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Write a Letter to Your 80 Year Old Self

My son came home from college and told me about his gerontology class assignment.  Write a letter to your 80 year old self!

Imagine that it’s your 80th birthday—what letter would you write?  What advice would you have?  What hobbies and interests would you have cultivated?  What subjects would you have mastered?  Who are your closest friends?  If you could teach a class at a university, what would you teach on?

To write the letter you’ve got to be thinking about two big things.

First, what’s your destination?  It’s far easier to think about the tangible goals like a house, cars, and finances.  But it is far more difficult to think about the intangible:  what kind of person do you want to become, what kind of character qualities will you exhibit, and what kind of people are around you?

Second, what’s your journey—or the pathway to get to the destination?  How can you take intentional steps to get there?   Is it a patient journey?  Who are the people on the journey?  Who benefits along the way?

I have to be honest.  When I think of my 80-year-old self, I start thinking about where my wife and kids will be.  And I want to be around them and being part of the process of helping them write their own letters.

Have you written a letter to your 80-year-old self?  If there were three words that would sum up your advice what would they be?

What does it mean to be successful?
Success and significance.
He never knew he was a success: the story of Dr. William Leslie.

About Bill High

Bill is CEO of the Signatry: A Global Christian Foundation. He works with families, individual givers, and financial advisers to share the foundation’s message regarding biblical generosity and charitable giving. » Learn More. He is the co-author with David Green of Giving It All Away and Getting It All Back Again: The Way of Living Generously.

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