eo Insights

Life starts with what you believe


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Farewell Forties

Recently I’ve been grappling with the fact that by tomorrow I will have completed my 50th trip around the sun!  I can just hear the ‘Turning 50 Jokes’ now.

‘You know you’re a 50 year old woman when….

  • You purchase your moisturizer by the case instead of by the jar.
  • Your once fabulous behind now looks more like a set of mud flaps.
  • Your hot flashes have saved you money on your heating bill.
  • You finally understand that being over the hill beats being planted under it. (1)

Sad.

For some of you, this milestone has come and gone and you’d encourage me that ‘there’s plenty of living left to do’, ’50 is fabulous’ or ’50 is the new 40′.   Or even as my sister-in-law insisted yesterday ‘You should be proud of yourself.   You look great, you have a wonderful family and you’ve done so much in your life.’  Yes, I truly am very thankful, but even those thoughts aren’t helping me to embrace the BIG 5-0 !

Turning 30 was a breeze, and the 40’s were packed with incredible moments and tremendous memories!  Why should 50 so difficult?

Honestly……I really don’t have any regrets.  My presiding principle in life has been to align my choices with my personal values, which is the same advice I’d give anyone.  So that’s not the issue.  And I don’t feel like I’ve bloomed too late.  I am right where I need to be.  As a matter of fact, I feel quite centered.  Hey…..maybe there’s the answer.  Rather than adopting an ‘I’m old’ attitude, I could focus on being right in the middle of the middle!

These days, modern middle-age is considered to start around 35 and end around 65.  Since our life span has lengthened over the last century, we’re living in the middle longer.  Apparently there’s plenty of benefits to this stage of life!  My research (also known as Googling) indicates that during this time, our middle-aged brain actually performs better than a brain half it’s age.  The logical part of the older brain (inductive reasoning and problem solving) finds solutions faster.  As well, our all-grown-up brain is better at understanding a problem and finding a creative answer, than younger brains.  It analyzes arguments better and strategizes ways to win-win with more efficiency.  And, a Harvard study revealed that financial judgments peak through later middle age.  WOW….to summarize…because we’ve navigated the world longer, we can navigate the world better! (2) YAY!

And since I started writing this blog I have come to think of even more liberating truths that I’ve embraced on the road to the middle.   Like;

  • The point of exercise is to be healthy and not to fit into a size 6 dress.
  • Words can kill faster than sticks or stones.
  • I have experimented with so much hair color that I actually know what looks good on me.
  • My family continues to be my greatest investment.
  • Respect and care for others is a reflection of how someone feels about them self.
  • A smile is the most beautiful accessory.
  • I will never be too old to learn.
  • The more birthdays you have the longer you live.
  • Common sense isn’t very common.
  • I’ve lived so long that every new person I meet reminds me of someone I already know.
  • Every experience counts.
  • God can be trusted.

So as I spend my last few hours on this side of half a century, I have come across one more all important thought, which is likely the secret behind the encouraging words of those who have crossed this milestone ahead of me.  ‘Those who are planted in the house of the Lord …..shall still bear fruit in (middle and old) age; they shall continually be fresh and flourishing.(3)  Now that’s something to celebrate!

(1) http://seniors.lovetoknow.com/Turning_50_Jokes

(2) Thoughts from ‘The Secret Life of the Grown Up Brain’ by Barbara Strauch

(3) Psalm 92:13, 14,  (middle), my literary emphasis.


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Woke Up This Morning With A Valentine’s Day Emotional Hangover?

Barely coped through yesterday?  Not looking forward to another year of marital hurt and disappointment?  For many people, annual day-type celebrations like Valentine’s, can be painful reminders of what is missing in their relationship.

During my preparation for a Valentine’s event I presented at last Saturday night, the words from an ancient epistle(1) struck me as me as a treatment plan to help rehydrate marital expectations.  I am confident that if these three simple steps are followed for the next 364 days,  Valentine’s Day 2013 will leave you with greater relational contentment ….. and not just another headache.

Step 1 – Do nothing out of selfish ambition.  NOTHING???  Yes.  No thing, ixna, noughta, nothing.  No undisclosed plan or hidden agenda.  In other words, question your motivation about everything.  Ask yourself before you speak or act.  Why does _________ have to be done like that?  Is it simply because I want it like that?  Is this request manipulative or underhanded?  Or is it actually what’s best for our relationship?  Selfishness repels but selfless acts have magnetic properties, capable of drawing others closer to yourself.

Step 2 – Esteem your partner higher than yourself.  In other words, pretend that the other person is the most important person in the room.

When a VIP comes over for dinner, everyone is on their best behavior. The best china is used, the VIP gets the best seat in the house and all the best ingredients have been used in food preparations.  What would happen in our marriages if we treated each other, everyday, like they ere the most important person in the room?  Perhaps the daily dialogue would go something like this.  ‘Honey,’ he said ‘let me get that for you, you’ve had a hard day.’  ‘No’, she replied, ‘you’ve had a hard day too, I’ll get it for you.’  ‘But Sweety’, he insists ‘you got it for me last time.’  ‘No, I’ll get it.’ ‘No, let me!’  ‘But sincerely, it’s my turn.’  Can you imagine outdoing one another with good works?  Preferring the others needs above your own?  What would our most significant, most invested earthly relationship be like under these circumstances?  Marriage might actually become fun! (a nice change from hurtful and disappointing.)

Step 3 – Be interested in what the other is interested in.  I often have couples complain to me that  ‘we have nothing in common.’  Obviously, it’s easy to be interested in what interests you (there’s a profound statement).  It’s much more difficult to be interested in the interests of others!

My husband has always loved hockey (good Canadian boy that he is).  I often tease that he grew up worshiping at the altar of Hockey Night in Canada.  My family was the polar opposite.  I really cannot remember ever watching a hockey game before I met Greg at 18 years old!  So, I’ve had to cultivate an interest in our national obsession.  Not just force myself to be interested (begrudgingly), but actually give the game enough focus and attention until I was authentically engaged.  Common interests can be acquired and become natural pathways into the heart of the other.  And to be fair, my husband never really appreciated shopping before he met me….. you know where that’s going.

Developing selflessness and esteem for and interest in others,  is a mindset.  It’s a lifestyle choice.  And we have the pure privilege of making choices for our lives everyday!  So…..it’s the day after Valentine’s.  You have one year.  I truly hope next year’s celebrations bring happiness, contentment and new level of intimacy you’ve never experienced before.  I think it’s possible.

(1) Biblical Reference Philippians 2:3,4