We like it when baby boomers think about their lives, and how to live them fruitfully. That’s what we like about this piece from Ingrid Lochamire, who lives with her husband on a farm in northeast Indiana. She calls it her “Fourth Quarter Manifesto.” Just remember, as in a football game, sometimes the fourth quarter is the best.
Mailings from AARP have been arriving in my mailbox and I’ve been notified that this is the year I can begin collecting Social Security benefits. I’ve “retired” twice in my lifetime — once when I left the publishing business 22 years ago and again when I graduated my last home-schooled son two years ago. That’s enough retirement for one lifetime. I don’t plan to do it again.
By my optimistic estimations, I still have 25-percent of my life before me. I expect to live to 80 and beyond, and I plan to finish well.
That’s why I recently wrote a “manifesto” for finishing well — a “declaration of the intentions, motives or views of an issue.” These are my intentions and motives. Perhaps they’re yours, too?
Fourth Quarter Manifesto
To live intentionally. I wish I’d discovered this discipline about 20 years ago, but better late than never. Living intentionally means making decisions only after careful thought, and learning to say no. But it also means saying yes to new opportunities and adventures that might have been passed up in the past.
To practice joy and gratitude. Each of us has something we can celebrate. Even the difficult and discouraging episodes in life can have a silver lining. It’s all about perspective.
To create an atmosphere of expectation and hope. Jean Fleming, author of the book “Pursue the Intentional life,” says this: “What would it be like to live in an atmosphere of earnestness and exhilaration? Of enthusiasm and gameness? Of anticipation and readiness? What atmosphere will color the rest of my life? Will I live in eager expectation and hope or in something else— in apathy, in fear, in confusion, in anxiety, in hesitancy, in dread? Will my life be empowered and set aglow by unfading hope or drained away by parasites?”
To be fruitful. There’s an old apple orchard on our farm. Every year, the ground beneath the trees is covered with fallen apples. Even while they hang on the branches, the apples are inedible because they’re filled with worms or covered in scabs . One year, my husband decided to trim and spray a few of the apple trees. We harvested beautiful fruit that year and enjoyed it into the winter. With a little extra work and “cutting back,” I can still be fruitful into during this “final quarter.”
To be a lifelong learner. There’s so much I still don’t know! In my seventh decade, I feel I’m embarking on a new career with challenges and opportunities I could not have imagined in my younger years. As much as we are able, we should expect to continue to grow in skill and knowledge and to share what we learn with others.
To love with abandon. Sometimes we’re too cautious about giving away love. We need to be discerning, but not stingy. There are so many in our world who need a touch or a gesture or simply a kind word. If I have it to give, it’s theirs.