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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)

Which Old Woman Will I Be

which-old-woman-will- I-be

Which Old Woman Will I Be? Good question that each of us should address.

I just gave a talk on “Which Old Woman Will I Be?” as a part of “That’s What She Said“–a local women exchanging stories event. It is a key/core story of mine.  I’m not sure why, but I have always thought about what I’ll be like when I’m old.

I’ve always been fascinated by people and why they are the way they are.  I’ve observed family and family friends age over the years and nothing has really surprised me at how they “ended up.”  Seems to me that we just become more of what we’ve always been.

I had two kinds of grandmothers.

Grandmother didn’t have a television, but always had oatmeal raisin cookies and coke (in small glass bottles).  She was widowed and her widowed sister lived with her. She was not particularly warm, but she was not unkind and was soft-spoken. Her sister, Auntie, bought the latest comic books for us to find when we came. My favorite was Chip and Dale. There wasn’t a lot to do there, but it was peaceful.

Grandma had a television, but could not be interrupted during her shows (I remember As the World Turns and Guiding Light).  She was sharp-tongued, distant, and not kind, as I recall. Definitely not warm or peaceful.

It made me wonder what they had been like when they were younger and why they had become who they were.

They had both had difficult lives with young families. Both had been widowed during the Depression. Neither had great wealth, but were comfortable.  Both had fiercely loyal children. One ended up self-absorbed (from a young granddaughter’s perspective) while the other was more approachable.

 

Who we will be when we are old and in our ThirdThird is going to be a less-filtered version of who we are in our younger years, our SecondThird, in particular.  The older we are, the less we are concerned about others’ opinions of us and we have less energy to pretend.

 

which old woman

Grace & Frankie (Netflix) – The series follows Grace, a retired cosmetics mogul, and Frankie, a hippie art teacher.

 

I find that a lot of us have two kinds of grandmothers, if we have been so blessed to have two whom we have known.  One we feel (felt) closer to.  The other more distant in our affections.

I think about how I want my grandkids to remember me.  I want to be the Grandma who is (was?) understanding, supportive, encouraging, kind. The one who shows up and doesn’t pretend, who says truth but is graciously tolerant.

And, maybe, the one who let them watch a little more television than I was supposed to.

I’m beginning to get a glimpse of what kind of old woman I will be and I am going to keep working on making sure I’m one of the nice ones!

 

 

 

 

 

Doing Their Best

I’m always on the lookout for people who are doing their BEST ThirdThird.  I am drawn to people who are doing what they want to do, choosing intentionally how to spend their years.

Dave and I were recently camping in the mountains of Colorado.  He was doing what he loves to do…. run.

This time, he ran in a 50-mile ultra-marathon, a trail run traversing rocky trails with a 3,000 foot elevation change. His BEST ThirdThird definitely involves running. Acclimating to the altitude had him out there for 2+ weeks prior to the race, I came in for day of and day after the race.

http://runrabbitrunsteamboat.com/courses/50-mile-course-description doing best

Part of my BEST ThirdThird involves supporting Dave’s keen interest in pushing himself physically as a runner.  I “crewed” for him…ultra-speak for meeting him at the 2 aid stations possible with dry socks, hot tea and soup, and encouraging words.

Camping at 10,000 feet, the mornings were cold, we had no electricity, and the “amenities” were a stiff hike away. I didn’t mind… I was there to support and to experience.

We met a couple who were traveling in their pickup /camper. They were there, enjoying nature, for a week. Then, they were heading west to more mountains for a few days. Eventually, they’ll make their way back to Utah and home.

They take two trips a year. The other trip this year that they took in their camper/truck? Alaska! For 3 months! They love to travel and have found a way they enjoy traveling.  No cruises for them, they said.

