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Monday, November 28, 2011

Retire! Bah Hum Bug

You’re as young as you feel , saving the best for last or it isn’t over till I say it’s over might describe the individuals who continue to learn, achieve and grow well into retirement years.  It’s as if they’re just hitting their stride.  Age is but a number.

They have such drive and sense of purpose that it propels them to continue to learn and grow.  Now with the wisdom they’ve earned through the years they’re able to continue to make their mark. What’s interesting is that their achievements are from different venues; fashion, political, athletic, education, science, music and the arts. It’s a true testament that it’s not over until you say it is.

The achievements of the following individuals didn’t happen overnight but were an accumulation and extension of what they’ve already experienced.
Arriving at one goal is the starting point to another” ~John Dewey

Take a look at just some of the well known individuals who made or continued to achieve and grow in their 70’s.

70 – Dr. William Mayo founds a medical clinic which will bear his name.

71 – Fashion icon Coco Chanel debuts the Chanel suit.

72 – Karl Wallenda, of the famous Flying Wallendas, walks a high wire between the Eden Rock and Fontianebleau hotels in Paris.

73 – Ronald Reagan is elected President of the United States.

74 – Ethel Andrus founds the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP).

75 – Piano virtuoso Claudio Arrau stays busy ion his seventy-fifth year, performing a total of 110 concerts.

76 – Thomas Jefferson begins designing buildings and developing curricula for the University of Virginia.

77 – Astronaut (and Senator) John Glenn returns to space on the Space Shuttle Discovery mission.

78 – Grandma Moses begins her career as a serious painter.

79 – Giuseppe Verdi composed the opera Falstaff.

There are people all around that are still learning and growing well into their retirement years.  Take my grandpa for example.  He finally gave up dairy farming at the ripe old age of 75.  That’s hard work at any age.  However he didn’t retire, that wasn’t his nature.  He rented out his land to another farmer and took up raising heifers and peacocks.  He also had taken up woodworking in his later years and now that he had more time he began making even more and difficult pieces. No he wasn’t famous but he did set an example for his children and grandchildren to follow.  He finally passed on when he was 91 years old.

What does this tell me? That when you stay engaged in life, have a sense of meaning and purpose you are more likely to live longer and enjoy it more too.

What does it say to you?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Where’s the Reset Button?

Ever have those days when things just aren’t going right and you wish you could start all over? I’m giving you permission to do just that.  Push the reset button.

Of course sometime you may need a total shut down and reboot.  However, it’s much better to do one of those versus pushing the escape button.  By escaping you’re not dealing with what’s going on and what you could learn from it.  The restart and reboot buttons say you know something isn’t right but you’re willing to meet the obstacles head on with new direction, determination and focus.  It’s about taking the negative out of the situation and turning it around into a positive one.

We all need to have a reset button. The problem comes when you either don’t recognize it or don’t create the space to allow your mental and emotional state to deal with it. When something isn’t working for you – restart.  Who says you have to continue on in that capacity anyway, no one?  It’s just you plugging away hoping things will get better if you keep keeping on.  Instead stop, take a deep breath and remind yourself of what makes you great.  Once you’ve got that “feel good” feeling back go back to what you were doing.  If you’re having trouble with that you may need to have a conversation with someone who knows you well enough to get you back into that space.

Okay, your system has been reset.  Go be the talented, amazing, fun loving person you are.  

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Tenacity of Fran Drescher

She takes a licking and keeps on ticking. For those of you who don’t know her let me give you a brief history.

She was married to a guy she knew in H.S. for 20 years.  She had a hard time getting acting gigs because of her nasal sounding voice. Instead of letting that stop her she used it to her advantage. Her then husband and her produced the show “The Nanny” which was a huge hit and very funny.

When she was a young adult an intruder raped her and her girlfriend.  Her husband was a witness but was unable to help them.  IT took her a few years to come to terms with it but she didn’t let that stop her from living life.

Sometime during her marriage her husband came to realized that he was gay and came out.  She supported him even though it meant the end of her marriage.

Several years ago she was diagnosed with uterine cancer. So far she’s had a clean bill of health since then.  It was such an ordeal for her she decided to write a book about her experience entitled Cancer Schmancer.

She has remained friends with her ex-husband and now he is producing another TV show for her called Happily Divorced.  It’s about a former married couple living together due to financial reasons.  Oh and by the way, he’s gay.  Sound familiar?

