Remove the Difficulty from Starting Over

Some people are blessed with not having to concern themselves with too much change in life. Everything has pretty much gone their way. Others might have gotten married and remained that way until one raised the question of divorce. Or one spouse lost another to accident or illness. Or the family lost a child. Maybe you lost a job. A new beginning for some followed a tumultuous life in one of the armed forces

 

Chess symbolizes the transforming of our mind.

 

where they served in a war-torn country with a possible loss of limb, brain damage, and fellow soldier, or the ability to return to a normal life without consistent medical care and or mental health treatment. Addiction is another issue that is touching families all over this country. How does one go forward from all of this? One learns to remove the difficulty from starting over! We learn to relish the opportunity. It is never too late, even when faced with a terminal illness.  Please do not infer that the above image means that life is only a game. Life is actually a series of games, plays, and choices to be made over and over. One day we lose and the next we win!

“It hurts, because we wanted a different outcome, but then we make it hurt even worse by creating a narrative around what happened. So, instead of creating that debilitating narrative, I think we’re better served realizing that now, we have an opportunity to pivot – to take our life in a different direction.”
Chris Hill

Going Forward

Start over with determination and courage.Yes! You can do it. You can take on a new and different armor by redefining yourself. So, you ask how? And no, it is not that simple. The first thing you have to do is to look at your situation as a definite opportunity for a new beginning and rejoice in that. Remember how it felt to get that job that was so important to you? That was the feeling of success! That feeling is always waiting for you especially when you fail at something.

Failure at anything is simply another opportunity for success. Yesterday you failed, perhaps through no fault of your own, and tomorrow you will achieve success. Remove all of that blame and guilt  and attach achievement to the situation. The next question is how am I going to go forward when quitting would be easier for me? Admit that you are

  • at an impasse.
  • going to put the past where it belongs.
  • ready to move forward and will use any help you can to get there.
  • sad for now but that you will get over it.

How to Move Forward

Death

Death is different to each person, and it is almost impossible to accept one person’s instructions on how to deal with it. Your relationship with the individual largely determines this. Most of us have friends and other family members who have been in this situation,  and these are the ones we are most likely to turn to. Very often, they think that they have all of the answers. Unfortunately, well-meaning people think they know what you are going through. Some ways to avoid this are:

  • If you do have a friend or relative who listens without giving a lot of advice, that would be a good person to speak to.
  • If you are a religious person, get some recommendations for pastors or other church leaders to speak with.
  • Seek organizations that have a grief sharing meeting on a scheduled basis.
  • Seek counseling. Some counselors see clients individually and conduct a grief group.
  • Ideas are produced for starting over in journals.Audio books can be helpful and are much easier to listen to than to read.
  • Start a journal about your loved one. Define the relationship you had. If it was a great one, write why. Include some pictures of the two of you together. If not always a pleasant relationship, write about that as well, but add why you’re struggling with that. If you wish, write about all of those things you feel guilty about. When finished, you hopefully will want to ask yourself for forgiveness and let it all go, remembering only the good things. When you are tempted to revisit your guilt in this relationship, also revisit your request for forgiveness.

“Whoever said that loss gets easier with time was a liar. Here’s what really happens: The spaces between the times you miss them grow longer. Then, when you do remember to miss them again, it’s still with a stabbing pain to the heart. And you have guilt. Guilt because it’s been too long since you missed them last.”

Kristin O’Donnell Tubb, The 13th Sign

 

Downhearted following job loss. Move on with determination.Losing a Job

Whether it be because you had to quit or because you were fired, the results can be the same. Our identities can easily get wrapped up with our job sometimes. Losing a job can be similar to experiencing death; however, it can also be invigorating if you were having difficulties on the job. Regardless of the reason, try looking at it as an opportunity for starting over.

“There is something beautiful about a blank canvas, the nothingness of the beginning that is so simple and breathtakingly pure. It’s the paint that changes it’s meaning and the hand that creates the story. Every piece begins the same, but in the end they are all uniquely different.”

Piper Payne

Consider starting something new when looking for a job. Constructing a resume to include all the things you are capable of that can be applied to a workplace can be very helpful. Apply for as many as possible, even those that seem to be a stretch. Often, the job scenarios are standard and don’t really depict the position accurately. Look forward to the new you. Maybe it’s the person you always wanted to be. Maybe it is the fulfillment of a goal to be someone you would be happy to settle for now.

