Monday, April 7, 2008

Be The Best You Can Be

Barbara Walters recently produced a program on TV about octogenarians and aging. In it she reports on the 80's as being the new 60's. This is not news to us, for we already knew that because the 60's are the new 40's. We are living proof!

In the program she interviews people even into their 100's who are active and excited about life. She reports on water skiers, horseback riders, sky divers, ninety year-olds finding new romance. Exciting and interesting people all.

What she has found are common denominators that these people share. Here is her list coupled and edited with some additions of my own.

Suggestions and traits needed for gracefully transitioning into a new season of life:

1) a passion in life and for life,
2) learn how to deal with grief and loss,
3) be physically and mentally active,
4) be willing to step out of your comfort zones and try something new,
5) laugh a lot,
6) live in faith not fear.
7) know how to forgive and make amends

In my observations women of joy exhibit at least five out of seven, if not all, of these traits. Most women of joy are batting 1000.

Recently I have been on a booksigning tour promoting my new book "Generation G - Advice For Savvy Grandmother's Who Will Never Go Gray". What a blast! I am having more fun "meeting and greeting" accomplished women and amazing grandmothers around the country. Women who exhibit these characteristics and more. What I am learning is that this time in life is the best! All of the women I have met are excited about this season of life. And they are doing the most amazing things:

My friend Caro has taken a six month inland waterway trip, journey may be a better way to describe it, with her husband Don and has lived to not only tell about it but to write about it.

Dee in Wichita Falls has started doing television advertising for the first time. (I believe she's a child, just in her 50's, but nevertheless is excited about the opportunities set before her.

Katherine in Rockport is an ex-secret service agent who is going on the speaking circuit to tell of her many adventures and experiences.

Jane in Wichita Falls has opened an art gallery and is doing amazing things.

Judy in Alvarado is opening a restaurant.

Toni from Atlanta biked across Tuscany on her 60th birthday.

Lenda from Fort Worth started a first grandmother's club as a a result of the joy and love she felt being a grandmother.

I met a woman who, because of an accident that kept her bedridden, turned her experience of viewing gifted flowers to a passion for photographing flowers and gifting them to others.

Carolyn has turned her gift of story telling into a toastmaster's vocation.

These women should inspire even the most avid couch potato.

Because of many of the stories I am hearing, I myself experienced a momentary lapse of judgement, a moment of insanity as my husband and I did a zipline over the rainforest in Alaska this past summer.

Will miracles never cease?

So the message today is get up off the sofa! Get out there! Look around the corner! Who knows - you might find a wonderul passion or surprise just around the corner. It's never to late to try!

Friday, February 2, 2007

60 And Loving It: Grandmothers Are The Queen Of Do-Overs

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Grandmothers Are The Queen Of Do-Overs

All of my life I have wanted to have a second chance – to undo or redo that which is broken, that which I messed up. Now for the first time in my life, I have that chance.

Being a grandmother gives me a chance for do-overs, for healing the regrets of the past.

Now don’t get me wrong. I can’t go back and literally redo that which I regret. But now I have the opportunity to try again without the hassle of rules and regulations. And I am loving it!

Here are some of the do-overs I am currently experiencing.

No longer do I have to keep my house clean when the baby comes to visit. I drop everything to snuggle, kiss, play, sing, and hold him. The house can go to the dogs. Dinner can burn on the stove for all I care.

No longer do I worry about nutritious dinners and snacks. If the grand kids want pizza, pizza it is. If they want to go to Luby’s, I’m on board. If the golden arches are calling, I respond.

No longer do I have to worry about how I look when I go to the park. This is a good thing, for with three grand kids under the same roof, I hardly have time to brush my teeth anyway.

No longer do I have to worry about bathing suits. In my book, whaling is in. Eight years ago you couldn’t have convinced me that I would ever put on a bathing suit in public again. But for my grandkids, the sky’s the limit. The good news is that there are some boundaries. Jumping off the diving board is no longer an option. But that’s a minor impediment.

