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Love to Read

Your Best Third Third

I love to read. And I love to encourage others to read.  

Here is a short excerpt from my book, Which Old Woman Will You Be? from the chapter on Be A Reader.  

Today, my top five novels are:  Jane Eyre, Christy, The Chronicles of Narnia, Memoirs of a Geisha, The Kite Runners.  

From these, I discovered that …..

I actually can be a romantic.

    I want my home to be a refuge and place of comfort.

         I can enjoy fantasy, even though I am more naturally a realist.

              There are unbelievable obstacles women can overcome.

                   Cultures are deep and full and very multi-dimensional.

I said five, so I won’t go on to mention Three Cups of Tea, The Lacuna, The Hobbit and George McDonald novels……or Grishom and Patricia Cornwell (Scarpetta) and Maeve Binchy or The President’s Lady and Mr. Audubon’s Lucy.

I have nonfiction favorites, too.  Like any of John Maxwell’s books on leadership, One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard, Five Dysfunctions of a Team Patrick Lencioni, When Fish Fly by Joseph Michelli and John Yokoyama.   The Purpose Driven Life would be #1 on the non-fiction list if I had to choose.

BIG life-changing books for me have been The Dip by Seth Godin. That book actually was a catalyst for major adjustments for my husband and me. Including (but not limited to) changing jobs and relocating 11 hours away.  

Younger Next Year (and Younger Next Year for Women) by Chris Crowley and Harry S Lodge, M.D. has prompted significant daily alterations for me and my husband. Moving from casual to intentional daily exercise and getting serious about our diet so that we can stay fit and active into our 80’s and beyond came from this book.

These books helped us imagine our lives differently.

One of the few regrets I have is that I have not kept a list of all the books I have read.  

Be discriminate with your time. Read books that teach good lessons that are well-written.  

                 Not to escape, but to explore.  

Reading will keep your mind sharp.  It will give you something to talk with others about.  It can get you thinking about larger issues. It can make you smile and weep and empathize and wonder.

Some studies even show that reading reduces stress and can slow our heartbeat. Take a “reading vacation.” You don’t have to go anywhere or spend anything. Just block out some time to “go somewhere” by reading a book.

So…a short excerpt from Which Old Woman Will You Be?  To encourage you to read!!!

What books are on your summer reading list? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo by Emily Marie on Unsplash

5 WAYS TO SIMPLIFY AND FOCUS ON WHAT IS IMPORTANT

5 Ways to Simplify so that you can Focus on what is important…

In 2002, my husband asked me to meet him for lunch. It wasn’t our custom to meet for lunch and especially not a nice restaurant. I should have known he was up to something!

“We need to focus and simplify,” he told me.  

Focus.  Simplify.  

We were living 35 miles from his work, where he was pastoring a growing church.  We maintained 40+ acres of woods and prairie where I ran a busy retreat and training center with ropes courses and paintball for team building.  

We were driving, preparing, mowing, maintaining, training, marketing, inspiring, selling, planning….all the time. Together and apart.

At ages 50 and 53, Dave saw that we were at a crucial point of planning our future.

My husband saw we should Simplify and Focus our efforts as we entered our 50’s to ensure our ability to live fully in our ThirdThird (ages 60-90).

We did it.  

And we continue to do it.  Simplify. Focus.

Our focus is to live life as fit and healthy as possible, to contribute and not burden others, and to enjoy one another as long as we are alive.

By focusing on what is most important to us in the long run, simplifying doesn’t feel like denying ourselves or like carrying a burden.  It is freedom to head where we want to be with less to encumber.

Here are some practical ways we Simplify:

 

  1. We eat to live, not live to eat.  

This simplifies our eating, cooking, and dining.  We have made a sort of hobby out of cooking at home. When we dine out, we try to go to a restaurant that is within walking distance (1.5 miles is ideal). When we shop, there are a number of items we simply don’t buy because they don’t fit our live long and healthy plan.

