At The Back Forty, we have been blogging for roughly eight months and during that time have posted over 130 different articles across more than nine different topics. We do our best to come up with lots of unique content to share with you!
Today, I would love to get some feedback about your favorite things to read about! Do you enjoy reading about funny midlife stories? Do you like to be inspired? Are you looking to learn more about different aspects of midlife?
Just pick a topic below and see how your favorite topic compares to the favorite topics of some of our other readers![polldaddy poll=9690895]
We recently created a survey to figure out what our community members’ biggest fears are. Now, our survey isn’t complete yet (you can still put in your own two cents by clicking here), but our initial feedback is overwhelming.
Of all of the fears brought up by people responding to our survey, money-related fears made up a shocking 45% of all of the fears!
Because of this, I have chosen to devote this blog post to helping you at least minimize your fears. And, even if money isn’t your biggest fear, a little extra income is never a bad thing, right?
So, without further ado, here are five easy ways you can make more money in midlife – today!
One of the most common ways to make some extra money online these days is to take part in online surveys. Not only do you get paid for your time, but you also get to give your opinion on different things like politics, new products, movies, TV advertisements, and the list goes on and on.
Some people will claim that you can make thousand of dollars per month by answering online surveys, and that might be true, if you are spending all your time doing surveys. That being said, expect to make anywhere between $30 and $300 extra each month if you fill out at least one survey a day. So, which online surveys should you sign up for. Here are some of the best options out there:
Another option is website testing from home. You visit a website, complete a series of tests, and then get paid $10. The downside (if you aren’t very outspoken) is that you have to speak all of your thoughts out loud. If this doesn’t deter you – it’s an easy way to make some extra cash. Check out UserTesting.com for more details.
This is my favorite suggestion. After all, who doesn’t love shopping? And who doesn’t love getting good deals when they shop? There are a few different options, but I can tell you that I have personally tried and approved both of the options I’m about to give you.
If you are anything like me, then you have a pile of things waiting to be sold at a garage sale or taken to be donated. These days there is no reason to wait. You can get rid of your items now, you don’t have to leave your house, and you can make money doing it. Here are some of the best ways to get money for your old stuff you wanted to get rid of anyway:
This last idea is probably the most surprising, but I promise you that this is real. You can actually get paid to lose weight! There is a website called DietBet where you can earn money by betting that you will lose weight. What is actually happening is that you are betting against a bunch of other people that you will lose weight. Whoever reaches the group goal gets to split the earnings and those who don’t make it lose their entry fee. If you want to lose weight, stay motivated, and make money doing it. DietBet is the perfect solution.
Download your FREE Top Ten Tips for a Radical Second Half eBook by clicking the image below! This 19-page eBook is full of tips for making your life the best it can be in every aspect (not just financially). So go ahead and get started!
“The Edge… There is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over.”
-Hunter S. Thompson
Going to the edge is not how we’re wired. Our internal, anti-vertigo systems tells us to stay back.
Especially in The Back Forty, our tendency to play safe and keep things manageable is at a premium…because we have bruises and scars from when we didn’t.
Look at how we can sometimes be in an intimate relationship: either get used to the one we’re with and there’s no mystery left – because we wrangled either them or ourselves into a comfortable knowing (instead of growing?)…
we pursue and intend to attract that final, perfect partner while peering out at them and the world from deep inside our protective armor.
Look at how we can sometimes be in business or career growth: either we stay doing what we’ve always done because it meets our current thermostat (the amount of heat we can stand)…
we attempt to create a new venture or try a new path inside of our old mindsets of needing to do things “right” and have it all figured out.
None of these Play Safe ways of operating call for progress.
I see my own resistance to edginess when I’m called upon to create business plans and set up systems that are required to go to the next level of growth and contribution-ability. “I’ve just never been good at that!” or “I haven’t gotten that skill down yet”. All thoughts pulling for the center rather than the edge.
Kurt Vonnegut says “I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can’t see from the center.”
Want to grow? Envision a new possibility or future? Step into your own promised land?
You have to go to the edge to accomplish it.
