Questions about Aging in America

For those of you over 40 or over 50 or over 60, have you thought how old you “feel?” Do you feel your age? Do you feel as old as you are? What are the preconceived notions about aging? For the younger folks who may read this, how do you perceive peers or people you know that are your parents’ age or older? Do you think the photo above depicts “old” or “youthful?” 

 

A lot of questions and unknowns about aging and how to do it best for you…

 

There are a lot of stereotypes about aging in the media. Many organizations like www.nextavenue.org and www.growingbolder.com have taken on the task of reinventing the images, perceptions, and experiences of aging in America. The stories about some of their champions are fascinating and encouraging…can you imagine being 90 and thriving? I think we don’t see enough of these types of stories, and we, unfortunately, still continue to be bombarded by the media with frail and ill elders who are on tons of medications and needing help to live out their days (for years…).

 

I have great memories of my maternal grandmother’s aging years…she has some style, that woman. She stayed “young” until she died fairly quickly at 85. I marveled at her unique, uninhibited fashion style, her opinions and discussions about everything, her daily crossword puzzles to keep her brain sharp as a tack, and her vigorous quest to be in the know and keep an attitude of youth as she grew in her wisdom. She was a kid in an aging body, but she managed to keep even that aging body fit to have few medical problems or aches into her 80’s. I have also had a few “young” older patients (including US Veterans) who had a special presence about them, a youthfulness and vigor that was enviable and admirable. And the visits were always too short, as the discussions revolved mostly about their life, their experiences and still active dreams, and definitely not focused on any significant diseases or list of medications that needed to be managed (a mere sidebar, so to speak).

 

Aging, and aging well, is definitely a privilege. The speed at which life is flying by is not lost on me. I try to glean as much information and wisdom from my aging mentors…they have so much to give us in terms of knowledge. It’s priceless. Their stories should be heard and seen. 

 

I am fascinated by the whole concept of getting older and crushing it, dispelling the myths of aging. And when I say crushing it, I mean through physical activity and continuing to challenge myself through training and competing (only against me, always doing my personal best and trying to improve each time), mentally through continuing to learn new skills, emotionally through opening myself up to vulnerabilities that I may not have consciously chosen when I was younger, and socially and culturally, putting myself in situations that make me a more informed, tolerant world citizen.

 

So here are some questions about aging that I wonder about but that people don’t want to talk about…

 

  • For those of you who are a bit older, does your current aging trajectory look like your parents’ or grandparents’ aging years?
  • Are you excited or anxious?
  • Does the future look bleak, or does it look more and more exciting because you care less and less about what others think as you grow into your best self?
  • What’s the best thing about aging for you right now?
  • Is there a “worst” thing about aging? 
  • What are you worried about as you age or as your family members age?
  • What are you doing to keep your vitality or stay functional and well?

 

Drop in the comments your thoughts—I’d love to hear. Post number 6 of 30 days of blog entries. Thanks for any feedback.

 

By the way, how do you get to “see” others’ entries? How do you get notified by WordPress? I see people liking some of my posts, but I never get notified of anyone else’s unless I go to their photo after they’ve liked the post. If anyone can shed some light on this, that would be awesome as I’d sure like to read some other blogs. 🙂 

 

“Care about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner.” ― Lao Tzu

When I decided to go into e-commerce last year, one of the first motivational talks I heard was by a bunch of business and entrepreneurial gurus. There are many who speak on this subject, and each has their take. Gary Vaynerchuk and Mel Robbins were in this particular video, and their snippets of inspiration spurn me on again and again when I have days during which things are less than desirable or things are not going my way.

 

Many of us will not pursue our dreams because we are worried about what others will say. Sound familiar? Are you with me on this? Have you heard this or do you hear the voices of family and friends that keep you down? Do they sound like they’re looking out for you through discouragement when they are really just trying to keep you right there with them? What they will think? What if they don’t approve? Will they support me? Will they will tell us “I told you so” when I have some failures?

 

Just as an example, I remember many years ago when I was starting a consultation practice to support attorneys, I confided in a peer who I thought was my friend and professional ally. I remember this conversation like it was yesterday. She denigrated the idea, saying that there was “no way” an attorney would hire a nurse (I was a nurse at the time) for the work that I was proposing to do for them. I felt a little sucker-punched but now understand that going out on a limb to do something unique and different that can provide great value to a group of people can be incredibly scary for the doubters.

 

But you see how they can rob your mojo? Despite the fact that their words and reactions are merely projections on you, heed them with caution because they can be infective and poisonous. 

