What you NEED is badass* love

To me, THE most interesting thing about You Are A Badass is how most of the chapters close with a number of points to ponder & put into action.  And each list ends with “LOVE YOURSELF.”  Because without that as your starting point, nothin’ positive is going to happen.  You could become a super zillion billionaire, but without a sense of love respecting honor of who YOU are, it will mean zilch.

The weirdest thing of all the weird things in my life is that my sense of self-loving remained whole & healthy through all the funk that strolled next to me.  I know that because of never faltering in my faith that better was possible.  That’s the weirdest of the weird because NOTHING in my life gave the slightest clue to the wonderfulness of being okay with yourself.  Not cocky smug complacent, but accepting that you are enough & capable of wondrous wowness.

Even when it felt like I had zilch self-esteem, when I felt that I was zip compared to sibs & others, deep deep deep inside was a unfurled rose of aliveness.  And here is Jen, wrapped in her glorious badassery, saying, “Yeah, baby – it starts & ends with loving yourself.”  Zipadeedoodah & ZOWIE!  The key is being okay with you  ~AND~ going flat-out to be your best version possible.

 

Defining BADASS –  a person who is independent & competent enough to do what they want, regardless of whether it’s popular, or even allowed.  A badass is someone who rolls up her sleeves, knows what she wants to do, is open to the risks & flat-out goes for it.  Who can laugh at themselves while taking their pursuit seriously, love themselves & others, who are wise enough to “rejoice in the cosmic ridiculousness” of it all.

 

Badass* ~ self-help with an edge

Jen Sincero wrote You Are A Badass in as edgy a style as she could muster.  And as a founding member of the band Crotch, Jen can be totally out there.  She figured that a lot of people who could use a good self-help book are turned off by what they could experience as “stuffy” language, so she ripped into the old model, coming up with the sort of approach & wording that would appeal to wilder hearts.

I set out on my intentional personal quest for a greater sense of self back in 1976.  Have been encouraging John to do some inner searching from our earliest days, but he’s never hooked into any of the authors who set me pinging.  He easily hooked into Jen.  With the result that we start 2018 on a whole new track.

My siblings – particularly my s-i-l & my oldest brother – comment on my bad temper.  And I can get my back up with them, which seems understandable, being the one & only Lockhart who delves & digs into issues, seeking recognition & – hopefully – resolution.  It is NOT a family trait.  When my next-older sibling died when I seven & he eleven, we NEVER discussed the impact it had on us individually & as a family, a shutting down & out which went totally against my nature.

Pardon me as I digress, but am finding myself smiling, remembering my s-i-l, who has called me out as perhaps the most psychotic person she’d ever encountered.  I must confess that Kerry cracks me up.  She is pointedly critical of my family, but when – on several occasions – Mom & I, separately or together, heeded her rebukes & followed her recommendation, Kerry reacted precisely the way we’d feared.  What still cracks me up is the sheer absurdity, especially when she went off the deep end when Mom placed her among the many (including me) with whom my mother felt emotionally unsafe – Kerry’s pen lashing unwittingly proved the point.  Small wonder Kerry experiences – and the others – experience me as such a dark bleak soul considering how differently we process words & actions.  When it turned out I get seriously distressed with John,  keeping Kerry’s metaphorical knuckle rapping in mind helps. 

That we’re (I’m) occasionally plunged into despair is the sad news.  The good news, which reached a zenith of wow awareness this past Monday & Tuesday, is how frequently distress jarred us into a new view of longtime issues.  Our goal for 2018 is opening our eyes & spirit to addressing problems WITHOUT the flaming aggravation.

The key heartbreak for me has been that John seemed so incurious about source of the challenges he brought to our marriage.  The sources that did so much for me over the past decades did zip for him.  The big AHA is that he is the audience that Jen targets in Badass…!

Am embarrassed to say that it NEVER dawned on me that Jen is a good fit for John.  However, I rarely post anything without first reading it to him.  The only reason he connected with Jen was because of listening to my post, but the more I read, the more it was clear that HERE was his hook.

