pagewanted=1


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Old 01-10-2012, 06:14 PM   #2
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Great study. I hope these elders aren't rationalizing their assets off.

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“The most important thing is to be involved in a profession that you absolutely love, and that you look forward to going to work to every day.”
... especially if you're FI!
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Old 01-10-2012, 08:01 PM   #3
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Whenever I hear generalized life advice I always remember this bit from Walden:

"What old people say you cannot do, you try and find that you can. Old deeds for old people, and new deeds for new. Old people did not know enough once, perchance, to fetch fresh fuel to keep the fire a-going; new people put a little dry wood under a pot, and are whirled round the globe with the speed of birds, in a way to kill old people, as the phrase is. Age is no better, hardly so well, qualified for an instructor as youth, for it has not profited so much as it has lost. One may almost doubt if the wisest man has learned anything of absolute value by living.

Practically, the old have no very important advice to give the young, their own experience has been so partial, and their lives have been such miserable failures, for private reasons, as they must believe; and it may be that they have some faith left which belies that experience, and they are only less young than they were. I have lived some thirty years on this planet, and I have yet to hear the first syllable of valuable or even earnest advice from my seniors. They have told me nothing, and probably cannot tell me anything to the purpose. Here is life, an experiment to a great extent untried by me; but it does not avail me that they have tried it." ~Thoreau
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Old 01-10-2012, 08:43 PM   #4
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I have lived some thirty years on this planet, and I have yet to hear......
Never trust anybody over thirty. Including philosphers.
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Old 01-12-2012, 12:44 PM   #5
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If the world was full of Waldens, we would learn nothing. We learn many things from our elders. I have full respect for people older than I. They have lived life as to where I will soon be going.
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Old 01-12-2012, 12:57 PM   #6
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Never trust anybody over thirty. Including philosphers.
Just remember, there is no renewal. There is no sanctuary. Just an old man and a bunch of cats living in the ruins of the US Capitol...
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Old 01-12-2012, 01:22 PM   #7
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Good article, I liked these two thoughts the best:

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#1 ON CAREERS Not one person in a thousand said that happiness accrued from working as hard as you can to make money to buy whatever you want. Rather, the near-universal view was summed up by an 83-year-old former athlete who worked for decades as an athletic coach and recruiter: “The most important thing is to be involved in a profession that you absolutely love, and that you look forward to going to work to every day.”
Although it can take a while to land that ideal job, you should not give up looking for one that makes you happy. Meanwhile, if you’re stuck in a bad job, try to make the most of it until you can move on. And keep in mind that a promotion may be flattering and lucrative but not worth it if it takes you away from what you most enjoy doing.
Many people think enjoying work is impossible, it's not at all...

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#2 ON HAPPINESS Almost to a person, the elders viewed happiness as a choice, not the result of how life treats you.
I've known too many people who believe otherwise regarding happiness, they've decided it's the world that makes them unhappy. And to add insult to injury, some spend their lives trying to buy happiness, which can make it harder to enjoy your work.
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Old 01-13-2012, 01:35 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Midpack View Post
Good article, I liked these two thoughts the best:

Many people think enjoying work is impossible, it's not at all...


I've known too many people who believe otherwise regarding happiness, they've decided it's the world that makes them unhappy. And to add insult to injury, some spend their lives trying to buy happiness, which can make it harder to enjoy your work.
I'm not much of a philosopher as it applies to other people but I am a reflective person when it comes to my own experiences and how they affected me and how I affected them. My wife says that I am a self-centered person but "not in a bad way." I'm not sure I understand that!

One of my "deep thoughts" is that happiness is inherited. I am a naturally happy person. Lots of really bad **** stuff has happened to me and I am still so happy that I can't stop telling my wife about it. One of the few things, in my whole life's worth of experiences, that permanently took away some of my happiness, was when my dog/daughter Emily passed away three years ago. I am just slightly less happy than I used to be. When I am told that I have a good attitude and am congratulated on it like I decided to have it or I had some control over it, I always say that you are just born with your attitude, good or bad. I don't take pride in having a good attitude and don't hold it against people who have a bad attitude. Neither type of person can change, in my opinion. But, on the other hand, I am really glad that I am happy - it makes me happy!

I think I got my good attitude from my mother. My father was a naturally unhappy person and it pretty much ruined his life. I used to think that if he would only examine his life and see that all the things that he wanted he already had, that he would be happy. But he couldn't change his attitude.

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Old 01-13-2012, 01:45 PM   #9
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Mr. Pollyanna here
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Old 01-13-2012, 02:16 PM   #10
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I am really glad that I am happy - it makes me happy!
Hey, that's a positive feedback loop!
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Old 01-13-2012, 05:20 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Onward

Hey, that's a positive feedback loop!
Or, as I found out recently, a virtuous circle (as opposed to a vicious circle).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtuou...vicious_circle

I enjoyed learning that.
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