Lessons for the Race of Your Life
This is the only race that does not require you to race against the clock.
(One important lesson for all ages is to use the attitudes of love and gratitude and exercise of visualization as fuel to bring into reality desired experiences. This has been previously discussed in the article “The Power of Feeling Good Now ”http://hubpages.com/t/24b575.)
Below are the mileposts in years followed by the corresponding experiences (note that an experience is not limited to the indicated milepost) and lesson (in italics):
0 - 14:
Children are so full of trust and innocence. They know and understand they can and they just do it. They are so in the moment.
“"I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 18:3
Wanting to be all grown up and struggle against parental authority
Usually, your parents are just trying their best to love you. Try to understand that due to their material limitations such as time and money, they may not always be able to provide what you need. Try to have empathy for your parents.
Develop hobbies and participate in sports that you love. These activities will take you in good stead in the lifelong journey ahead.
Understand that God loves you unconditionally and is able to love you as though you were His sole concern.
Struggle with romantic relationships
This is about the time that you’ve taken on several attachments, not only with respect to relationships but to other material things as well.
Understand that nothing external to yourself can fulfill that longing for love. Your girlfriend or boyfriend will not be able to give you the love you seek, unless you learn to start accepting and loving yourself unconditionally. Once you do, you will see the additional reward of attracting happier and more enriching relationships.
Wanting to establish oneself in a career
This is about the time when you get a one-track mind towards climbing the corporate ladder. Sometimes the forcing and the struggle is so great it causes so much pain, especially with the usually politically-motivated environment in the corporate world. It can happen that you are passed off for promotion despite your being more qualified, over someone who is the friend of the friend of the boss.
It may be worthwhile to write everything down to clear your mind and take everything into perspective. Several materials have been written about deciding about leaving or staying in a job.
Understand that whether you leave or stay, you will always end up with whatever attitude you originally have. “If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, …”. God will bless you with what needs to happen in your life, if you believe He will, whether you decide to stay or leave.
Understand that at any point in life, your ability to let go of attachments and the illusion of control will determine to what extent you will experience happiness or unhappiness.
Struggling with children’s expression of independence
This is the time when you encounter feasibly the first situation bringing some loss of meaning in your life. Parenthood is a usually happy time of bonding. When children begin to express their independence, your definition of self (based on your children’s companionship) is threatened.
Understand that this could also signify the dawn of freedom in your life, since your children will be demanding less of your time. This could be your opportunity to go back to old hobbies or explore the adventure of a spiritual journey.
Struggling with failed marital relations
Loss of a partner could be the most painful experience in life. The paradox is, it is also a time of great opportunity to take a closer look at what were the things you really loved to do but were never really able to pursue due to having to give time to provide attention to the loved one.
Grieve but learn to gently let go of your attachment. A whole new world is waiting for you: you could train to race in your category, to at least finish. Your will find great exhilaration in discovering you could be and accomplish more than you used to.
Empty nest syndrome
Assuming the extreme that both your partner and children are gone, this could be a lighter load if you had started to put in place your preparations earlier: have you by now developed your favorite hobbies and sports?
Again, with each stage, it is a matter of allowing yourself some time to grieve then gently letting go. Emphasis on the ‘gently’ because all throughout the journey, you have to be compassionate towards yourself. Remember the commandment: “Love others as yourself.” You have always had the time to love others, e.g. your family. Now, more than any time, it calls for loving yourself.
Depression or loss of meaning
All your possessions may be gone or whatever you used to enjoy no longer seem meaningful to you. Engaging in your hobbies would be a good stop gap measure.
What would be important would be to go within. As Neale Donald Walsh has said: “If we don’t go within, we go without.” We need to find God within us. This is truly the only place where we can find peace, joy and contentment.
Sifting over the real meaning of life
You have started to search in earnest in your 60’s and continue on your 70’s to find that the search for God is actually full of surprises at every turn of the corner.
Your friends and relatives of like generation may have passed on. Yet, since you have understood early on that relying on others for your source of happiness is a surefire formula for unhappiness, you have since understood and assimilated the meaning of being happy alone or with others.
You may even discover the internet and writing as exciting hobbies.
Understand that self-care is never out of place, and that its fruits will take you beyond the usual accomplishments for people of your age: you continue to be productive in your own way.
Continue being a lifelong learner!
Enjoy each moment. This is the only race that does not require that you race against the clock. At every step, you are exactly where you need to be and learning the lesson that is perfect for you at that point in time. At every moment and place, you are the perfect you flowing, perfecting to become the next perfect you in the next perfect moment in time and space.