“Master, your words are of great encouragement to me. That the journey is without end is becoming evident the more I walk the path. We never stop our leaning if our desire is to master ourselves.”
“Grasshopper, I too am please at the words I hear. You are ready for the next exercise. And since the teacher also learns as he teaches, I will take part in the exercise as well. Here is what we will do. Together, but separately, we will sketch out our ONE year goals, our FIVE year goals and our TEN year goals.”
With that, I opened a mind map program as it helps me when I know not where I’m going. From the center I branched out; one year; five years, ten years. I stared as blankly at the outline and it stared back at me. I started typing. The one year goals are more easily identified. That is not to say they are easy, just easier. I know where I am now. I can see the short term goals; those work focused, family focused and personal. I started here, filling out the mind map with clarity.
With the five and ten year goals, the horizon is a bit more fuzzy. I stare at the five year bubble on the mind map for long stretches of time. Could it be possible for some of these short term work related goals have opportunities to take me five years? Where is it I want to be in five years? Then like a sucker punch or being cold cocked, the realization of how old I would be in five years struck me. Sweat broke out on my brow and a sinking feeling of dread came over me. A mental image came to mind of me walking the earth, that dreaded age on my breast pocket like the giant A on Hester in the Scarlet Letter.
I closed the mind map for two days. Each time I thought of it, I asked myself some questions. How can I look at this better? What questions can I ask myself that will change the way I’m looking at growing older? Then Arnold John Kaplan sent me a friend request on Facebook. Arnold is 95 years old. If that number is giving you images of old and feeble, then you would be very wrong indeed. Not only does he work out at the gym (with weights) everyday, he spends his time working at his passion of 75 years; photography. He also produces photo-education slideshows for camera clubs and entertainment slideshows for civic groups.
A new image formed and in my mind and I tore the scarlet numbers from my breast, stood straight and tall, and began to type furiously into my mind map. You can be damn certain that I will be putting more effort into my gym workouts too. Oh, and that thought about the elevator at work the other day when I felt lazy? Made a quick detour and continued my daily climbing of the stairs! Thank you Arnold John Kaplan for the wake up call. As the “master” (who is 60) tells me often, “why do people associate age with deterioration?” Which, by the way, he often tells me from a handstand or some maneuver on the rings. Pardon me now, this Grasshopper needs to get back to that 1, 5 10 and 20 year plan!