Living Your Best Life at Any Age

Posts tagged ‘aging’

Finding Spiritual Advisors in Unlikely Places

Spiritual advisor, counselor, guru, therapist, resident philosopher, teacher – all terms for someone who gives you guidance mainly by listening without judgment, perhaps interjecting just the right words of wisdom.  Many people pay for such guidance but most of us find them in the most unlikely places.

My “advisor” happens to be my hairdresser.  Always listening in a nonjudgmental way but occasionally calling me on “my stuff”.  Of course he didn’t  call me on my stuff until he knew me better and he found I was open to his taking on such a role.   He will share with me a book he just discovered that he thinks will be of interest to me.  Once he gave me a CD of some lovely inspiring music.  I always leave his shop with some new perspective.

I started looking around to see who else fills these roles.    I found that a lot of people rely on their hair dresser for such counseling and some of my friends tell me that their massage therapist often fulfills this function.  One of my friends found that her massage therapist was able to reveal hidden emotions just by the way she held her shoulder or turned her head but often it was the equivalent of talk therapy.

If you judge by movies and TV shows, it would appear that bartenders often play this role.  I wonder if this is true.  Do today’s bartenders really exist in places where “everybody knows your name”.  Is there such a thing as a local pub where people discuss their deepest thoughts?  I wonder.   Maybe this is worth an exploratory adventure.

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Some of these encounters might be very brief.  I have had brief spiritual counseling by a checker in the grocery store.  Brief but a lesson was there.  Coffee shops?  Not my experience in the bustling Starbucks of today but perhaps some have found an inspirational barista.  Years ago I frequented a coffee roaster.  They insisted they were not a coffee shop but everyone would hang around there anyway until the owner reluctantly added bar stools.   Philosophy was definitely handed out.  One day when someone asked the clerk how she was doing she replied:  “I’ve got my health, I’ve got the Lord and my car runs.”  That gratitude statement has served me over the years.  Spiritual guidance in the coffee shop.

As I contemplate this idea, it occurs to me that we can find guidance most anywhere if you take time to truly interact with people.  The hairdresser, barber or massage therapist is holding you captive for a set period of time. There is nowhere else to go.  Nothing else to do.  So you engage.

What if you make it a habit to engage more people?  The person in line, the receptionist at your next appointment, the grocery clerk?   They each have their own wisdom.  All we have to do is tap into it.

 Be open, listen.  Engage.  Find your spiritual guidance in an unlikely place. 

 

 

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Are You Building Your Lemonade Stand?

“When life gives you lemons, you don’t make lemonade. You use the seeds to plant a whole orchard – an entire franchise! Or you could just stay on the Destiny Bus and drink lemonade someone else has made, from a can.”
― Anthon St. Maarten

Let me tell you about two people who felt life gave them some lemons.  One is making lemonade and the other built a lemonade stand!  Which will you be?

Lolly worked all her life at one job doing everything right.  She established a retirement account on her meager earnings and expected to retire at what has been called “normal retirement age”  She achieved the American dream.  Retirement and living the good life into the sunset.  Only it didn’t work out that way.  Medical bills and other unexpected expenses cut into her cash flow.  She is careful with her money and she gets social security.  Lolly is making the most of it.  She is making her lemonade on her front porch.  “It’s OK” she says.  She wishes she had more but what are you going to do when you are on a fixed income.  Good attitude but it’s too bad she isn’t building a lemonade stand.

Eddie is doing it differently.  Eddie is 55 and has worked as a software programer for most of his life.  At his age, he is a pioneer in the industry with a depth of knowledge few of us could expect to learn.  Problem is no one wants to hire him.  As he told me, “55 is ancient and over the hill in the software industry.  Over 30 and your out.  Eddie is facing reality.  He also did everything right — went to college, earned a degree in a highly sought after field, was a good employee and kept current in his field.  Still, reality really sucks.  What is Eddie doing with his lemons?  He is opening his own lemonade stand.

Eddie has way more knowledge than the rest of us when it comes to setting up websites.  He knows SEO, mobile apps and all the rest of the jargon.  This is a valuable commodity.  People pay for this and they usually don’t know where to find someone.  Now they do. They can find Eddie’s lemonade stand.  By doing what he knows better than most, he can build his own website and get a following.  He will have better security than the young whippersnappers getting the jobs because he isn’t going to get laid off or downsized.  His lemonade stand will sustain him.

