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The Fifth Season: Living Well to the End

Posted by Thomas Edwards on September 28, 2018 12:55 PM EDT
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Joe and Chip have given me the reins this week to take a break from their deep dives into the research around innovation and to focus just a little bit....

...on some of the key findings of well-being as presented by Gallup Research.  My goal is to offer a perspective on how the four seasons of a given calendar year lead into the idea of living well even into "the fifth season".

So, here goes.

We're all familiar with the analogs that the four seasons bring as it relates to one's life.  The phrase "all in due time" or "there is a season for everything in life" are known, even mentioned in the Bible.  In fact, the vibrancy of spring and it's symbolism for growth and youth easily transfer in one's mind to youth, that time in life where things are new and growth is all ahead.

Then there is the summer.  Summer is analogous to the time of maturing and having great fun-lots of activity and constantly new things to do, to rest at times but doing so while being extremely active.

Fall, well, it's often thought of as a time for harvesting.  Making the most of what one's life is and can be-colorful, yet at the same time reminding us that winter, the time for the decline and shorter days and less vibrant growth are only around the corner.

Of course, then winter.  A time for reflection, less robust activity.  Plants and animals being dormant, days shorter and fewer opportunities to enjoy the outdoors with its abundance of things to do, see and enjoy.  Winter brings cold weather in many parts of our world, and while beautiful in so many ways and with fun and family holidays in the midst of it, the energy and activities that so define spring, summer and fall are simply not there.  Instead, replaced by a much slower and deliberate pace...more time to rest or hibernate if some species of animals stand to remind.

So, what is the fifth season.  What analogy drives home the message that winter can be spring-like or that the activities and focus of the winter can make for a better spring.  How can the fifth season bring robust energy to the winter of one's life and prepare on for the spring-perhaps an eternal spring as we think of the religious metaphors that may apply?

While each season prepares one for the season to come, the winter of one's like can be in fact the most rewarding and fulfilling of all the seasons of a life by being the time when a person truly invests themselves more fully in service to fellow man.  For it is in the service to one's friends, family and the less fortunate that truly energizes the soul.  And the wisdom shared from the other seasons of one's life can make this winter become a"fifth season"-the season for leveraging the fullness of one's life and experiences to the better good of one's community at large.  Through volunteerism, teaching and mentoring, through work that truly serves others we can all have an old age which becomes the legacy of our lives.  And perhaps in this way we can capitalize on many of the dimensions that Gallup's research identifies as key elements of well-being:  social well-being, community well-being, physical well-being and even financial and career well-being if we think about the new things we can do, learn and help others to do.

And may all of our Golden Years truly be golden!

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