Here’s a women who keeps turning the negatives in her life into positives.  It’s what I refer to as flipping it which basically means the same thing.  Take whatever you don’t like that’s happening to you and find a way to have it work for you instead.

I don’t know what Fran Drescher came into this world to do because there are so many examples to choose from.  However, when you look at how she’s dealt with the negatives in her life I’d say she’s doing it. The message; Find a way to turn the negative into a positive.

Question, what do you think you’re here to do based on what’s happened in your life?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Commitment – Not Just a Piece of Paper

There is something about vocally making a commitment, putting pen to paper and having witnesses that suddenly solidifies a commitment.  It’s as if it reached into the center of your being and makes you react with a sense of this is really important. Remember it. Don’t renege.

To the witnesses it gives the contract credibility but still there’s the physical words and signage that really gives it credence.  It not only brings it to the forefront of your conscious but gets embedded at the cellular level.
Commitment changes relationships. Your friends, neighbors, co-workers and even your in-laws come and go. Sure you may be uncomfortable with the change in the relationship but there was no commitment to fall back on.  They never indicated that they were going to be your friend forever. Besides, did you really lose a friend or did one of you decide she needed to move on in order to grow? If that’s the case then you never lost the friendship.

How many times have you known or heard about a couple who have lived quite well together for several years only to get married and shortly thereafter get divorced? What changed the relationship, the commitment? It took on a new meaning, more importance.  Now a commitment has been made not only to another person but to yourself to uphold. Can you do it?

For some reason people think they’re getting married to appease religious beliefs, society or government.  Not true. Even in the Catholic religion, out of the seven sacraments, marriage is the only sacrament that is given from one person to another, the church only overseas it as a witness from God.  Therefore the commitment is between the man, women and God.  It’s a really a private matter. If it’s not upheld you are breaking a promise not only to the other person but to yourself and sometimes those are the hardest to face, breaking a promise and thereby letting yourself down.

There are a few people who claim they won’t marry because it’s just a piece of paper, REALLY? The number one reason a person would say this is out of FEAR; fear of failure. If you don’t make a committed statement then you can’t fail.  Sure the person might go on and one about freedom from outside influences but really it comes down to fear.  It’s interesting to note that people have no problem signing contracts and commitments to do a job, make payments or such but to make a commitment to another person propels it to a whole new level. Suddenly excuses come up.

My favorite excuse is when a couple claim they won’t marry until everyone has the right to marry anyone they want.  That’s a cop out, a stall tactic.  It’s a way to draw attention away from them and onto another group.  As if the laws were immediately going to be changed so that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie could get married.  Does anybody really care?  They’re both pretty independent and I would venture to say that if the law did change they’d find another excuse.  If they ever do get married it’ll be on their own terms.

It’s also interesting to note that even children with unwed parents want them to have a commitment to each other.  Eventually they will question, plead and sell the notion of it to their parents. Is this out of fear, society pressures or is it engrained at a cellular level from our creator that contracts and thereby commitments are part of our purpose for being here?

With that said, what do you think it is about a commitment to another person that propels it to another level?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Take a Little Piece of My Heart

That’s what it feels like when you dishonor yourself by being inauthentic.  A little piece of you dies because you chose to go with the crowd, to fit in, liked or accepted. That’s the price you just paid.

It’s not something tangible like money or even physically observed but something deep down happened to your self-esteem and respect when you chose to be inauthentic, to be who you really are just for the sake of being able to fit in.

It’s such a high price to pay and yet you won’t even realize how much until one day you wake up and wonder “Who am I? How did I, the real me, get lost in this game of life”.

I’ll tell you how it happened, slowly, bit by bit, with one fear after another until there are only traces of you left. Your truth is still hidden, afraid to be exposed which is quite understandable if you’re not quite sure about them or aren’t the type of person who can be diplomatic when disagreeing with others.  However, pretending to be, or hiding your true nature can cause all sorts of physical and emotional problems. 

One day you may explode and those around you will stand there in shock wondering what got into you. There must be something wrong with you if you can’t control yourself.  But who do you have to blame, no one but yourself because you let the fear of not being liked and accepted get in the way of being your authentic self?

What do you do now?  Well, you discover who the authentic self is within.  Day by day and bit by bit you meet those fears head on until your authentic self no longer feels the need to hide. In the end, you’ll find the people who are still in your life truly love and accept you for who you are.