Fear runs our lives. It doesn’t matter who you are. You have to understand your relationship with fear. Whether you’re scared of getting into a relationship; or taking the new job; or a confrontation – you have to size fear up. Chris Pine

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Life After Traumatic Injury or Illness
If you learn that you have a terminal illness, take a close look at the many who have gone before you, especially those brave men in politics like John McCain, Ted Kennedy, etc. They fought a brave fight doing what they loved best, helping others. The following also faced death and did so with dignity, courage and resign: Elizabeth Edwards, Patrick Swayze, and Steve Jobs. And then there are those who are suffering from Huntington’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, and Alzheimer’s. You know who they are and you see them fighting. Most of these people had or have hope–the kind that hopes for the ability to make every day count in some way.

A comment from an NIH project report:

“I just keep putting one foot in front of the other and facing life as it comes to me. I don’t worry about dying. It’s coming and I just don’t want to rush it.”

Recovering from an illness or traumatic event is different. It becomes a matter of rediscovery, healing, acquiring new coping skills, and making huge adjustments. Your friends treat you differently sometimes. Please take a look at this short video for some perspective on what these people go through and learn how you might be helpful in their lives.

Summary

Most of us have faced some form of starting over in our lives for various reasons. And in no way should that be diminished. It happened, you have suffered, and the future is better than you think. Make it the most meaningful future for yourself and those around you. Be grateful for what you have had. If you are having problems now, look at your event as a blank slate, an opportunity to reinvent. Turn a sorrowful event into an enjoyable journey, improving your life and inspiring others. I did not cover divorce and addiction in this article but will address those in the future. My wish is that you will seek the help you need, whether it be from family, friends, organizations, church leaders, or mental health professionals.

“Sometimes life requires more of you than you have to give & demands you plunge into the reinvention of yourself if you truly wanna live.”

Curtis Tyrone Jones

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I would like to hear from my readers, find out if they were helped by this article, and learn about their experiences with starting over. Please use the comment section below for these things and to make suggestions to others on this important subject.


 

Is Buying Anti-Aging Creams Confusing for You?

 

 

is-buying-anti-aging-creams-confusing-for-youBuying anti-aging creams and serums has become a complicated process today due to the variety available and their misuse. By misuse, I am referring to how they are made. For example, did you know that antioxidants perform better when used with retinoids and sunscreens? Is buying anti-aging creams is confusing for you?  If so,  my purpose is to explain some of the terms used in articles about the skin and clear up some of that confusion you might have about using products.

Antioxidants comprise one of the two main categories of product additives which include the following:

  • Vitamin B3
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Polyphenols/Flavonoids

As a group, antioxidants decrease the deterioration of collagen and reduce free radicals.

Retinoids better known as vitamin A or retinol are part of the second group called cell regulators. Products from either group can produce results in skin appearance, but work much better when used together with a sunscreen.

Antioxidants

Vitamin B3

Vitamin B3 is known for its ability to regenerate cells and maintain cell metabolism.  It has also been shown to increase the elastin in the skin, reduce redness, and aid in removing or diminishing discolorations.  In another study, a concentration of 5% niacinamide was applied to half the face of 50 women with additional results of improving wrinkles, fine lines, yellowing and hyperpigmentation (darker patches of skin).  Examples of natural food sources of B3 are chicken and turkey breasts, tuna, and liver.

 

Tuna is a source of vitamin B3.

 

Vitamin C

You don’t hear much about Vitamin C being used for the skin, yet a number of research studies have confirmed that it is an important anti-aging product.  Vitamin C has many benefits including its use after surgery to heal wounds and build scar tissue.  It also strengthens cartilage, teeth, and bones.  Oral Vitamin C is also used as a matter of routine by women who are aging because their bodies do not process it as well.   Another important aspect of Vitamin C is that it is safe to use with other anti-aging agents including sunscreens, alpha hydroxy acids, Vitamin E and retinol.

Vitamin C’s ability to produce collagen is one reason for its incorporation in a number of anti-aging creams together with other ingredients shown to be effective in improving the skin’s appearance. As we age, collagen production goes down. Skin products are only as good as the percentages of the ingredients needed to produce good effects. You want to achieve at least 5% of Vitamin C.

 

Oranges are a source of vitamin C.

 

When you review products for Vitamin C you should realize that not all of these products are effective because they do not reach through the skin as needed, nor do they transform the necessary components of Vitamin C into the skin.  Those agents you most likely will find in an ingredient’s statement for Vitamin C are magnesium ascorbyl phosphate (MAP), which prevents water and collagen loss, and ascorbyl 6 palmitate, which destroys free radicals, and ascorbyl phosphate, which aids in the transport of agents through the skin.

 

Tomatos are another source of vitamins C and E.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is an important additive to skin creams and serums.  It acts as an anti-inflammatory and combats the proliferation of free radicals which cause skin damage.  This vitamin has not been widely studied for its application to anti-aging products; however, it is well known to encourage wound healing.  When applied to the outer layer of the skin, it enhances moisture retention and smooths the skin.  Vitamin E is not as effective as Vitamins C or B3 and works best when used with Vitamin C.  It is extracted from tomatoes, avocados, other fruits and vegetables, and some grains.  Please see my Review section for a product that contains both vitamins C and E along with Ferulic Acid.

