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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Authenticity and Aging

Through my coaching practice I often come in contact with men and women who are making the transition to retirement and the second half of life. They find their way to coaching because they feel like they want something different from the first half of their lives. Usually this is accompanied by a sense of urgency or longing the intensity of which unexpected and perhaps unsettling.

In the first half they have acquired experience and maybe achieved fame or recognition. They know what it is like to have a job and accept obligations to families. They are, by most standards, successful individuals. So what is this longing about?

For many, this is perhaps the first time in their lives that they feel like they have a choice about how they spend their precious life energy. Their commitments to raising family or having a "career" are complete and they can now choose a different path. And many do not yet have a compass or map to help them get where they want to go.

A very vital ingredient in intentional aging is having a passion about how we spend our time and really caring about the impact we have in service to our community and the following generations. The second ingredient is that we "show up" authentically. That is, we make choices and live our lives according to our own unique set of values and sense of calling. This is how we can change the idea of aging from simply decline and diminishment to one of possibilities, joy and fulfillment.

Having said this I do not want to imply that living an authentic life is isn't! It is a big challange and maybe none greater in this culture. (More on that next time, though). Right now please ask yourself this: "If I were to die next year what is the one wish I have for my family, community or the world that would make it better?"

If you can answer this you just might be well on your way to aging intentionally.

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