Ah, the 70s. Muhammad Ali, Mark Spitz, Vietnam, China and Watergate. What about Star Wars, disc, Atari and videotape? How about the New York City, Kent State and Disco Blackout? Pretty amazing decade, but I don’t mean those ’70s. I’m talking about you and your seventies!

Reaching seventy is a long way off, maybe 10, 20, 30, or even 40 years from now. When it comes down to it, I’m sure you want to live a great life. A few essential ingredients are required to make that decade great; one of them is your independence.

What will give you your independence at seventy is not what gives you your independence today. The environment in which you live will have to be different; you will have to prepare it for your arrival. The good news is that there is nothing to invent or mystery to unravel: it is already invented and solved. To prepare your environment for continued independence, you need two words: universal design.

What is universal design? It is an approach to designing products and environments that does not discriminate based on age or ability. It means that a home, for example, can work equally well for a child, an adult, an elderly person, or a person with a temporary or permanent physical limitation. Right now, we don’t build houses that way; we build homes for one type of person, an adult without disabilities.

Universal design opens the door to living large at 70 (and many other decades of life), but it doesn’t overcome another rather big hurdle, your fear of getting old. Ask me about my seventies and I fidget and try to change the subject. I do not want to think about that. When I do, I have no positive associations. I think about slowing down, weakening strength, and failing body parts. Shudder! Planning for my seventies? Tomorrow!

Unfortunately, tomorrow is not a winning formula. Without planning it, I will stumble on my seventy. I will have fewer options. I’ll be floating on the water to stay afloat instead of living large. The question that arises is, how can I get excited about taking actions today that won’t seem to matter for years?

There is a trick.

Start by remembering a vacation adventure you took. There you were, time off from work, where to go? You researched, talked to friends and voila, Costa Rica would be your destination! The second step was to refine the plans: choose a hotel, a flight, activities, etc. Finally you book the trip. it bubbled with enthusiasm within; You were going to Costa Rica! Did you go to work the next day all bored? No, she couldn’t wait to tell her friends and co-workers about her upcoming trip! After work, did you just go home? No, you went to the stores and bought some snorkel gear, a fishing rod, and some suntan lotion. Hardly a day went by without some excitement and preparation for the upcoming trip.

It’s the same for your seventies. The only thing that is different is fate. Like a vacation, there is a block of time in your future that is open and can be planned however you see fit. Start by imagining how you want it to look. This is an important step. As you imagine your seventies, be unreasonable. Let nothing stop your imagination. Be vivid. Be unbridled in your creativity. If you have an idea and it doesn’t excite you or put a smile on your face, cross it out and imagine something else. Keep going until hitting seventy couldn’t happen soon enough.

Good questions to ask yourself during this stage are: Who am I? Am I rich in wealth? Am I rich in spirit? Am I rich in love? Do I live in a hot or cold climate? City or country? A large or small community? Close to family or far away?

As this image of yourself at seventy emerges, make a map. Write it down in a journal, post it, or scrapbook ideas. With a clear picture of your seventies that excites you, we must now work towards the present: Is there any action you can take today? The steps from this imagined future to the present will be big at first, and as we get closer to the present, they will get smaller. The end of this journey will be the present, and in this present, you will be clear about what action to take that will lead you to live large in your seventies.

Let me guide you using myself as an example: I’m a New Yorker, but I have a “longing” for Montana; I want to be in Montana by my seventies. I will have an apartment in New York and I will visit it frequently. I am still married to my wife and we have a happy atmosphere that attracts many visitors. The house is on the North Fork in the Bitterroot Valley – lots of trout. I have a large porch that faces west and I can drive from the lot to the porch and into the house with my heavy duty ATV type Smart scooter. For some reason, that photo from the seventies really excites me.

Step forward to the present, at sixty years old. At sixty, I have to have things well prepared so that in ten years I will be living this dream. I will be familiar with Montana having visited for long periods. I will be a member of local clubs and I will have my first friends in Montana. I will know where I want to live and I will be financially prepared to buy land and a house. I’ll be “shovel ready.”

Jump forward another ten years: what do I have to have at fifty for that vision at sixty to be ready? I need to build equity, I will start visiting Montana regularly, I will be in my prime earning years, and the kids will be educated, freeing up additional capital to reserve.

Jump back to the current goal in a shorter time jump, five years. At 45, what do I have so that the vision at 50 is ready? I am building my value at work and earning more, I am buying part of that capital that is going to grow and I am starting a family. In a year, I’ll finish my research on being seventy in Montana. How about in three months? I am in the middle of my vision and investigation. And how about right now? Right now, I’m starting my research. Right now, I’m googling universal design and thinking about being seventy in a whole new way.

If at first I asked you: “What are you doing today so that the seventies go great for you?” You may have squirmed, said you had an IRA, and changed the subject. Instead, you have a new answer, Google’s Universal Design Resource, and you’re starting to get an idea of ​​what you’ll need to maintain the independence you love.

Wow. Living large in the 1970s is possible and exciting. When you get there, it will be ready for you. Your independence will be as present as it is today. Opportunities will not diminish, they will continue. Sure, everything will look different. But best of all, you’ll still be you.

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