What could you learn at your 80th party?

Picture this:  You are walking down a local street one warm sunny day and you see this person coming towards you. They are getting on in life, probably around 80 years old. Surprisingly hale and healthy for that age, this person waves and smiles at you and flags you down. They clearly know you very well, and there is something familiar about them now you come to think of it, but you can’t quite place them.

Then you realise, with a shock, who this is.

It’s you. It’s exactly what you would like to think you would look like when you get to that age. Some weird, time-travel experiment has put you face-to-face with the you that you will become in the future when you are eighty years old.

“I’m so glad I bumped into you,” this person says. “I thought I’d catch you if I came this way.  You don’t know how lucky you are to have met me here and now. I’ve got so much to tell you.”

“I’ve just come from my wonderful 80th birthday party! All the people I love and care about were there and quite a few people I wouldn’t even have expected to come. The food was lovely, the company was delightful, and people said such wonderful things to me. I feel like everything has come together today and my life feels so worthwhile. So I thought I would track you down and tell you all about it, so you can make sure you get started on making your life as wonderful as I know it can become!”

Imagine how great it could be to have you 80 year old self, at the high-point of their life, come back and tell you all about it so that you knew exactly what you needed to do to get the most out of your life.

This is a thought experiment and something I really encourage you to do.

You can download my worksheet if you really want to do this properly.

I first read about the strategy in Steven Covey’s ‘Seven Habits of Highly Effective People‘, and there are variations of it in several other places.

So ask yourself, what would be 80 year old self be proud to achieve? What would make him or her happy? Where would he or she live?

If they had the best birthday party ever, who would be there. and what would they say. Think about all the different aspects of life. Their health, their relationship, their family, their career, their contribution to the world? What experiences would they have had, what talents have they developed?

Someone once said, ‘no-one on their death-bed, wishes they had spent more time at the office’.  Imagine what would fulfill you if you were to have been doing it all your life from now on. Seeing yourself in your minds eye, having achieved all this and more can be a great way to motivate you, and more than that it can help you more clearly see the path to success.

If you want to really have a go at this, why not download my 80th birthday party worksheet and have a go at completing it now!

Robert Sanders is a therapist and life coach, supporting people in their present and helping them create their future.

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