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Why You Should be Thankful for Your Crises

Crisis.

It’s bad, right? After all, the definition of crisis is a time of intense difficulty, trouble, or danger. How could something dangerous or intensely difficult possibly be good?

What if I told you that a crisis can actually be a great thing and that you should be thankful for all of the crises in your life that you have endured?

Take a moment to read this quote:

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Now, take some time to really think about it. All of the crises you have ever gone through have brought you where you stand today. Think about all of those crises as experiments used to learn new things about yourself and your life. What have you learned?

Maybe you learned about what you value in a life partner through a particularly nasty breakup. Or maybe you learned that a particular field of work just isn’t for you after losing a job that you were too scared to leave. Whatever crises you have gone through, I believe that they have all been for the best.

When you think about it, really think about it, would you take back any of those crises if you could? Would you take back the knowledge that you gained or the opportunities that your crises have brought you? I know that I wouldn’t.

So that is my challenge to you this week:

I challenge you to be thankful for your crises.

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Reclaim Your Playful, Passionate, & Purposeful Future

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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.

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Have the Courage to Make Your Life an Adventure

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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.

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An Interview with Alexandra Levin

If you read our posts regularly, you know that last Saturday I created a post where I interviewed Darrell Gurney.

Now it is only fair that since I did an interview with one co-founder, that I should interview the other! If you are familiar with The Back Forty, you know that Alexandra is also a Co-Founder of the INFUSE Program. If you have attended a Back Forty event, you’ve probably even met her. But, now it’s time to really get to know her!

I sat down with Alexandra and asked her a few questions, including her most profound memories, her motto, and her favorite color (purple).

Read below to find out more about Alexandra!

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The Top 12 Apps Everyone in Midlife Needs (+5 Bonus Apps)

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In our busy world, apps make everything easier. After all, the phrase “there’s an app for that” wasn’t coined for nothing. Especially when you are in midlife, things can get hectic. Between family and work, sometimes it’s hard to keep everything straight. That’s why I came up with this list. These apps are guaranteed to make your life simpler. Don’t believe me? Check them out for yourself!

To Avoid Traffic

wazeWaze

Waze is the world’s largest community-based traffic and navigation app. Other Waze users share real-time traffic and road information to make everyone’s drive better. Getting alerts on traffic is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this app. Waze can also tell you if there is debris in the road, how bad that accident ahead really is, if there is a cop hiding out around the corner, and so much more. Ultimately, Waze makes it possible to outsmart traffic, together.

To Get (and Stay) Fit

FitnessBuilder.PNGFitnessBuilder

The free version of this app offers plenty for anyone looking to start a fitness routine. At the free level you have access to 16 different multi-week fitness plans, 200 videos and pictures explaining how to do different exercises, and over 400 individual workouts. You also have the ability to pick your specific workout goal, your current fitness level, and specify which equipment you have available to make sure that your workouts are perfect for you. If you choose to pay for the Plus membership ($6.99/month or $59.99/year), you have access to over 1,000 different workouts, over 7,000 videos and pictures, and 22 different fitness plans. You also gain the ability to ask a trainer questions about your workout and create your own exercises. Regardless of the option that works for you, you have the ability to track and log all of your workouts, record your body measurements, and chart your progress.

c25kC25K

C25K literally stands for “Couch to 5K” and I feel that title says it all. If you want to train for a 5K or even just learn how to become a runner, this app is for you. This app is an 8-week program where you schedule 3 times a week to go running. Each session includes a warm-up and a cool-down and lasts less than 45 minutes. C25K has you start slow by alternating walking for 90 seconds and then jogging for 60 seconds. As the weeks progress, you begin running more and more. It also gives you the ability to have music play through the app so that you can listen to your music and the cues to start walking or jogging at the same time. The best part, it’s all free!