What do I mean by a lemonade stand?  You’ve heard the adage  “give a man a fish and he eats today, teach him how to fish and he eats forever”?  This is a variation of that.  We’ve all heard about making lemonade when life hands you lemons.  Of course there is the variation that says find someone who was given vodka and have a party but that’s not the point here.

What I am talking about is being and ENTREPRENEUR!  Gasp!  Yes you.  I bet you did it when you were a kid.  Did you baby sit?  Have a newspaper route?  Sell something door to door?  You were an entrepreneur.  You might even have had a real lemonade stand.  I know I did.

I grew up in a time, and most of you did too, I’m guessing, when the goal was a “good paying job”.  You worked up “through the ranks”, and somewhere in your 60’s you were put out to pasture, ehr, retired.  You got a pension and maybe a plaque.  Did anyone actually get the proverbial gold watch?

Folks those days are gone.  The old line companies are phasing out pensions and the new ones never had them.  You are on your own buddy.  The financial planners have been telling us this for years, but most of the boomers didn’t listen and now they are out there picking lemons.

So what does your lemonade stand look like?  Mine?  I made a huge mid life career change and went to law school in my 50’s.  I pretty much believed the folks who told me no one would hire me at my age.  But surprise, surprise!  A well respected mid size firm in Orange County hired me.  Wow,  That felt good!  Too bad I hated it.  I won’t go into what a mind numbing experience it was but suffice to say the dress code almost did me in.  Or was it the mandatory meetings on how to increase our billing?  Not better work, just more billing.  It was definitely time to build my own lemonade stand.

So I “hung out my shingle” as it used to be called.  I had a lap top and a fax machine.  I was in business.  People actually paid me money for my legal skills.  After a while I knew I had to find a specific focus for my practice.  (We aren’t supposed to call it “specialize”)  People kept coming to me with their divorce issues.  Even though it was the furthest thing from my mind when I was a wide eyed new lawyer, I found that handling divorces was a pretty good lemonade stand for me.  Eighteen years and thousands of cases later, I am still practicing — although it has grown to slightly more than a fax machine and a laptop.

So here is my challenge to you.  Are you building your own lemonade stand?  Maybe you currently have a job.  You might even like it — or not.  Start building that lemonade stand because you never know when the lemons might arrive.

Right now — write down three things someone might pay you for.

This is a random list that might jog your creative juices.

  • Give speeches
  • Bake cakes
  • knit scarves
  • travel the world and pick up interesting jewelry or gift items
  • Write a book
  • Teach people how to use Facebook
  • Teach English to non native speakers
  • Start your own community newspaper and sell advertising
  • Design your own clothing line and sell it via kickstarter
  • Sell other people’s stuff on eBay
  • Ghost write blogs for other people
  • Organize garages

Ok, this wasn’t a totally random list I made up.  Each of those represents someone I know who is making money at their own lemonade stand doing just that thing.  Good money?  Some are, some are not.  Depends on the effort and creativity they put into their lemonade stand.  Not only are they making money, they feel good about being creative and useful.  No out to pasture for them

And Lolly, the person whose story I opened with?  We are still working on it.  At least her eyes lit up when I gave her the suggestion. Stay tuned.  I am sure there will be something fun to report about Lolly’s Lemonade Stand.

Make your list today.  Get creative.  I’m anxious to hear about your lemonade stand.

 

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LET’S TALK SPIRITUALITY

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Living your best life includes having a spiritual basis.  Don’t worry, I’m not going to go all religious on you.  My friends come in many variations of spirituality including traditional Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, NewThought, and even atheist.  The kind of spirituality I am talking about can include any of these or something different.  It is something beyond the physical, intellectual or body.  I often refer to this with complete respect as “woo woo stuff”.

According to Psychology Today:

“Spirituality means something different to everyone. For some, it’s about participating in organized religion: going to church, synagogue, a mosque, etc. For others, it’s more personal: Some people get in touch with their spiritual side through private prayer, yoga, meditation, quiet reflection, or even long walks.”

