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I Am In Love with My Wrinkles (Part 3)

Portrait Of Senior Friends In Park Together

Click here to read part two.

I’ve been sharing with you that I am in love with my wrinkles.  Here’s how I got to fall in love with them…

It all hit me one sunny Sunday morning as Darrell and I were making our way through Los Angeles traffic.   I thought about how I have been transformed by the gift of my life’s challenges, wins and losses, and how much I love the older and wiser version of my Self that I have become.  I saw that my wrinkles are not only part of the package that came with those life experiences, but they were the very stripes and awards earned due to them.  I realized that who I am today is inseparable from the wrinkles that formed me.

Every wrinkle, every experience, every lesson I learned and challenge I faced, contributed to making me exactly who I am today.  All the gifts and talents I now possess and use to create my life according to my own design, to live it on my own terms, and to contribute to others are represented in those wrinkles.  Because of everything I claimed along with the territory of those wrinkles, I am now creating my own inspiring, playful, passionate, and radically purposeful second half of life.

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My grandmother loved her wrinkles!

According to the Ancient Art of Chinese Face Reading, when we erase our wrinkles, we erase our gifts.  Our wrinkles show how we have lived our life and even what we are designing in our future.  Horizontal lines on the face are signs of lessons learned in life when we experience challenging times.  This philosophy states that, if we remove those wrinkles, we lose the lesson… which means we may encounter the same challenge again to re-learn the lesson.  Now why would we want to do that!

My wrinkles remind me of my growth, the path I have traveled, and who I am becoming.  They serve as road signs alerting me to utilize my choice of who I want to be.  They wake me up daily to the power I have to transform who I am as a matter of my word and commitments.

In The Back Forty, we propose that we have all chosen the specific experiences and events of our lives to create a laboratory for research and development which, when assessed, allow us to discover what we are really here to do.

My wrinkles remind me of the lab experiments I chose to conduct in my life to gain the gifts, the learnings, and the growth I now possess.…which give me the keys to an exciting, joyful, and radical Back Forty – my second half – and to living it on my own terms.

I am in love with my wrinkles.

And I invite YOU to fall in love with YOURS.

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Endure-Dance

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“Development is an endurance exercise with incremental improvements.”

-Sri Mulyani Indrawati

Building character, confidence, a skill, a career, a business, a country all take time.

There’s the dance uphill from unconscious incompetent all the way to unconscious competent.

It requires endurance for sure, and just as much patience…for when we or it ain’t happening.

I tell my Back Forty and coaching clients that, to the degree we want to grow, it requires an equal amount of self compassion.

Without the latter, it’s impossible to hang in there long enough for the nurturing of that which we want to build.

Ever stood over a fledgling plant and screamed “Grow!!”  How’s that working for ya?

Where can you turbo-boost your desired growth by directing forgiveness toward yourself today?

Got endure-dance?

“Heroism is endurance for one moment more.”

-George F. Kennan

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6 Ways to Fail Your Midlife Experience

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Everyone’s midlife experience is different, but regardless of the path you are following, here are 6 ways to absolutely fail at midlife!

  1. Believe that your life is already decided and you can’t change the way things are: Your second half of life isn’t set in stone. Thinking that you “are who you are” isn’t only a defeatest viewpoint, it’s also wrong. Yes, you have done a lot of soul searching to become who you are today. You have experiences that have shaped you, but that doesn’t make you stuck. That doesn’t make it impossible to change your life for the better.
  2. Hang on to your past struggles and mistakes as part of who you are: Everyone has hardships and struggles, but letting those struggles define who you are is a big mistake. To thrive in your midlife, you must first decide to plan for the future instead of dwell on the past. Your struggles do not decide your future, you do.
  3. Embrace your “midlife crisis”: Not only is embracing and dweling on your midlife crisis dangerous, but research has actually found that midlife crises are based largely in fiction. Deciding that you are going to embrace what you feel is a midlife crisis can cause a lot of unneccessary hardship. If you feel you are going through a midlife crisis the first step to getting out of that funk is to change your perspective. You aren’t struggling through a midlife crisis you are growing due to midlife opportunity.
  4. Decide that it’s naive to think you can do what you love and find your purpose: This is a common misconception among midlifers. Many people look at younger generations, whether it is their children or co-workers, and think that the reason for their positive outlook is simply because they are inexperienced in the “real world”. This thought process hinders your ability to make your second half of life better than your first. Think of the first half of your life as research and development for your second half, and realize that you can find your dream career and your purpose in midlife.
  5. Understand that you have already learned everything you need to know and that there is no reason to spend time being curious and acquiring new knowledge: You are never too old to learn something new. I don’t know many people who would disagree with this statement, but at the same time I know many people who live their lives like they don’t need to learn anything new. It is easy to get stuck in your day-to-day routine and go days or weeks without bothering to learn anything new. In order to thrive in midlife you must rembember to be curious about the world around you and never stop learning.
  6. Believe that it’s all downhill from here: This is a relatively common viewpoint of people in midlife. You’re getting older, you’ve reached a plateau in your career, the reasons are endless. But who decided these things are bad? Life has the opportunity to continue getting better and better, you just have to decide that you want it to. Learn to love your wrinkles, decide it’s time to ask for that better position or get a new one. You have the power to change your future.

