The Time of My Life

by Brianne Murphy Miller

Am I over 50 and obsolete?

No – I just need a firmware upgrade. As a communications professional with 35(ish) years of experience, I’m often looked upon by my younger colleagues as a sage. Or knowledgeable. Or maybe just old? Most of us get to that point in our careers when change seems either inevitable or impossible. Recently, I was lucky enough to explore my personal tipping point at Modern Elder Academy (MEA or “The Academy” to those of us who participated). MEA is located in beautiful, rural, Baja del Sur, Mexico and aims to help those of us with a few rings on our tree figure out what’s next, and more importantly, why.

Pondering life’s questions is a lot easier in a beautiful location, plied with fantastic food and surrounded by smart peers. But it’s still hard work. Founder Chip Conley created the Academy’s programming around central themes of create, learn and explore. My week’s theme was centered on time; both appreciating what we’ve already learned and designing what has yet to transpire. As someone who has counted time in 15-minute increments on a spreadsheet for years, this was a challenge. I’m happy to report that my week brought me greater clarity on my strengths, appreciation for my weaknesses and some new ideas on how time is on my side.

Like most of my communications colleagues, I’m often mired in accomplishing within a specific timeframe, so MEA was a great opportunity to actually think. What do you do to get out of the minutia of life and give yourself permission to think the big thoughts?

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6 Comments

  1. David Landis Reply

    Brianne: great post. I think social media and technology in particular have had many positive effects. But one of the adverse effects is that we concentrate on the detailed tasks at hand, rather than looking at the big picture and how to accomplish the things that need a 30,000 foot view (and might take more than a nanosecond to complete). Taking the time to step away from the day-to-day (as you did) helps clarify where we’re going. I think it’s also important to mix up your day so that you’re not just responding to emails or the last person who walked into your office. Where is a great place to clear your head and think differently? IMHO, the shower! Cheers, David

  2. Polly Ikonen Reply

    Good question, Brianne. I do think you have to make space to think big thoughts. Getting away from the daily demands on us is the only way to find that space. Baja del Sur sounds like a great place to do that! But my biggest question for you is: Did you finally learn how to meditate? I’m still working on that one.

  3. Margreet Paauwe - De Vries Reply

    Dear Brianne, thank you for sharing, it was a great pleasure reading! Almost just as fun as sharing time with you as a fellow compadre at The Academy. I love your honesty & positivity!
    Margreet

  4. Susie Biehler Reply

    How fun for you to attend this amazing Academy. Isn’t it great to be considered as an evolving modern elder.? My own experience helped shift my consciousness to a more purposeful aging process reminding me we all matter. Life needs us ALL.

  5. Sharon London Reply

    Loved the blog Brianne. It sounds like something that would benefit all of us. Thanks for the insight. Everyone needs time away to renew and this was a great way to get renewed energy and focus.

  6. Craig MacLellan Reply

    I view my ENTIRE LIFE in 15-minute increments since I started working in PR, so I know how you feel!

    Great blog! Let’s take some time to think together soon.

    Craig