Friday, May 17, 2013

Friday Book Review, Halftime

Halftime, by Bob P. Buford

“The real test of a man is not when he plays the role that he wants for himself, but when he plays the role destiny has for him."
~Vaclav Havel

What if the second half of your life could be more effective and successful than the first? Bob Buford explores how we can assess, regroup and direct our lives from success to significance. No matter our financial condition or cultural stature, we can possibly become more of what God intended us to be in the second half of our life than the first.

Halftime is that period just like during a sporting event where we can stop, appraise where we've been, but more importantly, plan and steer ourselves into an effective second half.

Buford poses questions, uncomfortable ones, that if we ask and answer them carefully can perhaps find that sweet spot in our lives. Questions like, 'What do I want to be remembered for?' As an example, he indicated that he would like his epitaph to read:

Other questions he asked: Am I comfortable with my job? Would I be willing to take a less stressful (and lower-paying) job to be happier — to be closer to my true self? What is it about my job that makes me feel trapped? To clarify, he isn't just talking about changing our job. In fact, keeping our job could be a possibility. Yet after a lifetime of working for the car, house and boat, getting the kids through school and independent, what next? Halftime provides that focus we may need. 

Personally, I found the book compelling. After thirty-six years of self employment, my company evaporated in the Great Recession. Fortunately we saved and invested well, thank God. However Buford helped me to think about where I've been, what I've done (both well and poorly) and what I can do to make the next run more effective than the first. 

He quotes George Bernard Shaw as an example:  “This is the true joy in life — the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one, the being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances, complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community, and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no brief candle to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I’ve got ahold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations”

I like books, whether fiction or non, that provoke emotion, but also make me think. Halftime does this well.

What would your epitaph read? 

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