I regularly meet up with a bunch former colleagues from the Business School where I used to teach. We mostly exchange war stories: an encounter here, a skirmish there, missteps and miscues all over the place, how we transformed an outcast unit (almost like an appendix ready to be cut off and shut down) into one of the star performers in the University we were a part of. We also explore how else we can be productive in our senior years; what cash-generating ventures we can go into to tide us over our twilight years; what final legacy we can put together so we will be remembered.
While we use the language of business we have been accustomed to during the heydays of our careers (like cash flow, investment returns, passive income, income stream, etc); I think that deep inside we still want to make a difference. It is not really the cash we are worries about but rather the contribution we have still to make. In another place and time, we would say we want to save souls and save the world from evil. Or, in another career or context, we would want to continue to serve and to share whatever we have.
We also need affirmations and community where the ideals we committed ourselves to and tried to live by are valid and true. The world as we know it is passing away. And we want to make sure the coming age will not forget us. There are also many things about the coming age that we find difficult or even impossible to accept and understand. Maybe, some of us will be able to do so. And hearing these difficult and even impossible concepts and values from someone we trust and care for might finally enable us to accept and understand them.
I think, at one time in our earlier live, we have heeded the call to let out into the deep. And together, we have accomplished some respectable results. Personally, I take delight I what I have done in my life. I never imagined to get this far. This delight is accompanied by a deep sense of gratitude and humility for he who challenged me to put out into the deep also assured me, “Do not be afraid!” What I have achieved was only possible because of his grace and constant presence.