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How are These Unique New Houses Uniting Families?


The other day I stumbled across a unique ad and immediately decided that I needed to write an article about it. It was a relatively new way to solve an age-old problem.

For thousands of years, families have lived under one roof. Children, parents, grandparents, and sometimes even aunts, uncles, and cousins used to live in one home. This tradition evolved into the “in-law suites” that were so popular in the early 1900s. However, in-law suites lost their appeal in the late 1940s, after WWII, which has added to the increase in retirement homes.

More and more often families are thrown on opposite sides of the country, and when the older generation gets too old to take care of themselves they are put in a retirement home. It seems that the days of many generations living under one roof is gone.

plan_imgEnter Next Gen Homes. These homes took the idea of the in-law suite and brought it into the 21st century. These homes are literally two homes under one roof. There is the main residence which is connected to the smaller home with a wraparound porch. The smaller home includes a kitchen, living area, bedroom, bathroom, laundry room, and even it’s own garage.

The company selling these homes (Lennar) are trying to show the flexibility that comes with this style of home. One family turned the smaller residence into a music studio, others invited parents or children to live with them. Click here to find out more.

So this leads me to my final question, and I hope that you comment below! Would you live in a Next Gen home? Would you invite your parents? Your children? Turn it into a workshop/business?  What do you think of this re-invention of the in-law suite? Let me know!


Reclaim Your Playful, Passionate, & Purposeful Future



So many people think that they don’t have control over their future once they find themselves in the midst of midlife. We want to change all of that.

The Back Forty teaches that:

“The only way you will ever be able to create your own radical future of play, passion, and purpose is by enabling yourself to have a say over how life will go from here on out.”

– Darrell Gurney, Co-Founder of The Back Forty

Take a moment to think about that. How many times have you caught yourself thinking that you are who you are or that you can’t change the path of your life?

The Back Forty teaches that you have a say over how your life will go. You can control your future, if you just take the time to invest in it. The second half of your life can be full of playfulness, passion, and purpose. You just have to decide that you want it to.


Remember the History of Veterans Day when Celebrating Today

Military uniform with faded boards painted in American USA flag

Veterans Day. Everyone knows it and everyone knows that the day is used to thank veterans for their service. But how many people actually know the history behind why we celebrate it?

November 11, 1919

President Woodrow Wilson declared the first Armistice Day in remembrance of the end of WWI (which took place a year earlier).

June 4, 1926

Congress requested annual proclamations calling for the observance of November 11th.

May 13, 1938

Armistice Day was officially declared a legal holiday as “a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace”.

May 26, 1954

President Dwight Eisenhower signed into law the idea that Armistice Day should celebrate all veterans, not just those who died in WWI. President Eisenhower had been given this idea by a WWII veteran in 1945 before he became president.

June 1, 1954

Congress amended the law to replace “Armistice” with “Veterans” which leads us to the Veterans Day we know today.

So how are you celebrating Veterans Day today? Are you taking a moment to remember all veterans who have served our country? Maybe you can think about just how much our country has gone through. Or maybe you just thank the veterans in your life.

However you choose to celebrate this special day, remember the history behind it!


Unknown Faith-Face


“Whenever we proceed from the known into the unknown we may hope to understand, but we may have to learn at the same time a new meaning of the word ‘understanding.’”

– Werner Heisenberg

We often hear the terms “game face” and “poker face” as to the countenance we are to assume when moving into particular arenas and what we want to accomplish while on the field.

But what about when we are placed on playing fields we don’t understand and, therefore, don’t know what we want to accomplish…or even IF there is something to accomplish there?

I’m speaking of that great and mostly avoided turf called “the unknown”.

We avoid any opportunity to play those games like the plague!  Especially as we move into the latter, second-half years of life by when we have made LOTS of decisions as to who we are, how the world is, what’s really possible for us and our life, etc.

We tend to make permanent residence in the comfortable and known, because we’ve played (our safety-seeking voice says) “too much or too haphazardly in the past and got hurt, burned or, sure as hell, didn’t look good.”  Failure and its cousins – such as not looking good, making a mistake, appearing to not already “know” how to do something – become not only unwelcomed guests but wanted-poster criminals to be shot on site.

The Back Forty is founded on a philosophy that we (the Founders) and you have yet to do what we came here to do.  No matter what we may have achieved in the first half of life, we say our biggest hand and most purposeful game is yet to be played.

On that playing field, we suggest that Faith-Face is the countenance to assume while playing, and that looking for and diving into “the unknown”s of ourselves, our world and what’s possible for us is where the score really matters.

If you’re really playing a Back Forty Big Game as your future, you will want to explore who you are beyond the decisions you’ve made from life’s first half of research and development.  You’ll want to question the fixedness (can you say atrophy?) that comes from attitudes about people and the world that you arrived at from the game’s bumps and bruises.  And you’ll want to give your Self the opportunity to discover – from all of that first half R & D – your Formula of Unique Self Expression (FUSE) that only you could concoct given the particular life and times you’ve led.

We say that everything that has occurred, is occurring, or will occur in your life are the PERFECT and EXACT elements necessary to position you to be or do what you came here to be or do.

