• Cari E. Guittard

Living Your Eulogy Life — For Those of Us in The Middle, Our Legacy Begins Now

This article was originally published by Huffington Post, click here to see full article.

Navigating & Managing the In Between

A dear friend and author, Linda Hale Bucklin, recently shared a column she wrote years ago for her 25th Vassar reunion and the theme was “Women in Between”. Vassar was soliciting stories of alum who were in the middle of their lives, ‘in between youth and old age, in between raising their kids and caring for their parents, in between an era of the 50s housewife and the professional superwoman’. The idea of in between or in the middle struck me as that is where I’m at and it is a part of life that no one gives you a guidebook or road map for.

Your early years are pretty straight forward and the path clear depending on what you value. My path was always clear back then especially since my Mother passed away at age 46 when I was 21. I had nothing to lose and put everything into my studying and work.

My path was essentially: Study hard, go to grad school, work my ass off throughout, study some more for various professional certifications, travel the world, keep working my ass off, keep my head down, try and make a difference in the world. And then I was set up on a blind date in my mid 20s that led to my getting married and then moving cross country to start a new path.

That path though in my 30s was much like my 20s. Work hard, travel globally for work, keep your head down, find ways to give back, spend more time with family, and try and make a difference. And then my husband and I decided it was time to start a family in my late 30s which brings me to the path I’m currently on — motherhood, juggling work and family time, paying attention to my health and my family’s, spending as much quality time as possible with family and close friends, and making a difference in a few areas that I care deeply about. It’s this last piece that I have found after asking countless women in the middle that is so elusive.

We never really stop working our asses off as women especially in the middle of our lives. Particularly those of us who are type-A. Its not in our DNA. You rarely have time to breathe let alone find the causes and efforts you care most about contributing to outside your family and work life. My Mother always believed though that there is always time to serve others, and that is a core value that I plan to instill in my children, so it has never been a question of whether I would contribute to others, it was only a matter of how best to focus my limited time and energy.

Living Your Eulogy Life

For the past few years since I started developing and teaching my graduate Women’s Leadership course for the Hult International Business School I have been collecting and sharing the stories of inspiring women from around the globe.

In the past year, and maybe it is just that I’m finally starting to recognize this in myself, but I’ve noticed that more and more of the stories I’ve collected involve these exceptional women reaching a point in their lives where they wanted to as Jen Quan, founder and Chief Big Kid of Rec Room Creative, recently shared, ‘live their eulogy life’. A life that their children, their community would be proud of.

Jen is a rockstar by all accounts, who has a Haas MBA, spent 12 years in senior positions at IBM, is a Mother of four young daughters, and most recently founder of her own company. “About five years ago, I transitioned from pursuing a “resume life” to pursuing a more fulfilling “eulogy life”, shared Jen. “One that wasn’t hyper focused on the never ending pursuit of accomplishments and titles, but on relationships, my character, and on the type of legacy I wanted to leave behind.”

I also love Jen’s brilliant LOL (Love Out Loud) philosophy that she embeds in everything Rec Room Creative does. It’s a way each of us, in small ways every day can make a difference in other people’s lives. And those small actions have a cumulative effect, a collective power over time.

The Multiplier Effect of Small Acts in Your Middle

I believe it is in these small acts for others every day that we lay the foundation for our eulogy life, the legacy that we want to leave behind. My Mother passed away at 46. Her Mother at 59 and Father at 39.

My Paternal Grandmother passed away at 57. I don’t have the luxury of thinking I will live until the ripe old age of 90 in my family so I have to pack in my eulogy life now, in my middle, wherever I can.

I gave the eulogy at my Mom’s funeral and I remember how hard it was to make sure I put everything in that fully represented her life. There was just so much worth mentioning. I remember too being struck by how many people showed up to pay their respects.

As a kid you never think your parents have a life, let alone do much of anything worth while. And then you see people from every walk of life in your community show up to say good-bye and to share how much our Mother meant to them. My Mother truly lived for us kids and for others. When I asked her if she was angry or sad about having a terminal illness so young, she just smiled and gave me a wise look, saying “I’ve done everything that I always wanted to do with my life and I don’t have any regrets.”

Living a Eulogy Life isn’t about us, but others.

So, What are you going to do with the time you have left? In what small ways can you make a positive difference in someone’s life today, tomorrow?

What are you going to do with your in between? What do you want your legacy to be?

This article was originally published by Huffington Post, click here to see full article.

#life #legacy #endoflife #eulogy #inspiration

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