The legacy of a simplified life

Having recently read Simplify by Bill Hybels (ISBN 978-1-41439712-2), I was prompted to transfer his message into 3205some pointers for each of us to consider as we reach our next season of life.

I was particularly struck by the following statement: “But simplifying is not merely intended to make your life easier – as uncluttering a drawer or cupboard might. You simplify your life for reasons that matter for eternity; to give clarity, purpose and power to the things that matter most in the world.”

So what may this look like practically for any person over 50 who starts to think about the next 25 years of their life? It is around this age that many of us are sensing and experiencing major life changes in our lives. These do not all match exactly but will impact each of us in this season of life.

  1. If we are fortunate to have our parents still alive, we may be concerned about their health and finances. Having conversations that can take as much of the stress out of their situation without taking away their dignity is vital. You will also lose your parents in this next season and this will bring to an end a deep and most important relationship in your life. Take the time to grieve and celebrate your parents and build this legacy into your own family for the future.
  1. Your children will be reaching adulthood, leaving home and starting families of their own. What a privilege it is to watch our children as adults, becoming parents and building dreams and a future of their own. Where possible, allow your adult children to grow, learn and struggle the same way we did. It builds character and strength for what may lie ahead. I see too many baby boomer parents taking on too much for their adult children and this can cause enormous stress.
  1. Ensure that your finances, will and paper work are organised and easy for others to access and understand. I lost my Mom this past year and, as her Executor, have learnt so much about how I want to simplify my own life to ensure that my children will not be put through the stress I am currently dealing with.
  1. You may still have five years before formal retirement from your company or looking at succession planning for your own business. This is the time to start considering what your next season of life will look like from a WORK situation. The word WORK should be changed for this season to PLAY. I define PLAY as work that matches your skills, talent and passions in a mix of hours and responsibility that matches your unique profile. It takes time to find the right ingredients and is therefore not something you should only start considering once you have retired. Take short courses, learn and grow a hobby, network, read and engage with friends to navigate your way. You may even take on a coach to help you with this process. Your currency in this season of work may be money to sustain your investments or if you have been wise with your investments your currency could lean more towards meaning and purpose.
  1. The journey of life is filled with many lessons. There are many things we have done that we may regret. We may have had an unhappy childhood or a messy divorce. These feelings of regret, anger and resentment may be the very things that are causing your life not to be simplified. Toxic emotions manifest in poor relationships, bad health and can also lead to addictions. Finding help and working through these challenges will ensure that your next season is filled with joy and peace.
  1. The saying goes that all the money in the world cannot buy good health. In this season, take a look at your health from every aspect. What exercise can you do , how can you change your diet and lose the extra weight, what books or courses can you do to improve your mental stimulation and what hobby can you take on to balance some leisure in your life?
  1. Relationships are built up over time and need time and love to grow. Take a good look at the relationships in your life and consider if you have a good balance and leaning towards the ones that matter most. Your immediate family and close friends may see very little of the real you owing to stress and pressure from work and hobbies that do not leave enough over for those who really care about you.

Human beings are all aware of these simply basic solutions. The challenge is to take the time to step back and analyse your life right now and make the decision to put some or all of them into practice. Our lives are not a dress rehearsal. It is never too late to leave a legacy.

The time to start is now. SIMPLIFY.

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