I’ve been 22 and I’ve been 32 and I can honestly say, with no reservations at all, 32 is better. The Baby Boomer generation idealized youth. I say youth is overrated. Unfortunately, a lot of guys are still pining for the good old days… that probably weren’t all that good anyway. Your “glory days” are sort of like “the one that got away.” You idealize the past because you aren’t loving what’s going on in the present. I’m going to help you break out of that mindset and into a new world of living in the now, whether you’re 22, 32 or 52. It just takes three steps.
Were your glory days in high school? Come on, like you can’t come up with 50 things you hated about high school.
1. Be Real About the Past
You need to stop idealizing days gone by. This means making a realistic appraisal of the time period you’re nostalgic for. Be aware that all the stuff you remember happened alongside other stuff that wasn’t so great and you’re shutting out. Were your glory days in high school? Come on, like you can’t come up with 50 things you hated about high school. College? Sure, it’s fun, but there was also getting up early with a hangover to sit through a boring lecture on a Gen Ed requirement you didn’t care about. The time that you lived in a hovel with your ex and everything was peachy? No, it wasn’t. You guys used to fight over money all the time. When remembering any idealized part of your past, note the good and the bad. If anything, the stuff that wasn’t great will help you appreciate the parts that were that much more.
2. Appreciate the Present
The second prong of attacking your “glory days” nostalgia is noticing that which makes the present worthwhile. Before you say “nothing,” actually give this some thought. I have Art of Charm clients make a list of five things they like about their life. If they can’t come up with five, I tell them to go back and try harder. You have to be in pretty dire straits to not be able to come up with five things that make your life worth living. I have confidence that you can. If you’re not super happy with your life, this is a way of identifying things that make you feel good. If you do like where things are, it can reinforce the realization that the “glory days” weren’t the end all, be all of your life. Learning to appreciate and be thankful for what gets you out of bed every day is a worthwhile practice, no matter your happiness level.
3. Plan for the Future
Satisfied? Discontented? It doesn’t really matter. A man without a plan is no kind of man at all. Remember that you’re not just a product of the past and the present. You’re a dynamic being with the opportunity to direct the action going forward. The future will happen. The question is to what degree do you take control rather than floating aimless down the river of life? Set goals and meet them. Have a long-term plan for who you want to be. Take small, concrete steps toward getting there. No matter how old you are, no matter where you are in life, the best could be lurking just over the horizon. Having a plan and working towards it every day helps you create your own destiny and shape the course of your own future. Now get out there and start living for tomorrow.
Pretty much obligatory, no?
Jordan Harbinger is a Wall Street lawyer turned Social Dynamics expert and coach. He is the owner and co-founder of The Art of Charm, a dating and relationships coaching company. If you dig this and want to learn more from Jordan and The Art of Charm team, visit theartofcharm.com. You can also interact with Jordan on Facebook.