Many factors come into AHA moments like we had on Wednesday, realizing that we have to do something because things cannot go on as they are.  When we first fell in love, several weeks after meeting & several days before getting engaged, John looked at me in amazement & said, “I can tell you ANYTHING.”  That core quality is what’s gotten us through the roller coaster called marriage.  We not only can tell each other anything, we are both certain that the other person is never intentionally setting out to hurt us, however much we might feel pulverized.

No one can prepare a person for the weird chemistries of marriage, how the longer you’re married & the more committed you are to creating a nurturing relationship, the more ancient issues are revealed in new lights or old hurts take on new guises. Getting deeper doesn’t mean it gets easier.

Maybe starting to address our problems takes a maturity, a balance we just didn’t have until this moment.   Wouldn’t have mattered much if we had, since Jen only published Badass… in 2013, I didn’t read it until 2016 & John just connected with it YESTERDAY, after our relationship teetered on the edge of disaster.

Weird – weeks ago, I bought the page-a-day Badass… calendar.  Little did I realize what a wild opportunity the accumulation of our days & the insights of edgy Jen Sincero has brought our way!

Defining BADASS –  a person who is independent & competent enough to do what they want, regardless of whether it’s popular, or even allowed.  A badass is someone who rolls up her sleeves, knows what she wants to do, is open to the risks & flat-out goes for it.  Who can laugh at themselves while taking their pursuit seriously, love themselves & others, who are wise enough to “rejoice in the cosmic ridiculousness” of it all.

 

 

Back so soon? Chapter 11 – “Your Brain is Your Bitch,” page 94

In You Are A Badass*, Jen Sincero shares a super short platitude – Your thoughts & beliefs dictate your reality.  Some people might even call it trite, but as the valedictorian at my sister’s 1981 NYU graduation captured it:  “Trite IS true” –  such sayings are repeated over & over because they’re right.

For some whackadoodle reason that most people might find whifty, my thoughts & beliefs, from my earliest days, focused on whole & healthy relationships.  (And I do mean my earliest days.)  What astonishing irony to have been born into a family of siblings beset with a predisposition to disconnection, a proclivity for snark & cynicism, a preternatural tendency to diss themselves even as they struck superior poses.  {Well, at least two of them.)  There I was, believing in a family that didn’t believe in me. That sounds ghastly – it just feels normal, because thus it has always been.  But hey – they don’t see themselves as connected within, a part of family, either.  (My sister seemed to feel set apart from EVERYONE  – – made me want to wrap her in unwanted hugs.)

Mind you, my guess is my sibs would share a different recollection of family experiences, with storylines where I am the toxic, messed up one.  And that would be every bit as real to them as the other interpretation is to me.

Thank heavens, for the purpose of what’s discussed here, the truth (or the most apt shading of it) is moot.  What matters is that their thoughts & beliefs dictate their reality, just as mine does.

Is it possible that both myself & my sibs are focused on healthy, whole relationships, but we operate from different understandings of what they are, how they are experienced & felt?  YEP!

Ain’t relationships grand & gritty?!

 

Defining BADASS –  a person who is independent & competent enough to do what they want, regardless of whether it’s popular, or even allowed.  A badass is someone who rolls up her sleeves, knows what she wants to do, is open to the risks & flat-out goes for it.  Who can laugh at themselves while taking their pursuit seriously, love themselves & others, who are wise enough to “rejoice in the cosmic ridiculousness” of it all.

 

First book up – Jen Sincero’s YOU ARE A BADASS ~ ~ how to stop doubting your greatness & start living an awesome life

Since my 20178 page-a-day calendar is taken from YOU ARE A BADASS *  ~ and~ it’s the inspiration for the working title for my book about Mom (BADASS GRANDMA), figured it was THE book to start my look at the authors who got me to the end of a quest that lasted going on 2/3 of my life!

Jen Sincero had me at the first page of her intro – “Compared to the majority of the planet, my life was a total cream puff.  But compared to what I knew I was capable of, I was, shall we say, unimpressed.”  It wasn’t about the many accomplishments Jen had already racked up, but the more much more she KNEW was possible, that she knew was shrieking to get OUT.

