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One Percenter

You are a unique and special snowflake. While that is beautiful and poetic, the truth is, we are all somewhat subject to social norms. Just like young children pretend to be doctors or lawyers, play house, and dress up, adults also engage in anticipatory socialization, the preparation for future life roles. Examples of this might look like a couple who live together before getting married, or soon-to-be parents who read infant care books and prepare their home for  a new baby. As part of anticipatory socialization, adults who are financially able begin planning for their retirement, saving money and looking into future health care options. The transition into any new life role is something we naturally prepare for.

The downside to this naturally occurring tendency is the fact that we don’t always anticipate healthy things. When it comes to getting older, we collectively seem to have some odd thoughts. We anticipate feeling worse, looking worse, and thinking less clearly. It’s socially acceptable and expected. A shocking example of this: Year after year, statistics show that poor health and suicide rates skyrocket after retirement, yet we continue to work toward it. I’m not personally saying we shouldn’t retire, I’m just sayin’. Dang!

The thing that got me thinking in this direction today was my husband. He said, “what if I become 1% more flexible every year from now on?” He started a yoga practice last year and he’s probably more, like, 30% more flexible. He went on to say that even if it’s just one percent, it’s one percent in the right direction. You gain rather than lose, when society says, you lose. 

Calling all snowflakes! Here’s a way to change the game (and at least be a little more unique). When you come across something that feels challenging for your age (no matter what that is), lay aside the norm and instead prepare for what it will feel like to gain 1% every year! Positive anticipatory individual thinking.

(I’m learning Japanese.)    

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