Have you ever given much thought to the fact that each one of us is a one-of-a-kind, an only, rare, unique and exclusive individual that exists nowhere else on this planet? If you put it into context, it’s quite remarkable! Just think that you, and only you, were born at a particular place, time and circumstance in the world that NO ONE else was and never will be! Throughout history and time to come, there will never be another YOU!
As we Baby Boomers get older, our life often dances in front of us like a dream where we wish we could go to sleep and re-dream the realities we don’t like. Obviously, no way that will happen. So how do we reconcile the experiences that we lived through and regret, wanting a do-over, wishing we were in a Groundhog Day trailer trying to find that karmic insight into our lives that would create a different outcome?
If you have the answer to that question, let me know!
I recently read a little fable that I felt offered some solace for those happenings that we lament and often ignore because we think we can’t do anything about:
The forest was quiet, too quiet and from nowhere suddenly a flame sprang from dry leaves. “Fire!” yelled the animals, “run for your lives!” Big and small they raced toward the river in panic. But one small little bird remained and watched from the river bank as the forest burned. “What can we do?” he cried! “This is our home, we must do something!” From big and small, came no answer. Amidst the chaos the little bird swooped into the river and scooped his bill full of water and flew from the river to the fire, from the fire to the river, till his wings were singed and he was covered in ash. The gods looked down and laughed, “What in the world is that little bird doing?”
To me, the story speaks of how important each one of us is in our own way, how we all have power and importance in the world and the impressive might to change the lives of others, maybe not as big as an entire forest, but if the deed results in impacting others, it is worth the time and effort and offers great comfort and satisfaction to one’s soul.
With many Baby Boomers retiring, there is much to offer the world through opportunities of volunteering at our synagogues, Federations, various Jewish and community organizations or schools. Sharing your expertise from years of working or reading to children at libraries, sharing days-of-old with teenagers who don’t know what it is like to live pre-cell phones and computers, even TV!
Many great people have suggested our lives have purpose in service to others: Albert Schweitzer said it best, “I don’t know what your destiny will be, but I know the only ones among you who will be truly happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve.” Robert Kennedy said, “The purpose of life is to contribute in some way to making things better.” And the most famous of all from John F. Kennedy, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” Powerful words we all know but thoughts and ideas for Baby Boomers to act on and what better time than now?
Our younger years were spent providing and caring for our families and we may often ask ourselves what our purpose is now. By coming to terms and appreciating your existence, your uniqueness and that you do have qualities to offer others in this stage of life can help to satisfy the longing to know why we were put on earth. Having reasons to get out of bed everyday knowing you have a function, a job and a purpose fulfills needs and creates satisfaction that you are still viable in this world. Being active in mind and spirit can offer a longer life span.
Connecting, mentoring, showing goodness, giving kindness and courage impacts the world, and by touching one, you touch many over time.
How many people does it take to make a difference?