 

Avocados are a source of many vitamins, particularly C and E for the skin.

  Polyphenols

Polyphenols are derived largely from fruits such as pomegranates, grapes, and kiwi, vegetables, grains, green tea, coffee and red wine.   Products utilizing this antioxidant source are harder to find. While it has been around for quite a while as an anti-aging agent, one of the polyphenols, ferulic acid, has become more popular when used in combination with vitamins C and E.  Ferulic acid is extracted from the membranes of oranges, rice, peanuts, wheat and other foods.  If was found by Duke University to act as a sunscreen and to prevent wrinkles.

 

 

A source of ferulic acid for the skin.

 

Cell Regulators

Vitamin A

Cell regulators include Vitamin A derivatives, polypeptides, and botanicals that work on the metabolism of cells and induce the production of elastin and collagen.  The primary vitamin A version we will discuss here is one used in over-the-counter anti-aging creams and serums–retinol.  The more potent form of retinol, tretinoin, can cause severe skin irritation and is used by dermatologists.  If you are considering seeing a dermatologist, using an over-the-counter product with retinol is recommended beforehand, as that will give you the opportunity to test it on your skin.

Vitamin A in the form of topical retinol used at .04% was effective in a study done with senior citizens and was found to increase collagen and moisture in the skin after a 24-week trial.  They concluded that topical retinol was effective in improving wrinkles through increasing collagen production and water retention in the skin. Interestingly, they also found that skin treated with retinol was “more likely to withstand skin injury and ulcer formation.”

 

Polypeptides

In a study reported by NIH the number, length, and depth of wrinkles was markedly improved by the application of a gel with 3% collagen-like hexapeptide and 1% booster molecule twice a day for four weeks.

Peptides are gaining in popularity and can be identified in the ingredients statements under several names:

  • Octapeptide – improves the appearance of lines.
  • Palmitoyl pentapeptide (Matrixyl 3000) – aids in absorption and reduces the size of wrinkles.
  • Acetyl hexapeptide (Argireline)  – relaxes facial muscles which in turn reduces the appearance of wrinkles

Peptides come from broken strands of collagen called amino acids—the active molecules and small proteins.

 

Represents amino acids.

 

Summary

Yes, shopping for skin care products is very confusing.  An important thing to know is that you should look at the ingredients statements for items that represent those I have discussed.  While it does not generally tell you how much of an agent is included, it does list them in descending order of strength.  If the agents you are looking for are at the end of a long list, move on to another product.  You want them closer to the middle. Sometimes, the actual percentages are shown near the item name.  If there is anything you would like to add to my post or say about it, please use the Comments section below for that.  I am open to suggestions and discussion.

Please enjoy this youtube video to learn some more tips from one of the best in the dermatology field:

What Does it Take to Feel Good About Yourself: Your Self-Image

Why would anyone want to improve an already good thing? The most obvious answer is that there is always room for improvement. Yes, you have heard it many times. Truth is that while we think we reveal positive self-images, other people don’t always see us as we see ourselves. Sometimes, we believe we have attributes that we really don’t have, and we believe it so sincerely, there is no telling us otherwise. That alone is a good reason for assessing ourselves and trying to determine how we come across to others; however, there are other reasons.  So, what does it take to feel good about yourself:  your self-image?

Woman must not accept; she must challenge. She must not be awed by that which has been built up around her; she must reverence that woman in her which struggles for expression.     

Margaret Sanger

It takes determination and curiosity for change.Why Would We Want to Change?

Jennifer Crittenden has written a wonderful book, You, Not I: Exceptional Presence, where she defines presence as “the ability to manage the perceptions of others through our observable behaviors.” Further, she notes that changing our behaviors to display credibility, authenticity, and trust is extremely important in demonstrating our “potential to get noticed, be promoted, and improve your financial compensation.”

Other reasons for wanting to change would include wanting to feel that we are accepted in a group, wanting to reach that stage of authenticity where we no longer worry about how we look to others, and wanting to feel comfortable in any environment with the ability to demonstrate that “I am in control of my life.” .

Barton Goldsmith emphasizes a number of helpful ideas about making the changes necessary to possess and portray a more positive self-image. One of my favorites is to refuse to get insulted. Dr. Goldsmith says that you need to consider where the supposed insult came from and ignore the issue if you decide its origin lies with that individual. Don’t react. If that person thinks he has a legitimate reason for insulting you, he has a responsibility to share that with you.