As I said earlier, those are some absolutely wonderful ways to fail your midlife experience. If you noticed yourself as being subject to some of those thoughts or if you are just looking for a way to make your midlife better, click here and get your Top Ten Tips for a Radical Second Half of Life!

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I Am In Love with My Wrinkles (Part 2)

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Click here to read part one.

As I mentioned before, I am in love with my wrinkles.  I have shared a couple of my favorite wrinkles with you, and here are a couple more…

I earned another set of wrinkles when, at 25, I found myself in a lifeless marriage with my first husband and the father of our daughters.   Married for eight years, I had tried everything I knew to make the marriage work.

The wrinkles started to appear when I felt like I had to choose between my daughters having their parents together or me being happy.  More showed up when I finally chose to get a divorce.

What I learned with those wrinkles is that I deserve to be happy, and that I am the only one responsible for that happiness.

I’m keeping that batch of wrinkles for sure.

More stripes were earned a few years ago when I found myself at the end of a 14-year good (second) marriage gone bad.  I had been stuck for the last three years, married to a man who turned emotionally unstable and verbally abusive.  I doubted myself and my value.  I questioned the viability of my gifts and talents.  I forgot how capable I really was. He had me convinced that I would not survive without him…and told me so regularly.

Those wrinkles emerged as I went through the eye of a needle to find the keys to getting unstuck. Why was I staying stuck in a marriage that I really wanted to be free from? I found the answer in the process of reviewing a manuscript for a then friend of mine, Darrell Gurney.  He had asked me and several others to give him feedback on his unpublished manuscript, The Back Forty: 7 Critical Embraces for Life’s Radical Second Half.

Take a peek at what I saw:

I am 19, on that plane out of Russia… I am scared and alone… wondering if I will ever see my parents again… wondering if I am making a mistake…  and I am on my way to the freedom that our family so sorely dreamed of for 13 years… yet, I am afraid of going out into this new free world by myself… I am actually afraid of freedom.

To that 19-year old, freedom looked scary.  At that moment of realization, I saw clearly that what kept me stuck in the marriage was a 19-year-old, scared of the freedom she wanted so badly.  However, now I was no longer a scared 19-year-old.  That story was complete… so I put it back where it belonged, in the past.

Becoming freed up from this past-based fear of freedom, within a day I told my husband that we would be getting divorced and declared that it would be amicable.  Within a few months, I was out of that that marriage… as well as that mindset of fear around my own freedom.

What I gained along with those wonderful wrinkles was the confidence that I can not only survive, but thrive on my own.  I wasn’t sure how I would make it at first, and yet I knew that I would.  Within a few short months, I realized that I could stand financially and mentally on my own two very capable feet.

Click here to read part three.

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Unsettledness

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“People wish to be settled; only as far as they are unsettled is there any hope for them.”

—Ralph Waldo Emerson

The words

  • familiar
  • normal
  • easy
  • cozy
  • regular
  • comfortable
  • standard
  • ordered…

when juxtaposed with

  • growth
  • expansion
  • breakthrough
  • stretch
  • change
  • miracle…

often create oxymorons.

Where in your work, life or purpose for being on the planet can you embrace unsettledness today…and do something about it?

Where’s the next “home”?

Got unsettledness?

“It is good to feel lost… because it proves you have a navigational sense of where “Home” is. You know that a place that feels like being found exists. And maybe your current location isn’t that place but, Hallelujah, that unsettled, uneasy feeling of lost-ness just brought you closer to it.”

–Erika Harris

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The BEST Way to Change Your Life

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Happy Tuesday!