Wikipedia differentiates modern spirituality to the more traditional. There is a long discussion which explains the many forms of spirituality including Hinduism, Buddhism, Mohammadism, other isms and the “Abrahamic” religions, if you care to delve further:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spirituality#Modern_spirituality_2

Use whatever definition you want, mystical, holiness, devoutness or otherworldly.   My point here is that some type of spirituality helps us move toward our best life. I will use spirituality in this context but substitute your own belief system.

Living a healthy life involves mind, body and spirit.   I advocate for developing your mind whether it is something routine like Sudoko, taking a class or reading Wikipedia articles. Body includes exercise, eating and generally taking care of the physical being. You take care of your Spirit in a number of ways, which can include the sensual such as fine food and wine, music, enjoying nature and, of course, exploring the spiritual.

You probably already have a routine for exercise and health.  Hopefully you have a routine for intellectual pursuits.  I suggest a spiritual routine is just as important.

A routine that works well for me is “morning pages”, An idea I got from Julia Cameron’s book The Artists Way.  You can incorporate morning pages into your spiritual practice.  Meditate, pray or contemplate and then write in longhand for at least three pages.  Write to yourself, your deity or your favorite tree.  But write every morning.  Before you do anything else.  I promise you will find your life goes better.

Here is a link to Julia Cameron’s explanation of morning pages:  http://paperartstudio.tripod.com/artistsway/id3.html

I would love to hear what is your routine.  Do you sing or chant?  Talk to the flowers in your yard? Pray?  Read something spiritual?

What form of spirituality can you explore today?

 

 

ARE YOUR FRIENDS ALL THE SAME AGE?

When we were little kids we all used to like to play with kids our own age.  An older child playing with younger kids was considered weird.  Many folks carry this into adulthood.  I suggest that you learn to play with people of different age groups.

I frequently have “girlfriends’ potlucks”.  It amuses m

e to see that we range in age from late 20’s to, well, a lot older.  (I am generally the oldest person in the room)   I learn the latest social trends, technology and even language from my young friends.  My younger friends recognize the older sages knowledge and learn from it.  We don’t have to read history books — we were there.  We can give a perspective you don’t get from books.

I get diet and exercise tips.  Hopefully my young friends get a better perspective in looking at a long range view of love and romance.  The sages get to tell about the classic movies, the first time we saw the Beatles and  I get to improve my playlist of current songs.  Oh, and the young uns get advice about (gasp) menopause.

The adage “the more things change, the more th

ey stay the same” sure seems to apply.  We find we are not so different.  We lose our fear of aging when we see examples of what lies ahead that are good and wise.

I love my various groups.  I stay current on technology through my younger friends and then I pass on what I learned to my older friends.  I think we enrich each other’s lives.

Other societies seemed to have more interaction among the generations.  It would serve us well to learn from them.

Do you have friends of varying ages?

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What’s your experience?

YOU CAN MAKE A LOT OF DIFFERENCE IN OTHER’S LIVES

“Your Story can change someone else’s”  1896950_745177378833409_1062714364_n

You, Yes you! can make a LOT of difference in someone’s lives merely by practicing the LOT principle.  Listen, Observe, Tell 
 

Does the name George Bailey ring a bell?  He was the main character in the perennial classic Christmas movie “It’s a wonderful Life”.  (Extra points if you get the bell reference.)   When the movie begins, George is standing on a bridge, ready to jump off.  He feels his life is meaningless – that he doesn’t matter.  An angel appears and as George reviews his life he finds that he did make a difference after all.  In the end all is well, it’s a wonderful life – and his angel gets his wings.

But, I’m no George Bailey, you say.  I’m not sure I make a difference.  I sometimes wonder this myself.  Who am I to inspire others?

I haven’t started a multi-million dollar company; I’ve never played pro sports.  I have not overcome major adversity –no near death experience, no major debilitating disease and I pretty much have most of my faculties.  On the other hand, I have lived to what could be called a ripe old age and experienced success and failure.  I have parented, started a business, married, divorced and even obtained a professional degree.  Yup, I have stories to share — stories that might impact others.  I have a quote on my office wall:  “Your story can change someone else’s” I truly believe that.  The stories we share can make a difference.  To quote our current hero, Seahawks Quarterback Russell Wilson:  “Why not you?”

