Launching Our Kids into Adulthood
This Christmas will likely be the last time that our two sons are home for the long holiday break. My wife and I realize they have launched into the world and our influence and guidance for them is essentially complete. They are creating their own lives now, and as parents, we should let them navigate their adult life, solve their own problems, and learn from their successes and failures.
I think one of the most difficult things for us parents to accept is that our children’s vision for the life they are creating may be very different from our own vision for them.
I have thought about a summary of the wisdom that I might relay to them this Christmas and have come up with ten suggestions for them to consider as they transition to adulthood.
1. Set and measure goals
There are many advantages to learning to set and measure goals. If you learn to become proactive about things rather than reactive, you will likely have many opportunities that reactive people will never experience. Society, educational institutions, and social media have frequently created a victim mentality with many young adults. If you recognize this, and set out to be proactive about life and your goals, you will likely succeed over most people who mainly wait for events to happen to them.
2. Understand the value of disciplined habits
Developing disciplined habits contribute to your success, and actually liberates you to accomplish what is important to you. Navy SEAL Jocko Willink has written two valuable books on this topic: Extreme Ownership and Discipline Equals Freedom. He says that success can be determined by owning everything you do, that you are responsible for your successes as well as your failures.
3. Develop a controlled lifestyle
We live in a consumer society where we are bombarded by advertising in everything that we see and do. We are encouraged to spend and buy all of the latest, great products. If you recognize this and create behavioral changes to keep spending in check, and to increase savings, you will have much less financial stress in your life. One of the best ways to begin is to pay yourself first. Make saving and investing a regular, automatic “bill,” where it happens without you having to think about it.
4. Make connecting with your friends and family a priority
It is hard not to feel isolated and alone in our current COVID world. Recognize how important social interaction is to your health and well-being. Develop strategies to stay in touch with the people who are important to you. Put it on your schedule and make it happen.
5. Find time to listen to your interior voice
In this busy, information-filled world, take time to quiet your mind and listen. Whether this is meditation, prayer, or internal reflection, you will find that this time can be rejuvenating, reducing stress, and often deliver new insights and solutions. There are excellent apps available to help you develop a meditation practice including Calm, Headspace, and Ten Percent Happier.
6. Cultivate a habit of regular reading
Many of us lose the habit of reading books as we get busier. Remember there is great joy in transporting yourself to another place while engaged in a book and it’s a great way to escape from the noise of every day life.
Smartphones, high-resolution color screens, social media, and the internet have created an addiction to information and technology. Recent studies have shown that adults spend over 3.5 hours per day on smartphones, and check their phones an average of 58 times per day. This data has only increased in these COVID times. Try to unplug and take a break from technology and your phone. Better yet, let your phone help you with one of these apps: Clearlock, Offtime, and Qualitytime.
8. Learn to be active
Recognize the value and importance of an active lifestyle. Our work leaves most of us sedentary, and we all need to make it a priority to maintain aerobic fitness, muscle strength, and flexibility. Find activities that help you stay fit, healthy, and maintain your weight.
9. Spend time in nature
Many studies document the value of time in nature to overall well-being and mental health. An outdoor activity can combine being active, unplugging, and listening to your interior voice. Recognize the benefits and make being outdoors a habit.
10. Nurture and develop your passion
Take time to develop your other interests and hobbies. Life should not be only about work and achieving goals. Make it a goal to develop your other talents and interests.
As I completed this list for my sons, I realized that this is also an excellent guide for an older adult. I will try to incorporate them to make my life happier and more fulfilling.
As always, we are here for you. Please email or call if you want to set up a Zoom videoconference meeting or talk by phone.
Ralph Broadwater, M.D., CFP®, AIF®
© 2020 The Arkansas Financial Group, Inc., All rights reserved.
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