 

One way that I have learned to overcome this is to avoid sharing plans about any ventures until they are solidified and launched. I think the reactions or responses and nonsupport be crippling, paralyzing you in the progress of your creative ideas, dreams, and ambitions. Choose your confidantes cautiously and be prepared for any responses. Don’t value others’ opinions too much as they are — if they’re negative — often based in insecurity and fear, and if listen and fail to launch, you will forever remain their prisoner.

 

Remember why you want to do this “thing,” design rules that fit you, and then move on.

 

And you don’t owe anyone any explanations. Once you learn and practice that, you will flow through life. Yes, it takes practice. 

 

Another way to overcome any doubt you may have or something that you’ve stopped yourself from doing is to choose something that you have always wanted to do as a project or business or venture. It could be anything like a sport, a trip by yourself, or a business that puts you out there amongst the masses. Then make a specific timeline to get it done and just go do it. This is what I did with my last project. Just going through the motions, AKA specific “action,” of taking all the steps to make it happen finally allowed me to arrive at launch point….and now I am flying. It’s important to tell yourself to take a step back to see the bigger picture but then take a step up and address all the details to get you to the next level.

 

There will always be the toxic few who will try to sprinkle their negativity and thwart your growth and fun. If it is someone significant in your life, you can have a discussion about what support you might need. But carefully insulating yourself from this – growing a thick skin, having boundaries, keeping your plans close to the cuff, recognizing what is getting your attention – will help you get to that next level. Until you learn to moderate your reaction or change your thoughts about such a reaction might be coming from, they will always have the proverbial upper hand.

  

I practice seeing the success, and then once I am “doing it,” I don’t have to care what their opinion is. I am not reckless, but at my age, I feel like I don’t play it safe any longer. I am learning to be okay with where I am right now, but always putting myself out there and putting on some blinders have resulted in results that have paid off. Has it been perfect? No way. But I went through it, and that’s the best experience you can have. Every time you get beyond your fear of starting and actually start, it gets easier for the next time. And this translates into all areas of your life!

 

Just do you. Do it with all your heart. Get the information. Trust your gut. Leave those people lovingly behind. Be like the butterfly who emerges from the cocoon.

 

You choose. Every single day.

 

Day 5 of 30 of blog entries. Please comment constructively….I am learning. Thank you!

Out of the Shadows: On Staying Relevant

Relevance is defined as “the quality or state of being closely connected or appropriate.”

 

In today’s world, relevance is often thought to portray something that matters or useful in relation to what is happening in the world. Importance, purpose, and value are other words closely associated with relevance.

 

So, cards on the table. I just turned 52. I’m in a new field not as an entrepreneur as I have had my own consulting practice since 2000 besides my “regular” work, but am in a new field that is a new ball game for me, e-commerce (i.e., online sales…my dad is rolling in his grave, I am sure of it) being one of them.

 

I have gotten knee-deep into social media. I am reading about content relevance, application, target audience, and connections, just for starters. As part of the learning and connecting process, I am immersed in various groups that delve into topics related to what everyone is doing in their niche. I am learning what makes people tick and how they respond to ads, posts, and lingo in your ad copy. I am learning about blogs and figuring out my niche in that whole arena.

 

Holy crap! At 52, how does one stay relevant, exciting, interesting, meaningful, or convincing? Did you ever have even that small inkling that maybe things are passing you by or that you’re “missing out?”

 

Well, here’s my take on this, as one of those people who have not embraced social media as much as I “should have” until I delved into the depths of e-com marketing, branding, and just plain continuing to be impactful in my career and my work adventures.

 

First of all, no fear.

 

At this age, you’ve gleaned a lifetime of experiences that no 25-year old can match. You’ve had the jobs, the interactions, the connections, the failures, the successes, the wins, and the accomplishments that have lead you here today. You have the wisdom to know that you can get through pretty much anything, and nothing you did five years ago that you thought was so important is “relevant” today other than having given you some lessons for the road. Take solace that you have something that someone needs. Your strengths, your experiences, and your achievements merit applause, so don’t think that you are starting from scratch.

 

Second, no sweat.

 

Whatever you are into, someone needs you. Someone needs your know-how. Someone needs just the style of education, counseling, coaching, or product to improve his or her life. Someone is looking up to you and trusting you with the information that you dish out and applying it to their life. Can you believe that? You’re the expert. We may feel the imposter syndrome when we’re beginners, but you are more than prepared to rise to the occasion.

 

Third, no dismay.

 

If you’ve been out of the job market, stay in tune with industry trends, the latest lingo, and apps which will help you succeed. Honestly, I think that staying in touch with people NOT in your age group gives you insight into so much more than you’ve bargained for. I used to only connect with people older than me, but have found that, from a business standpoint and life view standpoint, the younger generations have approaches, opinions, and a different sense of awareness about things you may deem to be important or vital in your self-growth. Give it a chance. You DO have to make the time commitment and just put yourself out there to absorb it and to consume it. You may not agree all the time, but it’s certainly a learning opportunity.

