Understanding Lessons Learned on Life’s Voyage
Reaching age 70 has prompted me both to celebrate and to awaken. Starting a new decade has always been a time of reflection for me but this time it’s sobering. Roughly one out of three of us at this age, statistics say, will not reach our 80thbirthday.
So, realizing there are fewer days ahead than behind, I’ve decided to embark upon a Life Review to gain a better understanding of and appreciation for life’s voyage and establish a map for the future.
Actually, I began the process years ago as I started to shed material possessions at a faster rate than beforehand…and as I began what is now an intense interest in learning about my family heritage and ancestry. Beyond that, it has been a mission-like tendency to re-establish contact with my childhood friends whom I have not seen nor heard from in a half-century.
Today I clearly invest my time more deliberately and selectively and make sure I do what I can to maintain good health and vitality and engender kindness along the way.
And, more and more, it’s about legacy: asking the tough questions: What’s life all about? What have I learned on the voyage? Who do I have to thank/understand /appreciate?
So, here begins the process of accepting what Ericksen calls the 8thand final stage of development aiming to achieve integrity and avoid despair.
Thinking about the key people in my life thus far, here are the lessons I’ve learned from each of them:
Mother: Love, kindness, passion
Father: Adventure, logic, fun
Paternal grandfather: Hard work, joy, self-respect
Paternal grandmother: Creativity, sensitivity, devotion
Maternal grandmother: Family, resilience, humor
Paternal grandfather: Listening, balance, patience
Spouses: Independence, personal finance, emotional strength
Children: Selflessness, understanding, flexibility
Grandchildren: Spontaneity, trends, empathy
Mentors: Possibilities, persuasion, persistence
Colleagues: Teamwork, positivity, compromise
Friends: Companionship, support, bonds
It is my hope that this Life Review process will allow me to better recognize and integrate these lessons. The end goal is to create inner wholeness and peace and a map for the future.
Have you utilized this process? Does it seem a valuable exercise to you as your continue to seek or reinvent your authentic self?
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