 

Being the not-shy person I am, I asked them their ages.  Dave and I had both thought them to be mid-seventies. I asked when they told me that have a daughter my age (well, 62, actually, slightly younger than me).  They are 82 and 84 years old! Hiking around at 10,000 feet every day. Walking to the lake and around the trails. Sleeping in their bed above the cab of the truck that crawling into can’t be a small feat. And enjoying one another’s company.

doing their best

We found out their 64th anniversary was the day after Dave’s race. We took a bottle of wine over to their campsite along with our chairs and we heard of their family, their year long separation (unexpected, one week after their honeymoon) when he was drafted to Korea, a few of their other trips. They had blue collar careers, raised three children and have grands and greatgrands. It was such an unexpected joy to sit with them and watch the sun set up in the Rockies.

Mark and Bobbe. We won’t forget them. Living simply. Figuring out how to enjoy their (unexpected) ThirdThird into their 80’s! What great inspiration they were to us spring chickens on our 60’s!

 

 

 

Aging is Real

aging

I referred to myself as “old” at a physical therapy session recently and the PT (who is about 35, I’m guessing) chided me.  I was using the term a bit tongue-in-cheek, because I don’t really feel old.  In my head. Aging is real.

In my referral to this PT, I saw that my doctor referred to me as a “trim, pleasant, 64 year old woman” and it unnerved me a bit. Really?  Me? A “64 year old woman?”  That non-personal way of describing me caught me off guard. (At least she called me pleasant!)

In my head, I know I am 64, but I am still as energetic
and quick and robust, physically, as I have ever been.

 

Reality, though is that I am beginning to feel as if I’m “getting there” in terms of feeling old-er.

Who knew that our bodies start to poop out after 30? (Professional athletes know, I suppose.)

If I had thought of it, it makes logical sense that:

  • Hips that have kept me moving for 64+ years might start to show some wear and tear.
  • Birthing 5 babies (only one of five being under 8 lbs), might show up later…much later…in ways other than the joy of having grandkids.

At 64, I might not have hearing that is as acute or eyesight as keen or energy as abounding as 30 years ago.

And who knew that melatonin and its sleep benefits starts to poop out as well!? I read recently in a blog about all sorts of people “of an age” who wake at 2:00 a.m. Dare I say, “Me, too?”

Truth is, I do feel like I’m aging every day if I focus on what isn’t working as well as I want it to.

Longslowjoy.comThis week, I have decided that I am NOT a runner.  I can walk distances at a hearty clip for a while, but running just isn’t working for me. After trying for more than a year to get my lungs and legs to the point they might keep going for more than a mile, I admit that I just don’t have a runner’s body (the physical therapist convinced me). That source of frustration and inner conflict is gone….runner, no more.

While my husband is in Colorado, acclimating to the high elevation of Steamboat Springs for a 50-mile ultra-marathon, I have decided I am not a runner.  He sees running as what he was created to do. He is most alive running. He has studied and planned and prepared for this run…and there will be others.

www.longslowjoy.com

Dave’s great love of running is why I tried to love it….and why I am able to lay it aside. It’s not for me.

 

I’m not giving up my goal of staying fit and active into my 80’s…no way!  But, I will be more realistic about what that will look like.  And I will do what I enjoy, not what frustrates.

As with most things, this is a mind-set problem.
I can think of myself as “old” or “pre-elderly” or “aging.”
OR I can focus on keeping myself active and engaged, planning to be fit and active into my 80’s and beyond….with just a little bit of tweaking as I go along.

 

 

 

 

 

 

photo credit: Hands with story via photopin (license)

Potential and Possibilities

potential and possibilities

The last thirty years (or so) of our lives has so much potential and so many possibilities! I talk about our ThirdThird to anyone I connect with for longer than to exchange money for groceries or passing in a parking lot.  Watching our son compete at Special Olympics event, chatting with the waitress, running into an old friend at the grocery store, meeting someone new at church.

Any age….you don’t have to be IN your ThirdThird to think about and plan for your ThirdThird.

