Friday, June 1, 2012

Finishing Well

I have been battling a cup of depression for the last few months. It seems that this spell was not triggered necessarily by any one occurrence, but is related to a bit of a mid-life crisis. As I have explored this and share a bit about my issues, an online friend came alongside me and gave me a book to read called Finishing Well by Bob Buford. My heart-felt thanks to Bill at Cycleguy's Spin. This book is for those who get to the mid-life mark and realize that a paradigm shift is essential to get the most out of our remaining time so that we give ourselves the best chance to finish well. That change amounts to moving away from a quest to live a life of success toward a goal to live a life of significance.

The book is based on a series of interviews with people who have made intentional changes in their lives to finish well. One issue I had with this book is its apparent disconnected nature from the reality of the majority of humanity. The folks that Buford chose to interview were mainly multi-millionaires who opted to quit their CEO jobs and become philanthropists or to start "non-profits". Of course, very few will fit this mold. But, if you can get past this, it has a lot to offer that everyone can appreciate in the way of getting your mind situated to looking forward to your "post-retirement" years with hope and purpose. If you can identify your strengths, your passion, and your opportunities, you really can leave a legacy of blessing to others.

I think the book is best summed up with a quote that the author includes from Ernest Becker's 1974 Pulitzer winner, The Denial of Death:

"The defeat of despair is not mainly an intellectual problem for an active organism, but a problem of self-stimulation via movement. Beyond a given point man is not helped by more 'knowing', but only by living and doing in a partly self-forgetful way ... we must plunge into the experience and then reflect on the meaning of it. All reflection and no plunging drives us mad; all plunging and no reflection, and we are brutes."

As I promised Bill as a condition of receiving this book, I will look to pass it on to someone I find along the way who might also benefit from its wisdom and message.