Eileen's Life Lessons

Living life generously

Posted on: September 22, 2011

What do you want people to say about you at your funeral?
She always looked nice.
Her house was always clean.
She never picked up her kids late.
She knew how to find a great deal!

While these things seem to matter to me on a daily basis, in the long term, those are not the traits I want to be remembered for. I want people to say, she lived her life generously.

Now if you take a look at my checkbook, you’ll see I cannot afford to write large checks for every fundraiser I’m asked to support. But there are other ways I can be generous.

I can be generous with forgiveness, cutting people some slack, giving them the benefit of the doubt—even if they haven’t earned it.

I can be generous with my praise. I easily recognize when I’m not feeling generous with my praise. It’s when I note something worth complimenting a person about but then decide to keep the positive comment to myself.

I can be generous with my appreciation, my gratitude. I can go out on a limb and give someone a hug, even if I’m not sure she will be receptive.

In my mind I can stop keeping track of the favors I’m owed.

I can give of my time, not just volunteering but also doing the small things that matter, like truly listening to someone who needs to be heard and validated.

Generosity is not taking my turn every time,
not complaining about someone else’s work,
not doing what’s best for me but what’s best for everyone, 
not pointing out someone’s mistake,
taking the blame even when it’s not my fault, 
letting people interrupt my day that is already planned out,
pulling all the weeds—even those across the property line,
offering a ride even if it’s out of my way and I know the favor may never be returned,
doing anything that will enable someone else’s happiness, even if it doesn’t benefit me.

Feeling generous is not a state of financial surplus; it’s a state of mind. And I want to live there.

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6 Responses to "Living life generously"

I gave you my ideas; now share with me yours: How do you live life generously?

She is eloquent.
She is generous.
She is inspiring.

The first thought that came into my head was what I wanted to be remembered for – the encouragement and assistance I gave people to help them accomplish something.

Loved this the first time, love it again. You are generous with your smile, your help, your brain/ideas and much more. I think you’re already a resident of that state (of mind), E.

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Mid-Life Realizations & Reflections

43 years of life experience,
19 as a wife,
16 as a parent,
15 as a writer
= thousands of mistakes made,
lots of lessons learned (some learned more than once), and immeasurable amounts of grace received

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