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Wednesday, February 21, 2007


Two days ago, Eric moved into his 'new' bedroom. It actually is the same room that has been his since he arrived just a week before we moved into our then-brand-new house about 9 and a half years ago. But things needed to be changed. Out went the cute balloon wallpaper; in (with Eric's participation) went the Hockey stars. And we cleared out the closet of old toys -- toys appropriate for a three or four year old, or maybe a five or six year old kid, but not someone almost 10 years old.

In couple of weeks that it took to set up the newly decorated room and while we waited for the room's air quality to improve from the new paints and varnishes (preceded by months of planning by Vivian), Eric chose to sleep on a mattress in the floor of our room. He enjoyed this stage, and so did we, despite the loss of privacy. We knew we were experiencing a change-point; not the type celebrated by ceremony or drama (the wedding, confirmation or bar mitzvah), but nonetheless, an important milestone from early to middle childhood that all healthy children experience.

I'm wistful about the change; as I am about my evolution from early to 'late' middle age -- now that I am well into my 50s. Not planning it for me, Vivian borrowed from the library "Younger Next Year -- Turn back your biological clock" by Chris Crowley and Henry S Lodge, MD. This book is actually written for late middle aged men rather than women, but the fundamental points apply to both genders. At this stage of our lives, we can choose to let our bodies fail us, or actively maintain our health through exercise, rational nutrition, and meaningful commitments and relationships. If we get it right, we can live well with a high quality of life until our mid 80s and possibly slightly longer.

There is a correlation here between these life-cycle experiences and construction industry marketing. Your business, undoubtedly, will grow, change and evolve and many of these changes will reflect your own changes as you age. Most businesses fail, I suspect, because they cannot manage the transitions effectively. These can be technological, or market related, or perhaps are simply age related -- as the original owner/founder gets older, he or she needs to move on at some point.

Of course, if I follow the guidance in Crowley and Lodge's book, it looks like I've got another 30 years to go at least. This means that we'll experience Eric becoming a middle-aged man, and this publishing business being around long enough that the Internet will be almost my current chronological age. It will be different, of course. But there will still be a real need for architects, engineers, general contractors and sub trades.

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