“The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.”
Coco Chanel

Building self-confidence is up to you.What Goes into One’s Self-Image

Below is a list of many of those things that make up our self-image.

  • Behavior
  • Attitude
  • Personality
  • Scholastic achievement
  • Credibility
  • Occupation
  • Physical self-body image
  • Feelings about self
  • Authenticity
  • Skills
  • Hobbies

When you look at these, you realize that there are many things that might possibly fit into the change category for you.  You want to look at them as changes that would help you to feel better about yourself. Some of them likely have been gnawing at you. You will also come up with some items not listed. Sometimes we allow those missing items to hold us back.  So ask yourself, “What is my problem?”

Generally, all of those things that you have accomplished contribute to your overall self-assessment and without even telling people about your background, you can radiate success through your attitude, behaviors, and personality. Not surprisingly, feeling better about yourself leads to an improved aura. You obviously feel more comfortable and people notice that.  They enjoy being around you more.

If you are retired, occupation is not a concern, but staying busy and productive in areas like volunteering, mentoring, and just belonging to a group can be very stimulating.  Body image may not be a concern during the latter stages of your life, except for the health angle.  You might also say, “why worry about skills?”  Skills keep your mind going.  The theme of this website is all about successful aging, and improvement in any area certainly contributes to further personal growth and extended life.

Knowledge of other people’s beliefs and ways of thinking must be used to build bridges, not to create conflicts. Kjell Magne Bondevik

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Continue the work of building your self-image.

 The bridge for an improved self-image is going down–simply put, it is not an uphill challenge to effect change.

How to Work on Change

You might find it helpful to keep a journal of your activities.  Make a list of all of the things you know you do well. Then make a list of those things you want to change about yourself, setting realistic goals for getting to where you want to be. Record your successes and your final achievement of each goal, stating what you did and why it was important to you. Mountain State Centers for Independent Living has a website to further assist you in this endeavor.

1. Do not exaggerate. This is something most of us are prone to do because we think it sounds good to others. Deep down we feel guilty because we know we misrepresented the truth.

2. Maintain a positive attitude. This can be difficult, especially if you have come through a life of having negative events. Remember that you are past these now and that you have gotten what is important from them to help you.

3. Understand that none of us is perfect and be willing to be honest with people when you make a mistake. Often, an apology will do.

4. Don’t stay awake at night beating yourself up because you might have done the wrong thing.

5. Refuse to feel bad about things you have no control over.

6. When you recognize a fault you want to repair, practice the right things to do and encourage yourself.  Google it and see what others are doing about it.  Work with a friend and ask them to take note of those changes as they occur.  Believe in yourself and your ability to execute change.

If you want to get deeper into improving your self-image try the Cleveland Clinic.

Think about your self-development always.Summary

Very often we do not think about improving the way we think about ourselves and how others view us until we get caught in a situation where our performance is important. Whether we want to get what we believe we are entitled to or just put off a persistent salesperson, we need to feel and look confident. It could be buying a house or car, speaking in front of a homeowners’ association, or advocating for change for something we feel passionate about in the community. We want to be able to do our best.

Seniors Make the Best Volunteers

Keep working for a better cause.

So, you are probably wondering why seniors make the best volunteers? The first thing that comes to mind is the experience an older adult has accumulated in his or her lifetime. Secondly, seniors have learned to tap into the wealth of people who need help not only because they have a lot to give but also because they are aware of some of the needs that are out there. There is a lot of research showing that seniors receive a lot more in return. I’m not saying that seniors volunteer for the sole reason of getting back, but I am saying that once they get started, they realize that they are the prime beneficiaries.

 

“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”

— Frederick Douglass, abolitionist and statesman

 

Help reduce the size of a juvenile justice systemAs I pointed out in my last post about senior volunteers, there are many children out there who need our help and guidance. Unfortunately, we think children’s needs are being met by the “systems” already in place, and some of them are but many are left behind. There is a growing number of children that need help. Helping them could actually foster such an improved generation of children that our juvenile justice and prison systems will wonder where they went. You will definitely want to check out this article written by teens that shows the importance to them of having good relationships with their family.

Be ever watchful for the opportunity to shelter little children with the umbrella of your charity; be generous to their schools, their hospitals, and their places of worship. For, as they must bear the burdens of our mistakes, so are they in their innocence the repositories of our hopes for the upward progress of humanity. Conrad Hilton

Volunteers can help to restore broken and abusive relationships.One organization that helps with this is Strengthening Families who works with children ages 6 – 12 and their families to improve family relationships, parenting skills, and life skills.  Not knowing appropriate life skills is particularly important for students, and these limitations have effectively kept children apart from their peers and made them more vulnerable to those who will hurt them.  These pre-teens also learn how to resolve conflicts, make decisions, solve problems, and resist the efforts of peers who want to influence them to do the wrong thing.   Parents learn how to provide a positive family environment by incorporating family meetings and family time periods, developing family rituals, providing discipline, and showing their appreciation for positive changes within the family. Volunteers are needed here to assist with transportation, meals, and caring for younger aged siblings of students selected for this program.

“Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see.”

— John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States

Children absorb too much of a violent world.Children need to know that someone cares about them. You should not be surprised to learn that many families are not what they appear to be. The news is full of horror stories about children being killed, subjected to sexual, emotional and physical abuse if not by a parent, then by a nanny, visitors, or other relatives and trusted associates. Children are being educated about sexual abuse by various organizations, including Lauren’s Kids in Florida. They have provided a curriculum to public schools for teaching children about sexual abuse.  This curriculum is prepared with different age levels in mind.

Children should be able to live a life free from bullying and harassment and it is time that we all took a stand against this. Katherine Jenkins
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There is a yearning here for something else.Abused children often suffer from a variety of psychological disorders including, self-esteem, thinking impairment, hyperactivity, depression, post-traumatic stress disorders, and much more. Hopefully, these are noted in school behaviors and through their grades, and the children are treated appropriately; however, that does not happen as often as it should. Very often, these problems go unnoticed because students are able to hide these problems, but the effects of these disorders will linger for long periods of time, showing themselves in how the adult gets along with others on the job and in marriage and how the adult raises children.

 

“When I approach a child, he inspires in me two sentiments — tenderness for what he is and respect for what he may become.” 
— Louis Pasteur, French chemist and microbiologist 

 

There are many agencies and institutions in your area that could use your help with children.  Google those opportunities.  Also, look for orphanages, like Baptist Children’s Homes, who need volunteers.  Contact the United Way in your area for additional information on agencies that need volunteers.  If you are not physically able to get out and minister to children in some way, then consider a program that involves financial contributions and communications of some sort with a child.  Children love books, especially audio books.  See what Amazon has to offer.  Also, if you decide you want to provide a different type of gift, Amazon has everything to offer.

“Anyone who does anything to help a child is a hero to me.”

— Fred Rogers, television personality

 

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Do You Have a Sense of Community?


Are you wondering what it means to have a sense of community?  Actually, there are many ways to interpret it. Among them are:

  • Do you feel part of a community anywhere, e.g. where you live, go to church, belong to an organization, part of an extended family, etc?
  • Are you able to pick up the phone and casually contact another member of your community (ies)?
  • Do you contribute to a community, whether it be nearby or far away?
  • Are you seriously interested in the members of your community and are you there to help them out when they are in trouble?
  • Do you believe that working in a community with others can be more important than doing it all yourself for a greater gain?
  • Have you chosen a community where you can best utilize your talents for doing your part, i.e., writing, drawing, being a part of a committee?
  • Do you actually participate in the communities to which you belong? What is your role there? How do you see yourself as helping others through your community?
  • Do you believe in paying it forward?
  • Do you actually have a sense of community where you can feel that you are serving others without seeking any reward?

As I said earlier, there are several ways of looking at communities, and I have just begun to cover them. One of the great things about belonging somewhere is that you hopefully form camaraderie with others. Another is that you help others through the community and that you experience satisfaction when doing this.  A study sponsored by NIH searched for definitions of community with the following as the most prevalent among the group asked:  “A common definition of community emerged as a group of people with diverse characteristics who are linked by social ties, share common perspectives, and engage in joint action in geographical locations or settings.”

 

Family Reunions

Seeking community through the family is primary with many of us for several reasons:  Our families are getting smaller these days, and many of us are getting older and older.  We yearn for connection but don’t quite achieve it.  Some of us dislike attending family reunions–communities where we should fit right in–for the following reasons:

  • We fear being compared to the rest of our family.
  • We see ourselves either in the higher or the lower end of the success spectrum and may be uncomfortable in either.
  • Are we reluctant to talk about certain issues because we don’t want to offend even our own relatives.
  • Often we experience rejection from our own family members.
  • Some of us get angry because the majority of attendees appear to be there for the lunch alone, not to mention all the take out they can muster.
  • There is no real attempt to extend the family’s history in writing or in pictures for future generations.

For the most part, everything I just wrote about family reunions can be substituted for many forms of community. There are some differences which include traveling long distances, which most people are reluctant to do unless there is enough incentive to do so.

