By Joe Grant, Retirement Transitions Coach
After age 50 most people begin to consider that life has a limited duration which may now be factored into decisions they make. While still thriving in many ways, many of us over 50 are becoming aware that a few individuals we know have passed into the dustbin of history. The ‘dustbin’ of course is the repository of all things material. From Sumerian clay tablets to civil war cannonballs (and including 2016 Trump campaign signs) – all in the dustbin. An archeological student treasures the Rosetta Stone. Greece wants it back from the British Museum. Archeology studies the big dustbin, looking for clues. Clues to what? Well, I think it’s this.
Is there a chance that something exists permanently OUTSIDE of time?
Where are all those lifeforms called vegetation that silently grew majestically, green, and beautiful. Or that once laughed, cried, reproduced, loved, etc.? Is there anything left? Thinking about such, we arrive at the shore of the great oceans called philosophy and religion.
Humans have invented over the ages some means of ocean travel, but there are no reliable boats for these oceans, no means to guarantee our return if we venture out beyond the shore. Too risky. And since we are not yet being forced into the adventure called death, we still have time to get ready (or so we think). We feel “safe” for another day in this space-time. Our comfort zone.
Problem! Humans need adventure and risk and excitement to truly live! Not crazy stuff, but some new creation of inspiration. These internal emotions are to be treasured, and custom created for your SELF (whatever that is). Some call it your SELF, Self-Image, or your SOUL. Whatever the name you have given to that which arrived in this world courtesy of your Mother and facilitated by your Father. If you have been present at a birth you just know something other than the physical child has just arrived.
This need for a purpose gives rise to many searches like Victor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning, a book to reread at least once per year. Don’t forget Joseph Campbell’s many writings on the ‘Heroes Adventure’ in mythology. Or Socrates' comments before his death.
If you are prone to use the internet, do a search for information on purpose and likely you will be momentarily over-purposed with external resources on this topic. Yet the search always turns within, or there is no satisfaction.
My very humble opinion is that all of us need gentle, firm perseverance in this pursuit. Perhaps it is your “SOUL” that needs the pursuit - not necessarily an immediate answer. Maybe I can save you some search time here: Let’s rely on someone who once thrived in their space-time and tried to leave us clues about WHERE to persevere:
From Benjamin Franklin: “The noblest question in the world is: “What good may I do in it?”
Reread his autobiography for a sense of perseverance and a full life well-lived. It’s a study in Mindfulness, and Centering, if you like modern terminology. It is NOT a book on Meditation but is all about DOING as the means to find one’s SOUL before it joins the Oversoul. I look forward to meeting Franklin. But not too soon.
Happy Days Ahead!
Joe Grant, MBA
Certified Retirement Coach