Here are a few tips to help embrace edginess:
Try to notice when you feel that your pressing into uncharted (and thus perceived as rough) waters…and listen to what the Voice is saying.
If it’s the same standard line you’ve heard a thousand times, simply step aside from it. Realize it’s an old friend, with an emphasis on old. If you’re wanting new, then pay your respects to the old friend by saying “Thanks for that. I know you’re wanting the best for me.”
And then go do what you WANT to do, like you did as a teen when your parent told you what THEY wanted you to do.
Look, whatever you do in this moment is not life altering, either way.
If you take the risk of sharing something very personal with your spouse or a date that your Play Safe Voice would be shocked by, you really never know what may come of it. You may open a door to intimacy you never thought possible.
If you don’t know how to do a perfect business plan or how to make the career change, try anyhow or get a coach. Taking a risk will get you further than sitting paralyzed by the Play Safe Voice.
At a minimum, you’ll learn something. In the best of all worlds, you’ll expand. For sure, you won’t die.
Return to tip 1.
Perhaps all progress depends on consistent edginess.
What areas of your life are you willing to walk out on the brink of so as to see another future?
“Come to the edge, he said. They said: We are afraid. Come to the edge, he said. They came. He pushed them and they flew.”
This week I want to share the following quote with you. Let’s jump right in and I’ll meet you (as always) on the other side:
There are many quotes, concepts, and ideas based on this general idea. Believe in yourself! Love yourself! Trust yourself! And all of these concepts boil down to the same idea; you have to believe in yourself before you can truly start to succeed.
This isn’t some obscure concept that will shock you to your core, but it might be something that you need to hear today. It’s easy to get so caught up in our day-to-day lives that we don’t even take the time to think about ourselves, not to mention the time to figure out (or remember) what our “unique greatness” is. And when we don’t think about why we need to be trusting, and loving, and believing in ourselves – it’s easy to just not.
What is your own unique greatness? Why should you believe in yourself? What do you love about yourself? What is something you haven’t been trusting your gut about and is there any reason for you to actually be doubting yourself?
You have incomprehensible potential within you. You are uniquely great. You can achieve whatever you set your mind to.
Spend just three minutes (180 seconds) thinking about why you are uniquely great and then carry that through the rest of your day because, as the quote says, “If you don’t commit to your own unique greatness, nobody else ever will.”
We all talk about working smarter not harder. Working smart is working consciously. Working consciously moves us closer to building a Conscious Organization.
Working smart increases velocity, produces synergy, and creates exponential growth. It allows us to move through our day with more focus, awareness, and purpose.
Here are some ideas for working smart. Try them on and see what fits best.
Our brains can focus for a maximum of 90 minutes at a time. By taking a short break every 90 minutes, we allow our body and mind to rest and refresh. Taking breaks makes us more effective.
According to Steven Covey, “sharpen the saw” means preserving and enhancing you. It means having a balanced program for self-renewal in the four areas of our life: physical, social/emotional, mental, and spiritual.
Choose one day when you don’t work. Sounds crazy, I know. Do it anyway. Take a day off to relax, refresh, disconnect from the ongoing stream of work, and do the things that bring you joy. It’s good for your soul and mind, and will make you more focused, effective, and productive in the long run.
Spending time in nature allows our mind to fully relax and unwind and helps us focus better when we return to work.
This one is a classic from UCLA basketball coach John Wooden. Read it. Make it your own. Find your own meaning. If it does not make sense to you, ponder it until it does.
This is a timeless suggestion from Tom Peters. Make a list of useless tasks, meetings, projects and conversations that you should not waste your time on. Have it with you at all times. Know it by heart. Stick to it.
You can impact the rest of your day by making mindful choices when you first wake up. Your creative mind is at its best in the early hours. Take this time to connect with your soul and create how your day is going to go.
Here are a few of my favorites. Try one or more, or create your own.
I don’t know about you, but when it comes to thinking of the perfect Valentine’s Day gift for my husband (or even the perfect things to do on Valentine’s Day), it often feels impossible.