 

 

  1. We buy what we need and get rid of what we don’t need.

If I haven’t worn it in a year, I probably won’t, so out it goes (unless it is that really great red cocktail dress that I MAY have a need for another time!).  If we need a new skillet, an old one has to go. The old chainsaw died?  When it is replaced, find a home for the old one at the metal recycling place.

This is our version of “use it or lose it”.

 

 

  1. We look for low maintenance options.

We bought a car that should last a long time with little maintenance. It gets great gas mileage and is rated high in safety.  We tried leasing, but I go way too many miles in my real estate job.

Our garden has a few tomato plants, plenty of basil and kale and radishes, and, this year, some cucumbers and winter squash. Morning watering and a bit of weeding are all that is required for a very adequate harvest.

Our fitness needs are pretty basic. Good shoes for running and walking. A gym membership that includes classes, machines, pool, and indoor track. And a commitment to do something daily to get our hearts pumping and our legs moving.

 

 

  1. We have agreed to “need less” so we can “give more.”

One reason that we are able to make adjustments to keep us focused on simplifying is that we agree on our main purpose.  We like to contribute to others’ efforts.

My husband is the consummate “servant.” He loves to show up and boost someone else along. He will build a website, chop down a tree, haul off yard waste, or till up a garden.

I love donating to a youth softball team or to a music program for low-income students. I really enjoy writing out a tithe check to our church. If we can be generous to allow all of our family to get together for a week, it is with a genuine smile.

Focusing on what is important to us makes simplifying to make it happen easy.

 

 

  1. We remind each other of our desire to Focus and Simplify.

Just today, as we are planning a “cabin” on some of the property we kept, we agreed to stick with our approach of “focus and simplify.”  What it means with this project is that we will approach it for efficiency (both in the process of building it and in the aspect of living in it) and that we want it uncluttered and comfortable.  

Simple doesn’t have to mean rustic. Focused doesn’t have to mean sparse.   

 

Agreeing to Focus and Simplify has become our approach and is making our ThirdThird our very BEST Third.

What is your Focus? What are ways that you have learned to Simplify? Or, what splurges do you really look forward to?  It isn’t about self-denial!

 

 

*Originally posted at Sixtyandme.com.

Less Stress and More Joy

I’m in my ThirdThird now (ages 60-90) and I find there are things I used to care a lot more about than I do now.  Priorities, experience, wisdom, adapting… whatever the reason, I am much more flexible in my thinking.

The result? Less stress and more joy. A greater appreciation for each day, each opportunity, and each interaction.

Here are five ways that I can be much more relaxed now that I have lived long enough to recognize what is truly important to me:

 

Fashion “rules.”

 

Rules that try to dictate details like you have to wear brown with navy or that you can’t wear white after Labor Day (or before Easter) or that after a certain age you “shouldn’t” wear leggings or high heels.  While I care about my appearance and want to be (relatively) stylish, I am much more inclined to be motivated by comfort and common sense now that I am older.  Put myself together in a way that I feel confident and off I go.

 

Grocery store attire.  

Continuing on with a clothing theme, I care much less what I wear to the grocery store, even though I have lived in our town for a long time and there is a good chance I might run into someone I know.  If I know them, they should not be distracted by my casual attire and we should be able to enjoy an exchange of pleasantries in the aisles, with or without makeup.

 

Other people’s opinions about my family.  

Once, my husband and I made a decision that (evidently) seemed rash to outsiders without much information. We both quit our jobs and headed in separate directions, temporarily, to take opportunities we were excited about. Pretty soon, there were all sorts of rumors. One of us was dying. We were splitting up. There was trouble brewing. None of it was true. We were just taking advantage of the trust we had built over many years that allowed us to each seek our own for a period. Since then, I don’t try to explain.

 

Keeping up with the latest.  

Technology, slang, exercise, diet. Trying new stuff that is going to disappear or be replaced before I fully understand it is an exercise in futility that I no longer am tempted by.  I am dependent on technology, but try to make what works for me last as long as possible. Slang, I just try to avoid so I don’t misuse, much to my grandkids’ amusement. Exercise and diet, I know what works so being consistent is the best approach at this point.

