I have been writing this column for 20 years. I can think of a few things I’ve done for longer, like brushing my teeth, but I think this could be considered a good run.
I have no intention of stopping, so no worries there. I have made the leap into digital media and have a comfortable niche there as well. But still, 20 years — who does anything for 20-plus years anymore?
Funny thing is I could imagine doing this work for another 20.
I know there are millions of people who are grateful for their retirement, but not working is just not for me. Luckily, I found a gig where you hopefully only get better as you grow older. I’m just too hyper to not keep doing what I love to do, and I’m always looking for new stuff that’s even more fun. My work keeps me going, and I know I’m not alone in that.
So it’s 20 years for me and counting. Still, to put it mildly, this last year has been different — and no one saw it coming.
Like so many people, I’ve had to adapt to doing some of the old things in new ways. Mostly, that has meant seeing people online rather than in person. It has also meant not going into the office.
I have always had a home office in addition to an office for my practice. And I loved my office — I could even get there on my boat! It was so ideal in so many ways that I continued paying the rent even though I stopped meeting anyone in person a year ago — but I need to let it go now. Keeping the office is just not practical anymore, and frankly, I don’t want to go back to an office of any kind.
Millions of people have gotten used to working from home, and they don’t want to stop doing it, either. Over this last year, we have made working from home work for us, and now we don’t want it to change. I know I am more efficient and comfortable within my own walls.
If I’m going to spend another 20-plus years in my chosen field, then I want it to be easier than it used to be. Millions of workers are very happy with this new normal. Indeed, Google, Twitter and Facebook have all told their team members that they can work from home as long as they want to.
Of course, this new norm is more efficient for some types of work and people than it is for others. I doubt Tesla can go this route, nor can Martin Guitar. But for those of us who mainly work via computer, our next couple of decades could be significantly different from our last few. Personally, I’m looking forward to seeing what comes next. A different way of doing things can also be a better way.
It’s important to continue to adapt. No one knows what life will look like even a year from now, so the lesson here is to try to design a life that will work for you in the long term, no matter what the circumstances.
What I do know is, after this year (and perhaps the next) of living like hermits, I want to do as much as I can.
Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D., LMFT, is an award-winning therapist and writer. He is a columnist, blogger and the author of seven books, including “Visualization For Success — 75 Psychological Empowerment Exercises To Get You What You Want In Life.” Reach him at email@example.com