This month, I'll be turning 50.
At this age something weird happens.
You think less about the years that you've had and more about the years(?) that are possibly still to come.
Not too long ago at this stage, most people would have been happy with another twenty.
But these days there is a very good chance that most 50-year olds will live into their 90s...and more importantly, will enjoy health and vitality for most of their long lives.
What use to be considered as 'aged' (including all of the negative connotations that went with the term) is now largely classified as just another stage of life that can be be labelled as the 'mature-phase'.
In an interview with the Financial Times, Prof Andrew Scott (a professor of economics at London Business School who has a keen interest in 'maturing' societies) says that's what's important these days is 'not how long people live for, but rather how well they age.'
And ageing well, as we now know, is something that you can manipulate in your favour.
Say 'au revoir' to the dark ol' days where the 'aged' are automatically viewed as frail, sickly people with grey hair that require state assistance to maintain some kind of dignity.
These days, people in their 80s are still happily working, travelling and doing their thing without excessive pain or illness.
A new lens on how you think about your future self
What this means is that we need to take our future selves and what we want to create for our fit, flexible, fun 90-year old selves far more seriously than we used to.
Actively extending and managing our foreseeable 'health-spans' has suddenly become quite an important personal project for us all.
Of course, if you're going to live well into your 90s you had better start thinking about how you are going to get there in good shape and what you'd like your life to look like then...and get to work on developing a routine for that now.
You can't carry on eating McDonald's at 3am (like you did in your youthful years), smoking the odd Lucky Strike at the occasional braai and shooting back tumblers of Jack Daniel's and still expect to easily run a marathon in a few decades time.
Optimising your consisent approach to physical, mental, financial and spiritual health are all key aspects of our holistic wellbeing that need to be actively guided towards our preferred future-self vision.
Even at 50 you may well have forty years of your professional career left in you - just be sure it's four decades you're enjoying, not enduring for the sake of it.
I would hazard a guess that not too many people have a 'future-me strategy', but perhaps the realisation that you may just be on this Earth for a bit longer than you may have previously thought will inspire you to start to create one.