First, there is the question of if I even want to attempt to brave the crazy world of reservations and official activities. Then it’s the question of if I want to celebrate on Valentine’s Day or if I want to celebrate the previous or following weekend. By that point, thinking of an actual gift is absolutely exhausting. It seems as if we’ve done everything already. Romantic dinner? Check. Flowers? Check. Chocolates? Check. By the time you are in the midst of midlife it often feels like the day is hardly worth it and (usually) pretty unsurprising. But, with the right commitment and a little time, you can create the perfect DIY Valentine’s Day present to show your significant other exactly how much you appreciate them – regardless of the day of the year (which brings me to today’s post).
Today I am going to bring you four DIY Valentine’s gifts for him (although, these gifts would also be perfect for her). My inspiration? The DIY Valentine’s Day gifts I created for my husband five years ago (to this day, this is my favorite DIY Valentine’s Day gift I have ever made).
Take a look at my assembled gift below, and then I’ll go through all of the DIY ideas you can choose to re-create!
I’m going to start with the easiest and quickest parts of my gift and work my way up to the more complicated/time-consuming ideas. Pick and choose the ideas that you like the most and then make them your own!
As I mentioned above, these are the easiest part of the gift. All you need is paper, scissors, and glue! Quickly fold the fortune cookies, write whatever fortunes you would like about the love of your life and your future together, and slide your fortunes into the cookies. Voila! You have cute little fortunes to share with your significant other!
This card is a little more complicated than the fortune cookies, but not much. You will need paper, scissors, and glue like the last craft, as well as a ruler, pencil, and stencil knife (and of course a pen to write your own love letter inside). My tip? Use a light pencil and have a good eraser on hand so that you can erase all of your lines you made to know where to cut your great pop-up design. Also, pay attention to the colors you use (for example, I had to create paper cut-outs of the letters for the front of my card because pen didn’t show up very well on the red background. So, start thinking about what you want to write because you will be done with this craft before you know it!
This is my favorite part of my gift to this day! This rose is still wrapped around the edge of our standing mirror in our bedroom today. That being said, this is also the gift that caused me the most stress. I carefully picked out pages from an old dictionary where words like “love” and “kiss” were defined and then carefully cut out the petals to make sure the right words were visible…and then I completely failed my first attempt making the flower. Turns out, it’s pretty hard to make a rose out of nothing but paper, hot glue, ribbon, wire, and scissors. That being said, after a few failed attempts, I finally got it right and I still find it absolutely gorgeous. If you’re ready to put in some time and effort, I can guarantee that this gift is something that you significant other will cherish for years to come. Plus, it lasts much longer than regular roses!
This gift idea is the most time-consuming, and the most personal. This is a box that you make from scratch and is actually almost like 3 boxes in one. As your significant other opens the box, they will be unfolding the story of your life together. On each side of the box, I put a story or a picture of me and my husband and as he unfolded the box more and more, he went further and further back into our past together. It is a thoughtful gift that takes so much time to make simply because you are putting so much time into picking the right moments of your life together to remember.
So, there you go! Four DIY ideas for making your Valentine’s Day gifts extra special this year!
However, if you’re reading through these ideas and you’re saying to yourself, “I don’t have time for this,” don’t fear, below are a couple easy Valentine’s Day gift ideas for him (and gift ideas for her) that you can complete in an instant (no shipping required)!
In today’s world, technology is always at our fingertips. From smartphones and iPads to laptops and smartwatches, technology is almost never more than a finger tap away. Unfortunately, with all of this technology at our fingertips, we are spending less and less time actively engaging our brain. We play mindless games on our phone or watch mindless TV before bed, we aren’t working out our brains nearly as much as we used to.
On Monday, a study was published in the JAMA Neurology Journal reinforcing the importance of doing activities to stimulate your brain. It was found that even after the age of 70, taking part in simple activities like playing games, socializing, and using the internet can help prevent mental decline.
Not to say that in your 40s and 50s you are suffering from extreme mental decline, but the phrase “use it or lose it” comes to mind.
