First of all, can we acknowledge how amazing these raw Pumpkin Spice Cheesecakes from this season of The Society are?! They’re UNREAL, and it literally took 5 minutes to make them. If you’re a pumpkin lover, you neeeeeed these.
Second. I’m taking a class called “Aging” this quarter, and it’s pretty damn interesting. You’re probably well aware of this if you watch my Instagram stories, because I always like to give a recap of what went down in class on Wednesday nights.
Anyways, we have an assignment called “Our Future Older Selves” that’s due this week. Basically, we have to imagine what our lives will be like when we’re older, and we answer a series of questions about it. What will your daily life look like? What sources of meaning will you have in your life? Where will you live? What activities will you do? Who will be important to you? Then we have to answer questions about what we have to do now to prepare for our lives in the future – what do you have to do to make sure your life turns out that way? If you don’t want your life to turn out that way, what should you do now to change the outcome?
It’s a pretty straightforward assignment, but writing it was really eye-opening. I always joke that I’m a grandma. I know that most people think I’m kinda “lame” for a 21-year-old, but I’m more than happy with the way I am. But it wasn’t until I did this assignment that it really sunk in. The way I described my life to be when I’m 75 is almost exactly the same as what it’s like right now.
I couldn’t help but crack up the entire time I wrote my paper. I’m pretty sure my professor expected us to realize that we need to make significant changes now in order for our lives to turn out the way we want them to. Welllllll….that didn’t really happen. The way I imagine my life to be when I’m 75 honestly sounds great to me.
Being a “grandma” is a double-edged sword. Obviously it’s a good thing because it’s what I like. I just don’t enjoy going out and getting drunk and partying and staying out late and waking up at noon and eating junk. I like hanging out, drinking tea, reading books, baking, watching movies, writing, exercising, going on walks, meditating, trying new restaurants, doing yoga, listening to podcasts…calm things. On the other hand, people always try to make me feel guilty for liking those things. I can’t tell you the number of times adults have told me, “You’re going to regret not having a crazy college experience! You have the rest of your life to be boring!”
Well, boring is subjective. The thing is, I’m straight-up bored when I go to parties or when I go out drinking (which is why that doesn’t happen). I’m not bored when I’m captivated in a novel or coming up with a new recipe or writing a blog post. What’s exciting to me might not be exciting to other people, and that’s totally okay. I really couldn’t care less if most people my age don’t like the same things as me. I’m not them. I’m me. I like being a grandma! Grandmas are usually pretty wise, anyways. My total grandma-ness just never really sunk in until I wrote that paper. LOL.
I’m very proud of the fact that I’m excited about my life when I’m 75. I don’t think most other people my age would say that. (Most people my age are terrified of what they’re going to do in a year when they graduate, let alone what they’ll be doing when they’re 75.) But I also don’t think most people in general would say that. And that’s too bad. Research has shown that personality doesn’t really change much once you hit adulthood. Chances are, what you like now is what you’re gonna like in 50 years. So what does that tell you if your hobbies and habits now are going to lead to a bleak life at the age of 75? Might not be such a great thing.
I think more people need to learn to find pleasure in the smaller things. The simple things. Do you really know what you like? What do you like to do when you’re by yourself? Are you even okay being by yourself? Do you need an audience to enjoy yourself? Is there something simple that makes you happy? Do you take care of yourself in a way that’s going to ensure you’ll be in good health when you’re 75?
I’ve realized that focusing on self-care, taking care of my body through healthy food and exercise, loving myself and being extremely comfortable with being alone, thriving off of independence, preparing for the future, and finding satisfaction in the small pleasures in life are all things that have set me up for a happy future.
Sometimes I don’t think I’m happy. I go through my day and don’t really think about it. But when I wrote that paper and imagined my life at age 75, it really was almost exactly what it’s like right now (minus college – the bane of my existence). And it sounded like a pretty amazing life to me. So I guess I’m not doing too badly. I’m lucky to have found my passions, because an entire life of pursuing them makes me very excited for the future. I’m weirdly excited for when I’m 75, but I worry that most people don’t feel the same.
It’s a weird thing to sit down and imagine what your life will realistically look like when you’re in your 70s if you continue down the path you’re on. What will it look like if you change nothing? If it’s not what you want, what will you have to change to make it something you want? It’s a fun little thought experiment, and I dare you to try. I might be 21 going on 75, but I’m more than happy with that.