Take time to embrace new questions

As I prepared to present some new versions of the Why Not Do What You Love? program for the fall semester of 2014, I found myself momentarily in a minor panic.  This teacher does not know what to teach .  This teacher is on the same life journey as her students–having entered not too long ago, as will we all, the unknowns of loss, the confusions of uncertainty about the future, and the slowing down of aging.  Answers about how to live one’s life in this more mature, and more lengthy chapter, are not as clear as they used to be.

My new class is targeted to those 55 – 70.  With a new title, I’m Over 55, Now What?   It acknowledges that the world has significantly changed with more tough changes just over the horizon. Class enrollees probably share my questions.  “Since I’m getting older, how do I want to spend my remaining years, where, and with whom?  How will I support myself?  What will I contribute?  What do I want to leave my children?  How can I have more fun in my life?   And my concern:    “I don’t want to die AFTER my time.”

Our new life longevity has granted us more unscripted years than we expected, more years than those that used to be called “retirement.”  Longevity is also granting us more years to be chronically ill, as the medical advances which keep us breathing, keep coming to market. It’s granting us bonus years in which we may be required to seek additional income streams for ourselves.  And in an economic milieu in which the middle class has less of a safety net.

Disconnects abound. And the way forward is not yet clear.

Fortunately, I am not alone.  Nor are my students.  As their teacher/facilitator, I can help us name the issues we never thought we’d face,  and convene the conversation in an open space where both fear and creativity can speak.  I can orchestrate an atmosphere of support for each other as we meander through to the answers that will work for each of us.

One thing for sure, I can invite them to allow, even embrace, the inherent “not knowing” …  On the one hand it is painful.  On the other, freeing.  It’s the perfect place from which to create something new.



Take time to dance

I didn’t take my own advice!

And I regret it.

One of the few dreams I regret having postponed during my normal, 56 years of a physically active life, was ballroom dancing.  Because…at 57…illness struck …affecting my mobility in a significant way.

Now, I take time to watch others dance.

Dancing with the Stars is a favorite viewing pastime.  The current 2014 season features as one of the contestants, a paraOlympic bronze snowboarder, dancing with grace and agility, on two prosthetic legs.  A significant inspiration as to what’s possible.

Although “potential never gets old,” and my exercise plan is designed to reclaim a walkerless shuffle, for now it’s the watching others that  brings me great joy.  I couldn’t wait to share this incredible 3 minute video that arrived today.

Is there anything you are putting off?  

Might you want to reevaluate that choice?

Take time to capture the memories

With the proliferation of hand held technology, iPhones, pinterest,  selfies and social media, it seems like our lives, particularly those of younger folks,  may be all about capturing moments, many they ultimately may not wish to remember.  However, the fact that those records reside somewhere in the “cloud,”  or in the archives of our computers, may end up as a serendipitous gift.

Seven years ago, I was playing with my new “flip video” hoping to begin to get acquainted with these emerging technologies. A family reunion seemed like a good place to practice. Now seven years later, at the death of my  brother, Bruce, who succumbed last month to complications of illness and aging, I am grateful that I captured a “moment.”  I unearthed a treasure–a 6 minute video of a man and his music, doing what he most loved, singing, playing his guitar, and entertaining others.

It occurred to me to start being a bit more conscious about moments  of this life ongoing I may want to not only revisit, but the memories I want to pass on to the next generation.

When his aging siblings and the younger generation gather for Bruce’s celebration of life in a few weeks, I’m putting my camera in my purse.