Monthly Archives: April 2014

Want a Pretty Great Life? Start With the End in Mind.

                   

        Here is the test to find whether your mission on Earth is finished; if you're alive it isn't.   - Richard Bach -
Here is the test to find whether your mission on Earth is finished; if you’re alive it isn’t. – Richard Bach –

How well people fare as they age is not just genetics or good luck. It is affected by education, energy, social networking and planning.

What’s your plan?

One of the great motivators for starting a new career in my sixties and getting my act together was the powerful understanding of my mortality.

Yes, I understood that growing old today is embarking on a new frontier and living longer is possible, but what did that mean for me personally?

Discovering my estimated life expectancy (96.18) stacked favorably against the average for women in the US today (82.2) was sheer infatuation. Rather than a mere 22 years, I had the possibility of 36 more years.

I thought of myself at 30 trying to imagine life stretched ahead until I turned 66. It was impossible then to grasp all that life could hold for me just as it is now.

But as a new horizon of ‘what could be’ began to appear in front of me, I got excited. I still am.

Not everyone is so positive about living long.

In the advent of advancing years, some are defiant about how many more they want to take on. Oh, but I don’t want to live until I’m ninety-something. Maybe you’re saying this.

What if we could not only add years but spend them being physically fit, mentally sharp, and functionally independent and financially secure. Do you want those years then?

I do.

This post is not about old age. This is about a long life.

I understand it can be uncomfortable thinking about surrendering your lifelines. Most of us ignore thoughts about the timing of our demise or act as if we have an infinite number of days.

But I promise you’ll be a lot smarter and motivated to design a fantastic third act if you’ll create a space in your mind for a conversation regarding your earthly finish line.

Ready? Good.

Now, let’s consider your last breath. (more…)

Posted in Productive Longevity, Self-Management | 1 Comment

Me-And-Only-Me: Learning My Way Around Loneliness

2014-02-03 19.43.36 (2)I have lived and worked in Latin America during the first three months of the past three years. These experiences are at the core of my third-act design for living the life I want and so far I’ve immersed myself in Granada, Nicaragua, Quito and Cuenca in Ecuador.

I go alone because there is no one else to go with.

Each journey begins with excitement but the outer limits of something else I feel moves through the daily routines of getting ready. I am choosing to be alone and it doesn’t take a remarkable social experiment to figure out that I’ll be lonely.

While it doesn’t deter my choice to leave, I do give a lot of thought to it.

Living alone is not traveling a safe path. Deep loneliness is more dangerous than obesity. When a person feels lonely his or her skin literally becomes colder which could explain why I wore fleece when the couple from Vermont were in t-shirts.

My lonely will not be social isolation but still, in a strange country with no friends and only silly Spanish to make do, I know to expect a visit from Mr. Lonesome.

Before you let your heart shrink thinking you will read a painful narrative of soul-crushing emptiness, let me assure you that time will not stand suffocating still during my journey. There is joy and wonder in these ancient cities and I find it.

But I will also find a haunting social stigma of singleness. I will miss physical touch, chit chat, the moment where someone takes the map from my hands and points to where I am, and making a cup of tea to give every morning as a gift of love. I will miss the recognition and respect my husband, the tea drinker, bestows on me.

I will not feel unloved but I will feel uncared for and sometimes misplaced.

How to be alone is one of life’s most important skills and ending up at the tender intersection of life and loneliness can make you strong, reduce you to tears or kill you. (more…)

Posted in Self-Management | 2 Comments