Like Jen, there were years where I’ve felt mired in meh, punctuated by spurts of accomplishment & fleeting glory.  Deep inside, she knew her truth – “I KNEW I was a total rock star, that I had the power to give & receive & love with the best of ’em, that I could leap tall buildings in a single bound & could create anything I put my mind to…”  Amen, hallelujah & me too, sister!

Jen talks about having the cojones to show up as our best, most dazzling, “badassiest” version.  And that truly does take brass balls, because there WILL be people – maybe even your family or BFF – who will take the attitude, “Who are YOU to think it’s possible to do be propagate awesomeness?  Pretty big for your britches if you ask me, little missy/mister.”  Too many are talked out of the big jump & opt to settle rather than soar.

Chalk me up as blessed – I know a lot of soarers.  Erica rocking academia & beyond with her badass psych teaching & studies, Beth running a 5-star preschool, Jonathan’s brilliance shockingly grounded, Andy setting set out to satisfy his craving to LEARN & inadvertently positioning himself as a world class leader (which he actually always was), Annie capturing souls along with smiles in her photos, Ryan & Adriann feeding the multitudes’ spirits as well as their tummies, Margaret…  Gail…  Dave… Candy…  Len… Janie… Pete… Trisha… Edie…  Cass…   All these & SO many bright shining stars of WOWness fill my skies.

I grieve for those who have to deal with friends & family trying – from the best of motives – to talk them off the ledge & who do their mightiest to keep them from taking bold leaps into the unknown.  What joy to have the sort of amigos & cherished ones who, instead, letter quotes like Guilliaume Apollinaire’s  to showcase on my desk:

“Come to the edge,” he said.
“We can’t, we’re afraid!” they responded.
“Come to the edge,” he said.
“We can’t, We will fall!” they responded.
“Come to the edge,” he said.
And so they came.
And he pushed them.
And they flew.”

My besties & buddies are totally ready to push me off any number of ledges – but I never doubt they’ll form a net, should I need one.

Not a single one scoffed when I went to my first National Center for Creative Aging National Leadership Exchange & Conference what feels like ten years ago (it was 2014) ~or~ my first Leading to Well Being Conference in 2015 ~or~ when I attended four (or was it five) conferences & workshops in 2016.  In 2017, a year marked with uncharacteristically low income levels, no one questioned why I’d sink a bundle into going to the 5-day International Association of Gerontology & Geriatrics (IAGG) World Congress in San Francisco, when I don’t sport so much as a single credentialed letter after my name.  All I got was “Bon voyage!” & “Knock their socks off!”  No one seems shocked to find me kicking off  the Philadelphia chapter of the Radical Age Movement, all are egging me on to submit a proposal for a presentation (Postcards from the Trenches) at April’s Masterpiece Lyceum conference  – Making Chronological Age Irrelevant.

As wonderful as it is, it also means I can’t fall back on “THEY aren’t supporting me.”  Everyone – especially my John – is.  I have NO excuse to not leap.

Yes, Jen, I do know that I am “extremely well-poised to knock it out of the park & share (my) awesomeness with the world, because the world NEEDS smart people with huge hearts & creative minds, people who feel happy & fulfilled & loved, who radiate self-love & living-large & on purpose, who believe we live in a world of infinite possibilities.”  Pardon my cojones, but that’s me all over.

At the end of her intro, Jen describes the choice I’ve had to face, that I recommit myself to every day — If you put your disbelief aside, roll up your sleeves, take some risks, and totally go for it, you’ll wake up one day & realize you’re living the kind of live you used to be jealous of.

Amen & hallelujah & YEEEEEE HA!

 

Defining BADASS –  a person who is independent & competent enough to do what they want, regardless of whether it’s popular, or even allowed.  A badass is someone who rolls up her sleeves, knows what she wants to do, is open to the risks & flat-out goes for it.  Who can laugh at themselves while taking their pursuit seriously, love themselves & others, who are wise enough to “rejoice in the cosmic ridiculousness” of it all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book of the Week!

