As we speak, I am exploring for myself the issues of “mastery” required for fulfillment in my third chapter of life, the years between 60 – 90+. There is no doubt in my mind that the new awareness of my inevitable end has served to focus daily living. Questions seem to be arising with frequency.
What will it take to bring a sense of purpose, meaning, joy and peace to these days…all the way to the end?
What tasks, what practices, what changes, and what growth will be required in my outlook and my behavior for me to be at peace with my life and my living?
As a recovering goal setter and goal getter, I notice my tendency to want to lay out “a program” for maintaining health, gaining mobility, doing more of what I love, having more friends, and filing my Advance Directives. Check things off. Get things done. Mastery.
Not so easy. I am starting to perceive things differently. Having entered this new third chapter terrain requires that I give another look at this “mastery” business and challenge my former success producing, skill building, habits.
I’m considering that the notion of “mastery,” as in Third Chapter Mastery™ may be more about getting comfortable with mystery. TA-DA! How about learning to live in the paradox of both letting go, and of getting it together, and discerning which skill or tasks or beliefs belong in which category. How about moving into this terrain making space within ourselves for not knowing, experimenting, wandering and wondering. At the same time, finding the courage to also know, say, choose, and act on emerging clarity. A dance of being and doing.
I am coming to believe that Third Chapter Mastery™ is the practice of becoming aware of who we really are, taking responsibility for the life we have lived and the life we want to live, and choosing afresh to authentically express ourselves for fun, for service, for legacy in our remaining days. An ongoing choice, and, a product of regular reflection.
Looking at Third Chapter Mastery™ in this way may help us become “elders” in the best sense. Maybe, as elders, we can more easily say what’s so, have more fun, be of service, leave the legacy that is ours to leave, and not leave a mess for our children.
Anyway, that’s what I’m thinking today.
I’d love to hear your thoughts.