Category: midlife

Midlife Inspiration: You’re Never Too Old to Live Your Dreams

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I recently spent some time visiting assisted-living facilities and nursing homes.  The event that prompted this “adventure” was my mother having a stroke and becoming visually impaired. Unfortunately this necessitated her no longer being able to live on her own and therefore having to make other arrangements.

What struck me as I was investigating these facilities and talking to some of the residents was how disengaged in life many of the folks had become.  The “why” I discovered was that fundamentally they believed they had nothing left to live for.

Some hadn’t even begun to empty out their “bucket lists” -  do those things they had always dreamt about.  When I commented that it was never too late, the majority said, “Oh no, I’m too old.”  What a sad statement.

I don’t believe we’re ever too old to experience the joy of doing something we truly love, even if it’s just a small piece of it.  For example, a client once told me that, at the age of 75, he was far too old to even contemplate becoming an architect, his life’s dream.  Perhaps he wasn’t about to go back to school to do the requisite study but does that mean he couldn’t live out his dream in another way.  He could have opted to volunteer at an architect’s office or do some simple online CAD training.  Anything that was related to architectural work.

If you need some inspiration to follow your dreams, then maybe these examples might spur you on:

  • Benjamin Franklin, at age 78, invented bifocal spectacles.
  • Mary Fasano, age 89, earned her undergraduate degree from Harvard.
  • Architect Frank Lloyd Wright designed the Guggenheim Museum at 90 years of age.
  • David Ben-Gurion, the first prime minister of Israel, taught himself ancient Greek when he was at an advanced age just so he could master the classics.

Ages 35-55 might be the peak times for creativity in many fields but people in their 60s and 70s, though slower, are as productive as they were in their 20s. So if you’ve given up because you think you’re too old, think again, get rid of that limiting belief and GO FOR IT!

Cellist Pablo Casals was 91 when a student asked, “Master, why do you continue to practice?” His reply, “Because I am making progress.”

Midlife Health: Forgetfulness

Forgetfulness

Periwinkle

Two elderly couples were enjoying friendly conversation when one of the men asked the other, “Fred, how was the memory clinic you went to last month?”

“Outstanding,” Fred replied. “They taught us all the latest psychological techniques - visualization, association - it’s made a big difference for me.”

“That’s great! What was the name of that clinic?”

Fred went blank. He thought and thought but couldn’t remember. Then a smile broke across his face and he asked, “What do you call that flower with the long stem and thorns?”

“You mean a rose?”

“Yes, that’s it!” He turned to his wife. “Rose, what was the name of that clinic?”

By the time we get to midlife, or even before, we can all probably relate to the joke.  First you forget your car keys, then you don’t remember whether you paid the phone bill and next you can’t remember your ATM password.  Forgetfulness can be a normal part of aging.

Scientists now tell us that most of us can stay both alert and able as we age, although it may take us longer to remember things. I like to think of it as already having so much information and knowledge in my brain that some of it gets misplaced for a time underneath another pile of good information.  It’s not lost, just buried.

In addition to some of the popular brain training games and memory techniques, there’s a supplement that might be helpful - Vinpocetine.

Vinpocetine is an extract from the leaf of the periwinkle plant.  Studies have shown that it can help circulation in the brain, improve oxygen use and make red blood cells more flexible and less clumped together.  It was developed in the 1960s and is available as a prescription drug in Japan and Europe but as a dietary supplement in the US and Canada.

Interestingly, this brain booster has also been shown to improve eyesight in many cases. That way, you can see more clearly what you’ve forgotten!

As always, check with your practitioner first regarding any possible side effects and interactions with other substances.

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All material is provided for informational or educational purposes only. Consult a physician regarding the applicability of any opinions or recommendations with respect to your symptoms or condition.

Midlife: Following Your Passions: If Not Now, When?

There are a number of reality shows out there in TV land.  They feature dancers, singers, models, fashion designers, home designers, chefs etc. etc. The only show along those lines that I’ve ever really followed is Dancing With the Stars though I have to admit I enjoy the food-related ones as well.

What makes people appear on those shows?  Probably a number of different reasons but the bottom line is that they are passionate about the skill they bring to the show.  They give their all. They are focused on being absolutely the best they can be at their craft.  All in the hopes of winning and being able to fulfill the dream of living their passion.  Every decision they make, every sacrifice is based on following their passion.  Some are successful, some aren’t.

Take Paul Potts, the winner of the Got Talent competition, for example. He always liked opera. With his self-confidence at rock bottom because he was always “different”, he sang in private to console himself.  At the age of 37, nervous and shy, he nonetheless showed up for the audition of Britain’s Got Talent competition and launched into a spectacular tenor aria Nessun Dorma. The judges and the world were stunned. He went on not merely to win, but to sing for the Queen. And now having produced a hugely popular CD he is touring the world.

Are you following your passions?  If not, why not?

