Where are you headed this year? Not just physically, but emotionally and mentally. Are you looking forward, or backward? Where we place our attention informs our intentions in life, and what we’re experiencing.
One of the keys to a happy and healthy life is to keep moving forward. Moving forward allows us to keep growing, to keep learning, and times of transitions provide great opportunities to help us evaluate where we’re headed and what’s important to us in this stage of life. Our values and priorities change as we age, and knowing what we want now helps us move forward on a path that leads us to new adventures and memorable experiences.
Of course, things will happen to us all that slow us down and threaten to stop us right in our tracks, and that can make the simple act of moving forward seem difficult. But not only can we do it, we really have to. When we stop moving forward, we stop living. The only way to start again is to begin to shed ourselves of all the things weighing us down. Sometimes it's our own self-doubt, our own fears. It's much easier to do nothing, to just isolate and hide away from the world, but we only get one life, and it's worth every bit of the struggle to begin to shed whatever weights are holding you down.
It's also important to consider what changes we might need to make in our lives. Small actions can yield great dividends. In Growing Bolder’s interview with The Blue Zones' founder, Dan Buettner, he shared his number one takeaway from studying the lifestyle of the world's longest living people. “If you want to live longer, you want set up your surroundings so the healthy choice is the easy choice,” Buettner said. “Making friends whose idea of recreation is playing tennis or gardening, friends who eat plant-based, friends who will support you on a bad day, setting up your home so you have a junk food drawer with the bad food out of the way.”
Longevity experts also emphasize the importance of connection to happy, healthy lives as we age. Giving back is one way to foster more connections. Not only do our priorities change as the decades go by, but our schedules do as well. With empty nests and either less work hours or none at all, we have more time on our hands. Not sure what you want to focus on with this extra time? Well, Mahatma Gandhi once said the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. John Wooden, the great hall of fame basketball coach, said that it's impossible to live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you.
We don't have to change the world, but we can change our lives for the better simply by helping others. A simple act of kindness can change someone's day and maybe even their life. We have years of experience and expertise to share and there are many charitable organizations in need of help. Making a difference is not about age, it's about attitude, and leaving a legacy is not about money, it's about intent. When we are open to sharing, opportunities to share seem to open up. Keep your eyes and ears open for yours.
A legacy is simply the stories that people tell about you when you're gone. So, ask yourself, what stories will people tell about you? What do you still want to do, be or experience in life? Are you headed in the right direction to accomplish what you value? Are you moving forward? And how can you give back?