Publisher’s Corner: From Warrior To Writer & Bottle Washer

JB Lester

The new year conjures up all sorts of resolutions and new beginnings. We often take this time to inspect our inner balance and try to adjust what has gotten out of whack over the past 11 months. For me, this new year gives me pause. I am exploring my relevance and purpose. At 70, I am still working and enjoying my work but thinking I should have retired by now. I don’t feel as relevant as I once did in my younger publishing days. My role as a grandfather has taken on new meaning and the transference of purpose has begun.

Carl Jung said we live four different stages of life, 1) Athlete stage where we are concerned most about our outward appearance; 2) Warrior stage where we set goals and checklists of what we want to accomplish and attain; 3) Statement phase which begins our emotionally mature phase beginning to get away from materialism; and 4) Spiritual phase where we give up on a lot of those early pursuits and question our purpose in life. These seem appropriate phases to me, and my life and I suspect many of you who are reading this column. I used to comb my long hair and now I just cover my bald head with a hat. I had so many dreams of success and making a lot of money and buying anything I wanted. I reached some of my goals, but others were never attained. I eventually began to want less and realized how important simplicity is and how my goals and values had changed. It made me feel better knowing that I could be happier with less things and more love.

Now I am beginning my spiritual phase where I question my purpose, or at least am seeing it shift from entrepreneur to grandfather. From a warrior to a writer and bottlewasher. My ideas have shifted from revenue to retirement and my new purpose in my golden years. Sometimes I look back and lament what I could have done better, to make more money to have more things. Then I realize what I have is family, children, grandchildren and a wife who deals well with my life transitions.

I am sometimes frightened by the prospect of retirement, but I also am excited about exploring my spiritual phase. This is the phase that will unlock my inner artist and my role as a caregiver. I will cherish my friendships more and priorities will be more about giving and creating than making and taking. I am not saying my athlete and warrior phases weren’t gratifying. These were the building blocks of my life. I have been fortunate enough to have worked at something I loved for more than 40 years. Publishing is all I have ever wanted to do. I think because it has kept me close to my writing. I was able to use my creative skills in creating newspapers and magazines. It was gratifying to share my creations with the many who read our periodicals.

In my spiritual phase, I am becoming more contemplative and yet not complacent. I don’t want to lose the energy it takes to create plots, characters, sets and scenes. Having experienced the first three phases of my life with few regrets. I embrace the final stage with anticipation and a sense of wonder and anticipation.

If life is a road, then my journey is in the home stretch. I smell the barn but am in no hurry to lay in the hay. I have “promises to keep … and miles to go before I sleep”. And diapers to change, storybooks to read and babies to feed and plots to hatch. Purpose renewed, relevance reconfigured, and mission accepted.

Where are you in your life’s quest? It took me years to figure it out. Life is all about the journey and not the destination. Enjoy the ride.