All too often we make choices that are not in favor of our passions because we can’t see HOW that passion could possibly be fulfilled. You are not responsible for the HOW.  Your job is to get crystal clear on the WHAT. Once you are focused on and totally committed to the WHAT, the HOW will take care of itself. By taking even small action steps you will find opportunities coming to you that you hadn’t even imagined. When Paul Potts committed to the WHAT, the HOW appeared.

You can discover your passions without spending agonizing months in front of audiences and a panel of judges.  Let The Passion Test(tm) help you become clear on those five things that would leave you feeling terribly unfulfilled if you didn’t accomplish them during your life.  If not now, when?

Midlife: Are You the Chicken or the Eagle?

Our lives are shaped by the way we perceive ourselves.  Sadly, thAre you the Eagle or the Chicken?ose perceptions are often a long way from the truth but we nonetheless behave and live as if they were true. How many times have you stopped yourself from living your dreams because you “didn’t deserve to”, “weren’t good enough to”, “didn’t have the right background”, “weren’t smart enough” or a myriad of other “good” reasons?

A perfect example of this is a story that comes from American Indian folklore. According to the legend, an Indian brave found an eagle’s egg that had somehow fallen, without breaking, from its nest. Not being able to find the nest, the brave put the egg in a prairie chicken’s nest, where the mother hen hatched it.

When the young eagle took his first steps into the world what he saw were the other prairie chickens.  So naturally he did what they were doing - scratching the ground, running around and pecking here and there looking for grains and husks. Every now and again they would use their wings to fly a few feet above the ground. This was the way he perceived life was meant to be and this was how he lived for most of his days.

The legend continues with how one day an eagle flew over the chickens. The now elderly eagle, still thinking he was a prairie chicken, looked up in awe and admired the bird as it soared through the sky. “What is it?” he asked, astonished.  One of the chickens replied, “That is an eagle, the proudest, strongest and most magnificent of all the birds. But don’t imagine that you could be like that. You are one of us and we are just prairie chickens.”

And so, imprisoned by this belief, the eagle lived and died thinking he was prairie chicken.

Think “impossible” and dreams get discarded, projects get abandoned, and hope for wellness is torpedoed.  But let someone yell the words “It’s possible,” and resources we hadn’t been aware of come rushing in to assist us in our quest.  I believe we are all potentially brilliant and creative-but only if we believe it, only if we have an attitude of positive expectancy toward our ideas, and only if we act on them. - Greg Anderson, “The 22 Non-Negotiable Laws of Wellness”

The Key to Getting Out of the Midlife Career Rut: Eliminate PDD (Passion Deficit Disorder)

What’s the first word that comes to mind when you think of a career?  Probably not “passion”.  For most people being passionate about their career is a dream, at least according to a 2005 Harris Interactive Study which found that only 20% of people were passionate about what they were doing.

If you are currently at a crossroads in your life and in a rut, not knowing how to climb out, perhaps it’s time you started discovering what you’re passionate about.  The journey will bring clarity and focus. It will help you find possibilities and directions.  Following your passions is about work becoming a joyful experience, about days becoming more meaningful, about happiness showing up more frequently and about relationships becoming more meaningful.

Your passions will change over time.  What you love to do today will probably not be the same in 20 years.  Perhaps you’re a person who doesn’t find their passion until later in life. Take for example, John James Audubon, one of the greatest wildlife artists. He was an unsuccessful businessman for most of his life. It didn’t matter how many times he changed locations, partners or businesses, he failed miserably.  Not until he understood that he had to change himself did he have a chance of succeeding. So what changes did he make? He followed his passion.  He always loved the outdoors and was a great hunter. In addition he was a good artist and would draw birds as a hobby. His life changed when he started doing what he loved.

To get started on this road to discovery, take some time, sit down and write out your answers to the following questions. Go with your first impulses.

  • What do you love to do?
  • What kind of environment do you love to be in? Predictable and slow-paced or fast-paced and constantly changing?
  • What kind of people do you love to be around?
  • If you could swap jobs with two other people, who would they be and why?
  • Are you more comfortable in a large or small organization?  One that is formal, conservative, or creative?
  • What excites you, turns you on, gets you charged up?
  • What are you “a natural” at?  What do people compliment you on?
  • What did you like about previous jobs that you would love to do again?
  • What do you need from an organization or team to be motivated?
  • What opportunities for advancement and development do you need?
  • How important is long-term job security?
  • Do you need a high or low level of responsibility or influence?
  • How important is recognition of success?
  • Is work/life balance a priority for you?
  • Do you like to be under the pressure of constant deadlines or targets?
  • Is being creative important to you?
  • How far are you willing to commute?
  • What sort of volunteering would you like to do? Is that also a possible career?
  • If you could be a teacher, what two subjects would you like to teach?
  • Imagine someone gave you $500,000 to invest in a business venture. What would it be?
  • If you could attend any conference anywhere in the world at no cost, what would the topic be?

Once you’ve answered these questions for yourself, you’ll have a better idea of the direction in which you might want to head.  If you’re still in a fog, take a F-R-E-E profile analysis to gain greater insight into your current situation and make your vision of the future even clearer.

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