“A good way to learn to love our relatives is to spend time together in well-planned family reunions. A family reunion can be a very personal and privileged gathering. If you have never organized your family for a reunion, start now—you will receive joy far beyond your expectations. Yes, there will be discouragements. Some family members will say they don’t have time or that they are too busy. But the rewards more than compensate for the discouragements.” -Alma Heaton

On a more positive note, people tend to enjoy family reunions when

  1. Family histories are maintained with updates being published regularly.
  2. Families collect money for a scholarship fund for other family members.
  3. The reunion consists of a weekend retreat that includes room and board and/or camping, making it easier for people to actually visit longer.  Some families actually take trips together.
  4. The event is special enough to prepare memorabilia such as tee shirts generated from a design contest, with committees for selection, selling, and delivery at or before the event?
  5. Families publish a newsletter, either printed and mailed or published online, which includes recent accomplishments, births, deaths, announcements of things to come, etc.

Why not attend and offer your ideas for an improved family reunion.try to change the things you don’t like or change the way you feel about things.  Ask other family members for their help.  There are websites with other suggestions for family reunions, tee shirt design, and tee shirt sales.

The Power of Community

The power of community to create health is far greater than any physician, clinic or hospital. Mark Hyman

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According to the authors of The Search for Meaning,                                                                  

“Real communities are concerned with being–not having. Their members are into sharing, caring, and loving rather than owning, manipulating, controlling, and possessing. Open communication and commitment to the shared values and common purposes of individual members are of critical importance to the stability of a community. Community survival depends heavily on the ability of members to extend themselves to other members.”

I can best illustrate this by using Gandhi as an example, as told by Gloria Steinem in Revolution From Within. After describing his failed attempts to become an aristocratic Englishman while studying to be a barrister, Steinem states that it was “as if his failures had been the signals of a true self.” Upon receiving his law degree, he returned to India, but life did not go well there. His law activities did not flourish and he took an assignment in South Africa, where he became successful as a lawyer and a negotiator but was mistreated due to his color. Rather than trying to be something he was not, he decided to become the man he was born–an Indian–and dressed in Indian clothing.  Eventually, he eventually returned to India at the age of 44, where he worked for and with his people and later led his country into a peaceful revolution.

We can learn many lessons from Gandhi, and below are just a few. We should approach everything we attempt as a means of

  • Understanding ourselves better.
  • Finding our true self.
  • Learning what to do and what not to do in becoming successful.
  • Being comfortable with who we are.
  • Striving to come out as winners in the sense of having helped others.

Gandhi started out as a “having” person, wanting the education, the power, and the envy of others. He eventually found that being the person he was would create a role never before played that would earn him a place in history.

Summary

As shown above, there are all sorts of ways to participate in community activities, regardless of the type.  The important thing to remember is that you are there to serve your community for the good of the community. What are your goals?  Please tell us about your community efforts and the satisfaction you derive from them in the Comments section below.  If you have ideas for a community, ask for help with those.  Working together for common goals can be life changing.

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

Mahatma Gandhi

How to Find Your Purpose, Your Passion, Your Meaning in Life

Purpose

Most of us believe that we were born with a purpose in life. We may not have found it yet or we might have abandoned previous ones in search of others.  As previously discussed, we have proceeded through life with working, marriage, having children, and enjoying life.  These things gave us most of what we needed at the time, but they have likely changed considerably. I believe that our purposes then served us well and provided a gateway to finding our purpose, passion, and meaning now.  In other words, our purpose today has even greater meaning for us because we achieved our purpose of yesterday with passion and love.

Protected by their Mother

 

 

We can Soar Like the Eagle!
Majestic and Compassionate

“Only when one can love like the eagle–with no audience whatsoever–can one turn to another in love:  only then is one able to care about the enlargement of the other’s being.”  Irvin D. Yalom in When Nietzsche Wept

 

 

 

“The will to extend one’s self for the purpose of nurturing one’s own or another’s spiritual growth.” M. Scott Peck in The Road Less Traveled

 

“Your life purpose is about you. It is a tangible, practical, everyday way to be that evolves over time as you mature. It is not just a new age, cheesy, flaky, peace and love statement. It is the greatness of who you are taking meaningful action. This is how you stay healthy and happy. Then and only then does your energy ripple out to make the world a better place.”
Diana Dentinger, Modus Vivendi: Your Life Your Way

 

Passion

We come alive when we are doing what feels right for us.  The important thing is to do it, don’t just think about what might be.  Find your purpose, your passion, your meaning in life by looking for it.  If you believe that you have found it, put it to a test of how you really feel about it and what you are doing with it.  Be the person you have always wanted to be.  The following quotes provide insight into what passion is all about. They come from Inc.com. There are more on the website.

