I’m Eligible for AAR… WHAT?!

Have you received that letter? You know the one, with that big red and white logo, from that organization called… A-A-R-P. I opened it once and it actually was a very nice invitation asking me to join their group of … ahem … older people. So, I tossed it.

Then it came again a few months later. And then again months after that.
Seems it’s inevitable that this letter will show up in the mailbox. It’s as inevitable as, well, getting older. It happens to us all, this getting-older/aging/maturing phe-nom, and in the big scheme of things, who wouldn’t want to keep getting older, marching forward in time, living life to its fullest?

“Age is a question of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”
“Aging” baseball player Satchel Paige said that at the tender age of 42 many years ago when asked how someone as “old” as 42 could keep playing.

He sure got that right. Whether we like it or not, it’s all in our thinking… how we handle this “aging” thing.

I’ve been reading a book by Jo Ann Jenkins, the CEO of AARP, called “Disrupt Aging”. She is a dedicated advocate for changing the way our society looks at aging. She says instead of a time of diminishment, to see it as a time of growth; instead of a burden, to see it as a time of contribution.

Makes sense to me. A lot of sense. And ok yes, because in the not too far off distance, I will be one of those “older” people. And hey, you will too. So let’s start working on that mindset now, practicing being contributors and growing positively and gracefully into our older years.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, that wise American author, said “Old age is 15 years older than I am.”
I really like that one. Old age can be waaaay out there in the distance if we so choose.

In her book, Ms. Jenkins brings up an interesting idea: What if we didn’t know our actual age?

What if you didn’t associate anything about yourself with a number?
What would you do, wear, have, drive, feel, be?
That’s a fun exercise. Take a minute and jot down some ideas on that one. Don’t let a number hold you back.

Unfortunately, she goes on to say, we’ve had it drilled into us that aging is a bad thing, a time of deterioration, dependence and decline. Ugh.
Here’s the challenge she presents: Own Your Age. Embrace it. Feel good about it and all you’ve done so far. And know there’s more good stuff to come. “Experience matters”, she says.

I’ve been realizing that myself, how much wisdom and experience there is to appreciate as times goes on. I’m putting together lots of pieces gained over the years and things are clicking and making sense. It’s that perspective that only age can give you.

Oh, and I finally embraced my eligibility and joined AARP, formerly known as the American Association of Retired Persons. I am now a card-carrying member of that organization dedicated to serving the over 50 crowd and now especially determined to change our society’s view on aging.

It’s the new, forward-thinking AARP, now where that RP stands for “Real Possibilities”.

BTW, how’d you like YOUR carefully crafted, well-thought out, and usually unopened, letter thrown out the minute it hits a receiver’s hands? Think about Ms. Jo Ann Jenkins and her crusade next time you’re ready to toss her letter. Give her words a quick read and remember her mission. Own Your Age.Own Your Age!

I really don’t care how old you are. You are a contributor, valuable, magnificent, wise and wonderful at every age.
Choose to have a great week!

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What’s A Person to Do??

That’s been on my mind recently in light of current events. Maybe it’s been on yours too.
Then, a famous quote came to mind from cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead:
“Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have.”

Encouraging. Hopeful. Empowering. We need more of those reminders.

This got me to further thinking… what actions, truly, can one person take to affect change in our ever-changing, complicated world?

So, I started a list to see what might resonate with me:
Write letters to government officials
Learn all I can about an issue
Start a blog and invite conversation
Scour the internet for positive, relevant articles and share them
Create a discussion group on a specific issue
Volunteer with organizations
Develop a speaking topic and present to groups
Support a business that’s in alignment with my intention
Make donations
Say prayers

Notice these are positive and constructive actions. They are not about fighting AGAINST something, but rather FOR something good. Instead of the “War on Drugs”, how about “Solutions for Change”? Instead of “Stamping out …”, how about “Finding a cure…”?
Choose your issue, perhaps one of those in today’s news stories, and then choose your action in support of a positive outcome.

“Pick your passion” (NOT your poison, as the saying goes) and “Be the change…” as the other saying is.

Whatever topic and action makes you feel alive, empowered, committed… do that. Contribute there. You are a unique being with unique talents and strengths and interests and perspective. We all need you to do YOUR best thing. The choice is yours as to where, what and how you will make a difference.

“You may be only one person in the world, but you may mean the world to one person.”
That. Right there. That’s quite a difference you can make. One person at a time.

Be the best YOU you can be. Create your own form of good in the world and start the ripple.Start the Ripple

Choose to have a great week!

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NUTs!!

They can certainly make us feel that way, those NUTs – a bit crazy and discombobulated, stressed out, anxious and just all around irritated.

NOT the wal- and pea- nuts, nor the pecan, pistachio or kukui type. This is a different, yet all too common variety, these NUTs…

Nagging Unfinished Tasks – NUTs that yes, make us feel a little… nuts ourselves.

 

Dr. Oz says they are “often very simple to fix but if you never get around to them, NUTs create a subtle underlying angst that can undermine your health.” Author Jack Canfield calls them “messes and incompletes” and says they “rob us of valuable attention units”.

This variety, these Nagging Unfinished Tasks, are most definitely NOT good for us. They cause not only mental stress, but eventual physical stress. Who needs ‘em?!

Well, unfortunately, I bet we all got ‘em. Those hanger-on projects, tasks, and to-do’s that just seem to never go away. They are those uninteresting, challenging, boring, tedious little things we simply don’t want to do.

