As I have gotten older – and hopefully a bit wiser – what I place value on has changed. What I get excited about has changed. How I choose to invest my time, energy and money has changed.
One way to look at what it is we value is to simply look at what material possessions we cherish the most. Over the past handful of years, the material possessions I get the most excited about are a pair of selvedge denim jeans, a pair of Redwing boots, and a cast iron frying pan.
What is it about these items that I value so much? They all get better with age and wear. Every time I wear those boots and jeans and every time, I cook with that pan I know that they are getting even better.
This is in such massive contrast to most of our current ‘throwaway society.’ We buy TV’s, computers, appliances and even cars that we expect to last us only a few years before we upgrade to the next new and shiny version. Very rarely do we even repair things anymore, we just toss them out (remember when TV, radio, and appliance repair shops were all over town?).
It feels good knowing that my jeans will be even better in a few years. It feels good knowing that my boots (still not completely broken in after 4 years) will be works of art in ten years – and look damn cool! It feels good knowing that my kids and even perhaps their kids will inherit my frying pan and continue to make it even better.
Like anything else, there is a price to be paid for getting better with age. Typically, items of this type of value cost more initially. We need to invest in ‘good stuff’ if we expect it to get better over time. I remember paying over 200$ for my baseball glove when I was 16 years old (that is over 30 years ago). A couple of years ago when my son was at a baseball camp, he had my glove and the other kids we in jealous awe of that beautiful hunk of leather.
Things of value often require an investment of time as well. Selvedge jeans are stiff and do not always look that cool at first. Redwing boots really hurt your feet during the initial phase of wear. A cast iron pan needs to be seasoned and is not perfectly non-stick at first.
Items of real value also require ongoing care. I only was my jeans in certain ways and at certain times and I currently need to take them in to be patched (which makes them cooler). I regularly clean and condition my boots and will need to resole them next year. The frying pan needs to be cleaned and re-seasoned in just the right way.
Is the extra effort worth it? I sure think so.
I believe that these lessons apply – perhaps even more powerfully – to other areas of life. Especially our health.
I think that it is obvious that we should value ourselves and our health significantly more than our material possessions.
How can you get better with age? How can your health improve each year? How can you invest your time, energy, and money to ensure that you are getting better over time? What difficult investments can you make in yourself now that will pay dividends in the future.
You see, these are the important questions that can create lasting value in your life. Most people never ask them because they think that they are not possible. Having been a practicing health care professional for over 20 years I can tell you that it is very possible to improve with age.
At Nexus we have been teaching and helping people how to do this for decades not only in the office but through ongoing workshops and presentations. These events ground to a halt with C-19, which has been a big loss of value for everyone.
Keep an eye out in the coming months for ways to access these tools consistent with the care we provide without having to gather, so that we can all continue to age like a pair of Redwing boots.