Tag: wisdom

WISDOM – WHAT IS IT? #WisdomWednesday

WISDOM – WHAT IS IT? #WisdomWednesday

As a young adult I admired those individuals who emulated wisdom. I read voraciously the words of great writers and teachers who seemed to have an inside tract on the meaning of life. From Kierkegaard, Tillich, C.S. Lewis, Kahlil Gibran, Jesus, Reinhold Niebuhr, Jung, Martin Buber, to Camus, Sartre, Herman Hess, Samuel Beckett, Tolstoy, Solzhenitsyn, Virginia Woolf, I soaked in what I could.  I leaned in hungrily to the words of my professors of philosophy and theology, hoping to find a nugget or two of wisdom that would free me from my suffering. Wisdom . . . a thing I longed for. . . even as it eluded me.

What is wisdom?

Forty five years later, I think I have finally begun to understand the true nature of wisdom. It is not just the gift of insight, although it is that. Nor is it something that shows up on our doorstep, like a Fed Ex delivery. It shows up  in its own time and is something that one recognizes in oneself only in hindsight.

Wisdom
“It’s not what you look at that matters. It’s what you see.” Henry David Thoreau

Wisdom, I believe, is a byproduct of suffering. It is not an award for endurance, although endurance is necessary.  It’s something more. It requires yielding to suffering and allowing it to become our teacher.

Wisdom comes to those who allow the fires of hell to burn down walls of protection in order to see the truth. It does not come to those who insist on wearing masks of denial or pretense. A fundamental ingredient of the wise is the ability to see and speak the Truth regardless of the consequences.

“We can know only that we know nothing. And that is the highest degree of human wisdom.”
Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace   

The wise learn to see themselves and the world through the eyes of truth, not the eyes of their ego.  Wisdom begins to show up precisely when a person sees how much they have left to learn and when they have begun to be willing students of life.  Not a goal to be achieved,  it arrives precisely when one no longer care about being wise.


FINDING HOPE, Quotes for Midlife and Beyond is packed with quotes to guide and support you as you gather wisdom. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed creating it. If so, please leave a review on Amazon and recommend it to a friend! It also makes a great gift for Mother’s Day and special occasions. Thank you, as always, for your support. DS

CHANGE IS IN THE AIR

CHANGE IS IN THE AIR

Change happens. What we do in response to it, how we handle the emotional fallout, is often more important than the event itself.

Before Thanksgiving, my husband loaned his “project” car, a 1990 Jeep Wrangler, to his nephew.  Scott, being the endlessly generous man that I married, offered it up easily. Intuition suggested to me that it wasn’t the best idea in the world. I kept my thoughts to myself. People change. Right?

A MECHANICAL WORK OF ART!

Scott's JeepThe Jeep was my husband’s baby, his pride and joy. It has been his one and only creative outlet and escape from life’s weighty responsibilities over the last three years. In that time, he turned it from a well worn vehicle into a gorgeous piece of mechanical art! (At least that’s how he sees it.) Fresh paint and replaced parts, it was the inspiration for birthday and Christmas gifts from the whole family. On nice days, he’d take it here and there, just for the sheer pleasure of driving it. Otherwise it sat in the driveway for him to admire and work on on nice days.

Scott’s generosity swung around and bit him in the butt. Leaving the parking lot after work, Nephew flew around a blind corner at a high rate of speed and T-boned a truck parked in the lane. All parties involved were fine. The Jeep? Totaled. To make matters worse, we found out about it, 10 days after the fact, from our insurance agent.

CHANGE MOVES IN AND SETS UP SHOP

In a flash, “change” moved in and set up shop. Our plans for the day were lost to emotional turmoil and endless phone calls. When we woke up that morning we had no idea that such an occurrence would take over our week before Christmas.

As I listened to my husband’s end of the conversation with the insurance agent, I knew exactly what had happened and I was spitting nails angry.  It was not a surprise to me. Forty one years old and notoriously irresponsible, the flashes that he was growing up swayed Scott more than they did me. The adrenaline started pumping through my veins like  Shanghai Maglev.  I made the bed, did a load of laundry and washed the dishes in the five minutes he was on the phone.

Scott’s response? Total self-control. He dove straight into his head, pushed his feelings as far away as possible, and started a to do list in his head. I knew he was heartbroken and angry, and I knew in time he’d wake up to his feelings. He was not, however, ready to face the onslaught just yet.

