Sunday, April 19, 2015

50 at 50 -- 50 Things I Know For Sure!

Something nobody tells you about turning 50, is that It came way too fast!  I woke up this morning and said, "Wait, whose face is that in the mirror?"  And, "Oh Yeah, My Memory is Crap."  And I have mixed feelings about my Gray Hair, I've always had brown hair.  These natural highlights, with little flecks and streaks of gray of another color in my hair is kinda' fun.  Then there are the ailments I hear everyone 50 and above talk to me about.  Yeah, my knees, my feet, and my back, yada-yada.  I have to be more aware of the wear-and-tear injuries now that I'm older.  I'm glad I've learned recovery tricks throughout my athletic career.  I'm not gonna lie, this year kicked my royal ass, on the road toward some PRETTY AMAZING new ventures, some BIG and other NOT-SO-big.  Here's the first 50 that come to mind-- in no particular order and for no reason except it's what I do......

1. Don't give up on something just because you think you can't do it. Everything you've experienced so far is part of what you were meant to learn.

2. You have a greater appreciation of life. My book turned into a Play, REALLY! What a surreal experience to see puppets come alive on stage. Imagination, Creation, Reality!

3. You know yourself! I've come to know myself pretty well, with a lot of resistance along the way. I pretend a lot about "Not knowing" something or am good at "Avoiding" the situation, or just plainly "Give up!"  Then there is this "Persistent Drive" and "Determination" I have that is unwittingly bold and sometimes unforgiving. My strengths can be the key to my success or my detriment. I diligently handle my talents with care and humbly step through life, as if I'm rain dropping on a pedal of a flower.

4. You know that eating right and exercise are the best medicine. AND Learned the importance of food-prep, and in-life, patience.  I feel great.  Seriously, as long as I'm eating the right foods and add a little exercise daily, it ads a kick to my step.  I am stronger, with less anxiety, have a stronger immune system and less trouble maintaining a healthy weight, than I ever had before.  So, dear young people: you know all that cheerleady crap you hear about how you should eat right and get exercise and plenty of sleep and not smoke or abuse drugs and how you should nurture your close relationships and be financially responsible, etc., etc. etc? It's annoying as hell to listen too--but weirdly enough, it's true.

5. You can go gray with your hair. “Gray hair is a crown of splendor, it is attained by a righteous life.” Proverbs 16:31 Changes, they are A-happen'. One can't dismiss the physical changes that occur when you turn 50, it's here and I've decided to let things happen as they may.  I may touch up my lips with a little color, but, I'm leaving my hair alone. Bring it on gray, here I am!

6. It Pays To Tend To Your Flock. It takes time, life and energy to grow, flourish and Be Your own person. That's why it is SO important to have strong people backing and supporting your efforts. You need this, not only as you grow up and transition into "The Real World" but in EVERY transition and curve life throws you.

7. You have a lifetime of wisdom to help you make decisions. As the Wise Old Owl said, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." And, As the wise old owl said when he counted 3 and ate the Tootsie Pop.... "The world will never know"..... "unless we listen." A message that resonated with me in conversations all year long. Thank you for that!

8.  You can enjoy being settled in life.  This sounds simple, but for me it was a bit difficult because I got off-course for several years.  I decided to "stop it" and start doing something about it. So, I took baby steps, simple things like each morning when I got up, went right to work.  First, and foremost, did meditation and yoga.  Wow!  What a difference this is making.  I am very proud to simply take care of me each moment.  It was less than an hour, sometimes only 15 minutes, but those 15 minutes of meditation and yoga made a whole-heap of difference for me.  I am thankful to be healthy and to be able to get up and do this each day.

9. You can learn to sing AND No one cares if you're a bad singer. Started singing more and playing the piano.  Donna, you would be proud of me.  For the student out of us 3 girls who didn't like piano or never really practiced much, it seems I have gained a firm appreciation for playing and listening to both classical and piano music or even harp and others instrumentals.

10. Don't try to overhaul your life overnight. Instead, focus on making one small change at a time. Over time, those small changes will add up to a big transformation. And DON'T GIVE UP! I set a goal this year to run a half marathon in 50 states. When the time came to head out on my first series I asked myself, "What were you thinking?" There were so many obstacles in my way, money, time, people, oh yes, BEING OUT OF SHAPE... you name it. But, when my husband finally said he'd take a road trip south to check out places for retirement, I said, "I'm in!" On the trip down, anticipating the schedule for the next week, that I made a commitment to run 3 half marathons. I already signed up, I couldn't back out of it. "How was I going to do this?" I came up with the idea to check on 1-way flights to send Leon back after our week adventure looking at homes because it would make more sense for me to drive up the coast and do the anticipated runs on the east coast. Turns out, I made a game of it. You can PLAY and MAKE THINGS FUN even in the most amiable situations. I made it through, ran the runs and drove home in one piece. The funny thing is, I'm noticing how I see things each moment, at the start of the journey, in the midst and now, here at the end. I am a new person. I met wonderful people along the way and overcame different physical obstacles, which didn't seem to matter to anyone else, so it didn't matter to me. I just discovered it and dealt with it and continued. Must easier. It's like a race, take each moment, be aware of each step you take, so you don't fall down when your foot lands and notice what you notice, apply it and continue.

