Legacy 101 – 5 Questions to Ponder

The end of each year always prompts me to look back and look forward.  Over the last months as I contemplate entering my 80th year, I’ve been thinking about how and if my life will have mattered  And thus…I’ve been led to to the topic of legacy.  Enjoy my ponderings on the subject.

It’s a given that we all leave legacies…both positive and negative…whether we area aware of it or not. That means we can also choose to be a bit more conscious and INTENTIONAL about them.  At the very least about not leaving a mess to our children.  And beyond that, perhaps even leaving something behind that the next generation will cherish.

In the process of pondering this myself, and frankly, experimenting with software on my computer, I created Legacy 101 – 5 Questions to Ponder. It’s a 9-minute slide show which references some questions to get us started.    Even more important than thinking about them for ourselves is using them to start conversations with others.  When we share our ideas, we always learn something, and, we are likely to get inspired to act on whatever we need to do next.

Link to legacy slide show

 

Don’t die leaving your gifts ungiven

One of my inspirations is my neighbor Joan.  She loved to sing and did so professionally as a soprano for most of her life .  Recognizing that one day her voice would no longer be her easy joy, she prepared for that day.   She took piano lessons, learned to play, and started volunteering her time at senior residences leading popular sing-a-longs.  She insisted that music would still be a part of her life and her gift to others.  What a smart lady!  When she, now a resident herself, comes into our lobby and sits down at the piano to practice, the neighbors gather round with great pleasure.

And then there’s the inspiration of those creative types you find when you visit  the internet.  Street Art is becoming a trend.  Artists with a crazy streak have found a way to have fun out there, creating joy for everyone else. Check out bored panda.com for an article about a street genius running wild in New York.  The photos are hilarious.

Once arriving at the ages of 60 or 70, many more years await us. Much of our life has been lived. So?  Now, what about the rest of it?    Longevity is either a gift or a curse….depending on how we choose to manage the days remaining to us.

Soooo…which of your many gifts have been hibernating life long and might be calling out for expression? 

Or, what is the expertise you’ve enjoyed amassing in the workplace for decades and where else would it be fun and useful to share it?

The world is waiting for you.

Long Live Creativity

Today I’m just noodling about the pleasures of life.

The act of creating something special you love, even something new to you, is available to us at any age.  I was nourished this week by two marvelous events that prompted these thoughts.

OLD COUNTRY ROAD, is a band consisting of (pardon me) 4 old guys and one younger man who grew up in the hey day of  traditional country and bluegrass  music.  Possibly because I’m really starting to feel my own age, I thoroughly enjoyed their recent concert.  In fact, I’m a fan.   These white haired musical phenomenons,  all retired from successful careers,  just won’t stop playing the old music they love from the 50s and 60s.

They delight their older audiences with the memories the songs evoke. They forget, they laugh and we all laugh, then they remember, and they just do their thing. Rehearsing weekly and playing occasionally in the community are key activities in their elder lives. Their concerts clearly nourish them and all those who hear them, reminding me that is never to late in life to create great fun and let it ripple out.

What was different and equally nourishing was my participation in THE REUNION PROJECT at our local Loomis Village. After attending her 50th high school reunion, Lora Brady was taken with the histories of women whose lives have spanned so many significant changes, her own included.  (For more on this span of time from a woman’s perspective,  I heartily recommend the Ruth Bader Ginsberg documentary, RBG.)

Lora, a resident scholar in Women’s Studies at Brandeis University, felt sufficiently energized by that reunion experience to create a project to get elder women of my generation talking, not only with each other, but sharing our journeys with younger women. Her intervention prompts and highlights those conversations in retirement communities and senior centers.

A prize winning photographer, this was Lora’s self-initiated  third “career” and livelihood.  Her “creation” has given meaning to her own life, to those who participate, and to the communities in which the participants live.

Our creativity never needs to die.  In fact it nourishes us, and all those around us. Speaking of nourishing oneself, I’ve just  started another journey book about living my life on the way to 80.  Apparently, reflecting on healing, aging, living life, and writing about it,  is what I do to keep me sane and happy.

What is it that YOU are hankering for in your life? 

How might YOU create more of it?