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Kindness Korner

Simple instructions for living in "The Second Half "of life.

Grow Older Graciously
“Your Agenda for the Second Half”
The number one step for gracious living at any age, but especially in the Second Half, is to accurately assess how much you have to give that everybody else needs. First, set aside all inappropriate modesty. This is the kind of modesty that belittles yourself with pious sounding self-discounts. For some it is a lifelong bad habit long overdue for change. If you chronically belittle yourself, or if you quietly regard yourself as second-rate or of little value to the human race, it is time to stop. It is not true!
You have something every living human being needs. In the Second Half of your life, when other pressures and responsibilities are changing, and even dropping away, a new opportunity is open and inviting your participation. It is to be an encourager of the younger generation, and your peers. What a great new title to own: “I am an encourager.”
Inside each of us are piles and volumes of unspoken appreciation, admiration, and adoration. Inside us are compliments that have never been expressed. Some we haven’t even noticed in our own hearts. We are carrying kind words aching to be uttered. We have unused smiles to spread everywhere we go. We never run dry. We are full of goodness and loving-kindness waiting to be shared.
There is no human being who cannot use what you are carrying around. Abandon any tendency to think of yourself as of little value in this world. Everyone needs what you have! A few days ago I was visiting at “The Home” and a ninety year old woman came up and identified herself. We chatted and I said to her “You are beautiful!” She glowed like she had been plugged into an electric socket. It was so easy, so natural, so inspiring to her.
Many of us have found our primary identity in our occupation. Therefore retirement can create a puzzle. “Who am I now?” If the answer was always connected to your job, to how you earned money, or your role as a father or mother, you may wonder who are now. At least you may be uncertain about that. Here is the answer.
“You are the light of the world.” says Jesus. There is a fresh and powerful identity. It will never be extinguished. Retirement years can free us for a more deliberate and intentional career brightening our environment. Your work, employment, trade, aided the world but now there is a new opportunity. It is noticing and actively encouraging, listening, appreciating, thanking, cheering people.
Growing older graciously is recognizing in your peers, and all the younger folks around you, their need for some form of spirit-lifting gift. Gracious living finds ways to say “You are a very wonderful young man”—by a note, an e-mail, a card, or word of mouth. Gracious living is giving support and spirit-lifting words at the car wash, the grocery store, the bank, and the Post Office. Graciousness is forgetting yourself and giving to others. You have so much to give! And it will be there until your final breath, no matter how much you give away.

My book The Miracle of Kindness can help you with this agenda..

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