A boomer’s advice: What counts in life is who you are

 
If any generation has rushed through life, it’s ours. Baby boomers seem to have invented rushing! But Dr. William Courter of Coto de Caza, California, founder of the Boomer Health Institute and author of “The Boomer Survivor Kit,” found a way to slow it all down… and he let his daughter do all the work. He writes for BoomerCafé about Leaving a Legacy.

For many of us baby boomers, there are three primary questions: Have you lived? Have you loved? Have you made a difference?

Dr. William Courter

Dr. William Courter

For the last question, there is often an underlying question: Am I leaving a sufficient legacy? For this question, I encourage you to remember the quote from the poet Muriel Rukeyser: “The world is not made up of atoms; it’s made of stories.” So for your family and friends, what is best? A few more pennies in the bank, or some great stories?

My suggestion for all baby boomers: Get busy living. Get busy creating more stories.

Let me share my own experience. Last summer, when one of my daughters was between her junior and senior college year (her last summer under our roof), I elected to take a full month off from my work. Income? Gone. I told my daughter to arrange a month-long vacation for the family through Europe with her making all the bookings for flights, hotels, and excursions.

She was the parent; we were the children. It was not a high-cost vacation, and it was not aimed to hit any bucket list items. She selected the cities and she arranged the itinerary. For me, the goal was simple. I wanted an uninterrupted month with my wife and two daughters.

Dr. William Courter’s book – The Boomer Survivor Kit: An Indispensable Guide For Yourself * Your Relationships * Your Life – is available at Amazon.com.

You know what? My daughter planned a better vacation than I could have ever imagined. There was plenty of down time -– time for us to be together without rushing. One highpoint? On her twenty-first birthday, my daughter and I (after my wife and younger daughter had collapsed into their inexpensive hotel beds) stole our way up to the hotel roof. One mojitos after another, one hour after another … well, I had the privilege of appreciating the beauty of the city of Florence and the beauty of my daughter, now a grown, independent, and lovely woman. By giving up income, I had created a memory that was, as they say, priceless. I had created something special -– something she will remember long after I am gone.

Dr. Bill Courter and his family.

That’s what I recommend to you. Instead of meeting with a financial advisor and crunching numbers about what to leave to others, focus on sharing more of yourself and leaving more of a clear footprint. In life, what counts is who you are, not what you do for a living. After you die, do you want your loved ones to talk about what you did? Or do you want them to laugh and cry at the memories?

So, let your loved ones get to know who you are. Share your values, your perspectives, your wisdom … and your love. It just requires that you set aside sufficient time. The hidden benefit? Those moments will do as much for you as they do for them. They reenergize you, transforming you toward new habits, new passions, new priorities, and enhanced relationships. Come on, isn’t that the type of footprint you really want to leave?

The Boomer Health Institute online.

5 Comments

  1. What a wonderful and loving story. Thank you for sharing. Dr. Courter … how about sharing an excerpt from your book on BoomerCafe?

  2. Yes, I agree, though not only to create more memories, but to start writing them down, to pass along to future generations. I teach a workshop called Writing Family Stories: A Legacy Project here in Chicago. It’s based on my book, Finding Your Voice, Telling Your Stories. For anyone interested, you can read more about it on Amazon.

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