What will you do with your extra years? Each generation lives longer and longer, and none of us want to waste the time we have.

Author and Buddhist teacher Lewis Richmond says it’s crucial to examine what makes us happy, what fulfills us and what our goals are before we reach the point of having to make tough decisions. Elders have always been the holders of community wisdom, and he thinks that we need to rebuild that role in today’s world.

The first truth of aging, according to Buddhist teaching, is everything changes. Richmond tells Growing Bolder that we can all create our own roadmaps for embracing those changes, even when they are difficult to handle, and what we can learn from others who have overcome obstacles and built new, happy lives.