 

Just a few more opinions about relevance…despite the fact that “fitting in” is not always what you want or need in business (you want to be unique and present an uncommon benefit or selling proposition for your audience), I think demonstrating a life that “works” or that others can emulate or at least see as an example for leveling up is crucial.

 

  • Stay healthy in all ways–mentally, physically, emotionally, and financially.
  • Don’t be afraid to take someone under your wings…for free.
  • Don’t be afraid to be mentored by someone with more experience…and pay for it.
  • Stop being fearful. Fear only stops you from going beyond your boundaries.
  • Stop telling yourself you’re too old, too fat, too broke, too this….too that. You’re one-of-a-kind – allow yourself to thrive in
  • Live your life as a student – be humble and continue to learn.

 

One final comment about relevance and leaving a legacy: Create something that matters. Create something that makes a difference. Create something that you value and can share that will change someone’s life.

 

That is how you will always stay relevant.

 

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Post #4 of 30. Please comment if you’re so inclined. How are you staying relevant and how are you creating something that matters?

 

Photo: Some military work in American Samoa for the National Guard. One of the most meaningful things I have done in my nurse practitioner career. Pictured with one of the support staff.

Out of the Shadows: How Minimalism Might Change How You Eat

Living with less is not just about having less things in your house.

 

As I have moved toward a life of living with less over the past few years, this has permeated into other areas of my life. Little did I know it would do so in the area of nutrition and diet, a nice surprise to continuing on the quest and how it can gel in your life.

 

I’ve been a conscientious, albeit not perfect, eater for many years for many reasons (another few blog posts about eating and body image emerging). I recognize now that my childhood was fraught with being “allowed” to eat certain things, “fat is bad,” needing to finish the plate, and having strict rules around meal times, snacking, and eating meals as a family. Some of this is culturally driven as well as based in information which was available in the media at the time, but some is about family dynamics and years of established, potentially dysfunctional, patterns.

 

The quest to continually move toward living a more simplistic and smarter life that works for me has been less painful than predicted when I realized that the connection to the minimalistic life and what we feed our gut, bodies, and minds has to fit. We can’t just choose one area of life for simplicity. Minimalism isn’t just about spending money. Or owning less stuff. It’s much more. Compartmentalizing rarely works successfully for anyone because our mind is just not framed to operate that way.

 

Despite knowing what’s healthy and what is nutrient-dense from my years as a nurse practitioner and now a fitness professional focusing on functional aging and wellness, I started investigating labels again. The concerns about trans fats, genetically-modified organisms (GMOs), and artificial ingredients and preservatives are all potentially inflammatory to our bodies and contribute to dissease. I wanted to know what was actually in the foods and drinks that made my patients sick and was causing such symptoms as joint pains, headaches, fatigue, gastrointestinal maladies, and many other unresolved symptoms that were at least partially related to the so-called fuels people call food.

 

We know that the ingredients in foods and the quantities we eat will affect our gut health, our brain health, our moods, our energy levels, and our metabolism. I don’t think we give food enough credit for being the culprit or the healer with what ails us. Testing how foods make you feel by the method of exclusion from the diet will make you realize that food is medicine. It contains compounds and sugar and substances bound to interact with every cell and organ system in your body. Why not listen to the body and all the physical and cognitive complaints to institute some small changes?

 

Eating mostly foods which are real and unadulterated and which grow on real plants instead of inside man-made plants yields some amazing benefits. If you have ever experienced someone’s joy of discontinuing a medication or you watch their pride and sense of accomplishment skyrocket through their hard work of clean living, you will understand. These are the moments I live for in medicine. And just imagine the benefits from feeding your DNA only good fuel which tends to protect you from cancer, heart disease, diabetes, dementia, and arthritis, just to mention a few…your pocket book and your future will thank you.

 

Also, you have to ask yourself why you are eating what you’re eating. And how much. And what specific foods? And if you’re eating to curb hunger or eating to curb an emotion? Are you eating because you’re bored? Frustrated? Tired? Stressed? Feeling good? Are you choosing foods that are grab-and-go snacks? Or are you intentionally taking the time to prepare the greens, yellows, oranges, and reds to be your “meal masterpiece?” The commitment to intentionally aim for the perimeter of the store will also save you valuable time. Imagine not having to go down the middle isles as much as you currently are. These are other issues to ponder as you hone down the nitty-gritty about food and about focusing on taking only what you need, and no more.