 

Everyone agreeing.

Ha! In the current political climate in the US, there is obviously little hope of everyone agreeing. But even in a family or social or work environments, I am much more willing to adapt to someone else’s idea than I used to be. For years, I have been considering a family vacation that involved passports and planes and trains and mountains and beaches. Our kids, however, asked if I would consider, instead, a week at a Florida beach. 17 people. No passports. No train. Just sand and sun and relaxing. They all agreed, so exchanging my plans was simple.  That they all want to be together AND they want their parents there, too….that was a fine adjustment for my thinking to make.

 

Life is simpler now that I can let go of a lot of the rules and expectations and assumptions I had when I was rushing around and holding things together in my FirstThird (ages 0-30, mainly focused on learning) and in my SecondThird (ages 30-60, mainly focused on earning).  

This is one key to me making my ThirdThird my very BEST Third.

 

 

 

* first published at Sixtyandme.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Luca Upper

Describe Yourself

It takes some forethought and practice to know how to describe yourself.

I once had a meeting set up by a friend who knew I was starting a new venture.  He knew someone who was generous and who had some experience similar to mine and arranged for us to meet.  I prepared what I had and was very excited to impress this stranger.  I had great ideas, plenty of experience to validate my approach, and some written explanations and examples.  I shared them all.

Finally, I  stopped my “presentation” and looked expectantly at him.  He said, <direct quote>, “You have been talking for 20 minutes and I still don’t know what the hell you do.”

Ouch.  But a really, really good ouch.

I went home and Dave took one look at me and said, “Something just happened to you…and it is good.”  He was right.  I had asked some questions of my “benefactor” and he had headed me in a good direction.  I gathered up a flip chart, post it notes, an easel and a myriad of colored markers and pens and my journal while Dave reserved a suite room for me at a hotel in a town an hour away.  I stayed two nights and three days.  I created and defined and practiced and read and came back with an elevator speech and a list of services I provided.

It was the first time I had heard of an elevator speech and it was the spark I needed to launch a successful coaching and training business that has taken me to some very interesting places, learning some very interesting lessons, and meeting some very interesting people.  It was the start of significant growth for me, professionally.

All from a failed attempt at describing myself and what I do.

I sent a note of appreciation to the man (whose name I honestly don’t remember) and a bookmark with a quote on it with:

 

 

It’s never too late. Are you in your third third? Make it your BEST third.

 

 

 

Have you been wanting to try yoga?

In my long-time  pursuit of fitness, I have done a lot of different activities.  I loved sports when I was younger and that was enough, along with being active with my 5 kids, for a long time. But when I was recovering from a neuro-muscular disease and needed to rehab shrunken muscle fibers, I found that I really loved weight lifting.  I liked the evident progress that came from increased strength.  I loved it so much that I would make myself do some cardio before allowing myself weight time!

A few years ago, I discovered classes that I enjoyed.  “Women and Weights” was at one gym.  BodyPump with 800 reps in an hour was at another.  There came a time, though that my more strenuous weight lifting and bouncy cardio was giving me some new aches and pains. My lower back was often achy. I found myself limping some when my right hip complained. It was time for something with less impact.

So… I tried a yoga/tai-chi/pilates class. Two things happened:

  1. My aching back and sore hip got back into behaving as they should.
  2. I was sore!  I thought that I was in great shape and that yoga would set me back, but not so! I was using muscles in new, and evidently, better ways for my over-60 body.

Now, I am a regular yoga practicer (practitioner?).  Sometimes in a class, sometimes at home with a video. I recently tried a “power yoga” class that stretched me (pun slightly intended) and went to a new level.  I love the instructor who gently corrected some of my poses and encouraged me with my progress.

If you have been wanting to try yoga but don’t know where or how to start, here is an idea.

I am a featured writer for sixtyandme.com, a huge on-line community of women over 60. I am happy to pass along this information about the gentle yoga video series they offer.  This is definitely beginning yoga, so have no fear of being sore or needing to be super limber or strong to begin.

