As we grow older we begin to consider our significance in the grand scheme of things. As career responsibilities slow down for us, new windows of opportunity open allowing us to see life through new eyes. Who are you without the job you've done for so long? Do you exist at all outside the neat box you've created for yourself? At any age for life to be authentic, it must be a journey of meaning. At no point is this more important than after 50.
Most people, if honest, notice their job whatever that has been, loses importance in some way as the years march on. No matter how invested you were in your career, no matter how much you thought you were changing the world, a point is reached where interest and devotion wane. The idealism of youth is confronted by the realism of the swift passage of time in middle age, and the question “What's next for me?" must be answered.
Some people lament the things they put aside to do “later". The world view bombards us with the notion that the pursuit of pleasure is the centerpiece of retirement. There is an enticement to capture irreplaceable time lost from youth. Ultimately, selfish pursuit leads to insecurity and fear if it is not reigned in and redirected in the effort of personal development.
Living authentically requires us to develop life meaning. It calls forth our ability to extract purpose, spirit and creativity from our world. Meaning can involve formulating a new goal to accomplish; finding a cause to become part of, or carrying out a lifelong quest. It can involve fully developing our talents or long forgotten interests and applying them in ways that will further peace and justice or compassionately ease another's pain.
Opening to involvement with the focus on others, brings with it a multitude of gifts. We find that service to our neighbors or the world around us gives us great meaning. In reaching out to others we are filled, giving rise to physical, emotional and mental well being and an activiation of our own innate healing powers. We develop the vision to see life's problems as opportunities for growth, the perseverance to take them as a cause and the passion to embrace them for our good and the good of others.
Living an authentic life by finding meaning as we grow older is not a luxury, it is a need. It's a core function in keeping our Body, Mind and Spirit in balance. Without it, our body ceases to operate efficiently and we begin the slow descent into “Dis-Ease. "
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