11. Retired life is just around the corner. Ya think? It's been a long time coming, some say I'm already living the retired life. And I say, I am. You only live right now, so you better enjoy it. Instead of living a life of "Shoulda Coulda Woulda's!"

12. Oh the Places You'll Go. New places and experiences all around. I'm in a yearlong class where I explore nooks and crannies of my entire life. During the course I kept saying, "Watch Me Grow!" And, with the help of so many wonderful classmates and especially my family, Did I EVER! When Dr. Suess says, "Oh the Places You'll Go!"  This is one of them for me.

13. Waking up too early and watching a sunrise.

14. Your Wisdom & Your Advice. Reflection on 'What I've Accomplished'. I updated my resume for an award that I was nominated for and I realized I needed more than 1! I created a Vita, (several) professional, Art, Running Resume and Soon there will be a KEY NOTE Speaking resume. All I can say is it is important to take a moment to reflect on everything a person has done.  When I look back just in the short couple years, and see all that I've done and learned, it's pretty incredible.

15. With kiddo out of the house, you can be more spontaneous. Wait, wait, wait.. Can I say this now? Yes, my lovely daughter graduated with her Masters this past year and made it to the BIG time career shift, I'm so proud of her.

16. Your inner confidence shines. Am writing and PAINTING again. My friend Alonzo got me to do it.  I'm blaming him.  Ha ha!  No, I am very thankful to Alonzo and his quest to write a book in 30 days.  At first I thought it was too aggressive, then, once I started writing each morning after meditating, some days, I'd keep on writing for over an hour or more.  Thank you Alonzo.  I am so glad I introduced myself to you that fine day in West Allis at a coffee house.

17. You are more at peace. I learned to meditate at a retreat in the Colorado mountains over a decade ago and have found even 5 minutes of meditation helps clear my mind and keep me focused.  My close friends say that I am much calmer.  It's amazing what a change it makes in my perspective. 

18. What an Adventure! What a Ride! Accomplished RUNNING A HALF IN West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Las Cruces, New Mexico, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Maine, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island.

19. AARP discounts are everywhere AND Other age-related discounts and free stuff for seniors.

20. Buying more comfortable clothing.

21. Your ability to let go, Your ability to forgive others & Your ability to forgive yourself. This is a big one for me, I am VERY hard on myself, and I am sure, that this tough exterior impacts everyone I talk to. I've learned to forgive myself and let others be. This is probably one of the biggest lessons I take with me in my 50's.

22. You can go home early without offending anyone. This wonderful couple welcomed me in their home this past spring, without any expectations.  They gave me so much more than a couch and the biggest thing I learned to "listen", "don't sweat the small stuff", "take care in what people say not 'about' what they say", and "when in conflict make a priority list of 'what matters most to each of you'". I woke up early the last day with them, and kept looking at the 14 hour drive, so I decided to leave early, leave a thank you note and head off without saying goodbye personally. They didn't wonder with concern, just smiled and thanked me for the experience and I thanked them. I will forever be thankful for the Marton's and what they gave me those few days in New Jersey. They are special people who will stay with me for a long time.

23. You can be as grumpy as you wish. For the most part, because first impressions make a last impression in some people. But around those I love and care for, I can be a bit grumpy. Just ask. *wink. It's okay, we LOVE each other! <3

24. Relaxation and resting feels natural. A Friend and Coffee Chat.

25. You stop sweating the small stuff!

26. You have a reason for telling the same stories. Well, maybe it's because I'm losing my memories at times, but, really, there are times that some aren't listening, so I retell these stories in hopes that my experiences and lessons rub off on those who listen.

27. You have a reason for forgetting things & for losing things. Somethings those little things aren't important. It's best to let them go anyway.

28. You get to use the excuse, "I'm set in my ways".

29. You embrace your imperfections.

30. You're less critical of your body and weight.

31. You stop caring what other people think.

32. It's easier to take life less seriously.

33. It's easier to laugh at yourself.

34. You're not afraid to have opinions.

35. You're less fearful. As time goes on, I become fearless. In so many ways. The first step, was walking in the mountains under the thick black sky, with the wind whistling through the dry mountain air. It was eary walking alone in the dark on that early morning. What I realized, in this experience, over a decade ago that I am Strong and Mighty and Not let FEAR get the best of ME, I can overcome Fear and I Take it on! There's nothing more freeing than saying, "Bring IT ON!"

