Over time nothing stays the same including dreams. Have you adjusted for the change?
I recently returned from a month long trip to Spain. My wife and I visited Spain for a few days 14 years ago and always wanted to return. We loved it. Madrid was spectacular, Barcelona was nice and of course Toledo was cool. But moving to Korea, establishing a new career and going through the Covid pandemic prevented us from returning until now. We vowed to ourselves we would stay in Spain longer than 4 or 5 days this time and travel to as many cities as possible. This time we saw 14 cities including Madrid, Barcelona and Toledo. We spent 10 days in Madrid and 8 days in Barcelona. We traveled to other cities such as Granada and Seville too. Some cities we loved and some did not live up to expectations. Why? Our perception of them changed.
We noticed on our trip to Spain this time that despite traveling during the non-tourist season the crowds in many of the cities (especially Madrid, Cordoba and Toledo) reminded us of high season in Europe. The tour groups were everywhere. In fact, in several situations the crowds were so large we decided not to go into the local gothic cathedral or visit the nearby palace because it was too exhausting. Some of our favorite museums were packed with tour groups (including Korean tour groups) that prevented us from seeing some of the paintings we really wanted to see. Though all in all the trip to Spain was amazing we realized we loved the smaller less traveled cities or out of the way places more than the big cities which were packed with tourists.
Madrid was no longer our favorite city in Spain (though still majestic it was no longer as quite as impressive as we remembered). Madrid itself really did not change. Our perceptions of if it changed. We felt the crowds were larger. The city was not a spectacular as before because it was not no longer new. We fell in love with Barcelona’s Mediterranean vibe this time around and spent a great deal of time walking around the gothic quarter. We realized we loved the alley ways of the city more than just looking at Gaudi architecture. Cities like Ronda, Salamanca, Cadiz and Girona became our favorites. We found our perceptions had changed. In essence, the more time we spent in Spain the more we realized our likes and dislikes changed a little from our previous visit.
This reinforces my belief that our perceptions change over time. Whether you are establishing a career, chasing a dream, going into retirement or even managing risk, your perceptions are changing. Maybe your view of risk has changed. Maybe your dream career is no longer what you thought it was. Maybe retirement is not as special as you thought it might be. Reality in fact does not change as much as our perceptions of it has. How we view life changes over time. This can be a good thing or a bad thing. Do you want to end up chasing the elusive brass ring only to find it meaningless at the end? Do you want to end up in a career you no longer love or find interesting? What to do?
I think for those still working or ready to retire you need to have an honest conversation with yourself about your likes and dislikes. What you found interesting or exciting 5 or 10 years ago you may no longer be interested in. Why did you really start that career? Are you really ready for retirement? Are the risks you company faces different from the risks it faced 5 years ago or has your perception (or the company’s perception) of the risks changed? To avoid being caught off guard or realizing after it is too late that the path you wanted to take might not be the right path for you I suggest the following actions:
The above list is just a sample of questions you should ask yourself. Think really hard about your goals, dreams and plans. Are your dreams what you really want? Have your interests changed? Remember, as time goes by, your perceptions might have changed. The earlier you address them the better.