What’s a Key to Successful Aging?

If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Maya Angelou, author

As I speak with women of the Silent and Greatest Generations, I’m learning that attitude is a significant factor in their successful aging. Perhaps, attitude is even a greater influencer than what they eat or how much they exercise.

Maxine, a healthy centenarian with whom I spoke, gave the advice to “live one day at a time.” She embraced the shikata ga nai I wrote about in my last blog—accept what can’t be helped and keep putting one foot in front of the other. Another vibrant woman, age ninety-one, said, “Make it happen.” Her life continues to be built around recognizing  needs in her community then addressing the need. As a younger woman, she helped start a church, the local library, park district (including senior center and teen center), women’s club, artists’ association, historical society and museum. The day I interviewed her, she was preparing for an art show and sale. 

Affirmation: My attitude contributes to my successful aging. 

Coaching questions: What attitudes move you towards aging with grace? What attitudes do you need to tweak? 

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My vibrant friend, Maxine, on her birthday.

 

Discovering the Dragons of Home

I believe that one carries the shadows, the dreams, the fears and dragons of home under one’s skin, at the extreme corners of one’s eyes, and possibly in the gristle of the ear lobe. Maya Angelou, author, singer, memoirist, and civil rights activist.

Where is home for you? Some say, “home is where the heart is” others consider home wherever their loved ones are. I’m interpreting Angelou’s quote to mean family of origin or childhood home. As we search for our unique selves, we uncover all that originally made us who we are under our skin, at the corners of our eyes, and the gristle of our ear lobs. 

As I write a memoir-like book, I’m daily considering the shadows, dreams, fears, and dragons I carry with me. I’m transported back to small-town-Nebraska and what I consider to be an idyllic childhood. Concurrently, I’m writing a historical fiction book about my great grandparents, early settlers in Nebraska. I’m embracing my past and finding satisfaction even in the shadows.

Affirmation: I embrace my past as I carry it into my present.

Coaching questions: Where is home for you? What do you especially value that you learned from your family or origin? How does it make a difference to you today?

IMG_1488Sledding with friends behind our car in Nebraska – circa 1957 – I’m on left

Ultimate Thrivers

My mission in life is to not merely survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style. Maya Angelou, author

According to urban legend, the word thrive originates from a central Auckland, New Zealand crew commonly known as the Ultimate Thrivers. This prestigious bunch of people developed the word during many dunk nights and good times.

The traditional meaning of what it is to thrive includes: to flourish, develop well and vigorously. A thriving garden requires good soil and plant food, sunshine, adequate water, and tender care including weeding and pruning. What environment and attitude causes you to thrive?

Affirmation: I am an Ultimate Thriver.

Coaching questions: What would it mean for you to move from surviving to thriving? If you’re already in thriver mode, what helps you stay there? How do you determine the difference between survive and thrive as it applies to your life?

The Dragons of Home

I believe that one carries the shadows, the dreams, the fears and dragons of home under one’s skin, at the extreme corners of one’s eyes, and possibly in the gristle of the ear lobe. Maya Angelou

I’m writing on this theme just so I can share this beautiful Maya Angelou quote. I hope you enjoy and find meaning in it. What an amazing writer! Don’t you just love “the gristle of the ear lobe”? In addition to the beautiful prose, I believe what she says is true.

After being away from “home” for over 50 years, I’m still a Nebraska Girl at heart. I yearn to have a view of the horizon from every direction, the fields of green as far as the eye can see, nearly everyone in town dressed in red on game day, farmer’s leaving their trucks running while they dash into the hardware store, dry river beds just ripe for picnics. Fortunately for this only child, motherless daughter, home was happy and didn’t leave me with “dragons under the skin”. It was a place of security, love, compassion and growth. I know I was fortunate because as I interview women, this was frequently not the case. Take time today to consider what home means/meant to you…shadows, dreams, fears and dragons included.

Affirmation: I honor my roots.

Coaching questions: What does “home” mean to you? How does your view of home affect who you are today?