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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)

Write Your Personal Mission Statement

Putting it all together…

Have you been using the resources and working towards writing your own Personal Mission Statement?

A  good, working statement will guide your decisions….large and small.  Let’s begin to put it all together into a meaningful and useful Personal Mission Statement.

Remember that your Mission Statement is:

–Based on your strengths (personality, experience, skill)

–Based on what you consider important (values and qualities)

–Based on what you would die for (so you know what is worth living for).

A Mission Statement is not…..

Your job, or…

Prescribed by someone else, or….

Your role, or…

Your destiny, or….

Your to-do list, or….

The same as the mission of those around you.

Your Mission Statement is your clearly defined territory of responsibility.

To begin writing your Mission Statement:

 >  Download this free worksheet

 >  Circle all the words that mean something to you… that make you want to DO them (these are verbs…action verbs).  If a word that you want to use is not there, add it in.

 >  Narrow it down to three (3). Choose the 3 that HAVE to be on the list.

 

I have a long list of verbs that I like….so feel free to circle a lot of verbs, but think about them as you read along.

Deciding the words that I like best comes by recognizing the things that I do all the time. Affirm – daily affirmations and helping others replace their limiting beliefs with truly spoken personal affirmations is one of my favorite coaching techniques and a workshop I love presenting. I LOVE connect(ing) people to make good networking possibilities (I even say that it is what floats my boat when I am feeling cheerful and resorting to a clever cliche). Forgive(ness), of myself as well as of others, is core to my growth and is deep in my own story. I am a woman of faith and, daily, I return to what I believe to be true; what is most important to my life and world view.

All those verbs I like BUT, to narrow down, I have to choose three (3) that are my favorite.

The three words that connect with me most, the words that I WANT TO DO are:

Live.  Communicate. Inspire.

I want to LIVE to the fullest. I want to LIVE every day with purpose and intent. I want to LIVE, not wasting a day, enjoying the breath and thought and opportunity and experience what each day affords.

I was born to COMMUNICATE. I love to tell a story. I love to hear someone else’s story. I love few things more than communicating a story that helps someone connect their own dots, work out their own life puzzles, give value to their own story.

When my mother learned that people paid me to speak, she wagged her head. “Your Daddy (who died much too young and who I miss to this day) would be amazed,” she said. “There were times he wanted to pay you to shut up.” I have worked hard at learning to COMMUNICATE well, speaking and writing, learning to use words to encourage and motivate others.

And I want to INSPIRE other people. I know that the struggles and victories, the hurts and forgiveness, the challenges and fun times that I have are both uniquely mine and very much not at all unique to me.

We have all struggled and are looking for victory. We have all been hurt and can find forgiveness when the time and understanding are right. We each and all face challenges and have the opportunity for fun on a daily basis.

I believe that each life is worth a lot.

So, my three verbs are LIVE, COMMUNICATE, INSPIRE.

> Now to connect your three verbs with who (or what) and why.

Remember the Values and Qualities most important to you?

My values were Wisdom, Openness, Self-awareness, a sense of humor.

My chosen qualities were Honest, Logical, Respectful, and Forgiving.

Boiled down, I can combine all of those words and attributes to two words: GRACE and TRUTH.

So, with my VERBS (what I want to do) and my VALUES (what is important to me), I can state what I want to DO: I want to LIVE a life full of GRACE and TRUTH. And, I want to tell my stories (COMMUNICATE).

That is the beginning of my Personal Mission Statement.

It is my WHAT.

Yours will be different.  Maybe yours is to teach… or to MOLD… or to EQUIP… or to PROVIDE.

Often, there are two or three verbs that go together….

….to serve and support.

….to teach and to inspire.

….to create and demonstrate and reclaim.

….to engage, enlighten, and embrace.

YOUR Personal Mission Statement will begin to emerge…. keep working at it. Distill it down.

Now, I need a WHY and a FOR WHOM.

My WHY is to help people see that they are NOT STUCK.

They CAN CHANGE.

They ARE ABLE.

THERE IS MORE.

My WHY is also that I want to keep changing, keep growing, keep learning. To do that, I need to keep having stories to tell.  I need to keep hearing others’ stories and understanding. I need to keep living in GRACE and TRUTH.

My WHO is broad….and narrow. My WHO doesn’t have an age or a demographic or a particular audience…at least my personal missions statement doesn’t (My business plan does). My WHO is whoever I can reach…whoever will hear and appreciate my stories, whoever can relate.  Whoever is ready to think about change for better.