So, approaching the absolutely requisite unknown with Faith-Face forward is the quickest way to capitalize on your research.

Where can you embrace and faith-face the unknown in your life and times today?  For what reason is life EXACTLY the way it is right now to enable you to be and do what you came here to be and do?

Join us in this exciting exploration into the unknown of what lies in your own Back Forty.  It’s time to be surprised at what you’ve discovered about your Self.

“It would be wonderful to think that the future is unknown and sort of surprising.”

– Alan Rickman


What Defines Middle Age & How to Empower Your Midlife Experience

Portrait Of Mature Men Giving Women Piggy Backs

The words “middle age” have been searched on Google over 8,400 times in the past 24 hours in the US. People are asking so many questions, but the overreaching question seems to be “what is middle age?”.

As simple as this question seems, it has so many additional meanings. When people ask what middle age is, they are also asking what ages are considered middle age and what the definition of middle age is. Ultimately, they want to know if they are middle aged.


Middle age, an age no one seems to want to be. Once you are middle aged you are no longer young, you are boring, you are no longer fun, you are old, and you are no longer cool. The stigmas can go on and on. But is that really true? I hear so many of my friends who are technically middle aged saying, “but I don’t feel middle aged!”

Well let’s start with the definition. According to the Oxford English Dictionary middle age is “The period after early adulthood and before old age, about 45 to 65”. Not terribly specific – so why is middle age met with so much dread?

There seems to be this preconceived notion that once you hit middle age, the best is all behind you. I disagree with this wholeheartedly. I believe that middle age has the potential to be the best years of your life. There is a concept made popular by The Back Forty that states that the first half of your life is just research and development and that the best is yet to come.

So take the first step towards making the second half of your life the best half and download the Top Ten Tips for Life’s Radical Second Half by clicking on the link below!


Reward Yourself: Enjoy the Extra Hour of Sleep You Need!

woman-601568_1920Tonight only! You get the sleep you so desperately need and deserve!

Daylight savings time ends tonight at 2:00 AM, which means that all of the clocks (except for most in Arizona) are falling back an hour. So if your alarm goes off at 5:30 each morning, tonight you get to relish in the fact that 5:30 will actually feel like 6:30 when you wake up.

Now, if you still have an alarm clock that you have to manually change, don’t forget! Nothing is worse than waking up an hour early simply because you forgot to change your clocks. So switch all of your clocks back an hour tonight and reward yourself with an extra hour of sleep.

After all, it only comes once a year!


The Gift Inside My Fear



First days of being out on my own.

I knew within a week that I had made a mistake. I had left a position at the radio station where I worked, to take a position in their sales department. Lured by rumors of high sales commissions, I had rationalized the change by telling myself I could use some sales and business experience, to add to my growing body of creative experience as a voiceover artist and recording engineer.

I hated it. I hated the pressure of meeting quotas, and morning “rah-rah” sales meetings, but put on a good face for a year, when one morning I woke up and realized I couldn’t tolerate one more day. So I turned in my resignation and drove home in tears of relief and fear.

I was terrified. How would I support myself? I was 28 years old, unmarried, with a mortgage to pay and a cat to feed, and in desperation, I decided to try meditation as a defense against the persistent voices in my head that told me I had really screwed it up this time.

I got a book that suggested I lay down so my spine would be straight (the better for the energies to flow?) and empty my head of thoughts. Thoughts like, “Am I doing this right? What about now? Oh darn, there goes another thought.” I stuck with it, though, and a funny thing happened. I began to hear another quiet voice, one that encouraged me to relax, that everything would work out just fine. At first I was skeptical. Could I trust it? The feeling of reassurance was so consistent, however, that I thought, “Why not?” and listened closely.

That quiet voice inspired me to reach out to people I knew in the broadcast production industry, and the timing was magical. Within weeks I had a steady gig doing both on-camera work and training as a production assistant. Thirty years later, I have found success in the marketing, advertising, and film industries.

I needed that voice again a decade later, when I knew I needed to end my first marriage, but was afraid of being out on my own. How would I support myself? As before, I had known for a year that our relationship had gradually become disconnected, and my resentment and sadness had become a too-familiar companion. “Have I failed?” I wondered. I was afraid that leaving my husband would confirm my deepest fears about myself—that I was unlovable unless I was perfect.

I struggled for months, hoping a miracle would happen and we would again be happy. But nothing changed. One day, I woke up and my fear of what I would become if I stayed was greater than my fear of what I would face if I left. I was terrified, and yet, I knew this time to listen for the encouraging voice inside me. That voice guided me to find a therapist and work through my resentment, and that going to dinner alone wouldn’t kill me, but open me up to interesting conversations with new people. A small client expectedly expanded into a big one, and my fears of not being able to provide for myself gradually eased. I learned to count on a steady stream of abundance that I worked hard to create.


Happy at last!