He hung up the phone and decisions lined up awaiting navigation. On the surface, the decisions involved dollars and cents and boiled down to how we could recover the loss financially.

The underlying choices, however, would determine the long term fallout and the ability of those involved to learn from the experience and move on.

NAVIGATING CHANGE

The love of old vehicles runs in the family! My son’s purple VW is behind Scott!

This event was did not create serious life altering change, but it carried with it many of the components necessary to learn, or practice, dozens of life’s lessons. Change is like that. It shuffles the deck, deals, and then waits for us to play our hand.

My biggest challenge was navigating my anger. I was only indirectly affected and so my path was somewhat nebulous. My anger was not. I was hurting for my husband and suffering his loss, even while he was largely unaware of it. I knew it would come home to him in time, but for me it was immediate and present.

Unexpressed anger is a slow burn. It can lead to depression, illness and a growing sense of powerlessness. It sucks the life right out of us and leaves us wide open for future difficulties. Inappropriately expressed anger damages relationships and innocent people. It spills out in passive aggression, sarcasm, irritability, without diminishing the initial anger.

ANGER IS NORMAL

Anger is a normal healthy response. Allowing it, owning it and finding an appropriate way to put it to good use is the challenge. Anger helps us protect ourselves and set boundaries.  When anger arises, if we take time to experience it fully, it will direct us to the issues that need to be addressed. If it doesn’t call for an immediate response, it is best to let allow the adrenaline rush to dissipate enough to recover rational thought. We perceive things differently in the heat of the moment.

PROCESSING ANGER

As I sat with my anger, the following thoughts and feelings arose.

  • How irresponsible! (I value personal responsibility in myself and in those I keep close to me.)
  • How self-centered! (I value thoughtfulness and caring that goes beyond what is in it for me.)
  • How disrespectful! (Scott is deserving of respect from the nephew he practically raised. Inherent in this is appreciation and gratitude.)
  • Fear. Will Scott set his own boundaries? Will he take appropriate action, or will he sublimate his anger and let Nephew off the hook. This always comes back to bite us both.

The action I took:

  • I decided to share some of my thoughts with Nephew. In other words, I told him directly that he had better man up, take responsibility for his actions, and make it right. When he gave me the runaround, not unexpected, I called him back to responsibility and then let it go.
  • Then I through my support behind my husband. I listened and I encouraged him to hold Nephew responsible, but to take control of how things played out with regard the vehicle. In other words, to do what was best for him, not Nephew.

DISSIPATING ANGER

My anger has dissipated. I’m over it. As for my husband, he’s navigating his part of the equation in his own time and way. He has the more challenging obstacles to overcome, but he’s holding his own. His loss is eking out in bits and pieces. It will take time and he’s learning every step of the way because he’s holding the experience loosely.

“Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness. If, in our heart, we still cling to anything – anger, anxiety, or possessions – we cannot be free.”
― Thich Nhat Hanh, The Heart of the Buddha:Transforming Suffering into Peace, Joy and Liberation

We get into problems with change and anger when we hold on too tight. When we try to make things happen, force the issue, fix the problem now we operate in a reactive state. We’re wrapped up in our emotions and unable to see the bigger picture. Taking time to breathe and slow down the process results in better decisions and less lingering discomfort.

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Lessons In Letting Go & Finding Balance with Sora Garrett

Lessons In Letting Go & Finding Balance with Sora Garrett

Learning to find our balance again and again, is a valuable skill we practice as we navigate life’s challenges. This is especially true during the midlife years when a plethora of destabilizing happenings beset many of us. The blessing that is born as a result of our hard work is multifaceted. Sora Garret joins us today as the final guest in this segment of The Voices of Wisdom Series. In her article she describes this practice beautifully. Sora is a gifted writer with a gentle spirit whose valuable message comes through loud and clear . . .  Be sure to visit her website and check out her books.

Midlife Reflections on Balance, Menopause & the Joy of Being

Sora Garrett

Letting go
Sora Garrett

I’m turning 50 this year, the foundations of my life solid around me, wisdom woven deep from the rich tapestry of a half century of living. Some days I revel in this feel of solidity—the comfort & freedom it brings. Other days I am cast as water, floating in the elusive nature of things and wondering what I am to do with myself now that I’ve reached so many of my dreams.

Most of my life I’ve found fulfillment through action, the fulcrum of my life based in doing. Finding balance meant stealing time for myself so that I could keep functioning as a working-volunteering mother-wife-friend-entrepreneur.

Balance was also a journey of taking myself to the extremes, testing boundaries, exploring edges to find where I belonged so I could be really happy. My outer life was in well-juggled balance. My inner life was not.

A LESSON IN LETTING GO

Eventually life crashed in around me, literally, and forced me to listen. After a major ski wreck gave me a concussion, I slowed down for a few months. The following year…different wreck, same concussion. Only this time I listened more deeply and finally ended a business partnership that was falling apart at the seams.

It was a huge lesson in letting go, and one that started me on the most amazing adventure of my life—the journey into my essential self.

I’m at least part way there, and the dance of balance is different now, though still illusive. There is less I have to do and more I want to give.

While I still have tendencies to over-do, my evolving spiritual practice keeps me well-watered and connected to my inner being. I really know what it is to overflow with giving that comes from a sincere desire to share. These days, I’m pulled (not pushed) to explore my edges so I can stay fresh & awake to wonder.

FINDING BALANCELetting Go

Rather than looking for some miracle balance point that will bring happiness, I’ve learned to shift my balance in the moment as life blossoms around me.

When I engage gracefully in this life-dance, I find a joy of being that is more fulfilling than any accomplished goal or conquered dream. And as I learn to say no to my habits of over-doing, my soul leads me to give in ever more satisfying ways.

Except there’s this one little thing: my changing body is betraying me.

Some days, I barely know myself, the heavy-fuzzy symptoms of menopause casting a dullness over my otherwise radiant world. More sensitive to almost everything, my physical balance point has become so narrow that I keep falling off. And, some days, nothing I do seems to help.

So I just keep doing what I can, showing up as authentically as I know how, and creating new rituals to support the physical changes as they come. My body has become a new learning edge that is inspiring me to pay attention more closely than ever before…to practice a new dance that will serve me as I enter this next new phase of my life.

TUNE IN TO THE SIMPLE JOYS OF BEING

I’ve discovered that even in the midst of the physical or emotional pain, when I tune to the simple joys of being…walking in the snow, getting kisses from my dogs or hugs from my family, drinking in a most amazing sunset, connecting with a friend, sitting by the fire…my balance is restored, at least for the moment.

And I’m learning that sometimes doing nothing is the best way to keep giving.

MORE from VOICES OF WOMEN

 


Sora Garrett is an author, mentor & life simplification guide who just turned sixty. She wrote this article ten years ago and is amazed at how relevant it still is today. While she no longer experiences the intense symptoms of menopause, her highly sensitive nature has given her a gift for helping women s l o w – d o w n to create lives of ease, joy and overflow.

With her FlowLiving® Mentoring programs, Sora will help you embrace the miraculous and find calm in chaos as you create more space in all areas of your life. Schedule a free illumination session, enroll in a mentoring circle, and find her books & blog @ SoraGarrett.com

SORA’S BOOKS

The Miracle Keys: A Conversation with an Angel

Silent Grace: A Celebration (poetry)

Coming Soon: Ignite Your Inner Star: a discovery guide & playbook for creating your most Radiant Life.


 

Moving Forward by Lucinda Sage-Midgorden

Moving Forward by Lucinda Sage-Midgorden

GOOD MORNING FRIENDS & VISITORS!

Welcome to Aging Abundantly’s Voices of Wisdom Series

Moving Forward
Barn owl at night by Kovács Anna Brigitta – Original watercolour

This series is about providing both the space and opportunity for women over fifty to tell their story and to share a bit of wisdom they gained in the process of living it.  If you would like to be a guest writer, please take a look at the Writer’s Guidelines and/or reach out to me via email.

Today’s guest, Lucinda Sage-Midgorden has been enthralled with the power of story since she was a child.  She grew up in a family who not only loved watching movies together but enjoyed discussing them. Another favorite family pastime was reading.

Lucinda’s interest in all things “story” led her to pursue first a B.A. and then an M.A. in theatre. She took those degrees and ran with them as a theatre artist, drama, and English teacher. In recent years, she has turned to writing her own stories. her first published book is a children’s story, Scottosaurus The Little Dinosaur originally written for  her six-year-old nephew Scott.  Her first full length novel, The Space Between Time, is to be published at the end of 2016.

You will find Lucinda’s weekly blog on her website Sage Woman Chronicles. She is also on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and She Writes.  Thank you Lucinda for sharing your story with us today.


MOVING FORWARD

by Lucinda Sage-Midgorden

Moving Forward“I’ve never seen any life transformation that didn’t begin with the person in question

finally getting tired of their own bullshit.”

Elizabeth Gilbert

 

Sometimes I get stuck in a rut but not for long. I don’t know if it’s in my DNA, the fact that we moved a lot, or just my personality but eventually there comes a time when I just grit my teeth and make a change. I do this because it is much more comfortable to change than to stay stuck. The process is still scary because it requires me to do things I’ve never done before. Yet, years of experience have taught me that moving forward is preferable to the alternative. Let me give you some examples.

When I graduated from high school, I decided to work for a while until I had a better idea of what I wanted to do with my life. The first year I joined a Peace Corps kind of group sponsored by my church. For a year I worked as a volunteer teacher’s aide at Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary school in Portland, Oregon and assisted at family and youth camps teaching classes, leading campfires and the like. I learned so much about myself that year, and gain confidence, something I was desperate to find. Teaching was a blast. I loved the children and the classroom atmosphere and that set me on a lifelong path of teaching in a variety of settings.

At the age of 22 I finally enrolled in the college sponsored by the church in which I grew up. On one hand it was a fantastic experience, on another traumatic because I became a religious studies major, the only woman in the program. That caused a stir and some students tried to convince me that I needed to change my major. I’m so grateful I didn’t.

My sophomore year I found theatre and in my mind studying religious thought and theatre went hand-in-hand. Eventually, I added theatre and speech as a second major. Later I received an M.A. in theatre arts from Portland State University. Both have helped me understand human desires, motivations, frustrations, and triumphs.

After college my husband and I  moved out west and became deeply involved in a congregation. However, after a few years it became clear to us that what the church wanted of us and what we wanted were two different things. Both of us felt drawn to ever deeper spiritual growth. It was a tough decision, but eventually we left organized religion all together. Doing that was the best decision of my life because now my spiritual journey doesn’t have to fit into a doctrinal box.

Still, I’ve made plenty of mistakes on my way to where I am now. I followed false paths thinking they were leading to my life’s purpose. Though it was difficult to admit I’d been mistaken, I’m not sorry I took any of them. I no longer believe life is meant to be easy.

“If you’re making mistakes it means you’re out there doing something.” ~ Neil Gaiman[tweetthis]“If you’re making mistakes it means you’re out there doing something.” ~ Neil Gaiman [/tweetthis]

When I was younger I felt like I was odd, a misfit, because we moved so much. All those people I met who had lived in one place all their lives I thought were lucky because they made lifelong friendships that sustained them through all of life’s ups and downs. I thought they knew their purpose and were completely happy. But as I grew, I discovered that wasn’t always the case.

Finally when I turned 30 and was still struggling with my identity and purpose in life, someone suggested I read The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck. The first sentence is: “Life is difficult.” When I read that, it was as if a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I breathed a deep sigh of relief and knew that I could move forward making mistakes along the way and it would be alright.

And it has been, even during the darkest of times because all those twists and turns I took finally led me to becoming what I always wanted to be, but didn’t allow myself to pursue for all the usual reasons. Finally I’m proud to say, I’m a writer. In fact, I’m about to publish my first novel. It won’t be perfect, though I’ve worked extremely hard on it. But as Elizabeth Gilbert says in her book Big Magic “Done is better than good.” Finishing this novel and publishing it is so much better than having a file cabinet full of unpublished manuscripts because those thoughts and feelings on the pages might be just what someone else needs to help them put another piece into their life puzzle. Denying, or keeping our creativity hidden does nothing to change the world.

I don’t know if anyone will get anything of value out of my novel. That doesn’t matter because I’m already moving forward on the sequel and on a fantasy story, and my blog, and any other writing that attracts me. It seems to me that always moving forward no matter what happens is the true meaning of life.

Thanks for reading. Feel free to leave a comment or share with a friend.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2016


PREVIOUS GUEST POSTS

Harvest Wisdom by Joan Z Rough

A Dark Night Brings A New Dawn by Kathleen Pooler

The Value of Gratitude by Debbie Gies

WRITER’S GUIDELINES
HARVESTING WISDOM by Author Joan Rough

HARVESTING WISDOM by Author Joan Rough

I’m excited to introduce today’s Voices of Wisdom feature contributor Joan Z Rough.  I met Joan through her wonderful blog where she writes regularly about life and “harvesting wisdom”.  I was drawn to the honesty of her voice and our mutual struggle with PTSD. Her voice of wisdom is strong and growing stronger with each passing year. I can’t wait to read her memoir Scattering Ashes, A Memoir of Letting Go will be available September 20, 2016, already receiving great reviews.

Joan describes herself  as “a wife, mother, grandmother, writer, blogger, gardener, artist, healthy food nut, and someone who loves all creatures, especially dogs.” She’s addicted to books, good movies and most especially her grand-kids. There is so much more to Joan that what she does. I will let her tell you the rest of the story. 

 

HARVESTING WISDOM

by Joan Z Rough

Harvesting Wisdom

By three methods we may learn wisdom:

First, by reflection, which is noblest;

Second, by imitation, which is easiest;

and third by experience, which is the bitterest.”

Confucius

Pearls of wisdom are things we harvest like grapes. We crush them into small bits, allow them to ferment, remove the waste products, and set the rest aside, allowing the resulting liquid to age. By the time we are elders, what we have is a rich, vintage wine, heady with notes of contemplation, emulation, and awareness.

We begin harvesting wisdom the moment we are born. We learn about the world from the way it tastes, smells, looks, and feels.  By the time we’re two or three years old the feel of a wet diaper may begin to annoy us. We follow our parent’s example, and begin to pee in a toilet. If we hold it for too long because we’re having fun playing with our favorite toys, we wet ourselves, and are then made fun of by friends and/or siblings. We suddenly understand that in order to keep from being humiliated, we need to pay attention to the messages our body sends us so that we don’t have to suffer from insults.

I’ll be seventy-four in November and have been harvesting wisdom all of my life. However, you’d never know it based on my behavior through the years. As a child, I was willful and stubborn, yet filled with fear and shame. As an adolescent I became a practiced liar, sneaking about, disobeying, and avoiding my parents as best I could. During most of my adulthood, I carried the scars and the dysfunction that both of my parents bequeathed me; a life built of shame, anger, hate, blame, fear, and victim-hood.

“I believed there was something terribly wrong with me.”

I’ve been unhappy for a good part of my life. Periods of sheer joy and happiness were often washed away by unfathomable depression and torrents of fear and anxiety. I didn’t know why. I believed there was something terribly wrong with me. That I was broken. Damaged goods. Undeserving of anything more than what I already had.

It all came to a head when I became my mother’s caregiver during her last seven years of life. Except for her last six months, she lived with my husband and me. Mom held tight to her fear and denial of death while I tried my best to make life as pleasant as I could for her. When memories of her mistreatment of me as a child began seeping out of the hiding places I had tucked them away in, I grew to hate her and found myself more depressed and anxious than ever. It wasn’t until after her death, that I realized that something had to change in order for me to be happy. If I didn’t I’d go to my grave a sorry soul, hauling my past with me, like a trunk of old clothes that no longer fit.

My goal was to remake myself into a whole and happy human being and to let go of old memories that had almost destroyed me. I took time to examine where I had been and what I had done with my life. I was diagnosed with PTSD, and began seeing a therapist, whose specialty was trauma. She helped me understand that I had been an abused child. That the belief that I had a normal upbringing was a fairy tale, and that I could be whole and happy if I chose to be.

“The more I wrote, the more things came to the surface.”

Harvesting WisdomAfter unending months of digging through the past and trying to find medication that might help me over the panic and overwhelming feelings I carried with me, I began writing out what I knew. The more I wrote, the more things came to the surface. They were things I had hidden from myself because they were painful. Taking an excruciating look back through the years, I saw myself being beaten by my father, while screaming for my mother to stop him. I finally understood the basis for my contempt for her. She never stopped him.

Along with the unearthing of the past, I found acceptance for who I am. I discovered the words and experiences that can trigger negative reactions in me. I began navigating through my days more easily, choosing between what made me feel good and what brought on my anxiety. I questioned my parent’s lives when they were younger, and uncovered the massive extent to which my mother had been abused by her mother. I already knew that my father suffered from PTSD due to his experiences during World War II. But it wasn’t until I myself was diagnosed with the same disorder that I found compassion for him, as well as for my mother.

Regrets followed. I wanted to go back and make it all better. But equipped with tools and knowledge my parents never had, I was better prepared to realize that they had done the best they could. Though I knew I couldn’t change the past and could never forget their mistreatment of me, I let go of my victim-hood. I found love, forgiveness and a deep understanding of them, myself, and the human spirit.

When people hear my story, some comment on what a hard life I’ve had. But I always let them know that though it was tough at times, without the adversity I’ve lived with, I’d never have found myself and the peace I live with now.

It isn’t through sitting in the sun and smelling the roses that one learns and gathers wisdom. It’s through hard knocks, the fermentation and aging processes that we learn how to change ourselves and the world we live in. 

Here’s to the good life, both yours and mine!


Harvesting Wisdom

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SCATTERING ASHES, A Memoir of Letting Go
will be available wherever books are sold on September 20, 2016
and is now available for preorder on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

 

WHAT EARLY READERS ARE SAYING:

“A brave story, beautifully written in an authentic, raw voice that strikes a universal chord about mother-daughter relationships, breaking the cycle of childhood abuse, taking the responsibility for one’s own healing and finding forgiveness.” KATHLEEN POOLER, Author of Ever Faithful To His Lead: My Journey Away From Emotional Abuse

“In this well-wrought memoir, Joan Rough shows us the beauty of becoming the alchemist of one’s own life. What happens after she invites her elderly, narcissistic mother to move in to her home will often set your teeth on edge. The amazing ending, however, will leave you standing in awe at the power of love.” SHIRLEY HERSHEY SHOWALTER, author of Blush: A Mennonite Girl Meets a Glittering World

MORE ABOUT SCATTERING ASHES

THE VALUE OF GRATITUDE – Voices of Wisdom Guest Post

THE VALUE OF GRATITUDE – Voices of Wisdom Guest Post

Voices of Wisdom
Canvas print “ Tawny Owl, Scotland | by: { Ronald Coulter } ”

Wisdom comes with the ability to be still. Just look and just listen. No more is needed. Being still, looking, and listening activates the non-conceptual intelligence within you. Let stillness direct your words and actions.

ECKHART TOLLE

I’m so happy to introduce Debbie Gies, our first contributor to the The Voices of Wisdom Series.  Debbie, an author and prolific writer, captured my attention somewhere in cyberspace.  I  was drawn to her enthusiasm for life and read her book, Conflicted Hearts, a memoir in which her strength and courage is made visible and her zest for life contagious.

The Voices of Wisdom Series is an ongoing series featuring guest posts by women of wisdom. Each guest will share some piece of wisdom gleaned from their life challenges. Stay tuned. We have more captivating reads ahead!

Next week: Kathleen Pooler, author of Ever Faithful to His Lead: My Journey Away from Emotional Abuse will share how her “Dark Night of the Soul” drew her into a richer spiritual life.

If you would like to be a contributor to Voices of Wisdom Series, contact me via email DSander@AgingAbundantly.com or in a message via FB or Twitter (@AgingAbundantly).  WRITER’S GUIDELINES  

Thank you Debbie, for being a part of  Voices of Wisdom!


My Journey Through Mid-Life and What I Learned

By Debbie Gies

Have you ever been on a ride that was completely smooth – no bumps, no valleys, and no inclines? I can say with certainty that I haven’t, and naturally, my journey through mid-life was no exception.

When I was young, I thought I was invincible. My plans to battle age developed decades before I hit my mid-life years. My arsenal of age-fighters were nothing short of trying to maintain a healthy eating and exercise regime, and an ongoing supply of whatever beauty aids, creams, potions, and lotions I would read about, in efforts to preserve myself from aging.

But the truth is, aging is a natural process of life. And, it entails much more than just our physical attributes. As I transitioned into my middle years, many things changed. My perceptions and values changed, my evaluations on friendships changed, even my tolerances and gratitudes changed.

Time became more apparent; not all of these things happened simultaneously, but as the hands of time began pointing in the direction of fifty, I noticed several changes within myself.

