I am lucky enough to have Kay Marshall Strom, the wonderful author of The Second Half Adventure writing a guest post for me today. I am so glad to be sharing Ms. Strom's words with you as my first guest post on this blog. And without further adieu:
Writing From Your Inside Out
Inside every baby boomer is a thirty-five year old asking, “Hey, what happened?”
Life, that’s what.
For years I taught a class called “Writing Your Life Story” to really senior people. I always started with this assignment: In 100 worlds or less, write the significance of your life. I called it: Your microbiography. It was fascinating to see what people looking back at a lifetime of memories considered worthy of their one hundred words. Most of the men described what they had done for a living. Many of the women used their words to talk about their children.
I always smiled and responded, “This is all so interesting. But I want you to tell me about you!”
Most of my senior students seemed genuinely stymied. One time a woman wrote exactly one hundred words describing all her perceived faults and shortcomings, including the fact that she never finished a secretarial course she started in her twenties. Imagine vexing over that for half a century!
Then there was the dapper white-haired man in his eighties, always jauntily dressed in a sport jacket and wool Scottish tie in his clan’s plaid. Charles was his name. He began his microbiography this way: “At the age of sixty I got a retirement watch from the railroad and went to work as a free repairman for anybody who needed my help. That was when I became a significant person.”
What a wise man, that Charles! Significance isn’t about success; it’s about consequence. It’s not what pads the checkbook; it’s what gives meaning to life.
In their determination to give back, mature baby boomers are realizing that significance truly is found beyond themselves and their own lives. We, too, may well live into our eighties or nineties. More than a few of us will blow out a hundred birthday candles. Even so, our days are numbered. And no one can reclaim days from the past. That’s why now is the time to rethink the goals and values that will leave us with a legacy of significance.
“Do a little bit of good where you are,” Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa said. “It’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”
Baby boomers, the generation of transformers, have only just begun to show the power of their second half!
Kay Marshall Strom has written thirty-six published books, numerous magazine articles, and two screenplays. Four of her books have been chosen as book club selections, eleven have been translated into foreign languages, and one was optioned for a movie. Her writing is also included in numerous volumes and compilations, including the bestselling Conversations on Purpose for Women (Zondervan 2005) and various editions of the NIV Devotional Bibles.
In addition to her writing, Kay taught writing classes through the California State University system for ten years, and still teaches at writers conferences around the country. In 2008, she was invited to India to teach writing in order to give a voice to those not normally heard.
A sought-after speaker, Kay is in demand for retreats and special events throughout the US and around the world.
Kay and her husband Dan Kline make their home in the Pacific Northwest.
You can visit her website at www.kaystrom.com.