3.  REPAY.  As I mark 40 years I’ve been living on this earth, I have to notice that I owe so much to so many people.  My parents, relatives, friends, teachers, and a list including many more have all added to my growth, and downright survival.  Food, love, education and opportunities were not created by me, but were created by others for me.  The mere fact that grew up in America notes that everyone from the early Pilgrims to the Forefathers, soldiers who fought for my freedom to imigrants who built up the areas which I now live in, have all made it possible for me to live the life I get to lead now.

So what should I do now?  Well, to say that I will stop benefiting from all of those incredible people after 40 is false, but now I have more than an opportunity to give back to those who can’t repay me back, just like I can’t directly pay back those who gave me so much. Giving to my immediate family is a no brainer, such as my kids and wife, but I have to look much deeper and wider than that.  God puts so many people in my path on a daily basis.  Some I will see for only seconds of my life, while others will grow into relationships I may have for months, years or decades.  In some instances, I might be able to mentor someone, while others I’ll get to offer simple friendship.

I can help by giving my time, but also give of my personal connections, money and ideas.  As I mature through my 30’s into my 40’s I’ll continue to need others, but I’ll also be in a position to give much more than I could in my teens or 20’s.  Although I might find myself in a position as I move into my 80’s, 90’s and beyond of needing people more again, now is the time where I can give and repay a society, culture and life who have given so much to me. Therefore, I can’t underestimate the random opportunities which stumble into my life, but I also need to realize others have created organizations and systems where it is easy for me to find those who need others, and give of my resources.

I believe the secret is to start giving now, however I can.  Make it a goal to reach out everyday in anyway I can.  Sometime it is giving a small dollar amount to a person or organization, while other times a bigger financial sacrifice might be needed to really help someone out.  I might get the chance to give someone a pat on the back which takes seconds, and other times I might have to commit hours upon hours over years to help those who need it.  A random by chance meeting might give me the opportunity to connect two people who need each other, while other times I’ll have to work on people for weeks or months so they are inclined to provide the connections I need to help out a group of others.

Repaying might seem overwhelming, but simple awareness will give you so many openings to give those who have no resources themselves to give you something in return.  Awareness will build practice, practice will create a habit.  I don’t want to get to the end of my life, or even my 40’s, knowing I’ve wasted decades or years of not giving back simply because I was too lazy to pay attention.  If you have basic health, a bit of time and own anything, you have something to give.  How do I know this?  Because even a person who has poor health, “no” time and hardly any possesions still can give something to someone in need… So there are no excuses for me, and even for you.