Recently, I was listening to a gentleman in his 80’s marvel at rising costs, advancing technology and modern lifestyles, as well as the vast generational gap between himself and his great-grandchildren. He concluded his thoughts with the statement, "Sometimes, I think I’ve outlived my time." I found that to be a deep and sad statement on many levels.
There are two forms of this thinking most of us can understand. First, is the difficulty relating to cultural change and generational differences. Many of us experience this on some level, whether it’s trying to understand why teenagers seem to have been born with an electronic appendage (cell phone), or just getting our arms around Tweets, FarmVille (online farming simulation game), text language, etc.
Second, is oblivion to what’s going on outside our personal/professional world. Often times, we unconsciously cocoon ourselves in families and work, not seeing things beyond our own horizons. We may recognize change, but don’t grasp the true cultural shifts that are taking place unless those changes cause upheavals in our "world".
In both instances, it can lead back to the extreme "I’ve outlived my time." How do we avoid this? How do we expand our thinking and minds to keep up with cultural shifts and generational differences? Here are three simple tips:
1. Be aware and take time to reflect. Developing a heightened state of awareness and personal reflection are two concepts embedded within destination spas and their programming. There are also simple things you can do at home, such as engaging in discussions you would normally tune out, then finding a quiet place to consider what you heard, felt and how it impacts your future actions.
2. Be intentional with the company you keep. Keep up with change and break out of your comfort zone by intentionally seeking relationships with diverse groups, including multi-generational, differing ethnicities and varied socio-economic backgrounds. When you set this intention, it will be easier to spot opportunities to form these differing relationships and broaden your horizons. Destination spa vacations are an excellent opportunity to meet new people (or yourself…), as well as deepen existing relationships such as maternal retreats to better appreciate and cope with generational differences in your own family.
3. Be courageous and willing to learn new things. New experiences are valuable in a multitude of ways, whether it’s learning to mountain climb, trying a vegetarian diet for a week, or exploring spiritual practices. However, we tend to avoid things we don’t easily understand because it’s too time consuming, not a priority or we’re in some way afraid of it. Take time to learn more about the unknown that surrounds you and remember that learning about something, doesn’t mean you have to accept it. You may never accept the new texting language, nor send someone a message that says "RNTUAQT? Tnx 4 UR help. TTYL" But, if you receive one, at least you’d know they said, "Aren’t you a cutie? Thanks for your help. Talk to you later."