Leaving a Legacy

Rich and famous people like to give large monetary gifts that create the occasion to have institutions, buildings or programs named after them. It is part of their legacy and a way of being remembered. Most of us don’t have that option because we live with modest incomes. Nevertheless, we also want to leave something of ourselves to our children and our society so that we can live with the realization that our lives matter.

Some great reflection questions for all of us living in the second half of life: What is my contribution to my world? What will I be remembered for? What part of me will live on beyond my life span?

Some may believe that beyond producing children and working a career, the legacy is complete. I challenge that assumption. The part of our life cycle after formal retirement offers immense opportunities to make our mark. It is up to us to decide what that mark will be. The possibilities are endless–and yet so specific to each of us.

Formula for a Meaningful Life

I attended a program sponsored by AARP called Life Reimagined. It is geared toward people who are making life changes in retirement years. The most interesting part of it for me is a formula they provide to find one’s purpose.
This is it: Gifts (Things we are good at) + Passions (Things we love) + Values (Things that motivate us) EQUALS Purpose. It is a simple statement but needs a lot of unpacking in order to identify each of these elements for the individual. In my coaching we do exactly that.

A message I consistently give in my talks and coaching is that PURPOSE is the primary key to a long, healthy life. This is based on research. One fact: people with High Purpose are 2.4 times less likely to develop the symptoms of Alzheimer’s than those with Low Purpose.

If anyone wants to explore these thoughts further, I still have some room in my workshop on May 29–see that sidebar for details.

Bucket Lists

A new client referred me to an article in the New York Times called the Moral Bucket List by David Brooks.

As we retire, many of us think in terms of a bucket list of vacation destinations, new hobbies, books we want to read, or skills we want to develop. All of this is great stuff. The article by David Brooks provides another dimension to bucket lists–one that has to do with character traits we admire and would like to develop within ourselves. This is less measurable than some bucket lists but addresses the need we all have to make our lives count for something. We want to leave our mark as persons of character. I know that I have just added something to my bucket list–reading The Road to Character by David Brooks. I know I will add some desirable qualities to my moral bucket list.