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Why You Are Never Too Old to Play

Today I want to give you a reminder to PLAY!

It is far too easy to get caught up in our responsibilities and forget to take some time to play every once and a while. So today I’m bringing you the below quote to remind you to play from time to time. Take a moment to read it and I’ll meet you on the other side!

Play taps us into our inner self

Have you ever thought of play this way before?

Chances are, most people haven’t. When we are working, being responsible, and doing things the “right way”, chances are we are not playing. Many people would say, “so? When I’m working, I shouldn’t be playing.” Well, this quote seems to be arguing that pretty well.

Many companies are beginning to build in time to their employees’ schedules to work on projects that they WANT to work on because companies have realized that employees who are being encouraged to be creative and have fun at work (in other words, PLAYING) are more productive and happier.

The same holds true for your personal life. When you find yourself playing instead of “fitting inside the lines” you are far more likely to become inspired and have revelations about who you truly are.This is what our Co-Founder, Alexandra Levin, believes and why she wrote the IMBUE Journal.

This is what our Co-Founder, Alexandra Levin, believes and why she wrote the IMBUE Journal. To learn more about what Alexandra thinks about playing, as well as many other topics, click the button below!

Learn More About IMBUE

An A-Z List of Words to Inspire Unparalleled Midlife Growth

A-Z List

Midlife can sometimes feel like a time where nothing new happens and everything bad happens all at once. Your job can start to feel mundane and boring and yet your family life can be changing drastically (or vice versa). So today I am bringing you an A-Z list of words to describe the way things SHOULD be in midlife. If you’re reading through this list and any of these words don’t mesh with where you are in life, maybe it’s time to try something new. Read through this alphabet and let me know which word resonates with you the most.

Authentic

As we grow older, we often find ourselves thinking, “I can’t do that”. We think this way solely because of our past experiences and this sometimes causes us to act in a certain way for your family or your boss or your friends. Instead of hiding your true self, choose to be authentic by, first, rediscovering who you truly are and, second, showing the world the incredibly unique person that you are.

Bold

If you are being authentic, then you should also be bold. Don’t be afraid to show the world who you are and what you can do. Boldly show the world that you have yet to do what you came here to do!

“Throwing yourself on the sword takes Back Forty Boldness, and definitely Back Forty Badassity…and yet, what else do you have to do in the next 40 years anyway?”

-Darrell Gurney

Confident

At this point in your life, you’ve been around the block a few times, so be confident! You have a unique set of skills that you have been honing your entire life. Be confident in what you know and share your knowledge (and confidence) with the world.

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Determined

It is important to be determined to reach your goals. After all, you have yet to do what you came to this world to do. Think about what goals you have. Have you been actively working towards achieving them? Or do you find yourself thinking, “one day”, “once the kids are out of the house”, or “after I retire”? I challenge you to commit to a goal and be determined to reach it.

Enthusiastic

When was the last time you were truly enthusiastic about something? Is there something that you strongly believe in? When was the last time you shared that enthusiasm with others? Remember, enthusiasm can be contagious and if you believe in something deeply you should share your enthusiasm with those around you.

Futuristic

The more we grow, the more we tend to keep our eyes focused on the past. We remember what we know to be true from the past. But we must also remember to keep an eye on the future. The best is still yet to come, and if we keep our eyes on the past, we just might miss it.

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Genuine

Who has time to pretend to be what others want you to be? And, honestly, isn’t it better to be genuine anyway? When you are genuine, you pull others towards you.

Hopeful

They say hope springs eternal. Well, I don’t know about you, but sometimes my spring seems to dry up. We need to remember to always stay hopeful. With each setback, we need to remember that we have these setbacks for a reason and that we will still achieve our dreams.

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Inspiring

We have the power to inspire others. We can inspire our co-workers, our family, our friends. The first step towards inspiring others is to be inspiring. Take on life wholeheartedly and never give up. You will achieve whatever you put your mind to and that is the most inspiring thing of all.

