I am closing in on 65 years of age. I’ve had a wonderfully full life, filled with great love, adventure, opportunities, challenges, and loss. In reflection, is there ever a time in our lives where we don’t pause to evaluate the path we are on and where it is taking us?
I was visiting with my father-in-law recently, and as I sat in front of him trying to converse with his slipping mind, he asked me for the fifth time, how I was doing? “I’m doing fine Grandpa Ben. I can’t complain. It wouldn’t be fair.” To which he replied, “That’s good, no one would listen.” His sense of humor is still alive and well. His standard euphemisms are always at the tip of his tongue.
Then he said as he stared past me in reflection “I don’t do anything; I just sit in this chair all day.” Realizing he is going nowhere, and reflecting on his current state of well-being, the sad look on his face is one I shall not soon forget. Even in his diminished state of mind, he was aware enough to pause and evaluate his path.
Following the loss of our son last year, my wife Ginger and I are being intentional in our lives, as our son always admonished. Instead of “aging out,” we are embarking on a journey without a destination; but in a way that we hope to enliven and re-discover our lives. We are not lost—we are purposeful in our wanderlust.
Part of our intention includes, for me, studying guitar (Eric Clapton is a musical hero of mine) and hope to learn how to make beautiful oil paintings. I also have desires to continue to develop my storytelling through writing and effective and relevant communication. Ginger loves nature and will study photography and take pictures for me to paint. She loves to travel and explore the beautiful earth God created for us and we hope to visit our friends as often as circumstances allow. We have plans to author and publish a children’s book in the next year. We are also joining in with a couple of partners to start a new business—once an entrepreneur, always an entrepreneur. Of course, we continue our beloved involvement with Launching Leaders celebrating the rising generations. We are aligned with our spiritual center and are entirely trusting our light of faith to lead the way—wherever that journey takes us.
In considering life’s unfolding nature I have been contemplating one of the things Launching Leaders teaches in a process called “The Cycle of Spiritual Guidance.” The first step in this process is to discover your true identity. I learned a phrase recently that takes this to a deeper level. How do we capture the “essence of our identity” — Who am I? and Where do I belong? Isn’t capturing the essence of our identity both our daily and life-long quest? Is not discovering the essence of our identity the key to our peace and happiness—the energy to our purpose and quest for belonging?
At any age, this cycle never ends. We have an opportunity to add to our truth, but the process of discovery is ongoing. While we discover who we are at the core and live our intentional lives around that knowledge, we ought to constantly recalculate our inner GPS to consider our path and where it is taking us. I invite you to read the first chapter of Launching Leaders, An Empowering Journey for a New Generation and go on this journey with us. The associated course is free and can be accessed by visiting LLworldwide.org or emailing our administrative manager in New Zealand, Roselene Walker at Roselene.Walker@LLworldwide.org.
This past year, all of these things have coalesced for Ginger and I—the loss of our son, our aging friends and relatives, our desire to be intentional with our lives, the hope for new beginnings, our quest to truly capture the essence of our identity, and our desire to do some good every day, especially through our work in Launching Leaders. It’s ironic that all of the principles we have helped shape and provide in Launching Leaders—designed to assist the rising generations in particular—are moving deep into our souls as we live out what we teach. Indeed, we are Boomers with Millennial hearts. As we do this, we are more convinced than ever that Launching Leaders empowers any individual who seeks a better life and that these principles never “age out.”
We are embarking on new and intentional journeys with “no end in sight.” We are rediscovering the “essence or our identity.” We are evaluating our path before our memories fade into a hazy fog. Hopefully we can still make a difference every day as we seek to home in on what led us here and what will take us there.