The other day I realized that I grab my phone first thing each morning and check it each night before bed. I’m completely tied to it. And what am I doing when I grab it at 5:45 each morning? I’m scrolling through Facebook or Pinterest. I’m playing mindless games through different apps. I’m scanning my emails. The problem is, I’m not using my brain. And even worse, I’m not really enjoying playing the games or scrolling through social media, I’m just doing it to wake my brain up.
So I decided to make a change, I deleted all of my mindless games and replaced them with apps specifically created to give your brain a workout. Now, at this point, I’ve only been using the apps for 3 days, so I can’t claim any astounding results. However, I know that I’m working on different skills and that the “games” are created to get my brain to work in different ways.
I downloaded a bunch of different apps to try out, but so far there are two that are really standing out to me. Today, I want to share these apps with you, in case you wanted a to make a mini brain workout part of your daily routine!
Lumosity is a website as well as an app (although I am currently solely enjoying their
app). When you make a profile, the first thing they have you do is take a “Fit Test” to see where you already fall. After you complete your test, they create daily tasks for you to give your brain a workout! Right now I’m unlocking new games each day to help me with my attention, flexibility, memory, speed, and problem-solving skills. With the free version, you get 3 new games each day to play. The more you play, the better your scores get and the more of a workout your brain gets! If you want to unlock more games (beyond the ones you get each day) you can always pick up a pro membership for as low as $3.75/month.
Peak is an app that also gives your brain a workout through games that help you with different skills like focus, problem-solving, coordination, memory, and mental agility. Each day they give you more games to play and keep detailed track of your brain score in the above categories and more. The downside is that you can’t play your daily games an unlimited amount of times without a membership. The good news is that it is cheaper than Lumosity with subscriptions as low as $2.92/month. Also, they have family plans so you can help everyone in your family keep their mind sharp (and compare progress if you’re competitive like me)!
If you are even thinking that you might be interested in giving your brain a workout, then go ahead and download one (or both) of these apps. They both have free versions, and who doesn’t want to improve their mental skills? After all, use it or lose it!
I was introduced to The Back Forty when I met Darrell Gurney at a conference in Los Angeles in late 2016. I immediately connected with his mission, and I don’t think he was surprised when I confessed that I’m living my own Back Forty career right now.
Like most people, I tend to focus on what’s currently happening, forgetting that I was 45 when I quit my job as a high-power, good salaried health care marketing executive in 2000. Except that the truth is, I didn’t quit my job; I escaped and ran from Shawshank prison.
I had prepared my escape quietly, carefully, for almost seven months. There were many discussions with my husband, my lawyer and my accountant. My lists had lists of their own. I read books detailing what it would take to become a solopreneur, and I had informational interviews and coffees with people who had already made the switch. I Googled everything in between.
Unlike the many advertising and public relations agencies named for the primary owner, I wanted my new venture to have a name with meaning, which my own decidedly did not. I decided on “odyssey”, because of its secondary definition: “an intellectual or spiritual wandering or quest”.
Some might have thought that I simply started doing the same strategic communications projects that I used to do on a “job”, but from home. They were almost correct. What they overlooked was the jubilation infused with the free air I breathed. The work I performed was under terms set only by me. The ability to choose the clients, people and issues I would to support with my efforts, and to dismiss others, was exhilarating. I re-learned my own rhythms, and set my own schedules.
Over the next 10 years, I grew increasingly unhappy with unreasonable clients, boring assignments, and even the very skills I used to take pride in. Over time, my new world had morphed into feeling like the old world, beyond my control and a waste of my ebbing time. Worse, it seemed impossible to imagine that anyone would pay me to do anything else (not that I knew what “anything else” might look like).
As a communications major in college and a professional in the field, I was captivated by the new technology that hopped over TV networks and radio stations and PR folk like me to post its own reality. Simply put, everything old was new again.