Joyful

Don’t let life get you down; and when it does get you down, don’t let it keep you down. There are hundreds of moments each day that can make us joyful – just as long as we choose to notice them. From the beauty of a sunset to the smile of a loved one, we have so many reasons to be joyful each and every day. No matter how many things may seem to be going wrong in your day, remember to pause and appreciate even the small moments that bring us joy.

Knowledgeable

You have your own, unique set of gifts and talents that you have accumulated throughout your life. Some of these talents you have chosen to learn and others were forced upon you, but, regardless of how you learned these different skills, you now have this knowledge. Never forget that no one has the same accumulation of knowledge as you do – your unique experiences have made you valuable in a way that no one else is.

“So many of us resist change when we see it coming, and yet there’s nary a one of us that can’t claim some new understanding, skill, capacity, awareness, knowledge or personal improvement on the other side of any change.”

-Darrell Gurney

Lighthearted

Sometimes we need to be reminded to be playful. Stop taking life so seriously! Go out and have fun! Jump out of a plane, or go to an art show, try a new restaurant. It doesn’t matter what makes you lighthearted and playful – just remember to take some time to play from time to time. Life is too short to be serious.

Meaningful

You have yet to do what you came to this world to do…and you are here to do something meaningful. Think about it. If each and every person on this earth decided to do one truly meaningful thing with their life, how much better would this world be? What are you passionate about? What have you been holding off on doing because you don’t quite believe you can achieve it? Your life is meaningful, and your legacy should be as well.

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Noble

Everyone wants to be considered noble, after all, who wouldn’t want to be considered moral and good? But, being noble doesn’t mean you are more moral or better than those who surround you. As Earnest Hemingway said, “there is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow men. True nobility lies in being superior to your former self.”

Outgoing

We each have our own voice, sometimes we just need to remember to use it. Be outgoing. Be friendly. Be candid. The more you share your true self with others, the happier you will find yourself.

Passionate

This is one that I have held strong beliefs about for as long as I can remember. It is so important for you to be passionate about something. Anything really. I don’t care if you are passionate about feeding monkeys at the zoo – just be passionate! When your life is full of passion, it is full of meaning.

Quirky

I’ve always considered being called quirky a compliment. Quirky is defined as having unexpected traits and I feel that those unexpected traits are often the most powerful. Take a moment to think about what makes you quirky and you’ll  often realize that those traits are also the traits that make you the most unique.

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Radical

Being radical is defined as “affecting the fundamental nature of something”. I feel that when we live our (mid)life to the fullest and prove that our best is yet to come, we are affecting the fundamental beliefs about aging. We are not destined to slow down and get boring as we age and I believe that viewpoint is still relatively radical. By living each and every day of our lives to the fullest, I believe we are all being radical.

Spirited

Being spirited is an important aspect of midlife (and life in general). When we live our lives being as full of enthusiasm, determination, and energy we are truly living life to it’s fullest.

Thriving

We are meant to not only survive but to thrive. So many of us just survive in our current situations while waiting for something better. Instead, decide to thrive. What does it mean to you to thrive? Now take the first step towards that.

To thrive in your midlife, you must first decide to plan for the future instead of dwelling on the past.

-Alicia Hinkle

Uplifting

People who are winning life aren’t just improving their own life, they are also uplifting others. It has been proven that the more you uplift others, the happier you will be as well. People who give to charity and/or volunteer are over 40% more likely to be happy than those who don’t. This statistic holds true for those who express gratitude and help others as well. So do what you can to be happy and remember to uplift others.

Vibrant

Be vibrant. Shine for the world to see.

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Wild

Be a little wild sometimes. Being the responsible one can get boring, and as we age we are often forced to be responsible more and more often. Not that being responsible is a bad thing, it is actually very important. But sometimes it is equally as important to be a little wild and let your crazy side show. Plan a night out and decide to be a little wild.

