Health & Wellness Article - April 2011
by Marge Coalman, EdD, Touchmark Vice President, Wellness & Programs
“Legacy is a combination of life experience, wisdom, community service, and commitment that sets our life apart from the harried flow of day-to-day duties.”
The function of aging does not guarantee a life well-lived or a life in balance. What, then, does it mean to create a life in balance? If you search for this phrase on the Internet, you’ll find all kinds of comments, poems, and homilies. If you sit down and talk with people—especially older adults—a very different perspective comes to light. It becomes apparent that legacy is a critical component of a life in balance. This is true over people’s lifespan and especially as they get older.
Legacy is not just about the material goods we have to share with those we love and care about or the causes we hold dear, although those are important components. Legacy is a combination of life experience, wisdom, community service, and commitment that sets our life apart from the harried flow of day-to-day duties. According to many older adults I interview, this results in a sense of well-being and accomplishment that makes each day a day worth “spending” for the value it brings.
Contributions that may be the most effective are not necessarily measured in dollars. Consider these gifts: sharing a vision and making it real; influencing children or young adults and creating awareness and compassion for themselves and others; developing a thoughtful plan for conservation and environmental stewardship. All of these bequeath a legacy that goes beyond “the stuff” we leave behind. Thoughtful plans, timelines, and guideposts can mark the way to inspire future leaders and resolve difficult problems.
Touchmark communities are committed to supporting residents’ legacies through lifelong learning, civic engagement, intergenerational programs and services, and life-story work. Our Legacy Project is multidimensional and always growing. To be a part of the Full Life Wellness & Life Enrichment Program™ at Touchmark, contact a Full Life team member to share ideas, goals, and inspiration.