To Be Productive

any.do.PNGany.do

This app syncs your personal tasks, work projects, and shared lists so you have a clear path moving forward. With any.do you can create the most comprehensive to do lists you have ever made. You can separate your tasks into sections like work, school, or home. Then within those sections you can break down tasks by day and even have sub-tasks for each of your tasks. You can also create team tasks. For example, if you are working on a group project at work you can create a team of your co-workers where everyone can see, edit, and add to the list. And the teams aren’t limited to your work life. Make a team of two with you and your spouse. Need your spouse to pick up groceries on their way home? Just send them a group list with what you need. These are just some of the features that set any.do apart from it’s competiton. Check it out for yourself to see what else you can accomplish.

To Find the Best Deals

retailmenotTo Find Coupons: RetailMeNot

RetailMeNot has just about every online and in-store coupon at your fingertips. When you are out shopping, just pull up this app while you are in the checkout line and by the time you reach the cashier you can have a 25% off coupon in your hand. This app also can notify you of nearby sales and deals as you drive around town and give you access to discounted gift cards. If you’re always looking for a deal, this app is for you.

key-ringTo Declutter Your Key Ring: Key Ring

Between the loyalty cards on your key ring and the loyalty cards in your wallet how many do you have? Chances are, you have enough that you feel like you are always searching for the right on. Well this app was created to solve that problem, as well as help clean out your wallet and key ring. You can scan any of your loyalty cards into this app and then those cards will be available through the app! No more carrying around endless loyalty cards or searching for the right one. But that isn’t all Key Ring can do. You can also scan the weekly ads from the stores where you have loyalty cards and make shopping lists based on what you find.

SnipSnap.PNGTo Never Forget a Physical Coupon Again: SnipSnap

If you are anything like me, you have a pile of coupons sitting at home and that pile stays there until you’re at the store and find yourself thinking, “I had a coupon for that!”. SnipSnap was created to fix that problem. When you get a coupon, just scan it into the app and then it will be waiting on your phone when you’re ready for it. The other awesome feature of this app is that you can snap a picture of an item you want to purchase and SnipSnap will search for deals on that item! If you’re bad at couponing, this app can change your life.

To Find Books to Read (& To Find Time to Read Them)

goodreads.PNGGoodreads

If you are a reading enthusiast, this app is for you. Goodreads is the world’s largest social network for readers. You can find thousands of book reviews by Goodreads members, keep a virtual bookshelf of what you’ve read, and build your to-read list as you discover great books on the app. This app makes it possible for you to search, rate, and review virtually any book. It also has a handy barcode scanner where you can scan your books onto your virtual bookshelf and scan books into your “to read” list.

audibleAudible

This is the app for someone who enjoys reading but can’t seem to find the time to actually read. Audible is the worlds largest provider of premium audiobooks, with over 150 thousand titles to choose from. The best part is that, because it’s an app, you can listen to your books anywhere and anytime. Plus, right now you can get your first audiobook free when you sign up.

To Become a Master Budgeter

mintMint

Mint is a money manager, personal finance tracker, and budgeter all rolled into one. First it puts all of your financial information into one location so you can see the big picture. It also has budgeting tools, free credit score tools, alerts and advice based on your spending habits, automatic categorization (so you know exactly how much you spend where), and investment tracking (so you can compare your portfolio compared to the market and more). Mint knows that putting all of your financial information can be scary so it takes your security very seriously. Beyond it’s own security measures, it also is analyzed and certified by multiple third party security providers.

To Sleep Well

sleep-cycleSleep Cycle

Everyone knows that getting a good nights sleep is important, but how many of us actually get the sleep we need? That’s where Sleep Cycle comes in. Set your phone next to you while you sleep and this app will measure just how much sleep you’re really getting. It tracks your sleep cycle so that you know how much of your night is spent in a deep sleep versus a light sleep. While tracking your sleep is interesting, the coolest feature of this app is it’s alarm clock. You can set an alarm and sleep cycle will wake you up when you are naturally sleeping the lightest. This makes it easier for you to get up and get going while feeling refreshed.