Xenodochial

I admit it took a little digging to find this one. Xenodochial (pronounced zeena-doh-key-ul) means to be hospitable. Making others feel at home is truly an art. When you can make your friends, family, and even strangers feel as if they truly belong, you are making the world a better place.

Young-at-Heart

I’m always hesitant when it comes to saying two words and those words are “young” and “old”. These definitions are becoming so circumstantial that I cringe when using them. But at the same time, let’s be honest, we are getting older. I believe being young-at-heart is part of what keeps us young even as we age. Remembering to embrace life through the eyes of the young helps us live life to the fullest. Becoming set in our ways helps no one.

Zealous

Finally, be zealous. Live your life with zeal and passion and it is almost guaranteed that your best is yet to come. You have so much life to live, now go out there and act like it!

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What Does The Back Forty Bring to Conferences?

Live Events

Recently, The Back Forty went to their first conference where they participated as an exhibitor. Scroll through the images below to get a feeling of what it was like in our booth and what we brought to the conference.

Curious about what we learned at the event? Check out our previous post about our experience by clicking HERE!

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20 of the Best Articles to Shift Your Midlife in the Right Direction

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When working our way through midlife, it is easy to feel as if everything is going wrong.

Your kids or moving out, or even worse, they’re not. Your parents are getting older and need more help. Your job is feeling stale but the stability makes you feel as if you couldn’t possibly leave. Your personal style is non-existent. Everything just seems so serious!

The list goes on and on, and with all of these changes, no wonder why people in midlife tend to feel as if things are not the way they should be, or at least are not the way they want them to be.

Therefore, I want to give you a list of some inspirational articles to help you shift your personal midlife experience in the right direction for you. I have 20 articles for you to explore and 7 topics to embrace. Enjoy!

1. Embrace Your Age

2. Find Your Style

3. Don’t Forget About Your Brain!

4. Save More Money

5. Believe in Yourself

6. Make Life Easier

7. Know That You Can Laugh About It

Now that you’ve made your way through my seven topics and 20 articles, I hope that you feel a little lighter, a little more beautiful, and way more inspired!

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How The Back Forty Inspired Joy and Passion at the CWC

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About a month ago, The Back Forty took part in the California Women’s Conference (or CWC). Building up to this event we frantically worked to create the perfect presence. We finalized our first online course, published our first Back Forty journal, and created countless banners and flyers. We didn’t know what to expect walking into that exhibit hall, but we had dreams of the contacts we would gain through our raffles and giveaways, the books we would sell, and the contacts we would make.

Little did we know that another aspect of our booth would be the most rewarding.

At our booth, we had a small recording studio set up. We were thinking that we would interview a few people about the passions they discovered while traveling through midlife. We had no idea how big a role this would end up playing at the conference.

We were thinking that we would complete 15-20 interviews each day, lasting about 5 minutes each. What we weren’t expecting was to be so inspired by the stories of finding one’s passion and the joy of sharing that passion with others.

We ended up conducting about 30 interviews over the two-day conference, but the average video ended up lasting 15 minutes. Suddenly, our expected 3 hours of content became over SEVEN AND A HALF HOURS.

Walking into the event, we had no idea the type of passion and joy we would find in those we interviewed. Now, not only have we had the chance to interview amazing people, but we have been given the opportunity to share these inspiring stories with the world. We have decided to turn these inspiring interviews into an online program aimed at inspiring others to create their second half of life as their best half. Now, this course is not ready to be released yet, but I have put together a short video with some excerpts from our two days of interviewing.

Enjoy!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c7mnZfk513I]

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13 Amazing Facts About The Back Forty Co-Founders

Darrell & Alexandra

If you read our blog or follow us on social media, you probably know by now what The Back Forty is all about. It is about creating your second half of life as your best half of life and embracing the idea that your best is yet to come.