 

The other reason that eating “leaner” (less junk, less crap, less processed, less meat products) and smarter is for environmental reasons. I am no tree hugger and am not advocating veganism although that may work for some people, but manufacturing wears down the environment. The more boxes and containers we make, the more trash we make. The more trash we accumulate, the more precious land is consumed via landfills which impacts greenhouse gasses. Yes, recycling is an option, but recycling makes waste and uses fossil fuels to break down what we’re recycling.

 

Does it sound like you can’t win? That we’re doomed any way we go? That minimalism or living smarter won’t solve all the problems?

 

I don’t think so. I think if we consciously choose real food, if we grow food, and if we choose foods that are not packaged to the hilt, and if we make food the fuel that it is, then we all win. Our health wins. Our healthcare system wins. Our planet wins.

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As part of my quest to blog daily for 30 days, this is #3 of 30. Hope it resonates with someone and helps ONE person. 

For the experienced bloggers, I’d love if you please post your constructive feedback. I am learning.

Out of the Shadows – Living with Less

I realize that I had been trying to pare down longer than I can remember and years prior to this “minimalism” movement became a thing in the media.

I have memories of glimpses into this life way back in the 1990’s when I went to the Dominican Republic to volunteer in an orphanage, seeing how little brought these children joy and how little they needed to live to be happy. When I came back to the US, I was disgusted with consumerism and the mass consumption we take for granted as part of our lives every day.

In 2007 when I went to back to school in Phoenix (after being a nurse practitioner for a few years and feeling like I needed few more tricks in my bag) to do massage therapy is when I feel like this quest officially began for me. Because I was taking night class, I had to be in Phoenix most of the week to attend classes so I rented an apartment. Well, the beautiful little apartment was literally empty. I had a blow up mattress that halfway during this year started with a slow leak. I purchased and assembled an IKEA dining set. I had one other lounge chair – my “study” chair – that was also an assembly-required gadget from IKEA. That was it. A few clothes. One or two old plates. Utensils. A mug and coffee maker. I loved it. It was refreshing and clean and uncluttered, and I was able to keep distractions at bay while I was studying and practicing massage techniques. Win!

When I would go home on the weekends, I would be subconsciously (because I loved leaving the chaos behind at the end of the weekend to go to my uncluttered place) and consciously bothered by all the things in my house and got rid of a few things. At the time I was in a relationship so going full force into getting rid of things was not on the radar, but I always felt relieved when I came back to the apartment. Relieved to have less despite coming home to the familiar. But I was slowly starting to get rid of a few things, sort of inconspicuously. Overall, the cleaning out was a bigger symptom of what I was beginning. Isn’t it always?

I was fortunate enough to be chosen for a few contract military assignments in which we were housed in local hotel rooms or long-term furnished living spaces. In these settings, I was separated from my “stuff” and truly reveled in how little I needed and how I did not miss any of my things. Don’t get me wrong, I loved coming home and seeing my stuff and felt some comfort with it, but it was becoming less and less so. The meaning of the items changed. The concepts of living in the moment, the experiences I was having, and the memories I was making were starting to take the forefront, something which I had seemingly forgotten through the years of accumulating stuff and belongings and the status symbols that seemingly define us while we are in a fog or duped by the influences of the media and society.

In 2009 when my relationship dissolved, I went on what I thought was binge with cleaning out my house. I needed to get rid of things that were weighing me down. A few books (this was the hardest to get rid of as I am a booklover). A few items in the kitchen. Old papers. Always the clothes. A few knick-knacks. Cards and letters that I had been holding on to. I stopped cable. And so it began.

I attended a documentary showing in Peoria, AZ some years after I started “the process” when the Minimalists made their debut. It was held with a question-and-answer session afterwards with Joshua Becker and his wife, and there were a few like-minded people there who “got it.” The scenes and topics and ideas seemed so familiar to me, and I knew I was on the right track.

When I hiked the Camino De Santiago in Spain in 2015 and 2016, again I was reminded how little I really need. With the backpack of 13 pounds on my back, having a roof over my head every night, and having newly made friends from all over the world in hostels and on the trail – that was enough. It allowed me to see again what is important and what is valued – the daily interactions and experiences and memories we create. The “why” of living.

Every few months through today, I re-evaluate the usefulness, joy, or presence of a piece of something in my home. I think about the last time I used it, wore it, read it, or otherwise obtained some pleasure from it. If something doesn’t “make the cut” at the time, I say, “If I haven’t used you in another month, you’re out.” It’s such an interesting concept that we keep things for the “what if” or “just in case” reasons. Most things will never be used…they are really just taking up valuable space, cluttering up the house and our lives when most of us are yearning for clarity and simplicity.