With the passing of my years, I have come to realize that packed alongside every one of my fears is also the gift of courage that comes from trusting our own quiet voice inside: our inner wisdom. I was surprised the first time I shared the story of leaving the radio station for life unknown and someone exclaimed, “That was so brave!” It took me a while to own my courage, because it sure didn’t feel like it at the time. I own it, now, remembering the earlier times in my life where I was afraid and yet trusted that I could figure something out, even if I wasn’t sure if I could. That knowing has come in handy, when I was again afraid upon meeting the kind man who would become my second husband. I had one marriage that didn’t work out, could I try again? I ultimately decided that I could, and we have just celebrated our third wedding anniversary. The gift of my fears led me to be lovingly vigilant about doing the things that make our relationship happy, solid, and fulfilling to us both.  

I can say that being afraid at age 58 doesn’t feel any better than it did at age 28. There are always things in life that kick up fears like a car on a dusty road. But I now face the unknown with a little more curiosity and self-trust than I used to, and that makes all that earlier discomfort well worth it.



“The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers.”

– Thich Nhat Hanh


In our Back Forty, the second half/best half of life, it’s easy to make statements like “this is just the way I am”, “been there, done that” or “I see where this is going”…because, face it, we’ve been around the block a few times, yes?

However, when we come from all the infinite “wisdom” that we’ve amassed, it can actually restrict us because we rest on fixed and immovable opinions about ourselves, our world and what we perceive (from our also amassed and very logical interpretations) as possible and what’s not.

I recently began to explore my “mood of being” in the world as I play my Big Game Back Forty Future and noticed that, even as the pieces of my game puzzle are falling into place in wonderful ways, I was carrying around a resident mood of hard work and struggle.

It showed up like this: no matter that more and more manifestations of good were showing up with ease and grace according to my game, I was using other outside venues to be “frustrated”: traffic on the freeway, customer service issues with vendors, and various other so-minor-they’re-laughable problems.

A friend in my Back Forty Community suggested that I take the time to actually be “present” to all the good happening, to actually drive in peace as I focus on how good life is becoming, and to watch my tendency to bring old patterns into my life just because I’m used to them (e.g., venting when various issues arise with phone, internet, services, etc.).

I saw that I was in a new place, where life is really good and getting better and better. Yet, I hadn’t let go of old, perhaps subconscious, patterns I adopted when working to “get there.”

It had me realize that I’m probably not the only one who – coming into what can be “the best is yet to come” part of life – might be carrying forward certain undistinguished ways of being adopted from past situations and circumstances of life.

If we’re to really fulfill on this second half/best half of “what we came here to do”, then being able to play in the PRESENT is critical.

Perhaps “presence” has three aspects we can consider.

One is our actually being “present”, which means not only staying out of the past and future so as to be in this moment with the people we’re with right now…but also being present to our internal state of thoughts, feelings and emotions vs. projecting them.

Another is the “presence” we bring of our Self into any situation. The small s “self” rarely brings the same value that our big S “Self” affords.

Yet one more is the “Presence” which we allow to move through and guide us, whatever we consider that bigger-than-us intelligence to be. It’s actually one of the “7 Critical Embraces for a Radical Second Half”, the tag line of our upcoming book, “The Back Forty”, and the content of our INFUSE Program.

Your Big Game Back Forty Future will require all of YOU just as it will require all of me.  If we consider that the first half of life was just R&D, research and development, to only DISCOVER who we really are and what we came here to do, a renewed relationship with presence is required.

“Presence is more than just being there.”

– Malcolm Forbes


Ultimate Aging Advice: How to Keep Your Skin Healthy & Beautiful

Happy Healthy Skin Month!

November is National Healthy Skin Month, so I thought it was only fair that I created a post dedicated to helping women in midlife keep their skin looking healthy and beautiful. Healthy skin is extremely important, and as you create your second half of life, it gets absolutely vital!

You may find yourself wondering, “Is it normal for my skin to be doing this?” or “What should I be doing to promote having healthy skin?”. After all, there are TONS of anti-aging and anti-wrinkle creams and products out there, but how do you keep your skin looking healthy and how do you know which products are the best?

Well, I’ve done some research so that I can bring you the answers you want and need.

First of all, the most important thing to know is MOISTURIZE! As you age, your skin is literally deflating. By moisturizing regularly, you help your skin stay hydrated and smooth. When looking for moisturizers, the two most important things to look for are SPF and Retinoid. By making sure your moisturizer has at least an SPF 15, you can help protect your skin from skin cancer. By choosing moisturizers with retinoids, you are able to speed up your cells. Retinoids target the DNA in skin cells to boost the cell’s functions.

My other big tip is to remember the rest of your skin! While you face should get the most attention, making sure to moisturize your jawline, neck, and chest on a regular basis is just as important.

To find out how your skin changes as you age, what the top three moisturizing products are, and more, check out the infographic below:


Most importantly, don’t assume that wrinkles are something you need to get rid of. Just ask The Back Forty Co-Founder Alexandra Levin. Check out her blog series about why she is in love with her wrinkles!


Have the Courage to Make Your Life an Adventure


Are you a victim or an adventurer?

Paulo Coelho couldn’t have said it better. If you view your life as something beyond your control then you will always be a victim of it. The first step of becoming an adventurer is to take control of your life. You are not stuck in your job, your relationship, your routine. You are an adventurer who can change your future.

You can create whichever future you desire. You just have to take the first step and decide that you can.