To Wake Up On Time

Morning Routine.PNGMorning Routine (Android)

This is an app that I use religiously – and not just to wake up in the morning. If you are someone that absolutely hates getting out of bed in the morning, this app is perfect. You can set a series of alarms to get you up and moving. The alarm slowly gets louder to gently nudge you awake (plus you can pick whichever alarm you wish), but that’s just the beginning. To turn off your alarm you can choose to either push a button, scan a barcode, scan a specific barcode, or any combination of those options. For example, I start with pushing a button. Ten minutes later I have to scan a barcode in the bathroom. This way I can force myself to actually start my day. The best part (or the worst part depending on your opinion) is that you cannot turn off the alarm until you scan the correct barcode. You also can make the alarm a series of tasks so you don’t just wake up, you actually go through your entire morning routine.

walk-upWalk Up (iPhone)

Walk Up is the closest option to Morning Routine that I could find for iPhones. Unlike Morning Routine, it doesn’t have you scan specific items. Instead, you have to walk a certain distance to turn off the alarm (you can pick anywhere between 10 and 100 steps). The alarms tend to be more urgent and dramatic than Morning Routine, simply to help force you up quickly. There are also themes, “doomsday” countdowns, and the “evil mode” where you can’t snooze the alarm. If you need to get up and get up fast – this is your answer.

To Get Your Groove On

iheartradioiHeartRadio

iHeartRadio is another app that I use regularly. Not only can you listen to your favorite radio stations anywhere, but you can also pick out playlists based on specific artists, listen to podcasts, and pick playlists based on your current activities (work, cleaning the house, exercising, etc.). iHearRadio also keeps track of your favorite stations and recent stations so you never forget what you’ve been listening to. As an added bonus, it also has alarm clocks and sleep timers that you can have open to a specific station.

To Send & Receive Payments

Venmo.PNGVenmo

In a world where physical dollar bills are becoming more and more obsolete, Venmo has created a way to exchange money as easily as handing someone cash. With a Venmo account you can transfer money from your bank account to your friend’s account with a click of a button. Do you owe someone money for coffee? No problem, just send it to them with Venmo. Never worry about running to an ATM again.

To Get Rid of Unwanted Junk Mail

paperkarma.PNGPaperKarma

This app is the high-tech answer to your low-tech problems. You know the junk mail that  plagues your actual mailbox? PaperKarma is the answer to your woes. When you receive junk mail, simply snap a picture of it and submit it on PaperKarma. The app will then contact the organization sending the junk mail and get you removed from their list. Ultimately, PaperKarma is the end of your junk mail as you know it!

To Know Who’s Calling

truecallerTruecaller

With landlines disappearing and cellphones taking over, telemarketers are calling cellphones more and more. That is where Truecaller comes in. By installing this app, you can know exactly who is calling you, regardless of if they are in your contacts. You will not only see the name of who is calling you, but also a picture of them. With Truecaller you can also block spam callers and telemarketers, search for someone who isn’t in your contacts, see when your friends are free to talk, and back trace phone numbers from anywhere.

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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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New Interviews and Articles

Hello everyone!

Today’s post isn’t the “norm”. I’m not going to share with you different insights into midlife as I normally do. Instead, I wanted to share with you some exciting news!

Over the past week The Back Forty has been featured three times through various media outlets. Alexandra was featured on the podcast Wow! Wednesday and featured in an article by Business to Community. Darrell and Alexandra were also featured on a webisode of The Passion Point!

To see these new interviews as well as some of our older ones, click here!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SlAgb_Xw6v8]

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The Difference between Men and Women in Midlife

group-headshot-1I admit that sometimes my blog topics don’t come to me right away, and this morning I was calling on help from the almighty internet. I searched and searched for different topics and then different bloggers, anything to give me a spark of inspiration. Suddenly I saw it.

I saw the difference between men in midlife and women in midlife, and I was shocked that I had never noticed it before.