On an aside, does this holding on come from a standpoint of fear or of a mindset of lack? It’s something to consider when you have come from a family who did a lot of things based in fear, based in growing up in a war-torn Germany, and from a historical cultural imperative of living frugally and saving everything. Another blog post, I am sure of it.

Back to the point at hand….Some weeks I have daily rampages during which I pick up to 20 items which make it to the trash or Goodwill. I feel like Goodwill is a trusty friend to be receiving my old or gently-used belonging, but things that will make it into someone else’s home and be reused and enjoyed by the next person. I revel in driving up to the place and giving things away. Up to recently, I have never sold anything because that would be just one more obstacle to getting rid of stuff because it would end up just being stored in the garage or a closet until someone decided to buy it or until I decided to do a garage sale which has never happened. Of late, though, I have discovered the easy process of EBay, and so some of the more valuable items have graduated to online status for a defined period of time. If they don’t sell or if the prospect of online selling (collecting money, mailing, possibly having to deal with returns, reviews etc.) becomes too tedious or time-consuming, I will also give them away.

Remember that we are always trading valuable time for our efforts. What are you really wanting to give your efforts to when time is so limited and precious?

I have not stopped, and every day, I get rid of more despite now having been in the process for years. The more I get rid of, the more I want to get rid of.

My cupboards, drawers, and closets are becoming clear. I know where things are. I feel lighter. I have no attachment to anything, really. I have a few sentimental items that I am holding on to, but even these may eventually lose their luster or value since the emotion of the item or the person related to the item is always in my mind or my heart, not in a “thing.” Even as a photographer and having taking photos since I was 6 with my first camera, my albums and boxes of photos seem to have lost their importance or relevance. I think about what I might need to do with these next, but that will be a little bit of a process as this is nearly a half century of memories.

But what are memories anyway? They are in our heads and our hearts. They provide us with a level of comfort and fill our soul that no object can ever do.  

Another thing that this whole process has allowed me to do is to evaluate relationships, activities, and commitments that no longer serve me. Letting go has allowed me to make room for other things I highly value and has created immeasurably valuable and treasured space. Space to create more. Space to develop a business that allows me some freedom. Space to learn. Space to invest in what is important to me.

And I am not done.

So while I am “getting rid” of things, the process has added to my life in tremendous ways that cannot be calculated or seen…it is a feeling.

A feeling of confidence and comfort that I am worth more than my stuff. A knowing that I am ok without the encumbrances of having more. A certainty that less continues to define my life, allowing me more time, freedom, and focus on what is important and valuable to me. A clearing of the chaos, confusion, and overwhelm of stuff and worry about keeping the stuff. A clearing of the mind of the dependency on outside stuff to make the inside feel good. A knowledge that I don’t have to prove anything to anyone by keeping up with crazy spending and keeping up with the neighbors or friends who are in so much debt.  

People are quite judgmental about wanting my motivations or reasons for living with less. They think I’ve become a tree hugger or have given up on life. They think I am broke. A tree hugger I am — in a way — but not in the way one might think. When we consume, we contribute to waste which ultimately hurts the environment in the production process of the thing but also in the ultimate landfill status of the thing. Why not think about what we really need and think about reusing or repurposing? Also, when we consume and keep buying, we are giving away our hard-earned money to people whose dreams we’re supporting while we’re giving up our own dreams. For stuff? Think about it.

I challenge people to give it a try. Live with less. Make better choices about what you’re spending your time and money on. Better choices about what you own which is really something that owns you unless it gives you value and joy. Better choices about who and what is in your life.

It matters.

I journey on. With less. But with so much more.

Out of the Shadows: What Happens When You Stop Quitting?

I thought I was a particular sort of weird, but after looking around and speaking with lots of people and listening to the experts, I realize that many of us have this pattern and modus operandi.

 

I recently evaluated why people sometimes quit things, either when they get too hard, or get frustrating, or are intrinsically no longer satisfying, or for whatever reason, the task or the “thing on the list” remains incomplete, unstarted, or is just plain causing you guilt trips.

 

I have done this as well. The irony is that I’ve reached tons of goals in my life including successfully finishing graduate school with cum laude honors (that’s a whole other blog entry…the idea of having status, title etc…stay tuned), becoming financially unemcumbered, decluttering my home and leading a mostly minimalistic lifestyle, starting a small veggie patch in pots, and following through on branding and launching my own small e-commerce business.

 

But it’s the little things. It’s the little things that we give up or put off daily that tend to thwart our progress and growth and, if you get right down to it, are the most frustrating and challenging.