I have a new office space in a shared area. Most of the other people renting there are young and creative.  Web designers, furniture designers, artists…budding entrepreneurs, all of them.  I’ve had interesting conversations with them about the ThirdThird.  Even though all of them are either in their FirstThird (gap year) or just entering their SecondThird.

One said, “I know that I will still be designing.” Another turned to their business partner and wife and asked, “What do you think we’ll be doing in our ThirdThird?” Others ask questions and are thoughtful.

On the other hand, I talked with a 70-something, still working, man yesterday who has no plan for what he will do in his ThirdThird, other than begin to work less.  Maybe he will make a video of his belongings so his sons will know what they are and why they were special to their folks when he is gone. Maybe he will start exercising more often when he is no longer working, but he just doesn’t have time now (doesn’t like to exercise in the evening, doesn’t want to get up earlier).  His father lived into his 90’s, so he expects to himself.  But he doesn’t know what he will do…..so he keeps working at a job that he only slightly seems to enjoy. He should be in better shape, he told me. He should be planning for his next steps, he told me.

My motivation for talking about our ThirdThird, and for building programs for helping people design their ThirdThird, is because of people like the 70-something I spoke with yesterday. He is setting himself up for disappointment.

Fear is a great motivator.

I am motivated by the fear of wasting 30 years. I am motivated by the fear of looking back and feeling like I didn’t live on purpose.  I don’t want to miss the opportunity to share the lessons learned and the mistakes made to make a positive impact.

Aging can be purposeful and fun!

Learn more about Life on Purpose in your ThirdThird by clicking the photo above. Debbie has lots of online resources on this site and she also does life seminars and training.

We’re putting together several resources for people to use to plan their BEST ThirdThird. The first one is entirely FREE!  It is a simple, on-line questionnaire to show you your “ThirdThird Tendencies.”

 

It’s a place to start. And it’s free.

Try it!  And let me know how you scored and what you think of your results.

 

 

 

 

Fit and Healthy

fit and healthy

Staying fit and healthy in my ThirdThird is an everyday choice.

Get out and move daily.
Consider my diet.
Drink lots of water.
AND, it is not really so hard once it became a habit.

Long ago, I decided that I would not add weight as I age, forming one of my life mantras, It’s easier to keep it off than take it off.  I saw others around me adding a pound or two or five every year, and realized it would sneak up on me if I didn’t consciously take control.

So, I determined to keep it off.

With clear motivation (keep it off), it’s simple. Really. Even though, the older I get the more intentional I must be.

When my kids were all at home, there were things we simply did not have in our home.  Soda. Chips. Store-bought cookies or cakes. Partly, it was an economic decision.  Feeding a family of 7 required some thriftiness and those extras can be expensive.

Partly, it was a life lesson that things you don’t have all the time are more special.  Pop or soda was more fun if it was an occasional treat.  Having store-bought cake at a friend’s birthday party added to the fun.

Partly, it was a lesson in nutrition.  One of the big ideas in Younger Next Year is “Don’t eat crap.”  Garbage in, garbage out…. except for the extra weight and fat that stays.

Staying fit and healthy is a choice.

I was brought up in a fairly typical middle class family in the 50’s and 60’s surviving on Betty Crocker and Post Toasties and Hostess.  So, it was a conscious decision to become a scratch-baker and to learn about nutrition and the role diet plays in our overall health.  It made sense to me, even in the 70’s, that less sugar was better and that enjoying pure foods in moderation was better than eating chemicals and saturated fats by the forkful.

Now, my kids are out of the house and I could have those things around if I wanted to with fewer mouths to feed and no one I am consciously setting an example for.  Truth is, I don’t want them. They aren’t even tempting.  I don’t like the way they make me feel.

In Thinner This Year, by Chris Crowley and Jen Sacheck, they point out that in the  US, for most people, 35% of the total calorie intake comes from added sugars and solid fat.

I’m pretty sure that is shocking to most of us.

You can train your brain to only want food that is good for you.  Choose to cut out one bad-habit food that you know you should not be eating… in fact, that you feel a little guilty about eating. Stop eating it for 3 days and see how you feel.