It took hours for me to finish a simple online article, because any reference that I didn’t understand, such as virtual worlds (SecondLife), or channels like Twitter that took weekends to master, I clicked off to explore and teach myself. My first blog, using Google’s Blogger chronicled a Baby Boomer’s leap into modern communications. Communications Goddess represented the self-confidence I had achieved while sharing my delight at the new tools the Internet steadily delivered.
In 2009, I started annual treks to attend BlogHer conferences in New York, Chicago and San Diego. Women – more than 2,000 of them – filled me with their energy and determination to have their voices heard. It was at BlogHer that I began to see blogging as a business. Soon after, I admitted that there were hundreds of bloggers with larger audiences, deeper pockets, and stronger resumes across the Net with social media blogs just like mine.
In March 2011, I flew to Austin, Texas to attend South by Southwest Interactive, a nine-day celebration of all things digital and online. It was there, in a session about how women connect with brands online, that I said aloud for the first time, “I can’t find myself online.”
By then, I was a 56-year-old woman who was not the mother of a teenager, nor an empty nester, nor a grandmother, nor fertile and still trying to conceive. I was not anti-child, anti-procreation or anti-anything. I was pro-me and, in all of cyberspace, I couldn’t find anyone like me. It hurt.
Someone suggested I start a website, and I responded that there was no way to avoid “mean girls” who don’t like children or their mothers. That’s definitely not me.
I thought the subject was closed, until another attendee urged me to follow up on the idea that Madison Avenue and everyone else were overlooking millions of women. I listened, and soon found US Census Bureau reports that the number of American NotMoms was the highest since tracking began in 1976. Today, one of every six American women will never give birth and nations worldwide are reporting historic levels.
I officially launched the new blog on Mother’s Day 2012 and named it The NotMom because of the many, many times I have been called to explain that, “No, I do not have children. I am not a Mom.”
If a woman isn’t a Mom in our Mom-centered world, she often feels adrift without a tribe, a community of her own. It’s easy for people to accept, without full comprehension, the universal power and influence of the title that is “Mom”.
Young Moms, single Moms, special needs Moms, Moms-to-be, adoptive Moms, military Moms, celebrity Moms, adoptive Moms, empty nest Moms, Moms of multiples, mocha Moms, first-time Moms and soccer Moms are all linked at a visceral level impossible to replicate. When a woman is not and will never be any type of Mom, even those women who chose to live childfree may feel overlooked and repeatedly out of place.
American in focus but global in scope, The NotMom is distinguished online by its embrace of women who once dreamed of motherhood as well as those who never did. Now approaching its fifth anniversary, the brand engages and influences a growing community of more than 25,000 childless and childfree women age 26 and up through the blog, events and social networks.
The NotMom Summit, the only conference of its kind in the world, brings these women together offline to acknowledge and enhance the shared aspects of their lives. The inaugural event drew women from three continents, five countries (Canada, China, England, Iceland and the US) and 18 states, proving that the interest in such a gathering has value.
The 2017 NotMom Summit will be on October 6-7, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio, and once again I am working hard to partner with major sponsors open to recognizing the potential of this important niche market. With my husband’s blessing and enthusiastic support, I am embroiled in the adventure of my life at age 61.
The NotMom has won a $5,000 prize from a northeast Ohio program for entrepreneurial women and scored international media coverage including Fortune, Black Enterprise, CNN.com, The Atlantic and The New York Times (twice!). No matter how this story ends, I will never regret chasing a dream to find my own community, and to help other women find theirs.
Karen is the founding voice & chief executive of The NotMom.com and featured by The New York Times as a leading expert on issues about women without children by chance or by choice. For more information on the 2017 NotMom Summit, go to: https://notMomsummit2017.sched.org.
As we were settling in into our new condo, Darrell and I decided to buy a little corner bar. One of those cool pieces that look built in, only they’re not.
Purchasing most of the other furniture came easy: we researched, found what we wanted, and bought it.
After two months of relentless searching for the right one, it was nowhere to be found. We spent hours searching online. We looked at several dozen different models. We went to stores and talked to salespeople. Nothing worked. Nothing came close to what we thought would be perfect.
