Part 3 – Planning for the Gift of Time: Discovering What Really Matters
In Part 2, we focused on the concerns we might have about retirement. This week we’re going to explore what matters most to us as we consider how we want to use the gift of time. For many of us, it is hard to figure out what really matters most until we deeply tap into our authentic selves.
Aristotle once said, “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” As mature adults, it might be easy to assume that no one knows us better than we know ourselves, right? But if you’ve spent much of your adult life in a career that demanded a certain amount of conformity and allegiance to beliefs that you didn’t completely embrace, then it is important to spend some time getting reacquainted with the ‘real’ you –the person who may have given up a certain amount of individuality to join the ranks of the gainfully employed.
The work we’re going to start this week will probably take some time. You’ll be asked to provide responses to seven questions. You may need to return to your journal entries several times over the coming days or even weeks. Try to write detailed answers and include examples. Let’s get started:
- What are some of your core values? (Our basic or core values as individuals are sometimes described as standards that we live by or ideals that guide our lives. These values are ones that we are likely to defend if necessary. For example, one of my core values is that it is important to seek ways to continue learning. That value is what drew me into the field of education.)
- What is so important in your life that you would be willing to give up just about everything not to lose it? (Examples might include connections with loved ones, faith, certain abilities, security, etc.)
- When your life is finally over and you reflect on everything you’ve lived, what do you think will have mattered to you? Identify the believes you have related to what makes a life well-lived.
- How do you think your values and beliefs about life might influence your attitudes, feelings, and behaviors? (For example, because I value learning, I get excited when I have opportunities to learn something new. I also try to encourage others to keep learning.)
- Have you experienced anything in your past (or current) work situation that felt inconsistent with your values or beliefs? If so, what?
- How will you (or do you) live in ways that are consistent with what you value and believe? (You may find that your actions are not as aligned to what you think are your values and beliefs as you had thought. If you find this to be the case, you may want to think about how to create more consistency between your values, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors. Or, you may find that the things you’ve listed as ‘your’ values and beliefs don’t really belong to you—maybe they belonged to your parents or to someone else who told you what your values and beliefs were supposed to be.)
- Are there any changes you wish to make in your life that would better align your actions with your values and beliefs? Describe:
After you initially respond to the seven questions that I posed, pay attention to your behaviors over the coming weeks. If you gain deeper insights into what really matters to you, make a note of it.