Honestly, will it all be worth it?

Imagine yourself at 85 years old, looking back at your life, reflecting on what you have done. What will you be most proud of doing? What will be, in your own estimation, your legacy?

This is the question I asked my good friend the other night over dinner. We have been friends since we were teenagers, and plan to be friends until (at least) that ripe old (and young) age of 85. Now at the midpoint of that timeline, we were having a reflective conversation of who we are and where we want to be when we “grow up.”

Is it the number of dollars in a bank account? The number of grandchildren at a family reunion? The number of experiences enjoyed, ideas manifested, relationships cultivated, or good deeds done?

What will be the “key performance indicators” of our lives well-lived?  And are we being intentional enough in our day-to-day lives to make sure we are actually “living” the answers?

The conversation reminded me of that line from the John Hughes classic movie Ferris Bueller's Day Off:“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” 


We live in an age of speed where experiences in our 24/7/365 world move so fast we even miss the opportunity to have FOMO about the things we are missing (wrap your mind around that one).  We also live in an age of accumulation where there is an endless amount of more: more work, more opportunities, and more distractions (digital and otherwise). Costs go up; free time goes down. And the endless streams of social media content remind us that everyone else is also doing more, having more, and seeing more.

But what about being more?   

I don’t mean “more” in terms status, wealth, or social capital, but more of who we want to be as a person. Being “more” to ourselves in terms of self-worth and self satisfaction. Being “more” to others who look to us for love and support, and for nurturing and nourishment. And even being “more” to the world – commiting to bringing our talents and potential to leave some mark on the ever-evolving humanity we are all part of.

In our effort to move fast and get bigger, we increasingly put ourselves in the trap Ferris points out: we run the risk of missing out on the very life we are so desperately trying to create for ourselves.

So this weekend, why not take a moment to talk to someone in your life (maybe a partner, a friend, a colleague, or a family member) about that future reunion you will have when you are 85?

What will you look back on with pride? 
What will you see as your greatest legacy?  
Are you spending enough time being the person that make your legacy a reality?

Life is moving pretty fast…are your going to stop and look around or are you going to miss it?

My suggestion is that you don't wait until 85 to find out.

Seth CohenComment