I cannot believe my blog turns two today! To celebrate this fantastic event (plus passing 90,000 hits!) I decided to present you with a whole new and improved website!
I’m in the process of re-directing my blog to a self-hosted site. It’s a lot more spacious and open compared to the old one. Of course, the URL stays the same.
The stand of aspen right outside of our bedroom window are at the height of their golden sunlit glory this afternoon.
With the sun shining through, they jump out at me, setting my eyes and mind ablaze with their pure incandescence.
These aspen form the perfect camouflage for my neighbor’s house, a natural fortification between us and the rest of the world.
We are safe in here.
Hidden behind this shelter of gold, we can pretend there are no others out there to spoil our lovely, isolated existence. We live in our own detached world, free of all things.
Please don’t let the leaves leave! I wish they could stay outside my bedroom window throughout the winter. And then in spring, they could magically turn green again!
I saw these words on a TV commercial for retirement, and I thought “NO!!!” This is not about retirement! This is about your life right now! These words are an example of how we are taught to keep putting off our lives one day at a time, until we suddenly realize we have no life left!
Most of us live parallel lives. We live day to day, sometimes in the present, and often float off into visions of our past. At other times we free ourselves up enough to daydream about a better life in our future, one where we have lots of free time to do exactly what we want, whenever we want to.
I was handed that kind of free time five years ago when I lost my job, and it scared the hell out of me! Because when you have that much free time, it’s very hard to distract yourself from the problem at hand.
When you finally get anywhere near the strong feeling of nothing left to lose, the freedom can be terrifying. When you have nothing but time to think about yourself and your life, you may begin to wonder,
“What have I really done with my life so far? Has my life had any meaning at all?”
These feelings of terror were exactly what I needed to stop wishing and start doing. I decided I strongly desired more of two things in my life: fun and meaning. I didn’t want to suffer now for a better future later. I knew I was through with that way of living. I felt forced to take a painfully honest inventory of what I needed to do before I died.
It has been a slow, difficult process moving from those stark, dark days to something better. From where I sit today, every single moment of confusion and uncertainty was worth the joyful life I see before me.
Yes, it is important to daydream and vision and make wish lists about finding a better future for yourself. But only if you are willing to take some gigantic risks to follow through with your plan.
“Only those who risk going too far, can possibly find out how far one can go.” -T.S. Eliot
3 Comments | Acceptance, Authenticity, Brains and aging, career change, Control issues, counseling, Creativity, Defining midlife, depression, divorce, Identity crisis, Job loss, Learning cycles, Living an authentic life, Love later in life, Major transitions, mid-life crisis, Midlife Mental Health, Midlife support, Psychological effects of midlife, Psychology of Baby Boomers, Psychology of life changes, Self Authority, self discovery, self empowerment, Self Esteem, self transformation, Self-compassion, Self-counseling, Self-help, Self-love, self-nurturing, self-protection, Self-responsibility, Shame and change, solitude, Techniques for transitioning, Uncategorized | Tagged: dreaming a better future, Only those who risk going too far...Eliot, planning for retirement, positive midlife change, risk-taking, wishing and doing | Permalink
Posted by Laura Lee Carter
By now I hope you have all heard about the new findings in the area of brain plasticity research. Here are some more ways to help your brain span match your life span!
Have you chosen a brain healthy snack like nuts or fruit instead of a candy bar lately? How about trying walnuts instead of croutons on your salad next time!
When was the last time you tried something completely new to you? How about mixing up your style of dress? Why not buy a new hat, or get a tattoo?
When did you last ask for help when you were having a hard time? Chronic stress shrinks your brain’s memory center. Getting support and interacting with others activates many new parts of your brain!
Do you ever truly listen to those around you? Try turning your full attention on them like a light. Notice everything about their eyes, their voice, what they need from you. Try to fully appreciate them. We all crave positive attention!
Open up to all of your senses right now. What do you see? Hear? Smell? Taste? What people or colors or sounds are you drawn to and why?
When was the last time you tried eating new foods and tasting new kinds of tea? Mixing up your diet stimulates your brain. The spices in Indian food decrease your chances of developing dementia, and most teas are very good for you.
Have you ever tried sitting quietly in a meditative state? Letting go reduces your stress level immediately, soothing depression and anxiety.
Have you had your red wine today? Small amounts of wine, deliver the powerful antioxidant resveratrol to your brain preventing free radical damage to brain cells.
Have you challenged your brain lately with some kind of brain teaser? Crossword puzzles, card games, memorizing facts, taking a course in something new and different, all stimulate new parts of your brain circuitry.
Do you make a point to connect regularly with others? Instead of watching TV, pick up the phone! A nice conversation with a friend gets you out of your own rut and reduces memory-sapping depression!
Did you ever try fasting? Research shows that people who fast one day a week unlock a unique form of blood glucose that helps the brain more efficiently transmit information. Break your fast with some brain-healthy blueberries or nuts or a glass of wine.
When was the last time you made a change in your home or work environment? Move around the furniture. Change the colors and textures you surround yourself with. Small shifts can alter your motor pathways and encourage cell growth!
Do you exercise regularly at least 40-50 minutes per day? Get up and take a walk outdoors! Observe all the natural beauty you are surrounded with each day. Daydream and enjoy life!
Leave a Comment » | Acceptance, Authenticity, Brains and aging, Control issues, counseling, Creativity, Defining midlife, depression, exercise, Learning cycles, Living an authentic life, Major transitions, menopause, mid-life, mid-life crisis, Midlife Mental Health, Midlife support, Psychological effects of midlife, Psychology of Baby Boomers, Psychology of life changes, Self Authority, self discovery, self empowerment, Self Esteem, self transformation, Self-compassion, Self-counseling, Self-help, Self-love, self-nurturing, self-protection, Self-responsibility, Techniques for transitioning, Uncategorized | Tagged: brain plasticity, change your brain change your life | Permalink
Posted by Laura Lee Carter
My friend Helen sent this to me recently. Compiled by Regina Brett of the Plain Dealer, Cleveland, Ohio, this list is: “To celebrate growing older, I wrote these 45 lessons life has taught me.”
1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
4. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch.
5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
6. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
7. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.
8. It’s OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.
12. It’s OK to let your children see you cry.
13. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don’t worry; God never blinks.
16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
17. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.
18. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.
19. It is never too late to have a happy childhood. The second one is up to you and no one else.
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.
21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.
23. Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.
24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.
26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words ‘In five years, will this matter?’
27. Always choose life.
28. Forgive everyone everything.
29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
30. Time heals almost everything. Give it time.
31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
32. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
33. Believe in miracles.
34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do.
35. Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
36. Growing old beats the alternative — dying young.
37. Your children get only one childhood.
38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.
41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
42. The best is yet to come.
43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
45. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.
Leave a Comment » | Acceptance, Authenticity, Brains and aging, Control issues, counseling, Creativity, Defining midlife, Learning cycles, Living an authentic life, Major transitions, mid-life, mid-life crisis, Midlife Mental Health, Midlife support, Psychological effects of midlife, Psychology of Baby Boomers, Psychology of life changes, Self Authority, self discovery, self empowerment, Self Esteem, self transformation, Self-compassion, Self-counseling, Self-help, Self-love, self-nurturing, self-protection, Self-responsibility, Techniques for transitioning, Uncategorized | Tagged: 45 life lessons, how a 90-year-old sees life, Lessons from Regina Brett | Permalink
Posted by Laura Lee Carter