Last week, out of sheer boredom, I picked up an autobiography of one Josephine Whitney Duveneck in the library of the assisted care facility where I was visiting. You wouldn't know of this local hero and legend unless you have deep roots in this particular part of the California Bay Area. I randomly flip through the pages, and my eyes rest on this line, where young Josephine in 1912 observes that there are some people (most certainly men) who are "singers" of the world and they will have their reward, "but what about the rest of us whose work is but chaff? We will be left in nakedness having neither accomplished our dreams nor labored for our souls." (Life on Two Levels, by Josephine Whitney Duveneck).
Wanting more than the life she had, she seeks to engage with the larger community and do what she can to serve others. Her greatest social contributions came after her midlife ennui, when she began to activate her values and strengths. That might be the case for you as well.
You don’t have to just live your life. You can create the life you live. You can seek to be happier, and you can seek the work that is in you to do.
Even if it’s a small thing, a side gig, or an effort to eliminate a negative thing in your life, you can get moving on it. You can seek it out, no matter how big or small. Place your intention out there and take the first step. It’s the only way to awaken the possibilities that exist in your life.
Some may say it’s an extravagance for those who can "afford it" -- for those who have the money, time, energy, resources, confidence, or whatever their perceived deficiency. But don’t you hope that it’s possible for anyone to strive to better oneself under any circumstance? That a will to try counts for something?
Poet Rainer Maria Rilke says...
You see, I want a lot.
Perhaps I want everything:
the darkness that comes with every infinite fall
and the shivering blaze of every step up.
So many live on and want nothing,
and are raised to the rank of prince
by the slippery ease of their light judgments.
But what you love to see are faces that do work and feel thirst.
You love most of all those who need you
as they need a crowbar or a hoe.
You have not grown old, and it is not too late
to dive into your increasing depths
where life calmly gives out its own secrets.
― Rainer Maria Rilke, Rilke's Book of Hours
Do your own thing, however small. If you have a dream or a wish, what’s keeping you from trying? Knowing you are striving for your own thing can give pleasure and something to focus on. When do you think is a good time to start?
Thoughts for creating success in the second half of life.