Be A Perennial

I enjoyed a birthday this past weekend and decided I wanted to Be A Perennial.  I’m considering it as a gift I’m giving to myself, and encourage you to think about giving yourself the same gift. Some context may help as you make your decision.

I decided to publish this post after receiving the following Facebook comment on my birthday from my friend, Matthias:



Be A Perennial

I realized as I celebrated my 55th birthday that the year in which we’re born has no real bearing on our lives.  Rather, the mindset we adopt as we live each day has a much stronger impact on our journey.  Why, then, are we so readily labeled based on the year in which we were born, yet so seldom identified by the mindset we carry?

A “Perennial” mindset can apply to anyone, regardless of the year of their birth.  It matters not if you’re a Baby Boomer, a Millenial, or GenX.  What matters is the attitude with which you approach your life.

Be A Perennial.

Being a Perennial defines a person by the mental approach they take and seems to be a much better definition of the person than the date on which they happened to be born.

Be defined by the mental approach you take to life, it's more important than the year in which you were born. Click To Tweet

I’m A Perennial.

I first discovered the Perennial concept when my friend, Jonathan Chevreau,  posted an article with the headline “Don’t Think Of Yourself As Old – Think Of Yourself As A Perennial”.  In the article, the author explains the definition of Perennial and attributes the name to Maureen Conners.  As I read the article, I decided I wanted to Be A Perennial instead of in addition to being a Baby Boomer.

The symbolism of The Perennial is, in my mind, perfect for how I prefer to live my life:

  • Blooming, year after year.
  • Pursuing New Starts.
  • Taking advantage of opportunities.
  • Contributing to make the world a better place
  • Cultivating yourself, mentally and physically.
  • Making An Impact.  For Good.

Be A Perennial – An Example

An example of how a mindset can define your life is, perhaps, in order.  This past week I found myself attending a “Summit” of the Top 150 leaders at my company.  The meetings began on a Sunday, and the marathon followed a relentless schedule until the following Friday.

Where’s Waldo? Yep, that’s me in the center back!

Following one 8+ hour day locked down enjoying strategic discussions in a conference room, we had a 1-hour break before dinner.  While others may have been content to return to their rooms in a vain attempt at stemming the relentless flow of e-mail, I chose to get outside and breathe.

As an example of the Perennial mindset, I went out for a run with a few of my co-workers.  Gregg was in the group, and it was likely the last run we’ll take together (I’ll miss you, Gregg).  He paused at the end of our run and suggested we take a quick selfie together, which he posted shortly after he took the shot:

Thanks for the kind words, Gregg. You’re a Perennial, too!

It turns out, that post from Gregg is exactly what Being A Perennial is all about.  It doesn’t matter how old (or young) you are.  What matters is your approach to life, and the mindset you have as you approach each day you’re given.  Are you heading outside to breathe, or are you slogging through more work e-mails?

“Perennial”.  What A Concept.

I don't think of myself as old. I continue to Bloom. I've Decided to Be A Perennial! Click To Tweet

Yep…I’ve chosen a new moniker.  It’s not a political statement, and I’m no snowflake.  Rather, it’s as simple as deciding that your mindset is more important than your age.   I’m A Perennial. 

How About You?

I trust you realize that YOU, of course, can choose how to define yourself.  It’s up to you to define, well, You!  You have the freedom to choose how you wish to view yourself, and how you want to portray yourself to the world.

Take a minute to think about it.

Think about how you want to define yourself. For me, I'm defining myself a Perennial. What about you? Click To Tweet

Once you decide, get on with the business of defining it, however that makes sense in your own life.

Be A Perennial

We’re young at heart, and we’re continuing to bloom.  Like the rose bushes in the front yard of our Great Cabin, which produce beautiful roses year after year.  I may prune them a bit, and add some fertilizer, but those darn rose bushes just keep pushing up those beautiful roses.   Every summer. Same bush, but every year a batch of new flowers.  A true perennial.

