My next guest in the ‘Over 50 and Thriving Series’ is Christie from ‘So What? Now What?. I met Christie through the Blogging Grandmothers Link Party as we are both co-hosts. Christie and I have many things in common including our love of keeping fit and healthy.
I’m delighted to introduce Christie to you with her thoughts on Thriving. Today, Christie discusses Thriving with the four ‘L’s – Living, Learning, Laughing and Loving.
Over 50 & Thriving with Living, Laughing, Learning, Loving
When Sue invited me to share my thoughts about what “Over 50 & Thriving” means to me, a million things went through my head. I thought a million points might be too much for one post, so I decided to narrow the focus to the four points of my life mission statement: live, laugh, learn, love.
Live: health and fitness
Those who think they have not time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness. ~ Edward Stanley
When I first became interested in fitness (back in my 20s), my motivation was looking good. Let’s be honest, I wanted to look like the models in the magazines. I’d try really hard for a day or two and then decide that I was never going to be that thin anyway, so what did it matter? Then I’d plop down on the couch with a bag of tortilla chips; feel guilty; and start the cycle over.
Now that I’m in my 50s, and much more mature (no giggling please), I’m less interested in striving for the ideal body shape and more interested in the long-term health of my body. I want to be strong and flexible with good balance for as long as possible. Plus eating right and being active feels good. Okay—not necessarily in that moment when you’re running the last mile of a long run or declining that decadent chocolate cake because you had french fries at lunch, but certainly afterward. For me, realistic fitness goals are essential to thriving.
The dark does not destroy the light; it defines it. It’s our fear of the dark that casts our joy into shadows.” ~Brene Brown
Joy is a big one. After all, isn’t striving for happiness (for ourself and others) at the core of everything else we do? I don’t know how you can thrive without joy. Sadly, in my 50-plus years I haven’t found a magic pill for a permanent state of happiness (though I understand there are several that provide a pretty good imitation). In all seriousness, I have come to accept that happiness, like sorrow, is a temporary state. Instead of trying to force myself to be joyful all of the time, I have adopted some simple strategies that help me enjoy life more, in good times and in bad.
I begin each day with meditation and a gratitude prayer, and I end each day by writing down three good things that happened during that day. In between the meditation and the journaling, I make an effort to smile—a lot…until my face hurts—and be kind to people throughout the day. Making time and energy for gratitude cultivates joy and contributes to thriving.
Learn: continuous growth
There is no end to education. It is not that you read a book, pass an examination, and finish with education. The whole of life, from the moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learning. ~Jiddu Krishnamurti
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been something of a goal-setting, list-making, self-improvement addict, so it should come as no surprise that I believe life-long learning/growth is key to thriving. But with some life experience under my belt, I have also come to realize the importance of accepting myself as I am—believing that I am good enough just the way I am. How do I reconcile those two beliefs? I am good enough; I can become more.
I like to think about it like this. A newborn baby is the most perfect creature on earth, but you still look forward with anticipation to new developments—the first smile, the first tooth, the first step. When your baby achieves one of these milestones, you clap and cheer, and probably record it on social media; but you don’t say, “Phew! That’s better! Now if only she’d learn to talk, she’d be perfect.” The baby is perfect already; the baby will grow and change and still be perfect. The same logic must be applied to all phases of our lives, if we are to thrive.
Love: human connections
When you are in the final days of your life, what will you want? Will you hug that college degree in the walnut frame? Will you ask to be carried to the garage so you can sit in your car? Will you find comfort in rereading your financial statement? Of course not. What will matter then will be people. If relationships will matter most then, shouldn’t they matter most now? ~ Max Lucado
This brings me to the final value in my mission statement: making connections and nurturing relationships. You could say I’ve saved the best for last. People are, after all, the most important thing in my life. They bring me the most joy, the most pain, the most growth. My best memories are those times I have spent with people I care about.
It’s impossible for me to truly thrive without human connection.
- So why do I find it so difficult to work time for nurturing relationships into my schedule? Why do I agonize over spending an evening with family when I “should be” exercising or writing or cleaning house?
- Why do I hesitate to go to lunch with my coworkers when there’s a lot on my to-do list?
Without exception, when I choose people over the other things demanding my attention, I’m happy with my choice. But the next time the situation comes up, I go through the same tormented decision-making process. The sooner I get this priority straight, the more I will thrive.
So there you have it, my thoughts on being “Over 50 & Thriving.” Thanks to Sue for inspiring me to think about what thriving means to me and how I can do more of it in the coming year. I’d love to hear your definition of thriving and what you’re doing to make it happen.
Christie has spent most of her life, in her own words, as a goal-setting, list-making, self-improvement addict—always pursuing the next big accomplishment in her education, career, and personal life. Then she woke up one morning and realized for the first time, she didn’t know what was next. Her family was raised, she’d reached the top of her career ladder, but wasn’t quite ready for retirement. She started the So What? Now What? blog as a way of sorting out the question of “Now what?” and connecting with other people who are making a life transition or have successfully maneuvered one. Read more About Christie here. You can connect with her in the comment section below, or via the following social media sites. She would love to hear from you.
CONNECT WITH CHRISTIE
Are you thriving with the four ‘L’s? I would love to hear your thoughts so please leave Christie & I a comment below.
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