I BECAME MORE AWARE OF PASSING TIME

Although the healthy measures I adapted to when I was younger were moderately paying off, staving off wrinkles as best I could, my attitude towards life in general had changed. I became a lot more aware of how quickly the days were passing, and how illness can change life in a flash. And I became concerned about the fact that I hadn’t accomplished anything that made me feel like I would be leaving my footprints behind when it came time for me to go to the next world. I felt time closing in on me.

I began spending a lot more time reading about spirituality. I was trying to regain a sense of faith and to stay focused on being positive, particularly in dark times when my imagination would get the best of me with worries and unpleasant dilemmas.

THE IMPORTANCE OF GRATITUDE

I became much more aware of the importance of gratitude; learning to be grateful for everything and everyone in my life, and for even the smallest  of victories and accomplishments – particularly for each subsequent birthday.

I grew to realize that when I didn’t want to go somewhere I felt uncomfortable, I didn’t have to go anymore, just to appease others. I re-evaluated friendships and found some were valuable, and some sucked the life out of me. I learned to walk away from the negative situations. I learned to say no to those who constantly took from me and had given nothing in return.

A HEALTH CRISIS

I mentioned birthdays because as I grew into my forties, the passing years began to scare me; fearing each birthday signaled the remaining years in my life were becoming less. I also learned how when people have a life-threatening health scare, the incident can become a wake-up call for our gratitude. I realized this after undergoing open-heart surgery to remove a tumor on one of my valves in my mid-forties. The experience reminded me again, about how short life really is, and had me questioning myself about what I’d done in life, and what I still wanted to accomplish if I was given the chance to live. I discovered a new appreciation for how valuable my time was, and I vowed to spend it being happy and positive.

My husband has a saying that began resonating with me profoundly, “You need to celebrate each birthday because it’s a reminder you’re on the right side of the green.” Prior to my surgery, I used to lament and complain about having another birthday and getting older. But I realized how right he was when I was suddenly faced with the thought that perhaps there would be no more birthdays. We should never shun our birthdays. We must celebrate them in gratitude for our life, for how far we’ve come, how much we’ve conquered in our life, and for how much we’re loved and appreciated by the people in our lives.

“Life is what we make of it.”

Life is what we make of it. Time is short, as I notice the days whipping by like a freight train. I hadn’t accomplished things I wanted to do, but learned abusethat as long as I was gifted with a tomorrow, I had to do things that made me happy.

I knew in my soul, I was born to write. I dabbled in it for decades without taking a serious approach to it. In my forties, it became a nagging desire. I needed to write books. I reviewed my life experiences, and realized I hadn’t settled down and focused on writing books because I was too busy socializing, and couldn’t discipline myself to write. As my late forties approached, gifted with my second chance in life, I felt compelled to follow my dream. I worked hard at staying focused on writing, while learning the self-publishing business. I began writing my first book. Now, I’m on my way to publishing my fifth book.

[tweetthis]It’s never too late to follow your dreams. [/tweetthis]

I now feel as though I’ve left some sort of contribution from my existence to the world. I’ve created footprints.

D.G. Kaye©2016

 “In the end, though, maybe we must all give up trying to pay back the people in this world who sustain our lives. In the end, maybe it’s wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and to just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices.”
― Elizabeth Gilbert

Voices of Wisdom

 

D.G. Kaye (Debbie Gies) is the author of Conflicted Hearts, Meno-What? A Memoir, Words We Carry, and Have Bags, Will Travel. She is a nonfiction writer of memoirs about life experiences, matters of the heart and women’s issues.

 

Please feel free to visit and follow Debbie: 

Website:   www.dgkayewriter.com

Amazon author page: www.amazon.com/author/dgkaye7

Goodreads page:  www.goodreads.com/dgkaye

Twitter:  www.twitter.com/pokercubster

Google:  www.google.com/+DebbyDGKayeGies

Linkedin:  www.linkedin.com/in/dgkaye7

Pinterest:  www.pinterest.com/dgkaye7

Instagram:  www.instagram.com/dgkaye

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/dgkaye

 

Check out her books and read first chapters:

Conflicted Hearts:                          www.smarturl.it/bookconflictedhearts

Words We Carry:                            www.smarturl.it/bookwordswecarry

MenoWhat? A Memoir:                 www.smarturl.it/bookMenowhatAMemoir

Have Bags, Will Travel                    www.smarturl.it/bookHaveBags