I was resigned that we wouldn’t find the perfect piece. Darrell was frustrated that nothing we saw was good enough. Actually, truth be told, Darrell is a bit less particular than me, and could have been satisfied with a lot of these earlier options. I’m more of a stickler for the exact fit.
Last week while taking an evening walk, we talked about our seeming inability to find just the right bar.
I said, with an intention to make us feel better, “It’s ok. I always thought that the bar would be hard to find, and that it could take a lot of time and be pretty expensive.” That was true – deep in my mind I was always convinced that finding the perfect bar would be a difficult and time-consuming project.
Darrell paused…and said, “Do you know, with that belief, it is no wonder we can’t find anything that will work for you…”
In that moment, I got it. He was right. In my mind, I created an idea that the perfect bar would be hard to find and expensive. Therefore, the Universe was proving me right: it was. With that mindset, no wonder we couldn’t find what we wanted.
“Would you be willing to give up the idea that it will be hard to find?”, Darrell continued. Convinced as I was in the rarity of the item in question, I was willing. I do enjoy a good game of mind control and miraculous manifestation.
That night, after his regular few minutes per day of searching for a perfect bar, Darrell showed me a picture of something that looked ideal – a perfect fit, and at a fraction of the price I had expected to pay. Although it was about an hour drive from our home, we decided to call them up and discuss it.
With what sounded like a description matching the picture of perfect fit, we gambled with renting a truck and drove up the next day.
It turned out to be true: the only bar in two months that came even close to what we wanted.
As soon as I gave up my (very unhelpful) mental idea, we found a perfect piece…easily and somewhat effortlessly.
This gave me another perfect opportunity: to look where else is my mindset in the way of my getting what I want in my Back Forty, my second half/best half of life.
“Your problem is to bridge the gap which exists between where you are now and the goal you intend to reach.”
There’s where we are now. There’s where we want to be. There’s a gap.
The first inclination is to be diminished by the gap. Just like when you first realize something about yourself that was in a blind spot, and then use that insight to beat yourself up.
However, learning to positively “mind” the gap — applying mind techniques of which we’re all capable — allows us to be empowered vs. disempowered by the gap.
For example, one of my gaps is social media. I have ignored the gap. I have lamented my seeming inability to traverse the gap. I have tried to pawn off my gap to someone else. For sure, I have not been “empowered” by the gap.
However, if I incorporate the principles of The Back Forty – and practice what we preach (!) – I can entertain the idea that nothing from my first half of life (including social media) poses any limitations on what’s possible in my second half. “Remember Darrell: You’re continuing to GROW, not become settled in your ways and beliefs about yourself and life!”
That’s the bugaboo: if, as we say in The Back Forty, “you have yet to do what you came here to do”, then it’s going to require an attitude of continuous play, trying things out, and learning…the way 20yr olds do when they just don’t know any better. If ignorance is bliss, perhaps ignorance of our perceived abilities is what the doctor is ordering.
Here’s 3 Back Forty techniques for “MIND”ing the Gap. See where you might apply them to your own area of expansion.
First, Acknowledgement. Celebrating the mere fact that we’re ambitious enough to have recognized a gap gives the journey a forward-moving energy and vibration. “Woohoo! Look at where you want to be! Aren’t you the bomb for realizing that?”
Second, Visioning. Taking attention away from the pity-party of this side of the traverse and putting it on the other side, picturing and feeling the “what it will be like when”, initiates magnetic forces which pull out new ways and means for getting there.
Third, Pro-active Matching. Constant comparisons of results achieved with results desired from a “Where’s Waldo” perspective, finding every near hit vs. near miss, creates tailwind vs. headwind.
As I continue moving forward to incorporate into my life some necessary skills for communicating powerfully in today’s world, I enjoy the idea that I’m doing my part to turn around the societal mindset that says “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”.
Perhaps the only real gap to traverse is the cultural one that says age has any limit on freedom, innovation, creativity, ideation, and capacity for growth.
What inspired gap of your own can you wrap your mind around this week?
“What I really want and what I’ve been thinking. That’s it folks! That’s all the work there is in closing the gap.”