 

Have you started something new and left it unfinished? Look around, and I bet you have the piles, the boxes, or the projects that fall precisely into this category. Or when we put off doing those things that we know will get us to the next level, like writing that article or book, or doing the extra work out or maybe just starting the physical activity regimen, or changing our nutritional patterns to get healthier and avoid the health disasters down the road. Or maybe pursuing the act of connecting with that influencer, or taking your business to another platform to see more success. Or refurbishing that dresser or rebuilding that old antique car that’s sitting in the garage, or actually finishing that online course after having paid lots of money for it. Or when we put off doing the big trip, not planning, saving, or getting excited about it. Or when we keep making lists that have items that never get checked off, only to be transferred to the next list. We all have that list, and we’re all guilty to some degree.

 

What is that block or fear that gets in the way of that exciting thing that’s on the list? Is it the fear of failing? Is it the pain of working through the completion process? Is it just plain laziness? Is it the fear of success or what might happen when we actually get what we want? Is it some weird sense of fear about completing it and then having to start something new, that “what’s next” phenomenon?

 

Recognizing that you might have these inclinations is the first step to resolving it. Here are some of my thoughts and how I am working on this in my own little part of the world. Is it perfect? No way, but it is a step forward for me, and sometimes getting the momentum going is all that you need.

 

Recall the things that you believed you wanted to achieve and dig deep to figure out why you stopped them. Are you seeing a pattern? For the future, evaluate what is driving you to start something new. Is it to advance your career? Is it to prove a point? Is it to make money? Is it to reach some level of freedom? Is it to distract you from finishing other important tasks or goals? Is it to reach some other goal that only you know about?

 

Figure out why it’s important to you – and you are the only one that counts. Yes, we do things for our family, our jobs, or some other noble cause, but I think you have to make this about you…everything else subsequently falls into place. Ensure that you have motivations that come from your heart. Make the project or task meaningful. The proposition of overcoming the initial steps can be daunting so just get the ball rolling. Look the feeling of overwhelm in the eye and squash it minute by minute, day by day, week by week. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else’s way of being in the world or anyone else’s progress or achievements (unless you know and recognize that this helps you, but I find that comparison can be utterly demoralizing and ineffective in meeting my personal success at my specific pace).

 

Also, give yourself a timeline on when to finish or when you want to do the big reveal. Then stick to it. Don’t commit to anything else that is new or will distract you from completion. Hard work, structuring time in your day, and toiling through a task or project – these are certainly not glamorous but are a crucial part of the journey of the efforting that will get you there. I find that the act of doing the work in itself can be quite rewarding.

 

It can be difficult sharing your goals as there are naysayers out there who will try to keep you down. Maybe you have that one person that you can trust to be your accountability partner and who can call you out when you’re falling back into your old ways or are otherwise stuck.  

 

Monitor your own progress and be realistic. If you look back, you will soon see that you have come such a long way as long as you keep hacking the “thing” consistently, diligently, intentionally, and most of all, by having fun with it. Recognize that your game plan is working and give yourself credit.

 

What’s so interesting is that in the past, we may have completed something that meant a lot to us at the time and that showed us we “can do.” We know we achieved the thing we set out to do or completed that project that took a few years (like a degree or other formalized education). Don’t let doubt or fear stop you in your tracks or keep you from repeating success.

 

The feeling of finishing and personal accomplishment are hugely gratifying. It will give you the confidence and the feeling of power to get you through the next thing. Use that prior achievement as a blueprint for what is holding you back now.

 

Repeating patterns that actually worked or reworking them can take you places!

 

What’s on your list to start and complete?

 

This is my first blog entry of a commitment of 30 days of blog writing as I have had this site for about a year now with few entries. Who knows what I will write on and where it will take me…but it’s the project I am starting and completing!  

Out of the Shadows: When You Get NO

So what do you do or think or say when you get a “NO” (capital letter for emphasis)? You automatically think, “What is next?” “Why the NO?” “Why not me?” Does it tend to derail you, or do you use it as an impetus to work harder, try again, knock on a few more doors, and make it your mission to get a “YES?”

 

When we hear NO, the common response is rejection, disapproval, and failure. It’s easy to get discouraged with whatever you are trying to achieve or obtain when you have heard the NO, especially when you’ve heard it a few times or repeatedly. And when you thoroughly believe in the project or the “thing” for which you’ve heard the NO! Now is not the time to sulk. It’s just a brief diversion from your path. 

 

What if the NO can be the driving force to get you to the next level? What if the two, or three, or four or more NOs are actually getting you that much closer to the YES? What if the NO allows for review and introspection that will improve the next few attempts?

 

As an entrepreneur, business person, and medical professional, I have heard a few NOs in my career. At first response, it’s demoralizing. And while most of the time it is not a personal issue (once I learned that, it made NO a lot easier to swallow), it will make you feel defeated with your idea, your project, or your product for which you acquired the NO. You make it a personal thing and most often felt as a confrontation on your personal and professional ego.