Let me give you an example of how someone changed my life:

High school.  The dark ages.  Girls were taught typing, shorthand and homemaking skills.  In ninth grade we were to make a four year plan of the classes we would take to complete high school graduation requirements.  When the teacher, Mrs. McLaughlin saw my plan she remarked that I had not scheduled any classes I would need for college.  College?  I’m not going to college.  People in my family do not go to college. Nope, we are not college people.  Not remotely on the radar.  To this day her reply stuck with me:  “I hate to see a bright student not prepare for college”.

Bright student?  Me?  No one in my then 15 years ever told me I was bright.  Me?  Wow.  What a revelation!  I was impressed. I took Mrs. McLaughlin’s advice and took Algebra, geometry and even two years of classic Latin.  Yup,  Veni, Vidi, Vici.  I came, I saw, I conquered.

Furthermore, I did go to college. When I became a student teacher, Mrs. McLaughlin was my master teacher.  I had the privilege to tell her how she changed my life.  And you know what?  She didn’t even remember me or the conversation!  It was just something she did because that is who she is. She was just doing what was natural to her.   That’s just who she was.

That’s how easy it can be to completely change someone’s life.  And often we don’t even know we are doing so.  Not only did I go to college, ultimately I completed law school.    I know that in my professional capacity I have and continue to impact lives.  But what about the little day to day things we do.

You can do a LOT.

That’s my acronym for Listen Observe Talk.

Listen

Listening is not a passive thing and it involves paying attention to facial expression, body language.  What is this person really saying?  Feeling? Often after I have met with a client they tell me how much better they feel.  How helpful I was.  And all I did was LISTEN.  Truly listening is the greatest gift we can give another person.

 Observe

What did your barista look like this morning?  Did you even notice her?  Later at work, a coworker sighed deeply.  Did you ask what was wrong? Did you make eye contact?  It is amazing how people respond to eye contact.  Culturally we are taught to do so but do we really? We look to the side of the eye, or the bridge of the nose.  Truly make eye contact.

 Talk

Have you ever noticed how someone reacts when you comment on their appearance, or the service they are providing, or their smile?  Is there something they are obviously proud of on their desk or wall?  Comment!

Remember: “Your story can change someone else’s”    Sometimes just the reminder that we all share the human condition can give someone hope and courage.   Not  “I can top that one” but a heartfelt, “I understand.  I went through this also and here’s what I did.”  Or, perhaps, “I can’t even imagine how this must feel for you.  How would you like me to help?”   Talk, tell your story.

The following quote came across my Facebook page the other day:

“ONE KIND WORD CAN CHANGE SOMEONE’S ENTIRE DAY.”

 Think about it.  One kind word can change someone’s entire day.

Here is my challenge to you.

Set out each day to make a difference in someone’s life.  Do so by Listening,Observing,  Talking.

The next time you are among other people,  practice truly connecting with someone.  Listen, Observe, Talk.    After the first, do one more and one more.

I will give you a money back guarantee that by the end of the day your life will be different.

Yes, You can make a LOT of difference and impact lives.

I challenge you.

CAN WE STILL CHANGE THE WORLD?

IMG_0083“When the moon is in the seventh house and Jupiter aligns with Mars, then peace will guide the planets and love will steer the stars.

  This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius , Age of Aquarius”

  If you identified with these lyrics this message is for you.  If you don’t recognize them, ask your mom or dad.  This song, from the musical Hair made popular by the 5th Dimension in the late 60’s  was the anthem of our generation.  We were the new age.  The boomers.  The new generation that was going to change the world.  With us, there would be peace love and understanding.
 

 What happened?

Life happened.  Some remained on communes and followed an alternative lifestyle but most of us went into the workforce, had families, careers, established our own businesses.  Now here we are at that point that previous generations stopped.  Stopped striving, stopped trying, and some would say, stopped living. But not us, we are the new age.   We are the boomers who changed the world by our mere numbers.  Every decade we changed things from the Sputnik era of education to the economic force of the current economy and our impact on social security and Medicare.  just by our sheer numbers we affected all areas of society.