Every year a new rose.



“Enduring or continually recurring”.

I like to think of myself as both an “Enduring” and “Continually Recurring” Perennial, and encourage you to do the same.

An enduring flower, with recurring gifts to offer this world.  Every day, every year, something new to add.  A chance to impact your little circle of influence for the Good.

Yep, that’s me.  “Perennial” seems a much better description of where I find myself than “Baby Boomer”.  I can’t speak for you, but I challenge you to ask yourself the question.


Are You A Perennial?

I really don’t care how old I am, or how old you are.  Millenial?  Gen-X?  Baby Boomer? Gen Z?  Octogenarian? Anyone of you can decide to be a Perennial.    Mentally, psychologically, Are You Young?  Are You Curious? Do you have talents to make this world a better place?  Roses to offer to the world?  Are you Alive, with something of value to put into the world?

If you had to define yourself, do you define yourself by Age or Mindset? Be A Perennial. Click To Tweet

Adopt the mindset of being intentional, of making an impact on the world.  Now, and in the years ahead.

A Perennial Blooms Every Year.  A fresh flower every summer.  A new gift of life.  A new gift to contribute to society.

New Sprouts

I love what the Medium article Meet The Perennials has to say about being a Perennial:

“We are ever-blooming, relevant people of ALL ages who live in the present time, know what’s happening in the world, stay current with technology, and have friends of all ages.”

The article goes on with this gem:

“Perennials get involved, stay curious, mentor others, are passionate, compassionate, creative, confident, collaborative, global-minded, risk takers who continue to push up against our growing edge and know how to hustle.”

In other words, us Perennials are always pushing up New Sprouts.  We “continue to push up against our growing edge”.

We Believe In Living Life At The Limits.

So…What’s It Going To Be?

The decision is yours.  Are you going to continue to be content as someone identified by the year you were born?  Or are you going to go a different route, and identify yourself based on your mindset?

Be a Perennial.

It’s up to you, and only you can decide.


Conclusion

Be a Perennial.  Have the mindset of pushing your limits, of growing new sprouts, of generating new flowers.  Be “Continually Recurring”, and strive to be that way for years to come.

Are you willing to let yourself be defined by the year you were born, or would you prefer to be identified by your mindset?

Be A Perennial.

Try it, you may like it.


PS – My Retirement Countdown Clock…

32 comments

  1. Really sweet, Fritz. Needed a little lift after a rough night. So envious of your surroundings — not a lick of snow or ice anywhere! We still have lots of melting to do here in the Twin Cities.

  2. Awesome post and great metaphor for life. Funny enough, I stopped buying so many annual flowers for my garden a few years back and bought more perennials. As a frugal person, it was an easy choice – they come back dummy!

    I’m using my new semi-retirement to reinvent myself and I hope it will bring new and exciting parts of me to the forefront every year.

  3. Reminds me of a saying I saw last night ….
    “There are times when we are sad, and in darkness, feeling like we’ve been buried. (in the dirt) Think of it as simply being “replanted.” ” – great mindset – this too shall pass – be a perennial and grow a new rose. I’m liking it.

  4. I really like the concept of the Perennial. Your post is timely, being the first day of Spring.
    It should become a common practice to issue a birthday statement as it presents an opportunity to express the gratitude that should be more than perennial.

    The days are long and the years are short.
    With that, another year has passed and I am grateful to be alive to age up one more year.
    For the time being, I will be comparing myself to a freshly painted ’57 Chevy sitting on top of the original rusty chassis that needs some air in the tires.

  5. Wow, Fritz. How does it feel be double nickels and double the fun? You’re an inspiration, my friend. Wasn’t familiar with the perennial concept before I read this post. I like it, though. Very much. And with a little practice, I think I can achieve perennial status. I am, after all, writing an ebook that will forever change the way our nation views personal finance and early retirement. Haha! I don’t know if being delusional gets you closer to being a perennial, but it does keep you young. Great freakin’ post, Fritz.

