Everyone is a somebody to someone at some point in life.
The other day I was having small talk with the guy sitting next to me on the bike at the gym. If I had to guess, I would estimate that he was in his early 70’s – yet still in great shape. He was over 6 feet tall and had big muscular shoulders with a thick head of white hair.
You can tell he was the kind of man who took care of his his body in his youth. It was early in the morning and I had seen him many times before but never really had a conversation with him. After he left, someone whispered to me that the guy I was talking to was one of the original members of a famous rock band in the early 60’s called Sha Na Na.
So of course I did what everyone in this day and age does, and I googled him. For those of you who grew up in the 70’s you may remember a few of their performances on ‘Solid Gold’ (– remember those Solid Gold dancers? Their sexy bodies dressed in skin tight gold lame’ rubber looking jump suits – dancing around for a few minutes in between the show just before commercial break – true visionaries decades before the popularity of dancing with the stars….
The pictures that popped up of him and the band –so young all in their early 20’s – looking all rock and roll in jeans and leather jackets and tight white T-shirts with a pack of cigarettes rolled into their sleeve – you could tell they were big shots back in their day. ( You could also tell it was clearly the 60’s as nowadays rockstars have tattoos on their sleeves instead of cigs)
Which made me think for a minute – here he is- decades later – working out and playing golf – enjoying his golden years somewhat anonymously just like everyone else. Even though he had his 15 minutes of fame, he is now just like all the other old men at happy hour- all vying for the same free chicken wings before they run out.
I suppose it would be like if my future grandchildren ran into Justin Beiber 60 years from now. They might think it was cool to meet someone that was famous for a blink of an eye but unrecognizable to them.
Reflecting back on someone’s life reminded me of an exercise I try and do from time to time which I refer to as “the rocking chair test”.
The idea of the test is to envision yourself when you’re old and looking back at your life and reflecting on what you’ve accomplished. (Although I never understood why old people are depicted in cartoons as sitting on rocking chairs – I have yet to meet anyone who doesn’t get dizzy just looking at a swing let alone actually swaying back and forth on a chair that rocks.)
But the idea is to do this type of mental test every now and then to remind yourself of what you wanted to accomplish before you’re next in line to enter the pearly gates. (Assuming you’ve led a good life and that’s where you’re headed – we all know it beats the alternative!)
I work with people to plan for their retirement all the time and yet when asked how they see themselves living in retirement age most have to just assume (and HOPE) that it will be in the same lifestyle they have now – which most always leads to an assessment and evaluation of their financial goals. But I like to take it a step further and ask them about their personal goals and what they want to achieve on a level beyond finances…..like who they want to be remembered as on every level- from spiritually and emotionally to their relationships and connections in life.
Sometimes in life we need to take time out to appreciate who we are before we can look back and appreciate who we’ve become. Our great sage of this generation, Eminem, has told us many times that there are no dress rehearsals and in life “you get one shot / do not miss your chance to blow this” so what are you going to do to make your ONLY show the best one???
And now for your viewing pleasure: