Are You Living Your Legacy?

This weekend I had the great pleasure of attending a "High Tea" party for a beautiful friend and colleague's 50th birthday. Not only was it a divine indulgence for the taste buds savouring sweet and savory morsels of food and peach, white and earl grey teas, but it was also fascinating and stimulating conversation.

Turning 50 our hostess and birthday girl assured us was liberating and wonderful as one truly became comfortable in her own skin and identity, and then she turned the tables on us - what was our take on ageing?

The conversation that flowed over the next few hours was revealing. From those who relished the thought, to those who felt like an imposter in the mirror, to those who loved the wisdom and knowledge that came with life experience, all it seemed, were comfortable with the inevitable process resulting from the passing of time.

For me my awareness of ageing brings mixed feelings. Recently an elderly tennant in one of my blocks of flats needed to be re-hospitalised again only this time he would not be coming home as it was deemed that he could no longer take good enough care of himself. Sadly he had become estranged from his family some years before and it seemed that the decisions about his future, his belongings and his needs was being made by strangers - a sad and lonely affair without the surround of loved ones.

One of the birthday guests told of a friend who has written a life plan which included living to be 125 years of age so she could do everything she wanted to do on earth. Becoming a supercentenarian certainly was not high on many of the other guests lists, many stating that they would not want to live to an age when all their friends died and they had to bury their own children.

It did make me ponder however the fact that I too have a life plan and like to live my life in reverse - my motto "Born old. Growing young," a reflection of this philosophy. Why you might wonder, would I want to live a life in reverse? Quite simply because of "generativity".

Generativity is a term that was coined by the psychoanalyst Erik Erikson in 1950 to denote "a concern for establishing and guiding the next generation." It can be expressed in literally hundreds of ways, from raising a child to stopping a tradition of abuse, from writing a family history to restoring land.

For me living with the end in mind is all about my concept of "living my legacy" rather than waiting until I have died to leave it. I truly want to "make a difference" with my life, to "give back," to "take care" of my community, the planet and its animal kingdom and fellow humans. This is what gives me purpose to get out of bed every day.

In Japan they have translated "generativity" as "sedai-keisho-sei." "Sedai" means "the generations." "Keisho" means "receiving and putting your stamp on." And "sei" means "the sense of." That describes the process involved. You receive something from the past, you create something out of it, you pass it on to the future.

In what ways do you take knowledge or information from the past, transform it into something you create today and pass it on for future generations? Are you living your legacy and not just waiting to leave it?

Coach, author, speaker, teacher and entrepreneur, Heidi Alexandra Pollard, The Communicators' Coach publishes Value Ad, a free monthly ezine for smart, savvy professionals who want more prosperity, passion and purpose in life. If you're ready to jump start your success, make more money and have more fun doing it then get your FREE tips now at

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