What Makes Your Life Significant as You Age?

In the first two quarters of life, the question of significance don’t seem to matter much.

What’s Significant in Your Life, and When?

Q1. In the first quarter — 0 to 25, you are doing your best to become self-sufficient. You learn skills. You grow into and explore your body. You get an education. You go from being fully dependent to being somewhat independent.

And grappling with those things is a full time job. You are still immersed in yourself.

Q2. In the second quarter — 25 to 50, you may have gotten a job, partnered up, had children, built a career. You may have expanded your focus beyond the most immediate you to the needs of a family.

Q3. But then sometime in the third quarter — 50 to 75, you have more opportunity to think about what matters. That’s when you might wonder why, after all, you are alive.

I’ve been thinking about that a lot recently.

Q4. And how about this quarter? This is one that’s likely to be your last. Perhaps its when you can distill life’s meaning to its essence.

Being Part of a Community Beyond Me

You might look for or wish for fame or fortune to reassure you that your life is worth living. You might be drawn to the careers or lives of your grown children. Or perhaps you find that grandchildren give you the sense of fulfillment and meaning.

Perhaps you have developed a passion for something that can persist throughout your life. Maybe you invest more of yourself in giving back to your community.

For me, for now, it’s enough to feel that I am part of a community that extends far beyond me and my immediate family.

Daily Connections with Others

The simple gestures connect me every day to a wide array of people. A glance, a simple hello, a kind word, a small good deed.

These daily connections fill me with a curious sense of well-being. They remind me that I am one of many. That my significance is tied to the well-being of others. And for some reason, that sense of connection gives me more pleasure and comfort than any of the things I’ve accomplished over the years.

I wake up every day eager for those little pings of connection — whether they are with the people I see in Saint Mary’s Park when I exercise in the morning, a phone call or email with a friend or family member, or with you, as you read this post.

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Consider: What Makes Your Life Worth Living?

Think about your stage of life and how what makes your life worth living has shifted over the years. Are you Q1, Q2, Q3 or Q4?  What are the things that let you know that you matter? What do you look forward to when you wake up in the morning?

The answer to these questions may change as you move from one life phase to the next. How you answer them can give you insight about yourself and the choices you make.

Share your ideas in the comments below. Or, head on over to Facebook and share your ideas there.  I do love it when you share your thoughts.