Today I’m on a mission. I’m on a mission to change your life (and my own)! How many times do you catch yourself saying “I wish I had time to…” or “I miss doing…”? For me, it is quite a bit. I say, I miss reading. I wish I had time to journal like I used to. I really do want to get through that list of magazines on the coffee table.

Everyone has a list like this. A list of things that you want to do, but feel like you don’t have the time. Well, earlier today I was watching a TED Talk by Matt Cutts and, as TED Talks often are, I was inspired.

What was the message of this TED Talk?

Try something new.

Now, here is the best part. You don’t try something new just once, you don’t try something new forever. You just have to try to do something for 30 days. I’m a numbers person, I survive on being organized. So when I heard this idea I immediately thought, “30 days, I could do that”.

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Proof of my plan!

You can do something little. You can cut your sugar intake, read for 15 minutes each day, go for a walk after work. Or, you can do something huge. Write a book, remodel that bathroom, train for a 5K. Whatever you choose to do, it is guaranteed to be memorable. And as a bonus, if you do something small, it might just turn into a habit.

What is my personal challenge for this month? I think I am going to journal for at least 5 minutes a day. But I’m already thinking, “What if I forget? What if I don’t have time?”

Well, here is my plan (and maybe it can be your plan too). I have downloaded the Morning Routine app to my phone. When you add a new alarm you can choose the “sequence” option. This way you can scan a specific bar-code (I scanned the one on the back of my journal) and until you scan that specific bar-code, the alarm will not turn off! Okay, maybe you aren’t as stubborn as me, but I need this!

So what is your challenge for the next 30 days? And how will you accomplish it? Comment below and tell me about your plan!

So this month I challenge you,

Do something different for 30 days!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UNP03fDSj1U]

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My Favorite Obscure “Holiday” is This Month!

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Happy Monday everyone, and more importantly, Happy National Book Month!

Books are some of my favorite things. Nothing quite compares with curling up on the couch with a good book, and I think October is the perfect month to observe this national “holiday”. October is when the temperatures start to drop, apple cider and pumpkin spiced coffee flows freely, and it starts to get darker sooner.

Is there anything better than curling up in  your favorite blanket in front of a fire, feeling the crisp air around you, sipping on something warm, and reading one of your favorite books by the light of the fire? I think not.

And so I welcome the month of October with this blog post, and my list of some of my all time favorite books.

Here are my favorite (magical) books of all time:

  1. The Naming by Alison Croggon – If you enjoy reading about magic, history, and medieval lands, this book will have you hooked by the end of “A Note on the Text” before the first chapter. Let me warn you though, this is the first book of the Pellinor Series and if you get hooked as quickly as I did, you will be rushing out to get the next three books as soon as you finish the first!
  2. The Two Princesses of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine – This is a great book that is a pretty short read. It takes place in a medieval land and is centered around the journey of two sisters. If you want to read about the bond of sisterhood or the power that women posses, this is a perfect read for you!
  3. Wild Magic by Tamora Pierce – This book comes with a great big warning! If you start reading this series and are anything like me, you have a lot of reading in your future. This is the first book of the second series of books in this “universe” of books. If you want to start at the beginning (which I probably suggest) the actual book you should find first is Alanna: The First Adventure. This is a really wonderfully in-depth story that spans generations. If you want to fall in love with some characters (and want to be reading consistently throughout the winter) these books are for you. Here is my big warning, there are 5 series in this “universe” which total 18 books to read – but, if you are up to the challenge, they are definitely worth it.
  4. Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling – I couldn’t help myself. Everyone has read these books, and if you haven’t, you need to (although, in my honest opinion, the new screenplay is not worth your time). My favorite in the series is The Goblet of Fire, simply because of the other schools that are introduced and Hermione’s dedication to the house elves! If you want another series to take you through the winter, start at the beginning and go through the original 7 again!

Now, here is my bonus. Since you are reading this blog post, chances are you know about The Back Forty. And if you don’t, check it out! This is The Back Forty Blog after all. What is my bonus you ask? Co-Founder of The Back Forty, Darrell Gurney, recently published two new e-books!

  1. The Birth of the Back Forty by Darrell Gurney – Both of these bonuses are available on Amazon.com. This one is only $2.99 and a great short read about how The Back Forty came to be.
  2. Crisis or Opportunity compiled by Darrell Gurney – This is another great option if you want something a little longer. It includes not only his story, but also the midlife success stories of 6 other authors, comedians, and more.

If you’re still not sure, check out the eBook trailer below!
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V59ip5Z_oks]

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