“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” Howard Thurman

“A successful life is one that is lived through understanding and pursuing one’s own path, not chasing after the dreams of others.” Chin-Ning Chu

“There is no passion to be found in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” Nelson Mandela

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.” George Eliot

“Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.” Les Brown

“The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire.” Ferdinand Foch

I have had a number of passions in my lifetime, and to each, I feverishly gave my time and my love. I love scrapbooking and have since my grandmother Annie got me started. Scrapbooks create records of history for generations to come. But, somehow, my working and other activities got in the way and I put it aside. I later learned that I could still work and get passionate about something–that was going back to school for a master’s degree. Let me tell you that I was on Cloud 9 the day I learned of my acceptance. Being a part-time student, it took me four years, but I finally graduated at the age of 70. Scrapbooking is calling me once again!

I also love gardening. A wonderful friend of mine, Gladys, taught me a lot about gardening, and I became passionate enough about that to take a number of undergraduate college courses in horticulture and to put to work in my own yard what I had learned. I even went so far as to get special permission to take those courses because I lacked the necessary academic qualifications–a study of botany was missing from my academic background.  Seeing the results of your labor in gardening is encouraging, satisfying, and so meaningful. For me, it’s a different type of passion now but is still something I enjoy.

“Believe in yourself. You are braver than you think, more talented than you know, and capable of more than you imagine.”
Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart

But so is writing this post and attempting to influence those of you who feel like something is still missing, even when you think you have done it all. Believe me, there is still a lot more out there to do. You have to find yours. You may have to invent it, risk it, and share it with others. I have noted through life that many ideas I had and did not act on were eventually discovered by others. There are many things we like to do that we are not necessarily passionate about, so how do we determine what we are passionate about.

  • List those things you really like to do and that you believe you are good at.
  • Which of those things do you like to talk to others about and learn more about from others?
  • Is anything going on in life–politics, the homeless, the rudeness and disregard by people we run into in traffic, drug and sex trafficking–that really affects you to the point that you want to do something about it? Find some avenue of bringing solutions to the forefront.  Examples: Form grassroots organizations to enlist help, write articles for magazines, run for public office, participate in campaigns to help candidates you believe in, be creative and find your own way to deliver your message, etc.  Think about it.  “What can I do to get involved in the prevention of or cure for this terrible situation?”

 

 

Meaning

It’s hard to find a definition of meaning in the sense that I write about, but I assure you that all you have to do is Google it, and you will discover that looking for or finding the meaning in your life is a reality. One way to look at meaning at this stage of your life (55 and older) is to understand that staying busy with your family, your job, and other responsibilities just might have kept you so occupied you really believed that was all there was to life. Hopefully, you will now find time to work on some new goals–to reach for purpose, passion, and meaning.

 

A Great Dance Move!
Part of Martha’s Choreography

 

 

“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost.”  Martha Graham

 

Martha Graham was a dancer and choreographer who formed her own dance company, won many awards, taught others, and worked for more than 70 years. What an inspiration she has been and will continue to be for those who wish to follow in her footsteps and for those looking for a creative outlet. Do we have to be that good and that famous? No, but we have to follow through by finding our own creative activity.

If you do not have a creative outlet in your life, you would find it helpful to search for one. Look for something you can get absorbed in whether it be cooking, gardening, drawing, tinkering with small engines, genealogy, etc. It is most likely in the back of your mind and only needs to come forward–something you once thought you would like to do. One clue is your most favorite subject for talking about. Learning how and doing it exceptionally well is some indication of its importance to you.

Sharing it can be even more important.  For example, if it turns out to be scrappin’ (scrapbooking), share it with someone or a group in a nursing home.  I bet many of those residents are sitting there with bunches of pictures just waiting to be organized.  If you can’t afford it, enlist the aid of the home to find a source of creative supplies.  If you quilt, think about forming a quilting club where you can learn from and support each other.  From there it can turn into a mission for helping still others–long-term hospital patients who might need a visit from someone who wants to find a home for a quilt.  Are you getting an idea of how a hobby can turn into something bigger than you?  In the comments section below, share your thoughts about it.  Also, use the comments section to ask others what they think and where they are with coming alive.

Dr. Roger Landry writes, “If an activity is meaningful to you it will provide you with the continual engagement in life necessary to age successfully.  This is another meaning of being authentic.”  What does he mean by continual engagement? It is communion with nature, with people close to you and those you have not met, and with what feels like all of life.  It is something bigger than you are.

Satisfying engagement is a key to feeling good about yourself.  It represents reaching out rather than withdrawing.  It helps you to extend yourself for the benefit of yourself and for others, and when you have a message that you believe in, that you want to share, and that shows you care, you have to find a way to get it out there.

Dr. Leslie Becker-Phelps says, “The meaningful life occurs when we feel connected with something bigger than ourselves, such as our community or our religion. By applying our signature strengths to this effort, we feel engaged and find happiness that transcends our individual selves.”