So how to handle them and move on to and make room for the things we DO want to do?
Here are some ideas:

Use a simple time management principle: “Do it, Delegate it, Delay it, or Dump it”. The moment you’ve got a task in mind to add to your to-do’s, make a decision on what to do with it… right then and there. Maybe it doesn’t even need to go on the list.

Make a list of all the incomplete tasks and projects in your life – professionally and personally – and review each one with the question, “What will it take to get this NUT outta my hair?” Then, determine action steps and a manageable time frame – 2 hours each afternoon, 1 whole Saturday per month, every Tuesday morning, etc. and then commit to it. Get it in your calendar, plan it into your schedule, and be on the way of getting those NUTs out of your mind AND out of your hair.

Review that list every so often because some NUTs drop away on their own and are no longer even relevant. We like those kind of NUTs.

The good kind of nuts, not the Nagging Unfinished Tasks!

NUTs – the good kind!

What’s the upside?  Moving this type of NUT out of your way makes room for achieving the goals and dreams you want in your life. Complete the tasks of the past so you can fully step into the present with open arms and an open mind. Alleviate stress by dumping those NUTs now and bring on more happiness!

Thank you dear friend CB for reminding me about these annoying little NUTs and sharing this article about squashing stress AND belly fat. What could be better than that??

Choose to have a great week!

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And Who are You Again?

As you catch your reflection in a mirror or window, ever been taken off guard? Ever been so caught up in life’s happenings that you forgot to look into your own eyes… follow your own dreams… put yourself first once in a while?

Do you ever forget to remember… who you really are and what truly makes you happy?
Me too.

On occasion, I unconsciously do things, go places, eat stuff and absorb information that does not serve me. It’s just not being true to that better person inside, the one who knows the Truth about me, that “inner guide”.

We all have one, this Truth-knowing aspect of ourselves, and it’s too often ignored. It takes introspection, a little time and willingness, and being honest with ourselves to tune in and listen.

Get out your pen and paper. Get quiet, alone, comfy and peaceful.
Now answer these questions from your heart:

What makes you happy?
Where do you like to go?
What do you like to do?
What are your talents?
What are your strengths?
What are your most favorite things in the whole wide world?

Put all those honest answers together and you have a snapshot of YOU, the true YOU that often sits on the back burner while the “shoulds” take over. It happens to all of us and becomes our default setting at times. And yet, the more we can get clearer on the Truth about ourselves and follow that path, the more joy in life we will have.

Checking in with ourselves with questions like those above are a great start.
There’s one other sure-fire way to get to get clear about what’s true and authentic for you.
By paying attention and honoring your feelings. Think about it.
Do you remember how you felt…
… after listening/reading a lot of negative news?
… after saying “yes” instead of the “no” you wish you’d said?
… after taking someone else’s advice and realizing too late it was all wrong for you?

Mark Nepo, one of my favorite authors, says in his Book of Awakening to “keep turning toward what we feel is real”. To honor those feelings and let them out. Be ok with being scared, sad, hurt, or disappointed so we can get to their opposites more and more often. There are lessons to be had in all of our emotions.

How about this approach:
Before starting a project, saying “yes”, purchasing some thing, eating a food, replaying an old tape, buying into someone else’s beliefs, STOP.
Take a breath, notice how you feel about the situation.
Walk away, sit down, take a moment to think (and feel).Live your True Authentic Life

THEN while being true to YOU and your feelings, reply confidently and KNOW you’ve done right by YOU.

Life is precious. Time moves fast.
Grab hold of each and every day. Feel it. Live it fully. Do what’s true for YOU.

Choose to have a great week!

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Wag More. Bark Less.

Purr more. Grumble less.
Relax more. Hiss less.
Chirp more. Screech less.
Snuggle more. Stress less.

Lessons learned, and available if we choose to heed them, from our furry and scaly friends.
This week, an ode to our animal companions and appreciation for what they give us.

Whether dog, cat, hamster, rabbit, piggy, bird, horse, lizard and yes, even coatimundi, they are our connection to nature, to that Big Thing that is bigger than us.
Whether in your care as your pet or as a backyard visitor, they are amazing examples of beings just… be-ing. Without our interference! What a concept! Is it even possible?!

“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” (Anatole France)

Remember in weeks past, I’ve mentioned how slowing down and taking time to notice helps us make better decisions and is healthier for both mind and body? Longer, happier, peaceful life… anyone??

Our pets and other animals are good reminders and help us do these very things.
THOUGH ONLY IF, we will but take a FEW MOMENTS to notice, to listen, and then to appreciate their gifts. AND THEN feel the feelings associated with them. A few moments out of your busy day. That’s it. A few little moments.

They help us live life a little differently, better, more positively. They help us feel connected to what matters most.

I am currently pet-less as my house is being revamped and reorganized. We’ll adopt a canine fella (or 2) in the coming months. In the meantime, backyard birds, lizards and rabbits are entertaining me and giving that all important connection to the natural world.

They eat the seeds and peanuts I give them…or not.
They chirp and sing with or without my presence.
They hop and run and fly and perch and do what they do.
AND they teach me to pay attention, find joy in the simple things, and to be easy… thoughtful… and natural myself.

A friend recently lost a beloved pet. This is the only downside I know of to pet stewardship. We outlive them. They leave us behind after their lives are spent and what’s left? Yes, broken hearts most times. Even the backyard world of survival of the fittest can hurt our feelings. After our personal fogs lift, we can look up once again and feel the gifts they left us. Those invaluable, intangible, life-changing gifts. Reminders to take it easy, have fun, slow down, savor our food, and be happy.Wag more. Bark less.

Wag more. Bark less.

Choose to have a great week!

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