The first forty years of life give us the text; the next thirty supply the commentary on it.

The first forty years of life give us the text; the next thirty supply the commentary on it. – Arthur Schopenhauer

He has had time to reflect. What will he relate when he tells his story to them?

He has had time to reflect. What will he say when he tells his story to them?

What does that mean?
As I am past that point of inflection, I find this quote fascinating. Personally, I might put that point back a few years, but it still is good.

By the age of 40, a great number of people are approaching that magic part of their lives, where they become grandparents. Some sooner, some later, but their lives change.

With that change, they begin to see things differently, especially the relationships within the family. Things start to change, and explanations (or excuses) for prior behavior become common.

In this manner, the older generation gives to the younger generations their accumulated wisdom, either by word or by deed, either what to do, or what not to do. But that provides commentary on their lives in any case.

Why is reflection important?  
This blog is about examining our lives, and to me, that is what this quote is about. Even if all the quote is implying is that people make excuses for what they did in their first forty years, they still have to look back and examine what happened before they can try to excuse it, right?

That said, reflection, introspection, examination, or any other term you wish to use, is useful at times other than when we reach certain birthdays. I believe it is a good thing to do at the end of each year, and after any particularly spectacular event, be it labeled a success, a failure, or something else.

We tend to do quick and cursory reflections when we get ready to try something new, or at least I hope you do. In this manner, we can adapt our plan, or make some adjustments to our course based on our most recent experience. But this quote implies that there is a deeper and more complete reflection in order.

Again, you can wait until you reach that special time in your life, or you can take a careful look at yourself and what you are doing (and why you are or are not doing it) a little earlier, and more frequently. What that might be is, of course, up to you.

Where can I apply this in my life?
As I mentioned before, I would use this quote anytime you were going to start something new or any time I had a spectacular result. The point is to try to figure out what is going well, so that we may do more of it, as well as what isn’t, that we might alter our approach.

Sometimes, we may find ourselves reflecting on a daily basis, if the matter at hand is of great importance, and subject to frequent and spectacular results. Other times, we might go months or years without even thinking about reflecting on a topic, which might be a mistake.

As an example, how often do you just grab your primary transportation and expect that it would work? After all, it was working last time you used it, right? Why wouldn’t it work properly now? Have you ever overlooked something because you simply took it for granted?

For those of us in colder climates, the level of air in our tires can be very temperature sensitive. Yes, I check the tire pressure on a monthly basis, but a recent cold snap really changed the tire pressure in my car, and I needed to address it promptly (the handling, as you might guess, was off).

How many other parts of your life are on auto-pilot, being taken for granted that everything was fine? How about your relationships? Whether it is family members or friends, things can drift. Then ‘suddenly’ something spectacular happens. You sit down to reflect, and realize things have changed.

You can wait for something spectacular, or you can try to get there first. It’s up to you how you wish to proceed. Unless you prefer to spend the next thirty years explaining why it is you didn’t see it coming, and how it really wasn’t your fault.

While all of this reflection doesn’t sound like a lot of fun, do you know what sounds like less fun? The prior paragraph, and thirty years of regret. I know what decision I have made. What will yours be?

From: Twitter, @philo_quotes
confirmed at :
Photo by Reba Bear

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