I “retired” five years ago after 20 years of homeschooling. Our calendar is no longer filled with sporting and theater events, school co-op days, testing appointments or special music classes, but my days are full in a different way. Because, I haven’t retired from life. I wrote about this new empty nest season the year I turned 60 and developed what I called a Fourth Quarter Manifesto (you can read that post here). Even now, five years older and wiser, I hold to the same goals and expectations for this chapter in my life, but with a different slant.

These days, I approach every opportunity with the question “Why?”

Why would I take on a new project? Why should I commit to an opportunity to travel? Why will I spend my time on a certain book or online course. Why do I want to invest in a new relationship?

My decades as a news reporter ingrained in me the need to get all the facts. I’ve learned that before I can answer the “why”, I have to spend some time looking at the “what” and then maybe the who, when, where and how.

  1. What exactly am I being asked to do, and am I the only person equipped to do it?
  2. Who will be impacted, both positively and negatively, if I respond with “Yes”?
  3. When will I find the time to do this thing, and when will it be finished? Is it a long-term or short-term commitment?
  4. Where will I make space in my life to give the time required by the request or opportunity?
  5. How will I accomplish the project, enrich the friendship, benefit from the book or the travel?

“Why” isn’t an easy question to answer, unless you take time to consider the other factors. So many things are good, but are they best? And are they for me?

I had to say no to a good and worthwhile opportunity today because, in talking through the logistics of it with a friend, we both could see the truth behind the “why?” of it. In every season of life, this is time well-spent.

 

I wrote for five quick minutes today on the one-word prompt “why.” I’ll do my best to write each day this month on other one-word prompts. For more essays by other writers and bloggers, drop by Five Minute Friday or visit Write 31 Days to jump in on the challenge to blog every day in October.

To read all of my posts in order, visit my Write 31 Days Page here.