I used to do all the things people do this time of year. Wonder how I gained so much weight, cried when my children went back to college, tried to organize my Christmas decorations so they would be easier to assemble next year....typical stuff.
But this year is different. 2014 is my year, the year of Jubilee plus 10, the year I turn 60. That number caused me to do a lot of thinking. Sometimes pivotal birthdays come and go with a little fanfare, but not much more. When I turned 30 I was pregnant, we went golfing and my husband wisely gave me a beautiful gold bracelet. When I turned 40 we went out to dinner with friends and I remember feeling everything was where it should be, I was married and had wonderful children, we were building a house..nothing to complain about, 40 was fine. When I turned 50 my children and Raymond gave me an amazing party...They invited every one of my dear friends and asked them to bring their favorite memory of me! You know how we say at funerals that we should have said all those nice things to the guy when he was alive? Well I had a "live" funeral and it was fabulous! And I decided 50 was the new 30 anyway.
Turning 60 is another milestone....except this one is different. Instead of just thinking about the things I want to change or just dreaming about the things I want to do, I am going to do them. I am not setting goals or making resolutions, this isn't about that. I am going to do the things I have been wanting to do for a long time. The last couple of years have been something of a personal challenge. The recession (hell, it was a depression, wasn't it?) kicked our butts and put us in a place where we had to completely financially start over. Maybe that would have been exhilarating at 30, but at almost 60 it was ghastly. I didn't react as well as you might think, in fact I reacted rather badly. I felt sorry for myself, I began to envy other people, I felt hopeless and became increasingly pessimistic about the future. To say this was a bad time for me and that the minions were winning would be an understatement.
In the worst of it I knew 2 things, I knew I just needed to change my thinking (but I couldn't figure out how) And I knew I would never forget how badly I felt, and that I would use everything going forward for anyone going through the same thing. It took me a while to get out of the "worst of it", knowing you need to change your thinking and actually doing it is a real challenge. I started working with a woman who was able to help me change my attitude of things will never work out, to I know it will work, I know I will be successful. I found tools to use, and I put them into practice. It has not been easy, I slip back into negativity sometimes, but now I know how to erase those negative thoughts. I remind myself, they are just thoughts, they aren't real. My catastrophic thoughts aren't real, they are just thoughts.
This experience was eye opening for me I wasn't just getting mentally better I saw that I could change! If I could change something in my life that had literally paralyzed me I had the power to change other things in my life too. I saw potential I had never seen before.
God wants a powerful people and I am starting to flex my muscles.
As I said I am not setting goals or resolutions, I stink at goals and I never follow through on resolutions. I am simply going to change the things that have kept me from really enjoying life.
I am going to take this in stages. When my children were little they would often sit in the ruins of their room not having a clue how to clean up such a huge mess, I would tell them to eat the elephant and in order to eat the elephant you do it one bite at a time.
Where to start? One answer, at the beginning. I am not a professional in change, I am not a life coach, I don't have a degree in psychology but I am well read and I know where to go to find the answers I need. I went to my friends first. I asked them to tell me where they get inspiration, what affirmations work for them, and how do they handle the nonsense that life can throw at us.
I read everything they recommended, a lot that was very helpful and a lot that was very motivational. Then I did a mental inventory. Sort of like the scene in Apollo 13 when after everyone realizes there is a huge problem the first thing the scientists do is find out what is actually on the space ship. They can only find a solution with what the astronauts actually have to work with.
So what do I have to work with? I have a healthy body that has gotten me through almost 60 years of life (thank you!) I have a curious mind....sometimes too curious. I have a supportive family, I have a computer (thank you Ashleigh) and I have the will to make the changes I want to make.
The next part of my plan is to pin point exactly what I want to change.
If this project sounds appealing to you, join me. If you want to join me don't think small, think big, dare yourself to let go of the side of the pool and dive in!!
My friend Mark Andrews recommendation was by the creator of Dilbert - Scott Adams In his Nov. Blog called Systems vs Goals(http://www.dilbert.com/blog/entry/goals_vs_systems/) he writes about how his tiny little blog led to more writing and more writing led to more readers which led to more exposure which led to guest blogs on the Wall Street Journal, which led to where he is now. That is the pattern my life has followed. Everything has come though a series of stops and starts. All the good things have taken time and evolution...as my dear friend (and wildly successful businessman) Charles Miller always said, "Slow and steady wins the race."
This is what I am going to do this year. I am going to chronicle my journey to 60 through writing. And writing is coincidently something that is on my list. See how it works? One thing turns another.
I am letting go of the side of the pool and diving in.....