My own personal mission is to live a life of grace and truth
and to tell my stories that have the potential to change lives.

Here is the formula and the outline for Your Personal Mission Statement

Writing your personal mission statement is not starting something new.
It is putting on paper what you are already doing, in most cases.
It is identifying and defining how you want to live.

Identify Satisfaction

Do you know what would bring you satisfaction and fulfillment?

Before we come to the final step of actually writing your Personal Mission Statement, have you had the chance to think about what you value, which qualities are important to you, or which strengths you possess? 

Do you know what it will take to truly satisfy you?

Here is a true one-day story in my life that was life lesson and showed me the importance of identifying, and communicating, what would satisfy me.

Early in the day, I spoke on the phone with a friend who was complaining about her husband coming home and playing with her children instead of helping her with the after-dinner clean up.  I reminded her that a few weeks before, she had told me she wished he would spend more time with the children when he came home from work instead of helping her in the kitchen.  “hmmp,” she responded.  “This isn’t what I meant.”

A few hours later, I was on the phone with another friend.  I asked her if she wanted to run to the store with me.  “No,” she said.  “I have to go to town with my husband.  He is picking up horse feed and then we’ll get a burger.”  I told her that was awesome!  She had told me a week before that she had told her husband she wished he would include her in his life more.  “Going to town for horse feed and a burger is not what I had in mind,” she told me.

Later that day, Dave and I ended up in the same room at the same time for a bit and I told him I had been thinking about something and wanted his perspective.  “I think men want their wives to be satisfied,” I told him.  No argument from him.  “In fact, I think I understand that even if it is only because their lives will be easier, they want their wives to be happy, right?”  He was warming to my topic.

I had been thinking all day that these two husbands, both of whom I knew well, had every intention of satisfying their respective wives by doing what they thought their wife wanted.  One clearly had heard his wife say she would be happier if he spent more time with their children in the evenings, so he did exactly what he thought would satisfy his wife.  The other husband had clearly heard his wife tell him that she wanted him to include her more in his life which was very full with a job and then a large horse business with his father.  His intention was to satisfy her longing to spend more time together by asking her to ride along with him on chores.

But, neither wife was satisfied.  And it was not their husbands’ fault (at least not this time).

My conclusion, which I shared with Dave, was that if we could assume that men wanted their wives to be happy and that they would change their behavior to that end if they had a clue what to do, then it is a wife’s responsibility to determine what will satisfy her.  And to communicate that to her husband.  (And then, possibly, to remember it.)

A man wants a happy wife.  If momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy and all that.  A lot of men, I am sure want to please their wives because they love them deeply.  But, even if the only reason is to simplify their own life and minimize the at-home drama and stress, a man doesn’t have to be a rocket scientist to realize that a satisfied wife is a better life.

So, the responsibility for my own personal satisfaction lies squarely with me.  I need to determine what will satisfy me.  Not an easy task, really, with so many options and so little time (or discipline) to sort through all the options to determine what will deeply, not just make me happy for a moment, but satisfy me.

Dave whole-heartedly agreed with my conclusions.  Men want their wives to be satisfied.  It would be helpful if women figured out what would satisfy them and then communicate that to their husbands.  Complete agreement, we had on this topic, that day.

On that particular day, Dave and I had an anniversary coming up.  Our 25th, as a matter of fact.  I had been thinking about something significant to celebrate the fairly amazing fact that we had made it to year 25.  We aren’t that great at celebrating ourselves.   I don’t think Dave would argue that he has not exactly been the best at gifting.

“Okay, then.  I have decided what will satisfy me for our 25th anniversary.  I want a ring.”   I do think Dave went a little pale at that point.  He told me later his first thought was, “Oh, no.  She finally wants a diamond.”

“I want a ring.  And I want to like it, so I will pick it out.  But I want you to buy it and give it to me in a way that will make it special.  That is what will satisfy me for our 25th anniversary.”

I have to admit that I sort of surprised myself.  I am extremely practical….to a fault at times, I admit.  Strengths in excess and all that.  I have been satisfied for 39+ years with the $40 white gold band Dave gave me when we married.  But, for some reason, I wanted a ring for our 25th anniversary.  Not to replace anything but to commemorate and celebrate 25 years of making it.  An anniversary ring.

