It’s easy to be distracted by the white noise around you at times. There are so many drains on your time and your energy throughout your life, it’s hard not to get caught up in it all. It’s easy to focus most of your attention on you and what you want, as selfish as that may sound. But it’s entirely normal in today’s world.
In your youth, you’re preoccupied by romance, school, and finding a job or a career. As you approach your 20s, 30s, or 40s, you might be focusing all your energy on raising your own children and keeping up with their activities, furthering your career, and running your household.
That often doesn’t leave a lot of time for figuring out what makes you happiest, for focusing on your own emotional wellness. That’s the great thing about getting older—it gives you time to look inward, according to New York Times bestselling author Ilchi Lee, who wrote I’ve Decided to Live 120 Years: The Ancient Secret to Longevity, Vitality, and Life Transformation. You’re no longer a slave to your schedule—you have the time to figure out what it is that makes you happiest and what the world and people around you mean to you.
Getting older does bring wisdom, and with that wisdom comes the understanding of the different types of love there are in the world. While in your younger years, you might have put an emphasis on passionate, romantic love, as you age you see more and more value in another kind of love—an unconditional love.
Why Is Unconditional Love Important?
In his book, Lee writes about Hongik, which is a Korean word that means living for the good of all. A Hongik person will work to improve things for everyone, not just their own family members or themselves. There is no self-interest or preservation at play in their lives—they simply want to be a part of the solution, to make this world, or at least their little corner of it, a better place to be.
When you look at a grandmother playing with their grandchild, you’re experiencing pure, unconditional love. The joy that radiates from a grandmother’s face is obvious to anyone in the room. She beams, as if lit by an internal source of light. That light is pure love experienced at a time in a person’s life when they are open and receptive to recognizing and treasuring that special kind of love.
But when it sparks, that unconditional love often doesn’t stop there. Once ignited, that light will reach out into other areas of a person’s life as well. They’ll want to spread that joy they are feeling and the happiness in their hearts with everyone. They’ll look out for their neighbors, and volunteer for the charitable causes near and dear to their hearts. In short, they’ll want to be the world’s grandmother.
New Jersey resident Alyse Gutter learned about finding joy after she turned 70 years old. She had been having a rough time with the loss of her husband two years before that. At a time when finding joy may have seemed impossible, she managed to do exactly that by giving freely of herself to others. She taught free yoga classes and began engaging with the people around her.
“People say that it’s giving back, but I see it as connecting more and more, with these precious hours, precious life, the precious earth, precious people, and with my purpose, my soul,” she said in Lee’s book.
By opening yourself to sharing your time, talents, and love, you are connecting with the world around you and you’re realizing that everything is interwoven—we’re all a piece of the same puzzle. As you’ll come to figure out, the whole world is your grandchild, just waiting to benefit from the knowledge and skills you’ve accumulated over the years on your journey.
“When you share your energy of pure love, you discover a wellspring of joy you haven’t been able to feel any other way,” Lee writes.
There’s no better use of your second act that the betterment of the world around you and the happiness you’ll get from sharing yourself.