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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.

Change the Way You Think

Saying daily affirmations, out loud, is a very effective way to live on purpose.  Having true, positive statements you say about and to yourself is rewarding, energizing, focusing, and, actually, can change the way you think.

If you google “affirmations” you can find lists of suggested affirmations to tell yourself to make yourself feel better, think more positively, have greater success.   

“My heart is overflowing with joy.”

“All is well right now.”

“I nourish my body with healthy food.”

No doubt, those affirmations can be helpful.  

 

But I have a better way.

Rather than googling for words from someone else to say to yourself daily, instead, take a moment and consider your limiting beliefs.  The most effective affirmations will replace those limiting beliefs with affirming statements.  

I have been doing this for the past ten years and it is a life-changing exercise that just keeps on giving.  Replacing my limiting beliefs has been a practical way to keep growing, keep learning.

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Identifying your limiting beliefs is the first and necessary step.  

For me, as I walked the halls as CEO of the young company I was charged with making profitable, I was challenged by a coach to recognize my limiting beliefs.  I found that I had a number of them! One very limiting belief was, “I really don’t know what I am doing and I hope no one finds out!”

Truth was, I was leading a group of people into a new way of doing things with great help from the franchise, receiving information and training that was beyond adequate. I was absorbing new information easily and readily and we were off to a great start.   By telling myself that I was clueless, even in a fleeting moment, I robbed myself and the investors of this company, of some of the energy and confidence required to succeed.

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Replace the limiting beliefs with true and possible affirmations.

I replaced the above limiting belief with this affirmation, “I am a confident, successful business woman who knows where I am going and who is meeting the people and developing the skills to become outrageously successful.”  Gradually, as I repeated this, I became confident that everything I needed was available and that I was the best person to be at the helm for that time.

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Repeat them, out loud, at least once a day.

I partnered up with a younger man from a different state to do daily affirmations.  One of us would call the other and dive in. “Good morning, Andy! I am a confident, successful business woman who knows where she is going and who is meeting the people and developing the skills to become outrageously successful.”  And so on, for my 5-6 statements. Andy would say, “You rock, Debbie!” Then Andy would say his 5-6 statements, addressing his limiting beliefs. I would say something encouraging to him, we would hang up and go into our day. 2 minutes, average, was our investment.

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You will see positive results.

In those 10 years, Andy stepped out into some risky (yet rewarding) ventures that have brought him a sense of significance. He has increased his productivity and grown his business and improved his relationships. He is making more money and living with purpose. Also, he has lost a significant amount of weight and has made fitness a regular part of his life.  

Me? My affirmations gave me the courage to build that new company with a good foundation, then move to another that needed a turn-around. I have been willing to risk some investments after telling myself that “I am wise with money and have multiple sources of income.” I once recognized an opportunity when I was told they were “creating a role” for me since one of my affirmations said that exact thing…. that I “attracted ethical, successful people who recognized my strengths and created opportunities for me.”

I don’t believe that thinking about them made any of these things happen. I simply see that by changing my thinking from limiting beliefs to possible realities, I was able to see and hear and respond to possibilities when they came along.  

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Keep your affirmations current.

Affirmations need to be current and personal to effective, so adapting them is key.  

I recently revisited my limiting beliefs, since I am doing new things.  And, I wrote new affirmations. One of them that I say daily is, “I am fulfilled and happy, living on purpose and making my ThirdThird my BEST Third”.  Feel free to borrow it!

It really is possible to change the way you think.  Just recognize those limiting beliefs and replace them with truthful affirmations that are possible.  

Say them, out loud, daily, at least once, and begin to notice the positive changes in your life.  

What are your limiting beliefs?  Can you replace them with positive, possible affirmations?  Do you have examples of changing your thinking? Please go to YourBestThirdThird Facebook and share your thoughts!

 

 

 

 

 

Photo by Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash

Six Ways to Prepare for a Great Life After 60

 

If someone asked, here are my top 6 ways to prepare for a great life after 60….

Now that have celebrated my 65th birthday and have my Medicare card, I am enjoying being a gray-haired, older woman who has learned a lot and has arrived at a pretty good place.  

I’ve made a lot of mistakes and learned from most of them.  I’ve had my share of successes with business and family and marriage and friendships.  I’ve been through some rough spots with business and family and marriage and friendships.  I have good ways that I can continue to learn and to grow in my ThirdThird (ages 60-90).  

