I have continued to read and contemplate the concept of the ‘second half of life.’ I frequently go back to Richard Rohr’s book Falling Upward, Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life, as well as Chip Conley’s book, Wisdom @ Work; The Making of a Modern Elder. The second half is a bit of a misnomer since I’m soon to be 71! Better late than never, right? The theme, in a nutshell, is that we spend the first half of our lives accumulating, striving, climbing, and expanding. Then, without realizing it, we will most likely spend the second half of life retiring, dispersing, relaxing and minimalizing. In some cases, we may have climbed to the top of a ladder that was leaning against the wrong thing! I certainly didn’t think that way when I was 40 or 50, nor did anyone suggest that there would be a great reversal. Rohr says, “There is much evidence on several levels that there are a least two major tasks to human life. The first is to build a strong container or identity; the second is to find the contents that the container was meant to hold.”
Chip Conley so aptly calls it editing. It is such a great descriptive term for the work we do as we grow older. I know about editing. Being the author of some 500 articles that needed to be approximately 350 words, I’ve done my share of editing. It’s about being clear, concise, and to the point without extraneous verbiage. It is amazing what you can do without and still communicate a thought. In this case, more is not better. Isn’t that the important work we do as Elders, editing our lives and accumulations? We no longer need four bedrooms, nor do we want it. Through life experience and some adversity, we learn what is on our short list of important things. The value of family, friends, grace, and love fill our cup to overflowing and we no longer need the china cabinet filled with our collection of teacups from around the world! Instead of cleaning out the attic, think of editing your life so that the important things can have more space. Join the conversation on Facebook at Just Now Old Enough.
Editor’s note: Connie Mason Michaelis is a lifestyle consultant at www.justnowoldenough.com.