In Conclusion

Life is a continuing journey.  Getting older should give you no reason to stop doing things.  It only gives pause to how you accomplish something.  Use your common sense.  Don’t overload yourself.  And most of all have fun.

I hope this article inspires you to get moving in the right direction, to feel better about yourself, and to live for yourself and others.  If so, please leave me a comment below.  If not, I would love a comment about improving it!

Successful Aging Tips and Characteristics

Aging is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength. Betty Friedan*

Current Beliefs About Aging

Make the rest of your time here rewarding.

There is no doubt about it, we are all aging. Look around you and see if anyone has gotten younger lately. Yes, they might look that way and that is okay. In fact, we all want to know their secrets. We crave successful aging tips!  Dr. Roger Landry has written a book, Live Long, Die Short–A Guide to Authentic Health and Successful Aging, which reveals very clearly how we can alter the course of our life by paying closer attention to our “diet, exercise, social relations, and productive activity.” Yes, there are many successful aging tips and characteristics revealed through this book.

Dr. Landry presents this information by

  • providing a history of our ancestors–those of long, long ago–showing how they fared much better by the way they worked and lived with the group they belonged to.
  • revealing how the MacArthur Foundation’s evidence-based research shows that we can, at almost any age, alter the course of our life.
  • presenting an assessment tool by which you can learn what you are good at and what you need to improve on, so that you may move forward with your own agenda, rather than following that of another.
  • providing 10 tips that respond to your individual needs as revealed by your scores. These well-defined tips are presented in separate chapters with thorough, but concise, explanations of how to do things differently.  They form the basis of change.

Changing our thinking

One of my favorite chapters is “Never ‘Act Your Age'” which shows how NOT to follow the script that older people are expected to follow.  If others expect us to decline, and we expect to decline, what is going to happen to us if we don’t change our way of thinking and alter the course?

 

There comes a time in the spiritual journey when you start making choices from a very different place. And if a choice lines up so that it supports truth, health, happiness, wisdom and love, it’s the right choice.

Finding the Meaning of Life

Some of us have never started the journey to spiritual growth.  Those of us who did start and took it seriously find that we are still on it.  We never stop savoring the journey because it takes our mind, body, and spirit into places we have never been.  We explore and keep on exploring.  “Our soul is the sum of our deeds, our work, our creations, our experience, our love, our joy, our pain and our suffering.  Throughout our entire life, our soul is continuously in the process of becoming.”(1)  The authors of this book suggest that a serious journey requires giving more attention to reading helpful books, including novels, poetry, and nonfiction, getting psychotherapy and if needed psychiatric assistance,  experiencing more creativity, and studying religion. This includes attending seminars, lectures, and religious institutions), and  pursuing more education (Some universities have free classes for seniors.)

“What is the meaning of life for you?  Discover it, keep your eye on it, and it will take you wherever you want to go, even if it is only in your imagination.  Should it be a person that may fade, find another meaning of life.  Should it be a task, choose a different one. And should it be a hobby that you can no longer perform, fine another hobby to replace it.”   Tanya Green

Acting Our Age

Successful Aging Tips and CharacteristicsWe no longer have to act our age, nor do we have to do anything because someone else suggests it.  We are still old and wise enough to make our own decisions, or we wouldn’t be reading this article.  We resent people thinking that because we are older we have arrived at that stage where we should be listening to them tell us what they think we should be doing, as if they were the older and wiser. The woman in the picture is having fun and that is how it should be!  Laughter and having fun contribute to successful aging in a huge way.

Summary

I hope to cover many subjects pertinent to aging successfully in this website. These subjects will include sleep, dementia, working or not, retirement income, debt, life insurance, fitness, nursing homes, caregivers, and all sorts of things important to us.  If you have unresolved questions, feel free to ask.  I will search for the best answers for you.

I have not said much about the characteristics of successful aging.  Many can be gleaned from what has been said, and that is a subject to be discussed many times and in different ways on this site.  As I have said before, I would like to hear from those of you who do feel successful about your aging, where you are in life,  and what in particular you are satisfied with.

 

 

Please leave your thoughts about this subject in the Comments Section below.  If you would like to write a guest post for this website, please ask about that.

Please enjoy Dr. Landry’s book at your own pace by purchasing it through Amazon.com.  You may do that by simply clicking on the book front below.  You will probably find it helpful to use a journal as you read it, so that you can make comments on your plans.

 


(1)   The Search for Meaning, 1994.  T. H. Naylor, W. H. Willimon, and M. R. Naylor.  Published by Abingdon Press, Nashville, TN

*Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/b/bettyfried383994.html?src=t_age