I’m mainly smiling and enjoying life.  I enjoy good health and am blessed to have a long-term husband who “gets” me and who keeps me moving and trying new things.

If someone in their SecondThird (ages 30-60) were to ask me for advice on planning their best ThirdThird, here are a few things that I would tell them.

A few simple life adjustment to prepare you for living well in your ThirdThird (ages 60-90):

 

Think About Living To Be 90

We are the first generation that can plan with confidence to live into our 80’s and beyond. Medical support and knowledge of health makes living longer the norm.  My parents planned to retire at 65, travel a few years, then die around 72 since that was as long as anyone else in their families had lived.  I, however, realistically expect to live into my 90’s (which my mother did, surprising her a lot!).

It can catch you by surprise if you aren’t thinking about a longer life.  An extra 20-30 years brings a lot of opportunity and a lot of responsibility, so it is good to be preparing for it.

Stop Gaining Weight

When I was 40, I realized that I had unwittingly, been gaining about 3 pounds a year. Noticing someone I knew to be 10 years older than me had unwittingly put on about 30 pounds made me pause.  3 pounds a year, 10 years….yikes!  I was going to have that 30 pounds if I didn’t consciously keep those 30 pounds off.  

The older we get, the harder it is to lose extra weight, so it makes more sense to consciously keep it off.  I remember hearing an interview with Jimmy Carter when he was in his 70’s. Asked how he kept so fit, he talked about riding a bicycle and said that he weighed himself daily.  If he was a little heavier that day, he ate a little less.  

Whatever works, halting weight gain in the SecondThird will have benefits in the ThirdThird.

Save Some Money

Decide to put some money aside and let it become a habit.  As you stick with it, watching it grow is pretty encouraging.

However, you can find a way to put some money away for your longer life.  Direct deposits from your paycheck is a pain-free way to save since you don’t really see those dollars.  Taking advantage of matching savings plans if you are so fortunate to have an employer who offers it will pay off in the long run.

If you are planning to live longer, you will need more money, so save some while you are making it.


Eat At Home More

Cooking seems to be a dying skill, but it can be a lot of fun and is satisfying to produce a tasty meal in your own home.  And if you are eating at home more, you can control those things that are not beneficial and that you probably want to avoid. Less fried food, less sugar, fewer empty calories.

How to get started cooking at home? A subscription to a magazine with recipes gives new ideas and inspiration. Taking a risk on a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and having weekly ingredients delivered to you opens new doors.  Joining or creating a “supper club” with friends provides motivation and accountability.

Eating at home more can help you with those first 2 suggestions, too, saving money and keeping the weight off.

Move Every Day

If you are going to live into your 80’s and/or 90’s, you will be glad if you have kept moving in your 40’s and 50’s.  Make it a habit to walk the stairs or to walk around the park at lunch or to walk around the block in the evening.

And after making moving every day a habit, find a way that you will occasionally stretch yourself a bit. Classes at a gym? Kayaking on the town lake? Walking or running in 5K’s? Yoga videos? Tennis or swimming or softball?

It can seem like there isn’t time for exercise, but as it is often said, “Use it or lose it.”  If you move every day, you will help ensure that you will be able to move along well into your 80’s and 90’s.

Clear Up Relationships

Clearing up doesn’t always mean being able to reconcile or to come to an agreement. It might just mean being realistic about the relationships you have had and investing in the ones that are helpful to you.

By the time you are in your 50’s, you have known a lot of people.  Some you have enjoyed, some you haven’t.  Some have enjoyed you.  Some haven’t.  It’s okay.  Life has seasons and seasons bring change.

Learn in your SecondThird to have quality relationships.  Keep a short list of offenses. Apologize when you are wrong. Allow people to come and go in your life but keep clear relations.  Forgive and move on.

Go forward with no regrets.

 

Hindsight being 20-20 vision and all, those are the things I would tell someone younger than me to do in their SecondThird to make their ThirdThird, after age 60, great.  

What would you say if someone in their 40’s and 50’s asked you for advice on living well in your sixties and beyond? What did you do in your SecondThird that you are glad for now?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Staying Fit When You Hate to Exercise

 

Do you want to stay fit, but hate to exercise?  Me, too!

