Truth is I’ve never been big on playing things safe. Over the years, I’ve taken what others considered foolish risks speaking truth to power. I was raised to stand for what I believe is right, just as I was taught to listen to dissent. We are here to make a big difference, not to just make it big. And reality is that I benefited tangibly from standing up instead of sitting down, much to the shocked amazement of family friends co-workers.
My blessing is that I’ve known people who have reached great heights, who make mega bucks & live BIG lives ~AND~ touch people in remarkable ways, make a profound difference to those around them & the world.
And people who appear to have small lives who make out-sized differences to those in their hearts & in their care.
And then there is me.
I made it what people would consider big in the corporate world. Never came remotely close to corner office status, but I made my mark & garnered my share of accolades. Successes that can be traced to opening my BIG mouth instead of playing it safe, in being whackadoodle innovative in the face of old-school stone walling, in unconsciously ruffling feathers instead of strategically soothing egos.
This came alive for me reading p. 78 of THE AGELESS WAY ~ “Truth-telling isn’t just about speaking out on big issues. It’s about embodying our truth, big and small. It starts with being honest with ourselves, with who we really are, inside and out. and then stepping into that truth… ~ Every day is your moment of truth.”
What makes this a challenge to do is that we all have our own experience of truth. I can say without a entsy teensy bit of doubt that people I hold dear to my heart do NOT share my ideas of what qualifies as truth.
There are people who care deeply about us who think that John & I are nuts to live the way we do. We see it as living from our truth.
For those who don’t know our story, when we were married in 1989, everything in our personal & professional lives looked totally on course to FABULOUS. I had a rewarding job working in Public Relations & Advertising at Prudential HealthCare, with a boss who cared about what we did, not just checking off each project as it was completed. John had a booming career as a freelance commercial illustrator.
Within eight years, his client list was decimated by computers & mine fell apart when PHCS was acquired by AETNA & I became superfluous.
If you looked at our lives over the next twenty years, they could seem to be falling apart at the seems. Not a typo. As in well-meaning friends saying things like “it seems that two talented people like you should easily find new jobs” ~and~ “it seems like you should look harder for new work.” They meant well, but didn’t realize – heck, we didn’t realize – that everything WAS coming together.
The work we both did in our earlier lives trained the two of to become cheerleaders for expansive living right across the age spectrum. We are terrific at enrichment, totally suck at any sort of maintenance help because our truth is we’ve known precious few elderly people in need of “daily task” support. Until her last five weeks, Mom handled her list of meds, Mom M. lived 100% independently, their friends were singularly capable of taking care of themselves with a modicum of assistance.
Another core truth to know about us is that we incline toward collaboration AND yet we lead fairly solitary lives. For a very long time, that was a sadness, especially for me. Not any more. Because solitary is our current truth, we are able to do nutty things like drive to & from DC for an Aging2.0 cocktail hour event – no kids tried to convince us to stay home because all our children are 4-legged, furry & meow. We can nip into Philly tomorrow to attend our first Positive Aging Lunch because no one needs us to baby watch. We can take back-to-back trips to NYC on Wed & Thurs without anyone cluck clucking that, at 65 & 72, it is too much.
For years, it grieved my heart that we never had children. Now, I see where it gives us the free time to do things that beckon, from attending events to writing blog posts to checking out books articles websites that others are too maxed out to read.
The only way I can make a success of what we are setting out to accomplish is to be as open transparent as possible. Neither of us have any letters after our names, our value is rooted in our personal life stories, our experiences with remarkable older men & women who were lights unto our paths during their lives & will illuminate our uses to the end of our own days.
We look forward to returning to the financially stable lives of past years, but are currently in flux in that department. We choose to interpret our status as being on the edge of tomorrow, as we channel Proust – “If a little dreaming is dangerous, the cure is not to dream less, but to dream more, to dream all the time.”
Our truth is that we live on the edge because we seek to push it out more & more, to help make it possible for everyone – whatever their age – to live as expansively as both our mothers, as friends like Anne Hyatt & life mentors like Otho Heilman, Viola Ridgeway, Aubrey Odhner.
We are fledglings at being organized & using time effectively, but we move forward in wiser directions every day. I cannot overstate the boost I’ve gotten from Karen Sands’ book – 1/3 of THE AGELESS WAY is a workbook that feels written just for ME, a companion to THE GREATEST SALESMAN IN THE WORLD, the book that finally – at 63+ – got my head fully in the game.
There might be things shared here that leave you thinking, “Seriously? They admitted that?” John & I have no fear – not of scrounging enough together to feed both the cats AND us, not of school taxes, not of roofs needing reshingling, certainly for a 141,000 mile stout-hearted & true car. We are explorers, whacking our way through the unknown, going boldly forward .
We’re moving toward a time where lifetimes are significantly lengthened but old negative images of aging upward remain deeply entrenched, in our culture & our minds. Turning that around requires daring souls willing to speak truth to the powers-that-be (including our own loved ones, including ourselves!), willing to be transparent in goals & outspoken in intentions.
Our communities nation world need all of us to to be brave courageous audacious enough to pair truth-telling with equally brave courageous audacious LISTENING. We need to embody, each in our own ways – from over-sized & outspoken to small & hushed – the iconic Apple ad…
Here’s to the crazy ones.
The round pegs in the square holes.
The ones who see things differently.
They’re not fond of rules.
And they have no respect for the status quo.
You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them.
About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them.
Because they change things.
They push the human race forward.
While some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius.
Because the people who are crazy enough to think
they can change the world, are the ones who do.