What Do We Have Left When All Is Said and Done?

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Life is time-limited.  The years slide by with haste.  There is no way to bargain with the aging process.  We can get our skin tightened or use popular potions that promise to return us to our youth, but it's all an illusion.  We are in a here-and-now, and the longer we live, the faster our remaining years seem to vanish.

We spend our childhood playing, coping with parents, feeling immortal and wishing that we were grownups.  We envision the promises that the freedom of adulthood affords.  We want to be powerful and confident, and believe that the rite of passage from adolescence will make us less vulnerable.  We long for the days when we can tell others what to do and make changes without constraints.  We are tired of trying to please the adults in our lives and are ready to do it our own way.

As adults, we become immersed in goals.  Most of us enjoy the safety, security and predictability that is associated with creating a new family and focusing on a career.  We bury ourselves in work, believing that performing to please will provide the satisfaction and power necessary to bring meaning.  At times, we may question our career path or wonder about our choice of partners and will wrestle with determining our future. At some point within adulthood, we may become disheartened by all the energy we've expended caring for others over our job responsibilities and family obligations. 

The need for play, spontaneity and creativity may clamor for attention. We recall these feelings from childhood, as they once again compel us to listen to their yearning voice.  .  They have been at war with our pusher-driver, the side of us that performs to please in order to get the validation of others.  Our playful side is irresistible and requires expression - we must provide ourselves with what we need and want.  Thus, we give up the compelling drive, the heavy script that is inconsistent with our authentic self.

A renewal that takes us to our truest self is what moves us toward our elder years.  We no longer need the toys, cars and houses to make us happy.  Our meaning is not derived from things.  If we only pursue what money can buy, it will leave us feeling empty.

What can we count on to bring us feelings of triumph and success?  What do we need that ultimately will provide us with peace as we play out our remaining years?  Hopefully, we have set the stage for the most important possessions that we can call our own.  As we let go of our story as we have known it, we can hold on to these qualities to sustain us.  The cycle of life requires us to grasp these very precious treasures.

What do we have left when all is said and done? I believe we have the content of our character and the quality of our most prized relationships.  What more could one ask for?  We must truly seek to live with integrity, never elevating, demeaning or comparing ourselves with others.  We live the life we are given with as much honesty, compassion and responsibility as we can.  We take nothing for granted and appreciate everything.  We are proud of who we have become.

We also cherish our family relationships and most devoted friends.  We have committed our life to the well-being of a partner or children and reap the rewards of their affection and connection to us.  We can't lose them no matter what happens to us.  We have the memories of everything that has been done to connect us with our loved ones in a way that cannot be severed.

All we have left, when all is said and done, is who we have become and those we cherish as our closest friends.  This realization brings us peace and hope as we continue on our road to learn and fulfill life's purposes.

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