We are pleased to share the results with you in this book celebrating love: the inspirational essays, narratives and insights. The intention of this book is to empower and uplift you, too, to notice what’s around you that’s ready for love from you.
The cards and gifts have been in stores since right after Christmas and advertising is hitting the airwaves. The pressure is building for those in relationships to make Valentines Day a meaningful expression of how much you care for your significant other. Some look forward to this as a highlight of the year; others know it’s important for at least one of the couple and go along.
But what about the rest of us? The ones who are not in an intimate relationship? We can ignore it as much as we can. Or we can let it make us regret our singleness and go into a funk.
Or we can decide now to spend that day in a way that affirms us and others. What could that look like? I was fortunate a few years back to experience one such alternative. A friend invited 5 single women who didn’t know each other well to her home for dinner. We had great food and wine and shared our stories. It was a lovely, affirming evening.
Interestingly, when I googled “ what to do on Valentines Day if you’re single”, there are 40,200,000 results. Clearly there are a lot of people with ideas. A few are rather negative (like an anti-Valentine party), but most are interesting ideas. Here are a few of my favorites, in the categories of things to do by yourself and things to do with others:
A self-care/spa night, including a bubble bath with candles and candy
Make yourself a fancy meal of foods you really love
Do something you’ve been putting off: something that will give you a sense of accomplishment when it’s done
Treat yourself to a bouquet of your favorite flowers
Buy yourself something you really want
Update your bucket list and get excited about your future plans
THINGS TO DO WITH OTHERS:
Have a group spa night – facials, manicures, pedicures, massages
Go to a movie with friends – anything but a romantic theme
Have a potluck dinner with friends
Host a sleepover/slumber party with silly movies and lots of junk food
Brighten other people’s day by showing them you care – your parents, siblings, cousins, etc.
Host a dance party with friends who love to let loose, dance and sing
Have a Golden Girls–style gathering around the kitchen table with a few friends – ice cream and/or cheesecake and lots of conversation – serious, silly, whatever happens
Have a game night – board games + whatever makes you and your friends laugh
Have a Secret Valentine exchange (a variation of Secret Santa) with other single friends, including parameters on cost, etc.
A simple reminder – stay off social media if seeing the posts of couples having fun bums you.
And there’s always the alternative of simply ignoring the whole thing. It’s a weeknight; do what you usually do if possible. If not, stay home and read or watch television. No biggy.
Many people are in a gratitude mode during the days of November leading up to Thanksgiving. The real challenge for some of us is to carry it beyond that day as so much around us switches to Christmas and beyond. The pressure increases to purchase, produce events, perform in many ways, and it is easy to lose our attitude of gratitude! I invite you to pledge to yourself to carry that attitude through the entire holiday season and into the new year. I believe it can have benefits for you during this busy, demanding time of year.
So often these days, the negative is sensationalized and the positive is ignored. You see it in the news, in magazines and newspapers. You hear it in the grocery store, at work and even from family and friends. All this negativity can be overwhelming to the point of wearing a person down.
It can be really difficult to avoid feeding into all of it. If you’re focusing on the negative rather than the positive, you are doing yourself a serious disservice. You are harming your emotional wellbeing as well as your physical body. You could be straining your relationships, hurting your career and much more.
Use this FREE 30-Day Gratitude Journal to get your started with this practice. http://carolbrusegar.com/30daygratitudejournal
Each day there will be a reflection on a particular topic and an invitation for you to write about it – brief or extensive, it’s up to you. This format will take you deeper on 30 topics, and you of course can add other things that come to mind. There are blank pages at the back of the journal for that purpose. It’s your journal to use as you wish! Print it out and decide on a time of day to use it for the next 30 days.
DOES THIS WORK?
Maybe you are skeptical about the hype you hear about the positive effects of gratitude. By incorporating gratitude you will find a new or renewed balance and energy. Gratitude is an emotion that comes from appreciation. It’s an awareness, a thankfulness for the good things in your life, in you and in the world around you. Gratitude is a powerful thing. It can turn a negative into a positive. It can be the fuel for taking on things that are important to you with renewed energy. It can change how you feel inside. It can bring hope and happiness. It can improve your health, your relationships, your career and your ability to make a difference in the world. It can literally transform your life.
When you express gratitude, it diminishes the negativity in a powerful way. Studies show that practicing gratitude leads to:
• A feeling of optimism, joy and satisfaction.
• Less stress, anxiety and depression.
• A strengthened immune system.
• Lower blood pressure.
• The ability to bounce back quicker after a traumatic event.
• Stronger relationships.
• A feeling of being connected to your community.
• Feeling less victimized by others or by life.
• Being able to recognize and appreciate what you have rather than what you don’t.
• Becoming more compassionate and empathetic.
