If you wrote the recipe for thriving in life, what ingredients would you include? Would it have a ‘pinch of this’ and a ‘pinch of that’? What would your secret ingredient be?
My guest this week, in the Over 50 & Thriving series, gave me pause to think of what my recipe for thriving would be. Agnes from Sassy, Savvy, Successful (don’t you love the name of her blog?) shares her thoughts and experience since turning 60 and how she developed the perfect recipe for her life.
You can connect with Agnes through her website and social media links at the end of her post. Meanwhile, I’m working on my recipe and perhaps I’ll share with you in a future post.
Writing your own recipe to Thrive
My name is Agnes and I am “Over 50”. Okay, Okay… 60 is in the rear view too!
I’ve always been an out-going introvert, a do-er, a glass-half-full-so-pour-some-more-wine kind of person. I usually described myself as a Pollyanna-type.
So to wake up on the morning of my 60th birthday feeling energy-less and despondent about that number, came as a huge surprise. The fact that it took every ounce of my willpower to get out of bed and handle my responsibilities was bizarre to me. I couldn’t shake the ominous realization that I now, officially, had fewer years ahead of me than behind me (yes, even at 50 I felt pretty confident I still had more than half to go!)
That was almost four years ago.
Fortunately, I did have responsibilities: I was a paid caregiver to a live-in client. That meant I had to keep going through the motions day after day. After 50+ years as a Pollyanna, however, I knew this mindset had to get fixed! and fast!
Having always considered myself a strong person I was too proud to ask friends for advice. But… I did have the worldwide web at my disposal and I dug in.
I had been following a few online thought leaders so I started there.
The common recommendations for a fruitful life were pretty standard:
- Gratitude and
I researched those four exercises and created some daily rituals. Even when my bed was the most attractive item in the house, I pushed myself to complete my rituals. Duty kept me out of bed for the remainder of the day.
And guess what! Those recommendations worked! It took a few months, I admit, but Perseverance is one of my middle names!
With my ‘recovery’ came the realization that I, and I alone, am responsible for my life, and I need to Live it!
I decided to start saying Yes! to life and make my last chapters my best chapters! To Thrive, you might say.
May I share some of the highlights of the last 4 years now?
An acquaintance messaged me that she and the elderly mother she was care-giving had to move unexpectedly and she didn’t have a clue where she could land on short notice. Come share my massive great 5-bedroom house said I, and they were in within a fortnight. She’s now a close friend!
Six months later, lunch with a realtor friend led him to ask if I was interested in selling the big house. I’m open but I’m not gonna list because that means more work. Within a week, the house was sold for a handsome price with a distant closing date so all my housemates had time to organize themselves.
Throwing caution to the wind, I put an ad on Craigslist asking for ‘a place to land’ anywhere south of my current location. A woman from a city I had never considered answered my ad immediately and, after meeting her and her suite, I said Yes! She is now a dear friend.
A lazy Saturday afternoon a year and a half later, I was browsing the web for nothing in particular and a suite in a house in a lovely part of my favourite city, and only a few blocks from my daughter and grandchildren, popped into a corner of my monitor. I relocated a month later.
Those are some of the great events, and there have been fabulous people too.
- Like the trusted mechanic who found me a lovely little car to buy within 24 hours when my van died mid-move.
- Like the local mechanic who suggested a great charity when I didn’t know how to dispose of my deceased van.
- Like the dentist who listened and gave me a fix for a long-term frustration at a price I could afford.
- Like the young man from days gone by who jumped into his car at a moment’s notice to deliver a rare part for my fun car – four hours out of his day including our quick visit.
- Like the lovely physiotherapist I hadn’t seen in 15 years who assessed a new injury and had me on the road to recovery within days.
Am I lucky? Am I blessed? Absolutely! But I do need to point out something here. Everything I mentioned above has happened thanks to other people.
As we get older, a lot of things happen. Family moves on to their own adventures; spouses might depart; friends start dying; we settle into our habits and let Life happen. It’s not a recipe for Thriving!
Like the rest of the people Over 50 & Thriving, you and I need to write our own recipe for Thriving.
What brings you Joy? Make a list even if you need to clear away the cobwebs of your past to retrieve those memories.
Reach out to people and ask for ideas, or company – by this age, we know a whole bunch of people even if they don’t qualify as close friends. Putting on my Pollyanna hat here – what’s the worst that can happen? they’ll say No Thanks. or they might say Great Idea!
Use social media: not to stay cloistered behind your keyboard but to find local groups of interest you can join. Meet-up and Facebook and Instagram have fabulous search features.
I really hope you make your decision today to Thrive as you enter your 2nd half. The first half may have kept you answering the calls of duty to parents and spouses and children and employers and that’s fine, that’s the status quo.
The challenge I make to you today is to put at least one Thrive ingredient into the chat below. Put it out there for the world to see and then start finding ways to taste it!
I’m excited to read your responses!