 Now what? (more…)

WANT TO LIVE LONGER? BETTER? TRY FACEBOOK. SERIOUSLY!

Karin at age 2

“Oooh, I would never do Facebook – it’s dangerous!”  

Walking across the street is dangerous,  life itself is dangerous.  OLD is about not trying new things.  My purpose in these musings is to help folks from being  OLD.  (OLD is the opposite of the wise sage we intend to be as we explore the new territory of life facing those of us who have crossed into the territory of the new 70 and beyond)  Today’s lesson:  Think Facebook.

“Facebook is too complicated”  Learning new things can be complicated, but learning new things keeps you from being OLD.

“I’m worried about privacy”.  There are privacy settings you will learn how to use.  You may want to consider being a little more open, though.  The millennials and younger are far less concerned about privacy.  Certainly use discretion but you can be a little less shy.

So why am I touting the benefits of Facebook?

SOCIAL CONNECTIONS

Every study I have seen concludes that social interaction is essential to living a longer life.  Facebook keeps you in touch with your world and opens you up to getting to know people better.  No, you do not just sit on your couch with your laptop and make friends.  You go out into the world and meet people and then stay connected with them on Facebook.

Every time I come home from a social event I find additional Facebook friend requests.  Once, at a party I recognized a name on a woman’s nametag.  I approached her with “According to Facebook, we should be friends”.  We connected and she is now a friend on Facebook but also someone I can connect with socially.

Yesterday accepted a friend request from someone I don’t know.  A definite No no?  Not really.  I saw we had about 20 friends in common and from the list I could tell which of my circles she inhabits.  I will be following her posts and when we are at the same meeting next week I will be able to approach her and we will have commonality.

Remember those great folks you met on vacation?  You promised to keep in touch but other than the occasional Christmas letter you’ve lost contact.  I am still friends with people in met in the Grand Canyon, aboard a Panama Canal cruise and even on a China trip.

DEEPEN YOUR CONNECTIONS

I have several friends I don’t see often.  We keep talking about getting together to catch up, but we don’t do it as much as we would like.  We keep up with each other on Facebook and when we do see each other we don’t have to spend a lot of time catching up.  She knows about my trip to the Grand Canyon and I read about her visit with relatives in Texas.  We were able to get right in to deeper conversation.  Our Facebook friendship really does strengthen the real friendship.

FILL YOUR CALENDAR

Each day I have a list of events from which I can pick and choose.  Most are of only casual interest and I file it away as nice to know even though I will not be participating.  On the other hand, I become aware of an interest shared by several of my friends and I choose to attend.  I have also posted events myself and I am tickled at the responses I get.  I have become so accustomed to sending out invitations by scheduling events that I have found it challenging to include my non-Facebook friends.  Mailed out invitations?  How quaint.  Your even invitations can be private and go only to those you select.

I also have started several groups that communicate via a “secret” group.  No one but those who have been invited to the group can see the posts.  We send each other reminders, updates and encouragement knowing that only the group members will see the message.  I also belong to a couple of on-line book clubs.  I’m not giving them a thumbs up yet but I may consider a smaller group of people I already know.

KEEP UP WITH FAMILY

My favorite part of Facebook is becoming a part of my family’s life.  I see my grandson eating spaghetti or playing at the water park.  I learn about what my daughter and her husband are interested in and learn of their activities.  I can ask about these activities and opinions when I see them without having to grill them about what’s been happening in their life.  I also have become friends with some of their friends.  Younger friends really help you not be OLD.

CREATE NEW CIRCLES

I belong to a number of private groups on Facebook.  Many I have created myself.  Those groups include a group of wannabe writers (Hi, Writers’ Salon), my spiritual community, lawyers groups, and several accountability and support groups.  Most of these people I know in person but some are virtual friends.  One group I call “Girlfriends’ Potluck” and every now and then I do a shout out and schedule a potluck.

MY CHALLENGE TO YOU

Chances are if you are reading this, you are on Facebook.  Would you like more help on creating groups, privacy settings or other issues?  I am happy to help.  I am even planning workshops for small groups in various communities.  Let me know if you are interested.

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