Today I remember to actively seek out wisdom from those ahead of me–not only in parenting, but also in my professional life. Whenever I’m in the presence of people in their fifties or older, I always ask, “What do you wish you knew in your forties?”
(I find they don’t mind. I find it blesses people to invite them to share well-earned wisdom.)
I ask a new friend this question, and she says, “I find the biggest mistake people make in their forties is that they stop learning and growing. It’s like they send their children to college and then they retire from life.” Then she shares a few stories of women who thrive emotionally, spiritually, and professionally well into their late 80’s. “Keep growing. Keep learning.”
I take her advice to heart and immediately think of what I don’t know that I need to know. Professionally, I’ve been studying the skills and life patterns of public speakers and learning more about maintaining a social media presence that blesses without self-exalting. I think of what I don’t know about launching teens into adulthood well or how to build a new life of togetherness with my husband as our daughters become increasingly independent.
I think of what I don’t know about God that I’m seeking. I read more and more about His sovereignty and His movement in response to our prayers. I read the words of those ahead of me.
We all need a coach, a leader who’s down the path a ways, and a person calling us to great things who knows the way. We also can all become that person for someone else ten years behind us.
I look to books, videos, and connections in my church community. I’ve even paid a professional life coach for several months. It’s worth the investment to think of personal development as one of your key tasks at the precise moment when you wish to retire from life.