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How can we look back on our lives with peace?

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In a few months I’ll officially be a Medicare recipient. Yep, the magic number 65 is rising on the horizon.

As a result, I’ve been thinking back over my life, reviewing what I’ve accomplished — and what I’ve not accomplished. According to psychoanalyst Erik Erikson, then, I’m right on schedule in entering the last stage of life, a stage he called “integrity versus despair.”

During this stage, people reflect on their lives and come away with a sense of contentment and accomplishment over lives well-lived or with a sense of regret and despair over lives wasted or misspent. People who have more integrity will feel a sense of peace; people who have more despair will feel bitter.

The last couple of years I’ve been working on my bucket list, things I want to accomplish before I leave this world. So far, I’ve been to Yellowstone Park and Hawaii and written a book. Before the year is out, I hope to see New England in the fall with a trip to New Hampshire and start a second book.

No matter what your age, think about what you would like to accomplish. And ask yourself why you have not yet accomplished it. Maybe you’re too young — or maybe too old. I know at this point I won’t be climbing Mount Everest or winning an Olympic medal.

But we’re never too old to get in right relationship with God. Sad to say, a roommate of mine once said she was waiting to be on her deathbed before doing that. Meanwhile, she said she wanted to have a lot of fun living in sin.

But the Bible tells us, “Now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2).

Living the Christian life is even more fun, from my experience. And we can receive “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7).

Peace. What a beautiful word — and what a beautiful feeling. Let us live so we can have peace when death is on the horizon.

Donna Crowe is a minister’s wife.

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