- A middle aged woman who aggressively describes herself as a non believer commented that she had just realized she had probably lived half of her life. She is married, a mother, lives comfortably and is very active politically and in her neighborhood. She ‘has it all.’ But now she is wondering what will be important in the second half of her life. What is a life well lived? Questions of meaning are often not raised until we’ve accomplished what we thought most important.
- A middle aged man who prided himself on his stock market acumen pointedly avoided looking at the numbers over this current stock market slide–until this week. He is down over 60%. He is very depressed. He said he had gotten caught up in feeling smarter than most people and had discovered his capacity for greed. What is a life well lived? Who is he now that he knows he is both smart and ordinary?
- A single mom in her mid fifties has devoted her life to family. She lost her father when she was 16 and knew what it meant to lose family. To this day she says she had turned off ‘amber alerts’ saying ‘if she can’t fix it, she doesn’t want to hear it.’ In many ways her grief has led her to be a ‘universal’ mom noted for adopting ‘strays’. What is a life well lived? She can’t fix the big problems but she can help one by one. She asks, Is this bite size piece enough?
- Finally (but certainly not the last), a younger man must balance his vocational dreams with the responsibilities of adulthood. Virtually every parent on the face of the earth has had to struggle with this one. ‘Follow your Bliss’ is a great book title but it falls well short of paying the bills. Its best use is raising the questions of work-life balance. It falls well short of answering them. What is a life well lived when you must balance personal aspirations with the needs of your family?
Learn what is eternal. Love the person in front of you. You will find peace in ways that are unimaginable. Your capacity to practice joy will grow.