I went off looking for a ring that would satisfy me.  At Sam’s , I looked at anniversary rings and the salesperson told me they were very popular….which made me want something different.  Not what everyone else had.  For several weeks, I casually looked at rings at the mall, in jewelry stores, on other women’s fingers.  Finally, I went into a specialty jewelry store and saw it.  And tried it on.  I liked it because it was different.Find Satisfaction

Rectangular blue sapphire stone, bevel cut.  Two tiny diamonds to the side (I liked it inspite of the diamonds and because they were, if they had to be there, tiny).  The salesperson told me it was one of a kind…..and that if I wanted it, I should at least put it on lay-away so it would be there for our anniversary.  That one-of-a-kind, not-to-be-found-elsewhere ring was truly what would satisfy me.

I told Dave about the ring.  He agreed to go and see it.  This was in May.  Our anniversary is in August.  We could put it on lay-away to wait for our anniversary.  I had it planned and now it was just Dave’s responsibility to buy it and present it in a way that I would be surprised.

At the store, I tried it on.  Dave admired it.  He asked me if I really liked it.  Was this the ring that would satisfy me?  Yes.  Definitely.   “Then,” my relieved and attentive husband said, “we will take it.  Today.”

No waiting for August.  Presented in a very clever and thoughtful way.   He had heard what I said would satisfy me.  And he did it.

I was completely satisfied because I had thought about it.  I had considered and weighed and, a crucial piece,—I believed that Dave wanted to satisfy me.

Now, it is a regular practice of mine to think about what will satisfy me.  It is not always Dave’s responsibility to satisfy me, of course.  I think through options for my day, purchases I need to make, the way I want to dress.  Then, I make sure that the way I spend my time and/or my energy and/or my money will be satisfying…that I will be happy with my decision and investment.

Satisfaction

Being satisfied is a good way to be at peace.

(full disclosure….I remember this as being a all-in-one-day mantra day, but I have a feeling that actually, it took a little longer for me to reach this good and deep insight.)

Less Complex

sim·pli·fy   [to make less complex or complicated; make it easier]

Less Complex

The direction of your focus is the direction your life will move. Let yourself move toward what is good, valuable, strong and true.   – Ralph Marston

 

One great way we simplified is that we moved.

First, from 37 acres and 5 buildings to .37 acres and 2200sf.

Then, to a 2-bedroom condo.

Then, to a little bungalow with a basement and small yard.

With each move, we shed a little more of our “stuff.” Garage sales, donations, online sales.

I did learn that if I was not at the garage sale, I should be ready to find that a precious treasure of mine just might not be viewed the same way by my husband and I may never see it again. (Telling, though, that I cannot remember one specific item that disappeared that way.)

With one move, we had hauled some family furniture to another state.  Oak dining table, cherry secretary, more recently purchased leather sofa and love seat.

Facing another move,  I polled our children to find not one of them were interested in these heirlooms.  They all had their own homes, their own styles and were not as attached to our shared pieces as I expected.  When faced with moving them again purely for my own pleasure, I offered them to an employee who had just purchased a home.  It was with great simplicity that we rented a UHaul truck and packed it ourselves to move along to our next home.

And, they would not have fit in our next home, anyway.

What is one way you can simplify to make your life less complex?

Find Your Place

Finding the place….the spot to be creative is so key to production. 
It’s sort of like knowing what to do when you get to the gym.

 

My favorite writing place is a coffee shop that is usually abuzz with conversations.  It is across from my office, so easily gotten to.  They have “Old Hippie” tea that is an afternoon (too late for coffee) treat. (Although I feel a bit trite in ordering it….an old hippie of sorts, myself.)  An occasional “guacamole salad” or “pear and brie pizza” makes for a tasty splurge.  Some days, a glass of water and the place to park suffices.

Today, a young woman is having a lively interaction with someone via computer in a language I can’t identify. A young man is poring over technical looking documents on his laptop. A family (judging by the variety of ages) is enjoying cocoa and chai and lattes. Others of us are focused on our laptops and tablets, with and without headphones.

I like the chatter.  I like the mix. In close quarters, I asked the young videographer what he was creating.  Turns out, he is “almost 27” and he has never thought of his ThirdThird.  Of course.  He is trying to figure out how to move from his FirstThird/Learning phase to his SecondThird/Earning phase (literally….he hopes someone will purchase his video idea).  I think he enjoyed and appreciated my interest in his efforts.  I hope he occasionally thinks about being purposeful with his life.