Check it out at HERE.

This might just get you moving more with fewer aches and pains!

*****Of course, if you are a beginner and under 60, you might like them, too!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

photo credit: Raimond Klavins | Artmif.lv Yoga Intensiv 2017 Turkey Yantra.lv via photopin (license)

It’s Easier to Keep it Off than to Take it Off

I had just turned 40.  Dave and I were at a gathering and he was conversing with someone and I was not included in the conversation.  My mind wandered.

True confession…..it wandered to the obvious weight gain of the female person my husband was having a chat with.  I thought, specifically, “Wow.  She needs to lose about 30 pounds.”

Then, I did a bit of calculating myself:
I had just turned 40.  And, I had just gained 3 pounds over the past year.  Yikes!  This person was 10 years older than me.  10 times 3 definitely equals 30.  Thirty pounds!!! In ten years, I would be the one needing to lose 30 pounds, if I didn’t stop gaining 3 pounds a year.

With a moment of sympathy, I did recognize that this person (the one talking to my husband and not talking to me), would have a hard time losing weight at age 50.  I was finding for myself that the older I got, the harder it is to keep weight off.  Nutrition and health are topics for me, so I knew that the older I got, the more difficult it would become to lose any excess pounds.

That day, I determined to keep it off.  And my mantra “it’s easier to keep it off than to take it off” was born.

Now, twenty-five years later, I am not quite the same weight I was that day, but I have managed to stay pretty close.  It is not easy.  People will often assume that I am just lucky.  Ha!  No way!  There is no luck involved in showing up to work out five days a week (most weeks).  There is no luck in choosing to eat less. Or to eat lower calorie foods that have higher nutrition than the pastries and desserts and carbohydrates I once enjoyed. Nope.  Not lucky.  Just determined.

It’s easier to keep it off than to take it off.

Determined to stave off old-age as long as possible.

Determined to be able to enjoy grandkids and their activities as they come along.

Determined to be able to keep up with my fit and active husband.

Determined to not purchase clothing in a size larger every year or so.

Determined to keep making a difference in the world as long as I am able, even in my third third.

 

 

 

 

photo credit: franchiseopportunitiesphotos person about to stand on weighing digital scale via photopin (license)

Strategy

Strategy

One of my Mantras is, “Be Intentional”.

Do what you say you will do… but think about it first.

Hmmm.   I can’t remember the moment I decided to live with intention, but most people who know me would probably use the word to describe me.  It might have come from watching people not be intentional.  It might have come from the hard lessons of the frustration that comes from letting others direct my efforts or decide my focus.  Whatever the source, “be intentional” has become an almost daily mantra for me.

I can’t just tell myself to be intentional, I have to have a strategy or a plan to guide my behaviors, thoughts, and actions so that I actually become intentional.

strat·e·gy

[a plan of action or policy designed to achieve a major or overall aim.]
 
Here is my intentional strategy: 

Be Intentional-

  • Know what I believe.  I don’t have to tell everyone every thought and/or opinion I have, but I should know what I believe and why if I want to be sure I am doing or not doing what is important to me.
  • Decide for myself how I spend my time.  There are television shows that I might enjoy or benefit from.  There are books and magazines worth reading.  There are people who will add to my life if I spend time with them.  If I choose for myself, I will be less likely to succumb to advertising and marketing ploys for things I really do not want to steal my time away.
  • Don’t say “yes” or “no” too quickly.  Take time to consider how I commit my time and energy.  There will be consequences to any decision and I am wise to be as much in control of my decisions and actions as possible.
  • Don’t blame others for my own choices and results.  Own my own efforts and decisions.  Apologize when necessary.  Reimburse when appropriate.  Accept credit and praise graciously.  Say thank you and “I am sorry.”
  • Live without regrets.  If I consciously, intentionally decide what to say, how to spend time, who to be with, what to do, then the chances of having regrets is slim.

We can’t become intentional on accident. What is your strategy?