• A better quality and more rewarding life.
Access your FREE 30-Day Gratitude Journal here: http://carolbrusegar.com/30daygratitudejournal
Practicing gratitude changes your perspective on life. Whether you choose to journal in the morning, or at night, or both, is up to you. Choose a time and be consistent. Spend a few minutes thinking and writing about the topic of the day. May this become a habit that goes far beyond the 30 days! I believe you will see some great results.
Can it really be the middle of 2018? Six months completed, six months remaining. Some of us may be feeling like the first half of the year was productive and satisfying. And some of us, myself included, may be nearly in shock that at the midpoint of the year so little of what we hoped to accomplish is a reality. The good news is that this is a good time to make a fresh start. Regrouping for the rest of the year now can bear much fruit in the months to come.
Here are five steps that each of us can take to get a fresh start and make the rest of the year great.
Step #1: Take a brief time to list the things that you believe got in the way of making the past six months what you had hoped. Some would call these excuses, and there are no valid excuses. Others view them as just a reality: life happens, and as it does, we make choices. So that we can focus on the future, let’s get these excuses/reasons out on the table.
Step #2: Again briefly, think of ways you could have done things differently so that you could have moved forward despite the factors that got in your way.
Step #3: Commit to using these strategies if these or similar things threaten to derail your intentions for the rest of the year.
Step #4: Decide on your intentions and goals for the next six months, through the rest of the year.
Step #5: Use this resource to help you accomplish your priorities: The 12 Week Year – Get More Done In 12 Weeks Than Other Do In 12 Months
This resource not only provides easy to follow strategies, it actually gives a whole new perspective on time and how to use it to get where you want to go. It is effective in the workplace and personally. The process and framework focuses us on 12 week time periods. We have two remaining 12 week periods in the rest of the year. Think how much we can accomplish!
Here are comments posted on Amazon about this resource:
+ The book is an excellent guide for how to compress our goals into timeframes that allow us to get more done, sooner. Three authors clearly establish WHY the 12-week will help you and more importantly, HOW to implement a 12-week year.
Case studies across verticals show how the concepts can be applied both individually and corporately.
+ I accomplished more with this program than I ever would have without it. I am applying this not only to my business, but our homeschool year and my homemaking/home improvement efforts.
I highly recommend you check out this book through my affiliate link and join me in making the rest of 2018 spectacular. I would love to hear from you as you use this framework and process! Here’s the link again: The 12 Week Year
For the 5th year, Senior Planet has published its nominees for their Aging with Attitude Film Awards.
“As in earlier years, we’re nominating films released over the last year that embody ‘aging with attitude.’ The pressure is increasing in Hollywood to address ageism…. Here are some films with images about aging that were honest, strong, resilient, empowered, and well-rounded.”
The nominees among films released in 2017 are the following: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri, The Hero (starring Sam Elliott), The Midwife (from France with English subtitles), Lucky, and The Post (Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks).
Descriptions, trailers and where you can view each movie are included in this article: Aging With Attitude Film Awards
This list provides some great movie entertainment for us who are in the over-50 group as well as everyone who would like to see some good films. We can all benefit from positive depictions of people of all ages.
I recently participated in a Vision Board Workshop in which the facilitator stressed the importance of choosing your life every day. We need to choose how we spend our time based on our priorities, not someone else’s priorities. That means saying “no” to things on which others ask us to spend our precious time so that we can indeed actualize those dreams and desires we have for our lives. There is power in saying no.
The day after the workshop, I found a helpful article written by Kevin Ashton – “The Most Successful Creative People Constantly Say ‘No’’. He noted that we are taught NOT to say no in many situations as we are growing up. We are taught to be cooperative and compliant. But we need a different perspective on our time and who controls it as we are transforming our lives after age 50. These words state it so clearly:
“Time is the raw material of creation. Wipe away the magic and myth of creating and all that remains is work: the work of becoming expert through study and practice, the work of finding solutions to problems and problems with those solutions, the work of trial and error, the work of thinking and perfecting, the work of creating. …
“Saying “no” has more creative power than ideas, insights and talent combined. ‘No’ guards time, the thread from which we weave our creations. The math of time is simple: you have less than you think and need more than you know.” (The entire article can be found here: The Most Successful Creative People Constantly Say ‘No’)
As someone who is a helper and has a long history of doing what people ask and offering to do things even when they don’t, this is a big challenge for me. I am committed to seeing the future I have on my vision board actualized. It is a work of creation. And creation takes time and focus.
Is this a challenge for you as you transform your years after 50? I encourage you to examine your typical patterns and decide what you may have to work on, as I do. It may take some time to take these actions and feel good about them; I know it will be a process for me.
