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On Turning Sixty

Max Stearns

Age doesn't necessarily bring wisdom; it does introduce experiences that we may, or may not, reflect upon in an effort to gain insight.

Being kind is more important than being nice, and also more challenging.

Being civil is more important than being accommodating, and also more challenging.

Especially as we age, committing to atelic pursuits (those driven by a never-ending process and for their own sake) is wiser than committing telic pursuits (those targeting completion of specific goals), but an essential part of atelicism is a never-ending willingness to remind oneself.

Adult birthdays come so rapidly because we fail to measure them as a percentage of lived experience. If started over at age 10, we’d celebrate adult birthdays once a decade. Turning 60 marks the same percentage age progression from 50 as turning 6 marked from 5.

Arrogance isn’t taking pride in one’s accomplishments; it’s failing to appreciate the value in others' accomplishments or to encourage others' future, so often greater, accomplishments.

An unsuccessful day, including prolonged distraction, does not imply a lack of productivity; it means that the cognitive processing part of the brain is awaiting a package delivery from the subliminal processing division, with sometimes garbled directions requiring a good night’s sleep to resolve.

No matter the birthday, the best gift for me has always been my wonderful and loving family; those gifts don't wait a full year (or decade) to come around.

Eating vegetarian for the last two years has helpfully shifted my focus from what I'm eating to what I'm not.

Forgive if you can, forget if you should, and remember that the best gift may be letting others forget.

The best schedules are the ones you have to interrupt having just realized there's something much more important you need to do.

Unlike on TV, some of the most important arguments only get resolved long after they've taken place, and without the winner necessarily ever finding out.

Intelligence, while helpful, is less important than the commitment required to make it so.

Overcoming learning obstacles teaches far more deeply than whatever random lesson one struggled in overcoming those obstacles to figure out.

Valuable pursuits are far more important than external recognition; among other things, one never has to wait.

Passion is overrated; what matters is the choice concerning what to be passionate about.

Failing to discover the object of one’s passion until relatively late in life simply means that the events triggering the discovery were more obscure than for most people.

Explaining how to solve a problem means you've just solved another problem.

Opportunity cost is the most important concept in economics, but comparative advantage is the most inspiring; everyone everywhere has the capacity to contribute something meaningful.

Running is good for one’s health, and for one’s writing. I thought of this post during the final run (on the final day) of my fifties and dictated the first draft on my cell phone walking home.

Blogging is keeping a diary and sharing the key.

I welcome your comments, and thanks for occasionally joining me by opening the lock.

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