The Rest of Your Life
“How do you want to spend the rest of your life?”
From the book: "Promise Me, Dad" by Joe Biden
said by President Barack Obama to
Vice President Joe Biden
when he was considering running for
the 2016 Presidential Democratic Nominee
I’ve said before that my “top” books of all time may not have been “the best” if they came to me at another time in my life.
It’s when a book tiptoes in at precisely the right time in your journey, that it grabs you, shakes you up, changes your way of thinking, seeps deep into your bones. You sigh and say – wow, that was the best book.
Because it connected with you.
You think of it when pounding away on the treadmill or driving in your car or as you drift off to sleep at night.
You can’t get it out of your mind.
It was the best book because the universe brought it to you at JUST the time that you needed it, when you were ready for its wisdom, ready to hear its message.
This quote never would have touched me as a younger woman.
But it comes to me now, at the age of 55, in a book given to me by my mom (one of the most special people in my life) when I visited Florida, impromptu, at a moment’s notice, when we learned my father-in-law had been taken into hospice.
My father-in-law was dying.
My husband and his family’s world-order were shifting.
Into a new norm.
I had been in just that spot twice in my life already, once at 25 and once at 50, with two fathers dying.
But somehow this was different.
My husband’s family, and he, were processing this differently than I had done. They were really struggling in losing this man who had been strong and fit, kind and present, funny and engaged with them all their lives. He now lay in a foreign bed in a facility, wasting away.
This wasn’t the man we knew.
At this age, I’d learned the lesson that at times of life and death….you need to stop.
Be present with others.
Pause. Reflect backward. Envision forward.
Perhaps it was in this pause that the quote from this book would hit home.
How did I (you, me, we) want to spend the rest of our lives?
Better get thinking about that. And acting on it. At 55, more than half my life is over. If not now, then when? I know we should live every day as if it’s our last.
And if we live that way, with intentionality and purpose, what should we do today?
I’ve never been one to save the best for last, like my husband does. He eats pie, crust first, to save the best – the chocolate pudding and whipped cream, or lemon meringue, or warm apples and cinnamon topped with vanilla ice cream – last. It’s just his nature.
But I know at this age, and through this poignant message, that I’d better spend my life, my time, my every day doing what I want, what is right for me.
Saving the best for last may not be the best plan.
What if you never get to your best? What if you miss it by putting it off, saving it for a rainy day, when you have the time or the money or the energy.
And that day never comes.
It’s not a selfish pursuit; it’s living with intention and living your best life which every single person is entitled to do. And I happen to believe that when you’re living your best, most fulfilled life, you make all the lives around you better for your family, your friends, your colleagues. You will interact with everyone you meet with an energy that will bring them up and give them hope.
Giving to yourself, I believe in turn, gives much to others and our world.
So what do you want to do today?
How do you want to spend the rest of your life?