If you would like to learn from one of the masters, John Assaraf, here is a great resource on using vision boards as a tool to achieve your dreams: The Complete Vision Board Kit: Using the Power of Intention and Visualization to Achieve Your Dreams
I recently read an article by John C. Maxwell titled, “Escape from Scarcity.”* It was a reminder of how easily so many of us can be sucked into a mindset of scarcity. Indeed so much of our language and cultural norms are built on the idea of winners and losers, abundance or scarcity. We are encouraged to pace ourselves, conserve our energy, and take care of ourselves and our family above all.
We often hoard not only our financial assets but our assistance and support, our ideas, our praise for others, and our encouragement. As people moving into a new stage of life, what are our mindsets and attitudes? Are we looking forward to sharing more, expanding in our years beyond age 50 – or have we been infected with the affliction of “take-care-of- myself-first-itis”? Are we looking to have the freedom to give in new and different ways until our last breath? Our mindset regarding abundance or scarcity will impact how we experience our coming years more than we can imagine.
Giving, contributing, and expanding opens the channels of giving AND of receiving in profound ways. In recent months, I experienced the impact of these choices. I had been in the midst of developing my online business and doing defined volunteer work at my church. Then duel crises/opportunities confronted the congregation and staff. The long-needed sale of our property happened quickly and we had to move out in a month. AND two of the four staff members quit their jobs abruptly.
I decided to set aside my focus on business building and spend virtually full time volunteering to do what needed to be done at the church. For nearly three months, I poured out my love and energy out of my passion for the mission of this unique congregation. Two things came out of that giving. I was told repeatedly that I saved the sanity of the two remaining staff members, that they couldn’t have made the move successfully without me, etc. – high psychic payoff! And after the immediate crisis was over, I was offered a stipend to continue working in some specific areas as we are building what is, in practical terms, a new church. Being part of the staff during this exciting and critical time is a validation of my contributions and skills – more psychic payoff!
I have learned again through this experience that by giving what I have, the abundance of the universe fills me up again in various ways. And I would have missed all that if I had held back and said that I was too busy, I needed to focus on my own work, the younger people should do it, etc.
John Maxwell ends his article this way, “You would never deny a bucketful to a child building a sand castle because you can refill that bucket again and again. That’s how the abundance mindset works. You give away praise, recognition, ideas, knowledge and money because you know there’s plenty to go around. What you give away will come back to you a thousand times over. I guarantee it.”
*Success Magazine, May 2017
Perhaps the idea of “transforming your years after 50” sounds like a lot of work. Perhaps it will cost money you are trying to conserve. Perhaps you are thinking, I can look at this closely later; reading it is interesting but doing the exercises and thinking deeply about this can wait.
My advice, my plea, is that you reconsider those thoughts. Beware of inertia setting in. Be alert to the tendency to slip into and stay in comfort zones which easily become ruts. Balance your desires to relax and enjoy the extra time and space you have with your desire to make this stage of your life joyful and fulfilling in new ways. They are not incompatible impulses.
Mirriam Webster Dictionary defines inertia as:
+ lack of movement or activity especially when movement or activity is wanted or needed;
+ a feeling of not having the energy or desire that is needed to move, change, etc.
Yes, relax. Yes, enjoy. YES, look at what you really want for your 3rd act of life. You can do it all. Start a step at a time. Do the exercises in the previous blog posts under the “What You Bring With You to Retirement” and “10 Questions to Ask Yourself to Open Possibilities” categories.
You can also consider the “Unlocking Your Ideal Self” program. Learn more about it here:
“What’s the biggest expense we should expect with transforming your retirement?”
“Transforming Your Life After 50” is a process to which I am personally committed. My purpose here is to provide ideas, inspiration and tools so others can also engage in a life-affirming process that enriches and energizes their lives in our years after 50. That process is based on our dedication to delighting in the gift of life, using that gift the best way we can, and being grateful.
“Transform” is to change in form, appearance or structure, or change in condition, nature or character; to turn around.
People considered Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, are now in their mid-fifties to about seventy years old. This stage of life is different in many ways from our parents’ and grandparents’ experiences: life expectancy, health, resources, technology, and the wide array of options have changed. With the pace of our lives, many of us do not take the time or energy to take responsibility for making these years the best they can be – except perhaps in terms of finances.
For many of us, these years are ones of transition from very intense career development, child rearing, and community involvement to ones where there is some time and space available. This can be a time of new experiences and of reinventing our lives for a “third act” that includes “retirement” as we chose to define it. It can be a time of transformation.
I invite you into an exploration of what you bring into this new phase of life and of tools that help you anticipate and design a “third act” that is satisfying, joyful and contributes to the well-being of others. I look forward to sharing and to communicating with you as we travel this path of exploration and discovery.
PLEASE NOTE: Click on one of the categories in the list in the right sidebar to view posts related to that topic.