No longer do I mind sitting at the park or the indoor mall until the children are finished playing. Watching them laugh and squeal as they climb make believe trains and mountains is better than reading John Grishom or seeing a Julia Roberts movie.

No longer do I have to hammer in table manners and repeat myself ad nauseum. That’s their parents’ job. Besides, it’s a miracle, I hardly notice anyway. I am too busy talking and enjoying them to take notice. But should the need arise, one word from me or my husband and it’s like magic. They pretty much turn in mid course. Or maybe we turn it mid course. Either way it gets the job done.

No longer do I have to worry about singing on key. I can sing to my heart’s content, as loud and as long as I want. My grandkids think I am the American Idol every time, the winner that is, and they continually request “She’ll Be Coming Around The Mountain” and “If You’re Happy And You Know It Clap Your Hands” again and again.

No longer do I have to dread bath time. It has become one of the most fun times of the day. Turning the water red or blue with a small tablet is a mystery. Watering invisible plants with a watering can a challenge; searching for boats underneath mountains of bubbles a game.

No longer do I have to spend wake less nights worrying about their well being. I can spend my time praying on their behalf. I can also use my time wisely to support their parents, encouraging and loving them, offering wisdom or suggestions only when asked.

No longer do I have to worry about showering them with love. I can't control it anyway. It just pours out of me like a flood, covering everything in its path, washing all tears dry, soothing every cut, healing every boo boo.

Now I can laugh often, give more, and generally be present to any situation.

If that isn’t a perfect do-over, I don’t know what is.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

60 And Loving It

Who said that aging is a bad thing?

Isn't the cheese that has been aged the best one? Don't we spend hundreds of thousands of dollars for aged wines? Doesn't wisdom come with age?

It is obvious that aging has its benefits. The problem is that the world does not recognize the wisdom that comes with added years.

It is up to those of us in the know to tell them. It is up to us to show them.

I can say with certainity that the 60-year-olds I know are pretty hip. Most are computer literate, email on a regular basis, have palm pilots and ipods. Many are ging back to school, learning foreign languages, and getting new degrees. Some still ski, hike, bike, dance regularly, and are basically in really good shape. Most interestingly, most 60-year-olds have a vocabulary that would rival a grad student, common sense that brings sanity to confusion, and a living knowledge of history that needs to be told.

So what's the big deal? Why does aging have such a bad connotation?

I think its because people justs don't know. If they did - they would all want to be where we are.

Look what we know. Look what we've experienced.

There is not enough money in the world to make me go back. I love where I am now. I have two great sons, two amazing daughters-in-law, and four unbelievable grandchildren. My life is full. I work part-time and get to pick and choose my social activities. I don't do large luncheons or big meetings anymore. I just get to spend quality time with family and frineds, doing what I love most, contributing in ways that were not possible before. What could be better than that?

One of the best kept secrets of turning 60 is that we carry a plethora of life, joy, love, laughter, and experience in our containers. They are so full now they are close to overflowing. There is no greater gift than to pour ourselves out on our families, breathing life, giving hope, offering encouragement, being there for them through thick and thin.

The silver genertion needs to make itself known. To stand tall, speak up, and make a difference - to be seen and heard. With baby boomers coming of age, our numbers are increasing. We are a formidable force, indeed. Let's stand up and be counted. The positive ways we can impact the world are immeasurable.

In this blog, I will addrss issues and challenges common to most 60-year-olds. My goal is to encourage those approaching 60 to hold our heads high. I desire to challenge us to think of how and where we can leave our mark on the world.

Our first step is to quit buying into a negative aging mentality and be proud of where we are in life. Finding ways to mentor our children and grandchildren is vital. Identifying our passion and perfecting it is key to success. Building our faith, as we prepare a legacy to pass down to the fourth generation, is what we are all about.

The challenge is to accept who we are and embrace it.

The 60's generation is on the move. I say, bring it on.