Take out a piece of paper and write down 10 most memorable moments in your life. Really. Do it now.
(Pause—I’m waiting for you to write your list.)
Got it? Ok. Now read through your list and put a check mark next to the events that happened before your 40th birthday.
Maybe your list looks something like the top 10 memorable experiences that authors Dan and Chip Heath uncovered in their research for The Power of Moments:
1. Having children
3. Begin school
5. Fall in love
6. Others’ death
8. Leave home
9. Parents’ death
10. First job.
You’ll notice that for most of us, seven of these events happen before we’re 40 years old. And, two of the three remaining events are related to death. Not exactly something to look forward to.
How many check marks do you have for the under-40 question? If you have six or more, you might ask, “Have I already lived my best years?”
The reason we remember moments at an earlier age is because we experience many firsts during this stage of life. Firsts have the power of being high emotion—hence, memorable. However, in retirement, our day-to-day emotions are pretty even. Not many high peaks—unless we intentionally create the moments. But how?
According to Power of Moments, do three things:
First, boost sensory appeal.
Second, raise the stakes.
Third, break the script.
Creating peak moments requires effort—most good things do—and it’s worth it. I created a powerful memory for my family over the Christmas holidays. Our adult children made plans to come home—requiring flights and using vacation time for all of them. So instead of just another Christmas at home, where everyone knows the routine and falls into expected roles, I decided to apply the peak moments’ formula, starting with renting an Adirondack home in Lake Placid for four days.
Christmas in Lake Placid broke the script. Sensory appeal was boosted by a sense of adventure. The stakes were raised by having matching pajamas, searching for a Christmas tree on December 24, and skating on the Olympic outdoor rink. My son-in-law and my son’s fiancé both experienced firsts: cross-country skiing and going on the Olympic bobsled and skeleton rides.
According to the authors, “Moments of elevation are experiences that rise above the routine. They make us feel engaged, joyful, amazed, motivated.” These words perfectly describe our Lake Placid Christmas—a peak moment that will continue to live on in our memories.
Retirement is the perfect opportunity to invest your extra time into creating peak moments!
Copyright 2018. Patrice Jenkins. All Rights Reserved.