A few maxims have become embedded in my psyche and have helped me live a better life. They are few and they are not old favorites like 'a rolling stone gathers no moss' or 'a penny saved is a penny earned.'
Take time to reflect and write about who you are and were, in earlier periods of your life. Divide the time in any way that fits your life and the stages you moved into and out of through your years and because of your unique experiences.
The muddled message we then send is that our meaning in life comes from the work we do. While that may be true for some people, it's certainly not the case for many. Here are five ways to begin crafting more meaningful connections and lives.
Being necessary conveys many implications, small and grand. The dimensions of these applications, grandiose or minimal, are not so important as their direction. Being necessary to me means being an energy source, rather than an energy sink.
Comedian, satirist and 'Daily Show' host Jon Stewart has quizzically remarked several times since Thanksgiving that he is now 50. He says it with what appears to be a combination of amazement, amusement, perplexity and near disbelief. He's not alone.
I once asked my father whether life became any easier with time and he answered honestly, "No, it becomes more difficult. The challenges are tougher." And maybe they are. But our life skills are also better, so hopefully we can cope with the challenges much better.
I don't know what happens after we die. But I do know that we have a responsibility to ourselves to take charge, to the best of our ability, of what happens when we live on earth. To do otherwise is selling ourselves short.
Looking back at such experiences we often realize they weren't nearly as bad as they seemed. In fact, sometimes they even turned out to have a lot of benefits, yet at the time they seemed like disasters.
The path to lasting happiness is never easy. It takes mental discipline to turn away from the quick fixes being marketed to the masses. And it takes patience to make emotional investments in the people around you.
If you only had that one remaining year, would you hope to spend more time at the office? Would enriching the financial bank account be your focus? Or would you be seeking something more qualitative in your life?