Something to Live For | General Wellness | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine
Pin It
Favorite

Something to Live For 

Last Updated: 08/13/2013 3:54 pm


While the proverbial midlife crisis is typically seen as a fearsome enemy, cresting the hill of middle age can launch a quest for true meaning in one’s life. Authors Richard Leider and David Shapiro have crafted a number of books guiding inner growth and empowerment, including Whistle While You Work, Claiming Your Place at the Fire, and the international bestseller Repacking Your Bags. In their latest book, Something to Live For: Finding Your Way in the Second Half of Life, Leider and Shapiro offer specific steps to a meaningful elderhood, interspersed with illustrative stories from their real-life explorations—both geographical and psychological—among indigenous tribes in Africa.

On the weekend of August 14–16, Leider will be giving a workshop, “Something to Live For: Repacking Your Bags for the Second Half of Life,” at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck. Leider is a senior fellow in the University of Minnesota’s Center for Spirituality and Healing; has penned additional books (The Power of Purpose and Life Skills); is a founding partner of the Inventure Group, a coaching and consulting firm; and was praised by Forbes magazine as being among the nation’s top five coaches. Leider recently spoke with us by telephone to share some of his insights and give us a peak into the workshop’s intention.

In your book Something to Live For, you talk about the three concepts of money, medicine, and meaning. Can you summarize what you mean by this?
Today, people are living longer than ever before. In 1900 the life expectancy was only age 47, and now we’re living into our eighties. What do we do with those extra years? We need to look at money, medicine, and meaning. Do we have enough money to do what we want? And by medicine we mean, Do we have the energy and health? And if we have enough money and health, what’s the third leg of the stool? It’s meaning.

Meaning is a fundamental human need. And it’s a megatrend of the 21st century. We’ve had the positive psychology movement—it’s a very big trend, with thousands of books in the self-help section—but what I’m talking about is the positive aging movement. MetLife, the largest insurer in the country, has a research group, the Mature Market Institute, which did a study based on my work in which they interviewed thousands of people from ages 47 to 74 about this very question of money, medicine, and meaning. They found that meaning trumps money: It’s more important to people.

How do you define a meaningful life?
There are four parts. The first is community. Throughout history, we’ve not lived in isolation, in retirement homes where we’re disconnected from the world, like so many older people do today. People want to be connected. It might be through faith-based organizations, or volunteer organizations—there are a thousand things. Second, people want to be connected with friends and family—a more intimate community. The third part of meaning is creative work. People really want to use their abilities to accomplish things. It’s not just about money. They actually want to feel connected to their work.

And the fourth is helping to make things better—to somehow be part of “saving” something. That can come in a lot of forms, like volunteering. And when we find ourselves disconnected from that, it’s a problem. A core question behind all this is pretty clear: What gets you up in the morning? You can talk about purpose and meaning in lofty terms, but when you don’t have a purpose to get up in the morning, you don’t live as happily or fulfilled—or as long. Research supports this.




You have talked with lots of older people around the world, and you have some insight into “what the elders say,” to use your phrase.

I’ve been interviewing people for 30-some years, and I’ve found three themes that come up over and over when I ask, “If you could live over again, what would you do differently?” First, they say I would be more reflective, meaning they would stop and look at the big picture, instead of being busy, busy, busy, and all of a sudden we’re older, wondering, Where did that life go? Secondly, they say they would be more courageous in two areas: work and love. In work, where you spend 60 percent of your life, they say, “I wish I would have made a better choice.” Courage is the courage to say no to some things and yes to others—to look for that which is a better fit. A lot of folks got into their work just by accident, and took an easier route. The same is true with relationships.

Speaking of...

Pin It
Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Hudson Valley Events

submit event
$12-$80 - Belly Dancing with Barushka @ Cornell Creative Arts Center

$12-$80 - Belly Dancing with Barushka

Tuesdays, 6:30-7:30 p.m. Continues through July 6 — Belly dance classes will encompass Barushka’s specific style of belly dance which...
For Men Only, Let’s Talk: An Open Discussion For Men With A Spouse Or Partner Going Through Cancer @

For Men Only, Let’s Talk: An Open Discussion For Men With A Spouse Or Partner Going Through Cancer

Tue., June 22, 7-8 p.m. — Open to men nationwide who have a spouse or partner living with...

View all of today's events

Chronogram on Instagram

Latest in Wellness

  • Understanding the Wide World of Medical Imaging
  • Understanding the Wide World of Medical Imaging

    When it comes to understanding and diagnosing the human body, there are few technologies more powerful than medical imaging. While the phrase might make you think of just X-rays or ultrasounds, there’s actually a wide world of non-invasive imaging services that expert medical providers like those at Columbia Memorial Health (CMH), the primary healthcare center for Columbia and Greene counties, rely on to guide their patients throughout their journeys to wellness. Here are a few types of diagnostic and interventional imaging services that are playing an increasingly important role in cutting-edge care today.
    • Jun 19, 2021
  • Stone Wave Yoga: Tending the Flame of Personal and Communal Wellness
  • Stone Wave Yoga: Tending the Flame of Personal and Communal Wellness

    In the summer of 2019, Liz Glover Wilson had just opened the second location of her burgeoning Gardiner yoga studio and wellness campus, Stone Wave Yoga, in Poughkeepsie. Like so many other small business owners in the Hudson Valley, she had no way of knowing that only months later her entire business would fundamentally change. With the pandemic’s economic and personal challenges constantly at her door, however, yoga remained the one thing that Glover Wilson knew she could count on. “A lot of the students who stayed with us this last year are hungry to learn more about the yoga tool kit because they’re seeing that it really does work,” she says.
    • Jun 5, 2021
  • Esteemed Reader: What is Life? | June 2021
  • Esteemed Reader: What is Life? | June 2021

    Publisher Jason Sterns contemplates the unanswerable question: What is life?
    • Jun 1, 2021
  • More »