I was going through my phone today, finding contacts for a project I am working on. It required me to scroll through every person in there. As I did so, I was sad to see several people that are no longer living in my contacts. I couldn't bring myself to delete them. One of these people was once Hubski's oldest user, Ralph Stollard. Ralph was in his 90s when he joined Hubski.
Ralph always took great joy in hearing about the projects I was working on, whether it be music, Hubski or family stuff. He referred to this time in my life as the "productive years." He then told me that as he saw it, there were three stages to his life ; The formative years, the productive years, and finally the reflective years.
What part of your life are you in? Do you think Ralph was right?
In my book, every year should be reflective. We need to reflect on our forming and on our producing and on ourselves. The unexamined life is not worth living AND the unlived life is not worth examining.
I asked my class last week to prepare a short speech that discussed an identity-defining moment in their lives. This class are very much into both formative and productive years. They come from all kinds of careers and programs and are becoming entrepreneurs.
After explaining the assignment, I asked if there were questions. One older, thoughtful guy said - "It's not exactly a question -- but it seems you are asking us to not only prepare a speech, but also to reflect on our lives. We never do that."
The speeches were AMAZING. Several of them left us in tears. One girl managed to give her speech talking through tears.
Reflect well and reflect better dammit. It's NOT navel-gazing to be reflective. It's a process of asking yourself a few questions, for example: Is the road I'm on related to my desired destination? Is the relationship I'm in helping me be more happy or more sad? Do I have "agency" in my own life?