What did I notice? As I was scrolling through all of these blogs, articles, and websites devoted to midlife I noticed one shocking truth. There were no men blogging about their midlife journey! I saw countless examples of women talking about their midlife struggles, sharing their beauty hacks, talking about how they are finding themselves, but there was absolutely nothing from the other half of the population. Occasionally I find a man in midlife who has a blog, sometimes even a blog about midlife. But what are his topics? Finances, business, retirement planning – not once have I found a male blogger who is talking about his midlife experience.

Although this may be relatively isolated, I feel it supports an overarching theory. Women in midlife are often searching to better themselves, and what better way to succeed at bettering yourself than to reach out to others who are also going through midlife? This is why there are so many women with blogs, websites, and articles devoted to their journey through midlife. Men on the other hand, although they often want to better themselves as well, are far less likely to share their personal journey. The idea of someone judging your failures can be crippling.

This is why I feel that The Back Forty is so revolutionary. First of all, the original idea of The Back Forty came from a man. Darrell Gurney was wading his way through midlife and had an epiphany. He realized that your second half of life is where you have the chance to truly achieve what you are on this earth to achieve. As his idea evolved from a book to a program, to a movement – his mission began to become clear.

Not to say that he did all of this alone, there was a woman in the background, Alexandra Levin (who is now the Co-Founder of The Back Forty INFUSE Program). In many ways, Alexandra helped Darrell push the idea of The Back Forty toward the program and movement that it is becoming today.

So, if you are currently working your way through midlife alone, don’t! Check out The Back Forty. It might just be the community you are searching for. After all, as Darrell always says:

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10 Unbelievable Facts about Baby Boomers

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We are the baby boomers. So when someone told me that I didn’t know about the Baby Boomer generation I was skeptical to say the least. But, after a little more research, here are the top 10 facts that will make you proud to be a baby boomer.

  1. Baby Boomers will inherit $15 trillion over the next 20 years

  2. The peak age of vehicle buyers has shifted to the 55-64 age range

  3. Baby Boomers own 80% of all money in savings and loan associations

  4. Baby Boomers are twice as likely as millennials to plan to start a business in the next year and started 24% of all new businesses in 2013

  5. 33% of all tablets are owned by people over 50 and over 40% of Apple products are purchased by them

  6. Baby Boomers watch 63% more hours of TV than millennials

  7. Baby Boomers are responsible for 80% of all luxury travel spending

  8. Baby Boomers spend about $7 billion per year online

  9. Boomers outspend younger adults online 2:1 on a per-capita basis, and they spend more than other generations by an estimated $400 billion a year.

  10. 82% of baby boomers belong to at least once social networking site.

How many of these facts did you already know (or could guess)? Which one was the most shocking?

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Source: Jami Oetting, “The Ignored Generation:25 Stats Brands Should Know About Marketing to Baby Boomers,” http://blog.hubspot.com/agency/baby-boomer-marketing-stats#sm.001sbqxz0zxvcxe11vv1ke3a29kpj, (December 16, 2015).

Why being “Old” is the BEST

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Earlier this week, I stumbled across an amazing video and message.

Our society shuns the idea of aging. No one wants to get old, and the negative connotations surrounding that word are seemingly endless.

Old.

Elderly, senior, infirm, broken, bygone, outdated, inactive, past your prime, senile, decrepit, not long for this world, aged, gray, impaired, grizzled – and those are just some of the synonyms that pop up when searching the word “old”!

No wonder there is such a negative connotation surrounding aging. No one wants to be any of those things!

Recently though, there have been movements to change that mindset. Most recently is the video and article created by Allure Magazine. Titled “How to Age Gracefully”, this article is exactly what our society needs to hear. The women in the video re-define “old”. Here are just some words they use to describe themselves.

Beautiful, competitive, recognized, fascinating, blessed, truthful, healthy, wise, peaceful, empowered.

Now, these words are quite different from the “synonyms” for the word “old”. Maybe it’s time to change the definition. Maybe it’s time to prove that being “old” is an AMAZING thing!

See the video here!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zsBs63E4Txw]

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