My current experience with my sister Tammi’s crap-tastic cancer voyage has made me more contemplative about life. Despite peeking at my own mortality when I was diagnosed with cancer, somehow being on the outside of this experience with my sis has brought the temporary nature of life back to the forefront of my mind. When I was dealing with my diagnosis, I was in survival mode and doing whatever it took to get well so there was less time to actually think about dying. I was consumed with the actions that would preserve my life. Contemplating mortality naturally happens as we age but gets accelerated when there is a direct threat to life.
I’ve written about fearlessly aging and facing illness, but I was inspired to take it further and delve into the quality of life NOW.
This brought me to the “acquisition” phase of our lives versus the “meaning” phase of our lives.
I found a great interview with Dr. Wayne Dyer on the subject.
Laurie Nadel, Ph.D., Mind Power News, asks Dr. Dyer: Dr. Dyer, you write about what happens when we step into the afternoon of life. How do people know when they’re in the afternoon of life? I mean what kind of shifts happen in our lives?
Dyers responds: Carl Jung writes that the afternoon of our lives represents the time when we begin to shift away from the ego being the dominant force in our life. We begin moving towards a life journey that has meaning. The morning of our lives is really occupied by ambition—getting as much as you can, collecting as much stuff as you can get, impressing as many people as you can, preparing yourself for a job, saving your money, setting goals, pleasing everybody, and doing the right thing. Even getting good grades in school revolved around the ego part of us, which really believes that who we are is what we do, what we get, and what other people think of us. That’s basically the essence of the ego. In the afternoon of your life, you don’t do life. You do what resonates with the callings of your soul.
I want you to think today about the “afternoon of your life.”
Where in your life are you creating and adding meaning to the world and yourself? How much meaning is currently in your life or are you too busy acquiring? Are you doing something you believe adds value? Have you ever stopped to think about how much meaning you experience on a daily basis? Or are you running on autopilot, just doing what needs to be done in order to make it through the day, rarely questioning your values and beliefs and instead just following suit from your family, friends, and/or community? (If you haven’t stopped to think about it, take a breather this afternoon—maybe during that 3:00 p.m. crash—and ask yourself these questions.)
If you realize after diving deep that there is not enough meaningful experiences in your life, how can you change that?
Life is too short to be running on autopilot. And, no matter what age you are, you are never too young or too old to increase the amount of value you contribute.
I am interested in your thoughts, so please share your answers to the questions above. What actions can you take to add more meaning and let some of the focus on acquiring go? Remember, in the end, you can’t take any of the stuff with you, but you will take all of the experiences. These experiences are also a great gift for your family and friends to inherit. And the best part is they get to enjoy it all while you are on this earth, in this form, at this point in time as well as for the rest of their lives—truly a gift that keeps on giving.
I hope you have a week filled with meaning and, as always, take care of you.
Love Love Love
Dear Terri, I just love watching your videos! Have been following you for about 6 months. I’m grateful to have found you and really look forward to your new posts. Thank you!
I think one of the things that, perhaps, corresponds to the “afternoon” of life, is also the recognition a person develops of who they are. Once people know themselves better, then they realize that what drives them are their gifts and graces and the use of them. What excites me is not the status quo. What excites me is when I know I am using the talents I have been blessed with, so I need to be using them. As I have gone through a second evaluative phase in my life (the first when I was around 30), I have realized that my gifts and graces are more suited for a compatable line of work, but something that is also altogether different.
Thank you for sharing your journey here with us. I went through my first one in my 30’s as well and changed careers and am now moving into the next phase. I love the way you communicated that as we know ourselves better we live more in alignment with our true selves choosing to share our gifts and talents more. So true!
Thanks again <3
Thanks for the reminder, Terri! Yes… yes… I am taking steps to add more meaning to my life!
I’ve been a bit of a workaholic my entire life and am finally making my relationships a higher priority. Recently, I turned down a small job (unheard of for me!) to spend time with a loved one. And it felt amazing to make that new choice!
Good for you! The more we make meaningful choices the more fulfilling our lives are. Keep up the good work!
Love Love Love