What gifts will I leave behind?
How will my life have mattered?
It’s not too early to starting thinking about this.
1. Choose health and happiness. Since everyone leaves a legacy for good or ill as parent, friend, spouse, and ordinary person, why not be the model for a healthy life.
- Live long, Die Short: A Guide to Authentic Health and Successful Aging, by Roger Landry, MD, MPH.
- How to Live a Good Life: Soulful Stories, Surprising Science and Practical Wisdom, by Jonathan Fields.
- The Happiness Project: Or, why I spent a year trying to sing in the morning, clean my closets, fight right, read Aristotle, and generally have more fun by Gretchen Rubin.
2. Uncover and “be” who you really are. Folks who have shared their gifts and passions, doing what they were uniquely born to do, are oft remembered. Our own later-in-life days give us an opportunity to review our life experiences, make amends for our regrets, and dare to do put to use not only what we’ve learned, but what we most care about. What are your gifts? What is your “unfinished business” on the planet?
- Five Wishes: How Answering One Simple Question Can Make Your Dreams Come True by Gay Hendricks. . (Very powerful way to neutralize the regrets which would otherwise derail your third chapter quality of life.)
- Why Not Do what You Love? Calling and Contribution in a World that is Hungry for Your Gifts by Martha Johnson.
3. Give what deeply matters to you. When you find ways to ground your gifts (personal and financial) by creating something permanent aligned with your values, your long term legacy is pretty well assured. However, anyone feeling intimidated about the size and scope of certain legacies, remember, they all started somewhere…with an idea. Remember: While you may feel like one lonely member of the world at large, to one person you may be the world.
- ENCORE.ORG: Second Acts for the greater good. Check out the annual Purpose Prizes awarded to those who have used their experience and energy to contribute in new ways.
- The Transition Network: Embracing Change after 50 (for professional women). Chapters are forming around the country.
- ASHOKA.ORG. If you have an idea for changing the world, visit this site. Two Western Massachusetts businesses show what’s possible. Check out real and local (Western Massachusetts) examples of social entrepreneurship at Dean’s Beans, and Celia Grace.