Last week I led a Say Yes to Happiness workshop on sections MIND 4 and 5 of the handbook—and the topic of what roles we choose to live in our lives took an interesting turn.
In the group were women with aging parents—and the end of life was very much on their minds. The conversation came to focus on how they want to "color in the spaces," in their lives from now to the end of their days. I think this is an important question to ask at every age.
There was an intensity in the room about refreshing old perspectives on roles and values—and looking at what truly matters most to each person now.
Several people made the point that we tend to live year after year, with little changing, and we come to a place where much of what we once chose to do—simply doesn't have meaning anymore.
But what does? That was the burning question.
What does feel important to us now—as the years go on and we want fresh energy from new experiences—new adventures? And what about the fear of trying those new adventures, what do we do with that?
One woman, once married and now a widow— talked about how she would like to go somewhere to soak in a hot springs pool, but she'd never been off alone to do something like that. We talked about how to take small steps that feel manageable when you want to do something new that feels frightening.
She felt a little glimmer of excitement and committed to research places that would be close enough to drive to for one overnight stay.
Fresh energy blossomed for her, and the field of possibilities peeked open just enough for her to see a way in. As she begins to step through that opening, so much more will be revealed to choose from— a fulfilling spectrum of options as she lives into her future—filling her life with what is meaningful for her.
That's the point—to fill your life with people, experiences, and roles that reflect your values—bringing that deep breath of contentment that comes with living a meaning-filled life.
As the topic continued in the group, we came around to describing it this way, "To get to the end of life, and be able to scan over your years giving it two thumbs up," and to say, "It's all good now, I've given all of myself while I was here." The room quieted with thoughtful nods of affirmation and faces in deep reflection.
Isn't that what we all want. To leave this life, having used up all of what we came here with, feeling fully satisfied with who we've been and how we've lived? There is always time to make the changes that put you on that path.
One of my favorite quotes is, "If not now, when?" Whether you have sixty years left or sixty days, your life is now, and it all counts.
That's what the Say Yes to Happiness Handbook and online course are all about—getting to know you, one day at a time. To be self-aware so that you can adapt your choices as you change and grow throughout your life—because you will. Growing is part of being alive, and changing comes along with growth.
This workshop group was a great example of being called to growth—yearning to get in touch with who they are and what they want now—having been stuck in sameness for too long. They embraced the idea of writing Purpose Statements and the steps to doing that, along with setting goals from there and committing to the action steps to make those goals become a reality.
The lady I mentioned earlier will be brave and go off for a night on her own, while someone else will resign from a commitment too long tended too and take that time to learn to sing, which she had been secretly wanting for so long but never gave herself permission to pursue.
These last few weeks, we have been considering the past ten years—2010 until now—and becoming more aware of what's happened during this time. Now it's important to check in with what yearnings may have come up for you, letting the past guide your next steps. To tend lovingly to the core of you, as that's the place from which you will one day assess the whole of your life and ask, "Do I feel like I used myself fully—and am I completely satisfied with the life I've lived?"
With love and support,
PS – As you consider these recent ten years, what comes up that may guide you in the next ten? Would you like to journal about that?
PPS — 9 weeks to go until Dec. 29—what do you still want to
say yes to in 2019?