36. The Blessings that Come With Aging. Aging gets a bad rap in our society. We joke a lot about the negative aspects of aging…hearing loss, hair growth, wrinkles, etc., but I believe there actually are some wonderful things about aging. In fact, I’ve had older adults tell me that this season of their life is the best.

37. Look and be simple. To live again, to love and to be simple. Pause to look at a tree, at a flower, at the flowing river; and if by chance you do look, be open to what you see. Fill your eyes with beauty and love. It's quite simple, Look and be simple.

38. Keep that Sense of Wonderment of Uncertainty. Don't be boring or lose the sense of Wonderment. The sense of security can destroy freedom or your wonder of uncertainty. I've learned that if I really want to know what this extraordinary thing can be, breaking through the barrier of time. Feel as you act through it. Live life full of Wonder! Find the immeasurable foundation from within, called Love.

39. Get Out of Your Head. The man who lives without conflict, who lives with beauty and love, is not frightened of death because to love is to die.- J. Krishnamurti. We submit to all this as being inevitable because we live in our brains and not in our hearts! Make sure to be open to the uncertain, so that Love does exist.

40.  Let the beauty of what you love be what you do. Love love love sharing and introducing ART to my friends and family. A glass of Shiraz sitting in front of a canvas with paint brush in hand is an added bonus.

41. When in doubt, just take the next small step. Take the next small step, a tiny step that's all it takes to move ahead.

42. I never thought I was a bully until I heard myself speak ..... to myself. I realized that I owed myself a very big apology, because self-criticism is the most damaging criticism. As babies and toddlers life is easy. We learn, play and create every day. We forgive very quickly, go where there is excitement and stay where there is love. And everyone around us tells us how lovely and wonderful we are, and showers us with love. But as we grow up, it's very different. We're bombarded with mustn't, can't, and don't. A person morphs into a persona under the weight of all this negative conditioning. Our soul becomes soiled and we not only start to believe the limitations that others impose upon us, but we reinforce them with our own negative internal dialogue. We doubt ourselves because we forget the truth that we are born happy, built to stay happy and shuffle off this mortal coil happy. Happily ever after isn't just for fairy tales.

43. I'm having a ton of fun. I am pretty darn content with my life.  Now watch… after I said this, I'll head into menopause and it will all go down the toilet.  But for now, all is good.

44. The Road Ahead Looks Less Crappy Than I Would Have Thought. As a young adult, looking ahead, it never would have occured to me that being 50 could be this great! So the major drawback to hitting my fifties seems to be the idea that I'm in my 50's--and the assumption that life will soon start to accelerate in a downhill direction. And yet, I hang out with folks in their 50's, 60's, and 70's who are still kicking ass and having a blast.

45.  It takes discipline. You'd be amazed at how important it is to take a step back and see what you are doing each day. During the month of February, I decided to track what I did, down to getting up, taking my vitamins and so on.  I added several new things, like doing push ups, jumping jacks and squats to start my day. And some other things.  This was a really fun thing to implement and it really helped me to "just do it!"  And I was actually making myself accountable.  As I age, it seems so much harder to fight with my mind to go and do things.

46.  A little Tea for the Soul.  FitTea is awesome! I tried the 28 Day Detox for the first time.  It not only allowed me to cut back on my coffee, but my body readjusted and I felt great.  The tea can be found online and the ingredients are all natural.  Like organic green tea, oolong wu yi, organic rooibos, ginger, pomegranate, birch, stevia, corn and honey powder.  My friend showed me how I can make my own tea, and now that I've tried it, I've tried putting these herbs and spices together myself. It's an amazing treat!

47. Resting feels natural. Many people I know have cabins that they "Go away" to "Up North" or somewhere away from the city. Since we live in the woods in the country, to me, my getaway is a condo in the city.  Here we made up a little studio space for me in our condo in the city. Amazing enough, this is my space to create. Downtime is important, to create is key. As I get older, there's a healing element to it!

48. YOU ARE AWESOME! I have learned from each person I meet, whether it's in passing on the street, in a coffee house, or a longtime buddy of mine. Each encounter is an open and receptive experience.

49. I Meet AMAZING TALENT! Earlier this year, I stumble across the most talented young lady, Ruby, who could play several musical instruments with such ease and grace. I love that she just said YES when I asked her to be a part of my book signing event. She played for the full 2 hours and what amazed me was everyone around was chit-chatting and enjoying her music.  What a pleasure to meet you Ruby, you already know your passion, Go with it!

50. ONE FINAL THOUGHT. When you come into this world you're crying, and everyone around you is smiling. When you go out of this world, please make sure that you're smiling and everyone around you is crying.

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