I would wager that you will find that you don’t want it after a few days.  And, if you are guilt free, the benefits will be more than avoiding a few empty calories.  Emotionally, you’ll be pleased with yourself and that just might result in more energy and the inspiration to be better in other ways.

 

 
photo credit: Bathroom Scale-001 via photopin (license)

Look Good, Feel Good

look good

I remember my  sister telling me that a woman selling cosmetics told her that, “At your age, honey, don’t leave home without lipstick and shoulder pads.”

At the time, it was good advice to follow.  I thought of that the other day when I was cutting shoulder pads out of an otherwise suitable dress.

Now, in my ThirdThird, and thankfully past the shoulder pad phase, I think there is a different list of what I shouldn’t leave home without.

Here is my short list of musts:

Lip gloss…mainly for comfort.  Dry and chapped lips are not pleasant or attractive.

Sleeves…in the summer, tanks are so comfortable, but as I notice other ThirdThird types having loose skin under the arm, it makes me think mine is noticeable, too.  So, sleeves are becoming more of an issue for me in some settings. I don’t want someone to be distracted by my flappy arms when I am waving them around making an important point in a conversation or presentation!

Mascara…This has always been my answer to the what-if-I-can-only-have-one-cosmetic-item question.

Hydrated skin…lotion, lotion, lotion applied and water, water, water ingested.

Smile…this is the best and easiest. Simple to put on and attractive at any time.

 

What is on your list of musts that make you look good and feel good?

look good feel good

photo credit: Start Actin’ Like a Lady via photopin (license)

Energy

Understanding your sources of energy is basic if you want more of it. In the same way, understanding what drains your energy is just as important.

Do more of what gives you energy + Do less of what drains you

Plan for re-energizing after necessary times of draining activity.

Based on the DiSC model, people are usually either energized or sapped of energy by people contact. For some, being around others is key to their joy and sense of worth, while others are drained from a day of constant contact with other people.  My husband used to come home from a long day of interacting with people and just want to sit quietly. I, however, had spent a day with our kids, longing for adult conversation. I wanted to sit and talk. Energy drains at work!

A task can have the same type of effect….either energizing or sapping.  Give one person a difficult task to accomplish and you charge them up.  Another person, faced with the same “opportunity” may want to run and hide. Those are some basic hints to your energy.

There are little energy drains all around, not as easily defined, that can nag without being identified, if unnamed.

energy

I took an assessment once that came from the idea that there are habits we have or don’t have that drain or give us energy.  If we can identify them and change them, one by one, we will have more natural energy and be more productive.  From the assessment, I found a few habits that I realized really were annoying me….and robbing me of energy.

A silly thing, to some, but as I checked “no” on the statement that “my car is in excellent condition”, I realized that it irritated me every time I got into my car and noticed it needs to be vacuumed.  For years, I had kids at home that I could pay to clean my car.  However, that was no longer an option. They were all grown up and vacuuming (or not vacuuming) their own cars.  My car, was un-vacuumed.  And it took a bit of energy from me every time I got in my car.

As small as it may seem, keeping my car vacuumed and washed, turned out to be a step forward in reducing negative energy for me. I made a small, but energy producing change that made a fairly significant difference.

After getting into the habit of keeping my car a bit more tidy, I tackled filing papers and receipts, updating my will, and consistently contributing to savings—and “no” as answers on my assessment.  Each of those turned out to be positive step to boost my energy on going forward instead of avoiding being annoyed by things I hadn’t done.

Deeply rooted, good character comes from good habits.  An occasional habit-inventory is a good way to keep focused on purposefully living YourBestThirdThird.  Any energy we still have at this stage is important to be positive.

 

 

“Your character is the sum total of your habits.”Rick Warren

 

photo credit: At the pub – Dublin, Ireland – Black and white street photography via photopin (license)

Sticking with It in Your ThirdThird

stick with it

I read the book “Younger Next Year for Women” last year and it made sense to me. Their prescription of eating wisely and having good relationships are not much of a change for me. But, exercising an hour a day for the rest of my life, if I want to stay fit and active into my 80’s, is more of a challenge.

