I have always liked having older folks as friends. I’m talking about people in their 80s and 90s. The reason is pretty simple: they’ve been there and done that.
At some point in our western social and cultural development the pendulum of wisdom swung from the elders to the young. Experience became secondary to the glow of youth and in the process we – young and middle aged – lost plenty.
In our shortsighted view of the world we have forgotten that regardless how many diets we follow or how much cream we buy, we will all age or die. But instead of having a road map from the people that have gone through the process before us, we end up having to discover the way all over again by ourselves. Questions like: is life still worth living when we look like prunes, can we still have fun when we have to move a little slower, can we love, can we have intimacy, what are the things in my life now that when I get to be in my 80s I will realize were not worth losing sleep over, go unanswered.
My neighbor is 87 years old and she lives by herself. She travels either to Hawaii or Vegas once every two months. She flirts and her social life is intense. I ask her questions. From her I learned it is possible to be content at any age. It is possible to still be curious about life. It is still possible to want to love. And it is still possible to be physically active. I look at her and I realize – unlike what I hear and see from the media – that life is worth living at any age. She inspires me.
I hope I will have her around for a long time so I can continue to get directions as I travel through life’s journey.
Please read on…
Get Happy: 5 Surprising Resolutions from the Wisest Americans
By Karl A. Pillemer, Ph.D.
Work. “Ask yourself: Are you glad to get up in the morning?” When it comes to your job, the elders propose a diagnostic test: How do you feel when you get up on a workday morning? You may be ambivalent about your job and have your ups and downs. But when it comes down to it, how do you feel when you are having that first cup of coffee?
Are you at least in a tolerable mood, looking forward to something about work? If instead you feel dread and foot-dragging, the elders say it may be time for a change. As Albert, 80, put it: “It’s a long day if you don’t like what you’re doing. You better get another job because there’s no harsher penalty than to wake up and go to work at a job you don’t like.” …Continued
I was looking at my computer screen wondering what I would write about today. Looking for inspiration I went to the Huffington Post and read about the 43 celebrities that live or have lived with depression. I thought; that’s nice but I’m in no mood to write about depression. The truth being I was feeling a little sad myself.
I was thinking about my life’s journey; a childhood full of life and excitement, a young adult life marred with sadness, a discovery of love, and great loss. In essence my thoughts were not helping my staying away from feeling blue. Then I saw the video below and in an instant all the sadness was gone.
The video of an Australian TV program shows a young man, who was found in a shoe box with his brother in Iraqi, and brought to Australia by a woman who adopted both. He was on the show to sing Imagine by John Lennon. As the teenager tells his story we see that he and his brother have many physical disabilities including no arms and deformed legs. But a woman found love for them, took them in and together created a family.
There is much for us to be appreciative of and it doesn’t have to be the big things. We don’t need to be crazy in love, or have the amazing job, or make a great living to be content today. Sometimes the small things are the ones that remind us of the beauty and the range of possibility that each one of ours lives can experience. They are simple everyday possibilities like taking a moment to appreciate friendship, or the taste of an amazing slice of pie.
Please watch the video below of a young man who has found inspiration in appreciation.
“Life is not lost by dying; life is lost minute by minute, day by dragging day, in all the thousand small uncaring ways.” – Stephen Vincent Benet
I had a conversation with a friend a few days ago, about turning pain into self-knowledge. My friend was having trouble understanding how hurting could have any positive aspect such as wisdom. I told her by embracing with awareness that which is painful we allow suffering to have a transformational quality.
Recently, my father came very close to dying. As I now am a widow, the possibility of losing my father took on an added layer to my possible loss. But, instead of dulling my pain, every night after making sure my mom was okay, I would spend time with myself and let the full impact of what was happening take hold of me. It was not easy to feel the full force of loss one more time. But, by doing so I was able to understand that loss is a part of life as much as happiness is. I was reminded in a deep level that in the human journey, experiences – good or bad – is what creates wisdom and compassion in every one of us. There is great humility in acceptance, and when we do so, we transform.
My friend Claire Pascal started a blog called A Year Of Good Deeds.
Claire is a very special woman. She’s a writer and a teacher.
When 9/11 happened it touched her so profoundly she went to Yale to study theology. She needed a different kind of knowledge to understand or at least to cope better with devastation.
My friend Claire looks at life and people with profound respect and understanding. She’s kind to others as well and to herself. She’s fallen many times without ever losing her heart. And for that she has my admiration. It is not easy to fall, truly see oneself down, get up and still be opened to the world.
As Claire writes about herself she lets us in her humanity and we are all better off for that.
Below is Claire’s statement about the birth of her blog.
A HAPPIER LIFE
So my life fell apart. I couldn’t deny my alcoholism anymore, a dear friend died, and then my marriage tore apart–wrenching and painful. To recover from the wreck I’ve become, I’m conducting an experiment: I will do one good deed a day. I’m hoping this helps me peek out from my miserable self-absorption and perhaps do a tiny bit of good for the world. Will this make me or anyone else happier?
A THOUSAND CONNECTIONS
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
I just got back from an AA meeting and I stand corrected about the saying: “Give 100% expecting nothing back.” Here’s the more accurate version: “Give 100% because it’s free and fun expecting nothing back not even a thank you.” A tougher version. Now I have to have fun while I’m giving without expecting a reward.
Good deeds today: Flowers for my AA sponsor. A thank you note to the woman guard at the entrance of my condo complex. She’s the only female guard and she always waves and smiles at me when I come home late at night from work, which is often…Continued
Professional kiteboarder Sean Reyngoudt is unique — and it is not just the dangerous stunts he performs that set him apart.
“I’ll be out there doing all my tricks and everything — having a good time and then I come in to the beach and people realize that I’m missing my leg and they are totally shocked by it,” says Reyngoudt. Sean lost his leg in a forklift accident in 2003 but he didn’t allow the loss to end his life.
Darlene Bertil was trapped under concrete for five days in Haiti’s earthquake. She lost both of her hands but not her spirit.
Couple’s care packages show troops they are appreciated.
What a beautiful and inspiring video by Nick Vujicic. Nick was born without any limbs but his love for life has carried him through. Today he is an inspiration to all.
AWE, an emotion variously combining veneration, and wonder that is inspired by authority or by the sacred or sublime.
Is there anything more moving than being overwhelmed by a sight or a feeling that moves us at a core level?
In his article for O Magazine David Hochman writes: “Scientists say it pays to cultivate more wonder in your life, whether by forwarding heart-swelling news stories or hiking the Grand Canyon. That’s because channeling awe not only produces pleasant physiological effects—such as the warm feeling in the chest activated by the vagus nerve—and gives a sense of fulfillment; it “can help a person reflect on how an upsetting event fits into their philosophy of life, or how their personal experience unites them with humanity,” says Michelle Shiota, PhD, an assistant professor of psychology at Arizona State University.”
I do not love you as if you were salt-rose or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.
I love you as the plant that never blooms,
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers.
Thanks to your love a certain fragrance,
risen darkly from the earth, lives darkly in my body.
I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where,
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride,
so I love you because I know no other way than this:
where “I” does not exist, nor “you,”
So close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
So close that your eyes close and I fall asleep.