The effects of living on this earth for more than half a century has begun to take its toll. But I refuse to believe that accepting “aging” and becoming less active is my only option.

However……no matter how hard I have tried to convince myself I like to exercise, I just don’t enjoy it.  

BUT, now that I am in my ThirdThird (ages 60-90), I know that it is more important than ever to find some way to stay active.  

So, here are 11 ways I convince myself to keep moving.
Maybe one or two will boost you along as well.

1. Know the big why that makes the effort worth it.

Keeping up with grandkids and being able to enjoy their activities requires climbing bleachers, carrying camp chairs and other movement.  I  like to travel and being able to get in and out of a vehicle and making it to an airport gate are easier if you are somewhat fit.  Want to start a business? You’ll need energy and stamina.

2. Be satisfied with reality.

You don’t have to run a marathon or even a 5K to be fit. My husband loves to run. I have tried and tried to love running with him, but I just don’t. Walking, I can do. But walking in an organized event that times me and compares me I don’t think of as fun.  So, reality is that taking a walk alone and listening to podcasts gets me moving, so that is what I do. And, I will do yoga classes or cds.

3. Find something, anything.

Don’t like to run? Swim. Don’t like to be in cold water? Walk. Don’t like to be outside? Find an indoor track. Want to be outdoors? Try a kayak.  Just find some way to keep moving and active that you will do regularly.

4. Get convinced it’s important.  

In my recent reading, I see common information saying 95% of disease is life-style related. Also, I read that the number one reason people enter assisted living is because they need help to get themselves off a toilet.  Those two statistics motivate me to keep moving.  And to eat intentionally to control my weight.

5. Find your motivation.

Mine has changed over the years.  For a while, I was motivated to “look better than my sisters.” (Not the purest motivation, I admit, it worked for me for a long time.)  I have a friend who has a personal rule of “no larger sizes.”  One of my “mantras” for the BEST ThirdThird is, “It’s easier to keep it off, take it off.” [Read more HERE] The older I get, the stronger my motivation needs to be, so searching for “it” is key.

6. Be realistic

Something is better than nothing and you don’t have to prove anything to anyone.  If a walk around the block is what you are able to do, then do it…every day. If you used to run marathons and now a 10K is what you are able to do, enjoy a 10K. If Pilates or weight lifting has become too strenuous, find an appropriate yoga or tai chi class or cd. Injuries or aches and pains will de-motivate, so start where you are able.

7. Dress for comfort.

If you are going to walk or run, get shoes that will give you the support. Invest in some non-binding, stretchy clothes that make moving comfortable. If you are joining a class, ask or observe the best clothes to wear.  This is not a place to make fashion too important. Comfort is key.

8. Dress for fun.

But….exercise can also be a great excuse for some fun colors and styles. Try some yoga pants. Get some bright shoes. Find a t-shirt with a slogan you believe in. Move proudly in fun clothing.

9. Take a class.

It is not hard to find a class that will accommodate any level of fitness. In our small community of 150,000, there are multiple gyms and park districts that offer a myriad of classes. Water aerobics, yoga, weights, Pilates, spinning, walking, etc., etc. A class is a good way to try something new and it is a great social outlet.

10. Start somewhere.

Buy the shoes, or get the membership, or find a partner, or walk around the block after dinner. Do something to get yourself moving. Anything. That one step can make a big difference in the quality of your life going forward.

11. Reward yourself.

No chocolate until the walk is complete? An extra half-glass of wine if you’ve had a good bit of movement? A nice soak in the tub with bubbles and a good book? Be sure you pat yourself on the back for making the effort at staying as fit as possible.

 

People are motivated either by avoiding something they fear or by being rewarded by something they enjoy. What works for you? Do you have some good ways to reward yourself for being active? What keeps you moving?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Make a Difference

Preparing for a talk on Designing your BEST ThirdThird, I made an icebreaker activity, noting people who made a big difference in their ThirdThird. People like Ronald Reagan (was elected President when he was 70 years old), Lady Bird Johnson (Beautify America), Mother Teresa. They did amazing things in their later years. Impressive.

Reality is that most of us are not going to make some significant difference in a worldwide or even national arena in our ThirdThird.

