One day on a train to New York, I engaged in a conversation about aging with a woman in her mid- to late-50s. We started by sharing our common connections on getting older. We laughed about the sudden pains that have appeared in places not felt when we were younger. We lamented on how we used to have one doctor, but now have a doctor for each of our ailments. She shared how aging has made her feel empty, as if something is missing in her life as she’s trying to figure out what’s next.
She has a good job, is in good health, and is thinking about retiring. “But retiring to what,” she asked.” What would I do?” Should she stay at her job as long as she can just to keep busy?
Listening to her, I felt empathy. I’ve met so many women who are coping with this same loneliness, boredom, and a restlessness to do something different.
I suggested that voids in life can be filled by sharing our wisdom. Women have wisdom gained through life’s experiences, both challenging and good.
And, emptiness can be overcome by discovering a strength. A strength is an opportunity to learn, grow and share with others while living the rest of our life.
Strengths that are rediscovered or discovered as we age is a wonderful feeling. It makes us feel empowered to realize that is continual journey of discovery.
Recently, I heard a wonderful and dynamic speaker at my church ask women, “What is your assignment?” We all have an assignment to use our talents and strengths to make the world a better place, she said. Our God given talents may be our assignment to help someone feel better about living.
I believe that our assignment is to share peace, love and kindness.
I often tell my students learning to be great leaders: Be a great leader because the world needs all the help it can get!
“Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have.” – Margaret Mead, Anthropologist, Writer and Speaker
Ask yourself: What are your strengths? Are you fearless to start a non-profit organization to help your community? Is caring one of your strengths. Are you a good listener? Do you make the best bread in your family? (A slice of delicious bread with melted butter can bring a smile to anyone’s face.) Do you find smiling at strangers a strength that comes easy to you? Think: How you can really make someone’s day better with a smile.
One day, while I walking down a street in Center City, I was feeling sad. An elderly woman was walking towards me, hunched over and her head down, looked up at me when she passed and said, “You know God loves you,” and smiled.
My sad feeling immediately went away. It’s amazing how a stranger found the courage to say something to another stranger, and completely changed my outlook.
Please share your strength. How have you impacted someone? How did it makes you feel? Your comments may help someone fill an empty void in their life.
“How wonderful it is that nobody needs to wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” – Anne Frank