 

In recalling the more recent NOs I have experienced (ok, suffered, just a little bit), I don’t stress about having gone out on a limb. I went in full force knowing that I could get a NO. I don’t regret having written that perfect letter for each specific “target” that was the object for my case or my cause and how they were the person that would be the optimal fit to help me reach my goal. Practice makes perfect, and I know I spent valuable time drafting proposals that are meaningful, creative, and valuable. The practice has made me – now in hindsight – more confident for the next round of requests.

 

However, one thing I need to hone is how I — or the project — is something that could enhance and be of value to the person whom I am asking for help. I am working on strengthening that piece.

 

Some other things I have asked myself as I go forward with my next round of letters for my proposals include “Why are you asking the person you are asking?” Are they indeed the right person to help promulgate your cause? Did I know enough about the person to make my case resonate with their ideals? Will they truly support your cause based on who they are or what role they have? Will the collab be revealed to be more one-sided or will it be mutually advantageous? What IF I asked the wrong person? Should I care that I dare reach out and believe? All they can say is no. And maybe they can provide some valuable input about the project or approach that will hone the approach for the next request.

 

Another question is if I went too big with my goals? My mantra is “Go big or go home,” and that’s how I approached it. I ask myself if I should I start smaller which will allow me to make some valuable–less costly–mistakes before I “go big?” Trying both cannot hurt, and exploring options can be adventurous.

 

Another one is: Is that person just too busy? Is the project or product too small for them? Do they have a conflict of interest?

 

Additionally, the NO may just be a “not now” or a “now yet.” I could revisit the question in a few months and maybe have better receptivity or just plain luck and preparedness with a properly crafted credible pitch to make the YES happen. Sometimes it’s all about timing.

 

Another thought is if — being out of sync or having some fear — I carried some vibes that came from a tone of lack or a stance of “needing” something, vs being able to offer something truly valuable in return that would benefit the other party and allow them to advance in their respective goals. I think we need to bring value to the table, allowing the other party to consider us a true partner in a personal or professional collaboration. The goal, then, is to make your side of the table better by improving what you can improve such as your energy, confidence, or clarity.

 

The NO can truly be a test of how earnestly you want it, and how hard you are willing to work for it. The NO should not derail you. It should throw you off for about a minute, but then move on! Dig deep and embrace the chance to learn and get it right. Turn the NOs into priceless learning experiences and celebrations, not stressful times, and cultivate the energy to keep moving toward that amazing YES that you will certainly hear at some point.

 

PS: Will update on the progress of this project…definitely out of my comfort zone, but heck, if all I get is a NO, then I am good with being out of the comfort zone. Again. 

_____________________

If at first you don’t succeed, try try again. 

There are a few people throughout history that have been credited for saying this, but I give one of my great former high school teachers credit for this. Thank you, Mrs. Millie Reed!

Level Up for 2018!

Are you ready to get into shape? Are you tired of the same old routine, foods, diet fads, or way of doing things that didn’t work for you? As a personal fitness trainer and functional aging specialist specializing in the wellness of seniors, I can help you with your physical training needs and help you move safely. I am also a nurse practitioner so will work on integrating any concerns from a medical standpoint to keep you safe including medication reviews (and how they might contribute to fall risk or side effect risk), nutrition reviews, and fall risk education.

 

  • Are you ready to get a start on your 2018 New Year’s resolution?
  • Are you ready to change how you feel?
  • Do you want to learn more about how to move better, eat better, and live better?
  • Do you have a bucket list of travel that you want to achieve?
  • Do you have grandkids that you want to play with?
  • Do you want to keep up with your active partner or adult children?
  • Do you wish to have more energy to keep working?

 

I want to help you. I will come to your home – your safest environment – to show you how you can achieve this! Let’s work together to promote YOUR wellbeing and longevity!

 

Call me at 928-503-2635! Let’s see what we can achieve together to get you back on track. 

Life Changes: Transformation with Less into More…Happiness

Reflections on 2017 and Beyond

In my late 40’s, I believed hitting 50 would be as daunting as it would be mondo…and retrospectively, it has proven to be much more and only getting better with each year. Did I go through the proverbial mid-life crisis? Maybe. Call it what you want. It is change.

