Young at Heart, Mature in Mind
I've been faking adulthood for 20 years. Seriously, I can't believe some of the adult stuff that I'm doing right now: owning a house, having a career, marrying my beautiful and loving wife, attending department meetings, etc. Sometimes I'm sitting in those meetings in the office, and I think to myself, "Damn, these old guys want MY opinion? Don't they know I just graduated college 16 years ago?"
The best way to be happy and wise is to be young at heart, mature in mind. This means you got to have a childlike attitude, where you're flexible, full of imagination and creativity. But you've also got to develop the skills of your mind. To do this, you have to accumulate more varied experiences, to develop your talents and your mental resiliency.
Dream like a child, focus like an adult. Some people have it the other way around: they've got the mental skills of a high school freshman who hates school, but the attitude of a crochety 74 year old man sitting on his porch with a shotgun.
On the other hand, there's a couple of guys that I work with who seem to be in a state of arrested emotional development. They have a passion for simple things in life: food, strong coffee and good conversation with friendly company. And they constantly long for the 1980's.
And yet, they seem rather happy, despite their lack of planning. One guy lives in a studio apartment in a shady part of town with hardly anything saved up in his bank account, but he doesn't seem to care. He lives his life outside, in the hustle and bustle. He has coffee and lunch with friends, he loves many women and he plans a trip or 2 every year. He sees and experiences the world, everywhere from Mongolia, Japan and the Philippines to London and Amsterdam.
Times are tough right now, no doubt. But if you're in-between jobs, then see it as an opportunity to get in touch with your inner child and to develop your mind. When I graduated college, it was in the middle of a horrible recession. I had no job prospects and a lot of time on my hands.
So what did I do? I developed myself. I went to the library and devoured a book every week on every topic that interested me. I started working out for the first time and became so engrossed with bodybuilding, that I read everything I could about diet and training. I started writing, fiction and non-fiction. I taught myself HTML to start a website. I traveled and went to Hong Kong and China to see my grandparents for the first time, and I got a better sense of my family history.
All things that happen in life are opportunities to develop yourself, but so are all things that YOU make happen. Be young at heart, mature in mind.