    1. You’ll always be a Perennial, Mr. G! Only Perennials have the initiative to pick up the trash that others leave behind! I’m enjoying the pre-read of your book (no worries, I won’t tell anyone that you gave me a sneak peak – I appreciate the honor of being involved). Perhaps I am delusional as well. The only way to live life, right!

  6. There is a Picasso quote I like, “It takes a long time to become young”. Your attitude encourages me to keep trying new things. Even crazy things. Happy birthday, whatever that means!

  7. Fritz, a belated Happy 55th. I missed your birthday because it also happened to be the day my youngest brother died. As you were in the process of beginning the regeneration that defines a perennial, he was undergoing what C.S. Lewis called “the great divorce,” which for people of faith marks a new understanding of life. His life was unhappy in the last years, caught as he was in a depression from which there seemed to be no re-blooming. Ironically, he had helped many people emerge and bloom again from the depths of mental illness. In many ways, his story and yours are the two competing halves of American culture right now: the life-affirming energy of the next blooming, the annual expression of which we are in right now; and the culture of the death wish, exemplified perhaps nowhere better than in the image of the eternal Hollywood. I will mourn and grieve for him, but I will turn my eyes and ears and heart also to your endless curiosity about life-affirming rebirth.

    1. John, what a powerful comment. I sit, speechless, staring at my screen. Words are so inadequate…

      I am deeply saddened by your brother’s death, and my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. My hope is that the lesson the readers will learn through your words will provide some solace in your time of sorrow.

      “Competing Halves”, indeed, and a reminder of the importance of the attitude we choose with which to live our life. Our attitudes have consequences, as your words so powerfully demonstrate. Choose wisely, and blossom. Choose poorly, and perish. So sorry for your loss.

  8. Happy birthday Fritz! I was away and without WiFi for the past week so I’m a little late to the party. I hope you had an amazing birthday! Love this post, though I’m worried because my roses have never looked that good. Hopefully that doesn’t mean anything bad! Can I still be a perennial if my roses only half way bloom? 😉

  9. I think I fall under this camp. I think putting boundaries on ages is stupid. I’ve always thought this. I once had a female co-worker tell me (she was in her early 30s) that she could never consider taking a hip-hop class because it was a thing teenagers do. Now I don’t think we should act immature (although some of my behavior is questionable-lol), but I want to strive to be young at heart as long as I can.

  10. Happy 55th from me too. Everything is lining up for you. That’s awesome.
    Being a perennial is a great idea. I’ll try to live like that more.
    It’s not easy to make changes, but we need to push ourselves more.

  11. I think it’s the right mindset + action that leads to results. You can believe that you’ll be successful all you want, but without action, that’s not going to happen. Or you can believe that you’ll be fit all you want, but if you don’t eat healthy and work out, that’s probably not going to happen.

  12. Happy belated birthday, Fritz!! Loving this idea of a perennial. By your friends original statement, I’m turning 40, looking like 25, and feeling like 15. Sounds about right (well minus the looking like 25 – damn grey hairs!!). I have always been inspired by your energy and positivity and this new age has no bearing on any of it. Onward to another 50 years of life well lived!!

  13. Love the perennial analogy. Sadly, so many people lose their passion for learning and new experiences along the way. I often heard comments from friends who fear retirement because “You can only walk up and down the beach so many times” I never really understood that until we attended a large family wedding in zituatanejo. 80% of the over 60 crowd literally did just that, on the same beach for 6 days. They thought we were crazy adventureous to hike around the point to a different beach. Sad.

  14. I am a GenX and I declare I am a perennial.

    When you talked about pruning the roses a bit and adding some fertilizer, it made me think of how that happens to us as humans. The pruning hurts, but getting rid of things that are fruitless results in, you guessed it, more fruit!

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