Now nearly two years after that birthday and pondering on the exploration that has catapulted me into my life’s ever-changing new happy place, I am proud to pursue making life what I want it to be and become. It’s even sweeter because as we grow more experienced (never old), we recognize our marked days. Each lived and each missed moment becomes precious. Looking back, I started prepping for this pivotal sojourn in my own way and out of a grave need to feel connected again, something which slipped away as I grew older. A few experiences which were part of my life’s “show” bolstered new attitudes, perspectives, and ways of being in the world. This is my story of wandering as a pilgrim in life…and I am loving each mark made on the exploratory path that I creatively craft each day. And that is what it is—our path to the freedom, love, and feelings we all crave to experience.

While I grew up modestly and with no perceived unmet needs in a German military nuclear family, by my mid-30’s I had been sucked into materialism (with new cars, boat, off-road vehicles, pool, etc.), making money, achieving professional status and the need for the occasional accolades, and accumulating things, not unlike many others. After a dissolution with my partner of nearly 11 years for a variety of reasons, I woke up from a long nap and started thriving again. The materialistic life and the constant need for more more more were no longer a fit, in fact, it never was. All of it exacerbated anxiety about the need to hold on and the overwhelm of “what if” I lost any of them, or what or who would I be if I didn’t have them.

Several things happened: I started to get rid of the excess that was seemingly weighing me down. While this was definitely a process, it has become addicting to purge (or reassign ownership) accumulated treasures. Initially, I parted with clothes that had worn in years. Integral knick-knacks that had outlived their sentimental value found new homes (including the garbage). I said “Goodbye” to the all-important and needed belongings in my small abode that were screaming, “Why do you still have me?!” Ironically, some of these pieces had not been touched in years other than moving them for “reorganization” or for dusting.

While getting rid of stuff and not feeling the need to accumulate were big steps, I moved forward with allowing the release of relationships and obligations that no longer felt good or left me drained or unsupported or even anxious. Not everyone was receptive to my new way of being in the world, but I have reconciled that I live for me which hopefully, and ultimately, makes me better for the people in my life. I figure if there is enough depth in the relationship, it will may survive again some future day…or maybe not. Finally, as part of the transition and with some self-discipline, guts, and determination, I obliterated certain food items from my diet that were poor fuel for this body. This has transformed my physical machine to run be well-oiled with literally and figuratively less weight and junk on board to facilitate optimal functioning and with anticipating many healthy and active years.

Sometimes the way to move forward is to have some big event that underlines the impetus for this transformation. Sometimes it is nothing in particular, but we are just ready for the next stage. What promulgated me into a life of further exploration into minimalism and “letting go” was my pilgrimage on the Camino De Santiago, also known as the Way of St. James. It called for suiting up with a back pack of belongings (recommended weight of “stuff” you carry with you of no more than 10% of body weight) that I had to lug for the 510 miles to make the trek from the French side of the Pyrenees along the beautiful towns in Spain to the west coast of this country in Galicia, dubbed the “End of the World.” 

It is on the two separate trips to Spain that I – along with so many pilgrims from all over the world – realized that we really need so little to make us happy in our daily moments, or at least so little of some things and so much more of the intangibles. The only moments that really count are the “now” moments, as they collectively form our whole lives. It is also the “stuff” of life that bogs us down in so many ways. I got rid of a few packed belongings early in that trip, realizing that all that we carry can and will potentially weigh us down and slow our progress. The take-away is that it is that way in life as well. There are no disadvantages to owning and carrying less with you.

People have questioned my decision to live with less. They don’t get it. Seriously. I don’t feel like I live as an ascetic. I have all that I need and no longer worry about buying anything. If I want it, the want will soon disappear if I sit on it for a few days, and I usually make do with what I already have. Amazingly, I have never felt a sense of lack or deficit or fear that I was not enough by owning less; on the contrary, it has only been empowering to have less and feel/be/live more! It has been and continues to be an incredible journey to reorganize, minimize, specialize, and optimize what I feel is important in life: Feeling connected to intelligent, motivated, discerning, and thriving humans; reveling in seeking and making memorable experiences; laughing and crying in joyous or sad times; being unburdened from debt, grudges, fear, binding obligations, and a sense of being overwhelmed with stuff; and seeking opportunities for soul-searching and reflection….all of which yields authentic happiness along our journey. It has felt so wonderful– without guilt – to reach a mindset of being free and clear and manifesting more positive into existence because I have freed up space for it by letting go of the contrasting, negative stuff of life, and 2017 was no different.  Isn’t that what we most of us strive to achieve? One needs nothing more than that which is palpable in the heart and not necessarily in the hands. We can achieve that by letting our values – infused with a little courage – prevail in our existence. It’s an ongoing work in progress!

The mantras that I live every day: It’s your pilgrimage. Live your life simply, unencumbered, intentionally, mostly debt-free, fearless, and happy. Take only what is needed. Let the rest go. Live your values. Trust that all will be provided.

 

 

 

 

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