But, we can make a difference in the world around us, locally and relationally, in our ThirdThird. The differences we will make will most likely be similar to the ways we have been impacting people and situations in our lives so far, so you don’t have to look far or become a difference person to make a difference in someone else’s life.

The real challenge is to figure out what we CAN and SHOULD do to continue to contribute what we know and have experienced, wherever we are.

I am, obviously, interested in people who are making their ThirdThird their BEST Third. My husband has a friend who lives in Mexico City who writes about the great restaurants and food places in her adopted country. She is influencing many to try new foods and to explore new places.

Another friend has begun to create art in her 70’s. She has developed a personal style of expressing her perspective to enjoy life to the fullest in whimsical pieces of art that are selling well. She even offers workshops in her basement studio, encouraging others to express themselves and find an outlet for their creative interests.

I know there are men and women who love to offer their babysitting services to free up their kids to pursue their dreams and careers. An article in the local newspaper highlighted the courtesy car drivers for car dealerships who are mostly retired and make a difference by being interesting and cheerful for their passengers.

The women’s shelter in my community ran into serious financial problems when the State failed to come through with promised funds. When the news was discussed at the dinner table in the dining room of a retirement community, several women decided to get involved. They heard of the plight through another resident, the treasurer for the board of the organization. These 4 women decided to start a “$5000 Club” by each of them giving $5000 to the Shelter. Then, they wrote letters to their friends, inviting them to join their $5000 Club. Before long, their campaign had raised $120,000 and had started a larger awareness that resulted in $350,000 in total revenue raised.

That is making a difference!

So whether it is volunteering to mentor a student or to teach a class or contributing to a cause or reading to a child, you can make a significant difference.

 

 

 

Photo Credit: Amanda Creamer via www.creationswap.com

Your Story

your story

 

What is the story you are telling?

I am at an age where I have told my story a number of times, in a number of places, to a  number of people.  My story has become more and more consistent as I have worked hard to define what is important to me and what I believe deeply. “Worked hard at” means faced fears, listened to criticism, changed behaviors, stood my ground, moved, cried, laughed, stayed, left.  I determined long ago that I would live my life with intention rather than letting my life live me.  And that has taken work.

I determined long ago that I would live my life with intention rather than letting my life live me.

The most important people in my story are my husband and my kids… though none are “kids” any longer.  And I don’t think of any of them as “kids” at all now, but as adults to be admired and valued and respected, each in their own right.  Their lives, intertwined with mine, are the fabric I wear now.  It surprises me, because “family cohesiveness” has never been a stated goal for me. The theme of my story is responsibility and choices–and personal discovery so that my choices are intentional and so that I am responsibly being the very best human being possible.  My modus operandi?  Grace and truth, always finding the balance.

What story are you telling?

We are all telling a story. To tell it with purpose and with as little regret as possible is a worthy goal.  That isn’t easy… but it is worth the effort… continually.

 

 

A Gift for Yourself

A Gift For Yourself

Looking for a gift for yourself?  Invest in knowing yourself better so that you can be intentional with your life choices.

DiSC is one of the most life-changing pieces of information I have ever encountered.  Understanding my wiring allowed me to shake off the insecurities and self-doubt that plagued me for years.  Regularly, I  return to DiSC to help me understand others so I can make wise decisions about my own behavior.

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We are extending our offer for Understanding Your Wiring just for you!

 

If you need to be reminded of WHY this would benefit you….here are five good reasons to invest in yourself! Read full post here.

 

1.) You can know your unique wiring.
You are wired uniquely and understanding your wiring (with DiSC) is a major key to success in relationships, whether personal or professional.

 

2.) You can be comfortable in your own skin. 
Understanding yourself can make you comfortable in your own skin, which makes you less likely to compare yourself to others.

 

3.) You can acknowledge and celebrate your strengths.
Knowing your wiring allows you to recognize areas of strength that you can celebrate.

 

4.) You can find new energy for your dreams.
Your strengths celebrated can help you realize new and powerful potential for meeting the dreams and goals you have.

 

5.) You can find power and purpose.
Embracing your wiring is the key to learning to live your life on purpose.

 

And….for an introduction to the insights, there is a free quiz at YourBESTThirdThird.com….right on the home page!

 

 

 

 

 

photo credit: Maria Eklind Waiting on a christmas gift via photopin (license)