The Last Quarter: Part II – The Solution

The Last Quarter: Part II – The Solution

Meaning Making and Reinvestment

‘And life is a journey:
From childhood to maturity
And youth to age;’
— Rabbi Alvin I. Fine

Previously on the blog, we were exploring a colleague’s struggle to ”do this work [of self-differentiation] in the last quarter [of one’s life].” How to make meaning from the multiple losses of people, resources, function and sense of purpose? How to respond when in the face of illness, death, disability and “cut offs,” “one’s world gets relationally more narrow”?

Froma Walsh notes that beyond living longer and avoiding disability, healthy and successful aging depends on “selective optimization with compensation.” What redefinition of self, if any, is most productive when responding to persistent life challenges and adversity? Well, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, and I feel fairly certain that all currently in the last quarter remember records, there is Bowen’s concept of differentiation of self – developing a personal, authentic, unique, one-to-one relationship with each and every member of your family.

The Last Quarter: Part II - The Solution By Ronald B. CohenAnd the positives? Older adults appear more adept at managing negative affect, difficult emotions and stress tolerance. Forgiveness and understanding come easier, and the benefits of a close mutually supportive family and social network become more obvious and rewarding. There is an ongoing opportunity for healing, emotional growth, resolving conflicts and repairing cut-offs onto the seventh generation, as well as the possibility for development of new relationships and life goals.

To differentiate is to provide a platform for maximum growth and personal development for everyone in your circle of influence. 
Taking responsibility for your thoughts, feelings, speech and actions helps expand the universe of accomplishable positive outcomes. Tasks include:

Life is stressful, disappointing and unfair. Pain is unavoidable, suffering is not. Developing a more solid self with kindness, compassion, generosity, understanding and empathy leads to an enhanced ability to negotiate our way through disappointments, strengthen core principles, values and beliefs, and maintain ultimate responsibility for our own emotional well-being. The life we live creates the legacy we leave.

The Last Quarter: Part II - The Solution By Ronald B. CohenThe ability to struggle well, to make meaning out of adversity and to make loss matter is fundamental to emotional well-being. Life review and reflection coupled with acceptance and a sense of fulfillment helps smooth the transitions. A resilience-based approach affirms the ever-present opportunity for emotional growth and reinvestment. Accessibility, responsiveness and healthy interdependence offer solutions for relationship distress.

At times of setbacks and disappointments, constructive dialogue with a well trained Bowen Family Systems Theory Relationship Consultant and “Coach” can help navigate the shoals and opportunities of “The Last Quarter” of the journey.

Best of luck on your unfolding journey of a lifetime.

Please share your thoughts and experiences concerning growing maturity in the “Leave a Reply” box below. To request more information or contact me directly for any reason, please click here. If you found this post helpful, please don’t keep it a secret. You are encouraged to click on the buttons below and share this article with your own networks. Looking forward to continuing the conversation.

Ronald B Cohen, MD, PC Ronald B. Cohen, MD
Bowen Family Systems Coach
1 Barstow Road, Suite P-10
Great Neck, NY 11021
(516) 466-7530
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