But how much do you know about our co-founders? Do you even know their names? Well, today I am unmasking the co-founders behind the curtain with 13 facts. So, without further ado, let’s learn about The Back Forty Co-Founders, Darrell Gurney and Alexandra Levin:

  1. Darrell & Alexandra have been in a loving and empowering relationship since 2014
  2. Alexandra immigrated to the US from communist Russia in 1987 after trying to leave for 13 years
  3. Darrell is the father of one son
  4. Alexandra published her first book, The IMBUE Journal: Inspiring Massive Beauty Uniquely Expressed, in April of 2017
  5. Darrell believes that he has yet to do what he came here to do and that his best is still yet to come
  6. Darrell & Alexandra live in condo in Long Beach with a beautiful view of the ocean
  7. Alexandra became a co-founder of The Back Forty in 2015
  8. Darrell traveled to Europe and lived in London for a year in 1985
  9. Alexandra graduated from Cal State Northridge in 1999 with an MBA
  10. Darrell has also worked as a Career and Spiritual Coach for over 25 years
  11. Alexandra is the mother of two daughters
  12. Darrell launched his first Back Forty online course, A Back Forty Re-NEW-ALL, in May of 2017
  13. Alexandra believes everyone should live their life as a self-expression of having already arrived

Now that you’ve gotten to know our co-founders a bit more, which of the above facts surprised you the most? Which fact made you the most interested? Who do you connect with knowing what you now know?

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Have You Found Your Happiness?

Have You Found Your Happiness

Today I was watching a TED Talk about happiness and it got me thinking. The speaker brought up a point that we often seem to just accept without much further thought.

We are always searching for our happiness.

We think, when I get that promotion I will be happy, when I retire I can be happy, when the kids get older I’ll be happy. It’s a common thought process, IF I do this then THAT will happen. But think back 10 years about the IF THEN statements you were telling yourself. Chances are you have achieved those goals and yet chances are that you are still searching for your happiness.

Dr. Srikumar Rao believes that we are hard wired to be happy and that society has just taught us how to be unhappy. You can watch his entire talk below on how to plug into your hardwired happiness, but I have 2 thoughts of my own to share with you as well.

1. Being happy IS something you can choose

Looking for somewhere to start? Check out my previous blog posts: 75 Simple Ways to Be More Happy with Life and Six of the Best Ways to Fill Your Relationship with Happiness.

2. Being happy is NOT as hard as we tell ourselves it is

Take a look at some of our other blog posts about how to remember to be happy: Three Opportunities to KISS Happy, Find Your Bliss, and Happy Resolve.

Just remember that, like Dr. Rao says, you are hard wired to be happy, you just have to take a little time to remember how.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zB79PlkJJHg] beach

75 Simple Ways to Be More Happy with Life

Get Happy!

Today I want to inspire you to become happier. Everyone needs a little pick up every once and a while and today I am sharing with you 100 ways to make your day full of a little more happiness.

So, without further ado, let’s get happy!

