How to Avoid Being Boring at 60.

December 13, 2023

How to Avoid Being Boring at 60.

May 29, 2023

The headline of today's post, which I recently spotted in my news feed, was inspired by a Wall Street Journal article (https://bit.ly/3t4PGhO) by Rob LaZebnik, a writer and co-executive producer on "The Simpsons." Given that anyone involved with 'The Simpsons' is likely far from dull, I was eager to dive into his article—and I'm so glad I did! I've got to meet this guy. His POV is soooo entirely MEA, as he believes the way to break out of boredom is to embark on a series of tame, achievable, and eye-opening challenges.

He "vowed to take that big, upsetting number 60 and remake it into something positive" by deciding to do 60 things he'd never done before. Here were his filters for determining what counted toward those 60 things. In short, Rob wouldn't count any of the following ideas toward his 60 things:

  • Obvious midlife crisis things such as jumping out of a plane, driving a Ferrari on a racetrack, or having a fling with a traveling saleswoman and/or Pete Davidson.
  • Anything that would cause injury, so that I couldn’t do the other 59 things on the list.
  • Anything too simple, like “eat a kind of pork dumpling I’ve never had.”
  • Anything too complex, like “raise a pig, fall in love with it, then force myself to kill it to make a new kind of pork dumpling.”
  • Anything that just requires paying a lot of money to achieve, like going to the Galápagos or hiring Usain Bolt to run to the store for me.

At MEA, one of the questions we pose to encourage a deeper exploration into finding your 'discomfort zone' is: 'What do you know now or what have you done recently that you wish you had learned or done ten years ago?' Building on this, we ask, 'Ten years from now, what will you regret not learning or doing today?' These questions can act as a powerful catalyst, inspiring the journey of becoming a beginner again and embracing the potential of learning from anticipated regret.

Here are some of the things on Rob’s list: as a religious skeptic, attend a megachurch; set up a table at an autograph convention to meet interesting people; cruise a leather gay bar because his gay son wanted him to understand his lifestyle; take a sound bath (Teddi, our mindfulness teacher will be happy to read this); make a shirt; bid at an art auction; make a real dinner for his whole family; and go on a police ride-along because it’s always intrigued him.  

Rob finished the article by writing, “Every time I set out to tick off an item, the experience always turned out to be dramatically different from what I had expected, often in ways that were hilarious, fascinating, and sometimes even moving. And now I have 60 shiny new stories to tell friends over a meal of potentially lethal pufferfish—number 29 on the list.”

What if you created this practice: using your birthday to determine how many new things you’ll try in the next year? The great news about this practice is it correlates with having a growth mindset at just the time of life we need it: as we get older. 

-Chip

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