I have always been athletic and I enjoy fitness classes and can make myself spend time on an elliptical machine if I have a good book to distract me. That is not really enough if I want to really be fit. And I do want to be really fit, not just sort of fit.fit and active

Running, I decided, at age 63-and-a-half, is what I will do.

And, so, I do. Run. Regularly (not daily). (And not all that fast.)

I throw in some mixed yoga/pilates/taichi classes in and have discovered cycling
classes on bad weather or very cold days, but, running is what I am trying to learn to like to do. It’s cheap (good shoes are not expensive compared to buying gear for some others exercise options), it fits in our environment (no mountains or lakes nearby), and there is no real reason that I shouldn’t or can’t run.

All I had to do is to change my thinking from “I hate running” to “I am thankful I can run and it will help me stay fit and active into my 80’s if I do it regularly” and I was on my way.

It is a challenge, though. I have to constantly remind myself that I want to run. Progress is slow. I keep track of my runs so I know that my progress is slow. It can be boring, since I think I should not have earphones on.

But, I am sticking with it.

Here are 5 things that I am learning about sticking with running as an “older” runner:

1. Competition should not be your primary motivation.
I do think that if I keep running, there will be a time that I will be able to earn a medal in some race somewhere (as in, if I keep running long enough, there will be no one else in my age group), but at this point, my speed and endurance are not impressive…especially compared to others who have been running longer.I have to focus on my reason for running…to stay fit and active into my 80’s (and beyond)and forget competing.

2. Don’t listen to 20- or 30-somethings who give you advice about running.
When I was first starting, I tried to find sympathy about the challenges of being a novice runner. “Just add a quarter mile every week and you’ll be fine.” “Run sprints once a week.” “You’ll see progress fast if you stick with it.” I soon realized these young whipper snappers, though well-meaning, have no idea what I am facing (and is before them).

3. Find a route that is at least somewhat pleasant that gives you options.
I have a route in my neighborhood that I can make 1.8 miles, 2.3 miles, or 3 miles. There are some days that the long route feels good and I am willing to make time for it. There are other days that I know I have to get out of the house and a shorter one is the one that I will do. It makes it easier to get out and do something if I know where/what I am going to do. Going to the track and running laps is not very pleasant, I think.

4. Invest in a pair of good running shoes, bought from a running store.
Purchasing running shoes on your own when you are starting to run is crazy (in my opinion), especially when you are older. There are so many versions, it is extremely helpful to go to a place where they can analyze your gait, measure you correctly, and find the best features for your feet. They often will have “last year’s model” in the back for a discounted price, so ask. They also might be able to order in a different color if you object to the one they have available in your size (I didn’t realize I am picky about color of running shoes, but…)

5. Find a good massage therapist.
I used to think that getting a massage was a luxury. It is now a legitimate, occasional need. I have found a woman who really knows her stuff. Her massages are not what I would call relaxing, but they put me back together and make some hip and back discomfort disappear. She also has helped me understand that always running on the same side of the road that is sloped is probably going to result in some need to see her.

 

I am sure that as I go on, I will continue to learn. The other day, I used my running time to compose a keynote address in my head and I took 3 minutes off my 3-mile run! My runner-husband has been telling me that “it is all in my head” and that I can do more. I see what he means, now. When I wasn’t thinking about how much I am not enjoying running or how tired my legs feel, I ran further and faster, with no ill effects.

I am not ready to enter any races. I am concerned that if I perform poorly (according to my standards), I will be discouraged. I am wired to be competitive and right now, I am simply competing against my own natural aging process.

Medals and ribbons are not the goal.
Being fit and active into my 80’s (and beyond) is the goal.

 

What do you want in your thirdthird?

Cover photo credit: runners via photopin (license)