  1. Go for a walk
  2. Take a nap
  3. Clean something
  4. Call a friend you haven’t talked to in a while
  5. Read something inspirational (try this or this!)
  6. Sip on some tea or coffee
  7. Get a massage
  8. Say “Bubbles” in the angriest voice you can muster
  9. Plan a special dinner to look forward to
  10. Ignore your phone for a few hours
  11. Think of 3 things you’re grateful for
  12. Watch your favorite TV show
  13. Go for a drive
  14. Complete a random act of kindness for a stranger
  15. Do yoga
  16. Listen to your favorite band or singer
  17. Look through local Groupon deals for something to do this weekend
  18. Dance
  19. Bake cookies
  20. Pick 3 things you want to get done today and do them
  21. Go shopping
  22. Pretend you’re a kid again and just PLAY
  23. Pick up some flowers to brighten your home
  24. Read a new novel
  25. Quit a bad habit (if only for a day)
  26. Sing
  27. Buy your favorite sweet as a snack
  28. Find the nearest park, beach, or forest and explore
  29. Stop slouching
  30. Complete a DIY project
  31. Go to any store and pick up 5 items that make you happy
  32. Work on your personal To Do list
  33. Look through some of your old photos
  34. Schedule time to volunteer at an animal shelter
  35. Call your parents
  36. Go see a movie (or maybe even go to a drive-in theater)
  37. Make plans with a friend who you haven’t seen in a while
  38. Cook your favorite dinner
  39. Go window shopping downtown
  40. Pay it forward next time you’re in line to get food or coffee
  41. Are you mad at someone? Let it go
  42. Go to the Zoo
  43. Search for inspirational quotes, write one down, and put it somewhere you will see it regularly
  44. Meditate
  45. Stop thinking about where you are now and think about what is possible instead
  46. Draw a picture
  47. Drink a glass of water
  48. Pick a new sitcom you haven’t seen before and watch the first episode
  49. Download the app Happify
  50. Whisper “Boopity Boop” under your breath in 4 distinct voices
  51. Go to a gym class
  52. Take a bath
  53. Spend time with your significant other – without electronics
  54. Shake up your routine
  55. Play a board game with friends or family
  56. Have a firepit? Build a fire
  57. Make a list of 10 people in your life who inspire you. Then share your reasons why with them
  58. Make your favorite drink
  59. Start a home improvement project
  60. Set a new life goal and take the first step towards achieving it
  61. Snack on some fruits or veggies
  62. Switch up your commute. Leave early, take a new route, and try to enjoy the ride
  63. Find a funny article and laugh a little (I find that BuzzFeed is a good place to start)
  64. Spend some time alone to focus on you
  65. Go to bed early
  66. Jump and try to touch the ceiling
  67. Eat something healthy
  68. Do you have a pet? Go get a hug!
  69. Search for a “No Laugh Challenge” on YouTube
  70. Face something you fear
  71. Skip from one end of the room to the other
  72. Instead of thinking about everything that needs to be done, try to focus on one thing today
  73. Tell someone you love them
  74. Be spontaneous and do something RIGHT NOW
  75. Smile!

If all of these happiness-inducing ideas aren’t enough, I have decided to start giving you something a little extra each time I write a new post.

Did you know that there are almost 1,500 National Days throughout the year? Some of them inspire conversation, others promote change, and still others just make you laugh. Here are the National Days that fall on April 25, 2017:

  • DNA Day
  • East Meets West Day
  • Hug a Plumber Day
  • Telephone Day
  • Zucchini Bread Day

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3 Easy Ways to Make the World a Better Place on Earth Day

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Did you know today is Earth Day?

To be honest, I was completely oblivious to this until yesterday. Here at The Back Forty, we have been feverishly preparing for the California Women’s Conference to the point that May 10th and 11th are the only dates floating around my head (if you’re interested in learning more about the California Women’s Conference or want to attend, click here).

Anyway, back to the topic at hand. Earth Day.

Even though I forgot about Earth Day, it doesn’t mean that there is nothing I can do to make our world a better place and what day would be better than this beautiful Saturday to do just that. So without further ado, here are 3 easy ways to make the world a better place today!

1. Plant a Tree

field-858650_1920.pngThis is one of the easiest things you can do for the environment and it will probably take less than an hour. Decide to get in your car and drive to your local garden or hardware store and pick out a tree you like. It can be a baby tree (my local Lowes has trees in stock for as little as $8) or it can be a bigger tree, just go pick one out and bring it home. The next step is to plant it. Find a spot in your yard and give your tree a new home. This one tree can produce 260 pounds of oxygen each year! Beyond creating oxygen, your little tree cleans the air, cools your yard, and conserves energy in your home (if it offers shade to any windows), along with so many other things.

Can’t plant a tree? Do you live in a condo or apartment? No worries, contribute to The Canopy Project hosted by the Earth Day Network. Each dollar you donate plants one tree. It takes 500 trees a year to get rid of the carbon dioxide your car creates each year, so why not help combat that and give back? Donate here!

2. Reduce Your Footprintworld foot circle.png

We are consuming natural resources faster than the Earth can replenish them (1.5 planets’ worth of resources each year to be exact). Figure out exactly how much you are contributing to this problem by taking this Ecological Footprint Quiz.

After completing the quiz, you can explore different ways to reduce your footprint. Want a few simple actions you can take today? Buy a water bottle and stop buying bottled water, bring your own grocery bags to the store, or go through your mail and see which items you can choose to receive electronically.

3. Save Endangered Species from Your Own Backyard

The US Fish and Wildlife Service has an interactive map that shows you which species are endangered in your home state. Click here to explore the map!

After picking an endangered species to save, click here! This takes you to the World Wildlife Fund’s endangered species directory. Click “Ctrl+F” to pull up a search option and then simply type in the name of your chosen endangered animal (note that the WWF doesn’t include birds in their directory). I live in Colorado and chose the Black-Footed Ferret.Black-footed-Ferret-plush-z1.png Once you click on your animal you can learn more about it like why it matters, why it is threatened, and what the WWF is doing to help save it. Then, when you scroll to the bottom, you can choose to adopt your very own endangered animal. The adoption kits are $55 each and you get a 10′ plush of the animal you’re helping, a photo of the animal, an adoption certificate, a species card, and a gift bag.

adopt-a-lynx-plush.pngI admit that you can’t find all of your local endangered animals on the WWF website, but there are plenty of animals you can help! If you have your heart set on an animal the WWF isn’t currently raising money for, simply search for the name of your animal with the word donate and you can find an organization that is working to protect that specific animal. For example, the WWF isn’t currently accepting donations for the Canada Lynx which is currently threatened in Colorado. I searched “Canada Lynx donate” and found Defenders.org where I have the option to adopt a Lynx. Defenders.org has multiple adoption levels anywhere between $20 and $200 depending on the animal. If you want to scan through the different adoption options they offer, click here!

However you choose to help the Earth, you can feel good knowing that you’re making an impact. And think of the difference we could all make if everyone who read this picked even one of the above options to help save our global home!

Are you reading this late in the day on Earth Day, or even after the fact? Don’t worry, as the Earth Day Network says, “every day is Earth Day”. You can still help! And if you don’t want to participate in any of the above options, you can help the Earth Day Network reach their Global Environmental and Climate Literacy Campaign. Earth Day turns 50 in 2020 and the Earth Day Network is already planning to celebrate in a big way by dedicating to ensure that every student around the world graduates high school knowing the importance of environmental and climate change. Watch their video below, or learn more by clicking here!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5efkV0dt4mc]

Want to hear what other “National Days” Earth Day shares April 22nd with this year? Girl Scout Leader’s DayRecord Store Day, and Jelly Bean Day!

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What Would You Do If Your Future Held INFINITE Growth Potential?

Today I bring you another quote from The Back Forty archives. Take a moment to read it and then meet me on the other side as I unfold the meaning it holds.

The Back Forty

First and foremost, if you’re asking what the heck the “back forty” of the ranch is – check out my previous post on that topic by clicking here.

Great! Now that we have that out of the way, let’s look at the quote. It isn’t often that we think of our second half of life as being “uncultivated”, “full of possibility”, or holding “infinite growth potential”. After all, when we think of our second half of life we usually think of things like slowing down, predictability, and stability.

But, if you actually take the time to think about it, it is all of those things that we think it is not.

It is a new adventure waiting to unfold.

It is a chance to use all of your knowledge from your first half of life to create whatever you want for your future.

It is entirely in front of you.

In this way, your life IS uncultivated, full of possibility, and holding infinite growth potential. So take a moment to think about what adventure you want to work towards. After all, it’s all ahead of you!

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