Getting back on track for writing about the 25+ books that guided my quest for a sense of SELF.  Starting today & continuing to next Monday, will select a book a week to review, reflect on.

Which is not to say I won’t be writing at the same time about books recently or currently being read – What Will They Say About You When You’re Gone?, American Vulgar (a horribly titled book that is full of insights & wisdom), Braving the Wilderness, Virtual Grandma, How to Lead Meditation Groups for Seniors, The Art of Learning & Self Development, Live Life Laughing, Caring for the Dying,  The Cult of Information, America the Wise (written in 1998 about the author’s expectation that having more older Americans would result in a wiser nation), Life is Good  – but my weekly deep dive will be into the books that got me from Spring 1976 to July 2017 & the end of my initial, incredibly long (41 years!) quest.

My greatest lesson learned in 2017

When you are ready, your tribe shows up.  Shows up without effort on your part.  They appear, ready for YOU to take the important step of recognizing accepting embracing them.

And we can have different tribes at different times of our lives, as part of different aspects of our lives.  But our true tribe tribe is something special, people (or animals) who connect to a special place within us.

The arrival of a tribe can be an “At last!” experience or a WOW surprise.  My mother didn’t expect to find & build a large tribe in her late 80s, early 90s, one that was there for her in good times & rough patches, in decent health & her final days.  They were an online presence in her life – and she in theirs – & she never did meet many of them, but they were a rock & anchor over her last 2+ years with us.  As Mom wrote in an ancient e-mail, she just assumed that her circle of friends would grow smaller & smaller as she grew older & older, but instead – to her delight – it not only grew bigger & bigger as new requests to be placed on her e-mail dist list rolled it, most of them were young enough to be her children or even grandchildren.  Finding that tribe took no effort on Mom’s part – it came to her.

Okay, it took an effort – she made the decision to venture online, to be part of several conversations that were only happening over e-mail (this was 1999, pre-blogging).  But once she knocked at that virtual door, she was astonished by the response from what felt like a tribe that had been waiting for HER to show up among them.

My tribe has been showing up in dribs & drabs over half a century, but the whoosh of new members since July’s IAGG World Congress has been every bit as astonishing as Mom’s showing up in her e-mail.

When the student is ready, the teacher will come.  In 2017, I learned the same is true with your tribe.  Return the welcome & join in.

Postcard From the Trenches

Have blocked off April 3-5 on my 2018 calendar – the 10th Annual Masterpiece Living Lyceum – Making Chronological Age Irrelevant, being held right in my own backyard.  Yep, instead of booking a room, will be taking SEPTA or Gibbs (our stout-hearted & true Concorde) every day to the conference.

And I am submitting a proposal for a presentation.  Postcard From the Trenches will look at the challenges & opportunities  found in those most valiant of care partners – the ones thrown into the maelstrom of elder support, the ones who bring & gain the most from their experiences, who have so much to share & are too often silent.  Aka family members & loving friends.  The ones who typically shield their eyes & heart from encroaching health issues with older loved ones, typically find themselves drawn into dealing with major problems without any preparation, typically try to get through without being engulfed & overwhelmed and, when the all-engrossing crisis is past, typically seek to forget about it, put it out of mind, distant themselves from the experience.

We are, as a culture, unprepared to provide getting-up-there relatives & friends the sort of support they need to live as fully as possible, in spite of an aging body.  We are basically clueless about what to expect, be it for ourselves or others.  Go into any major bookstore – you’ll find an entire section on pregnancy & childcare.  Where is the section on aging expansively, on childing & eldercare?  No where.  Search Amazon for books on childcare – almost 27.000 results.  Eldercare?  6,000.  Expansive aging – if only!

How do we turn that around?  How do people involved in family-provided elder support get info & training on helping olders elders ancients LIVE instead of merely exist?  How to step them past providing basic maintenance to social enrichment?  How to seek find embrace their own support team?   How do we prepare youngers to be knowledgeable, effective care partners ~and~  elders to partner in their own care?

It’s not about connecting people to more information about the challenges of dipping into our 70s, 80s & above.  Information is NOT power.  Wisdom is.  That is what’s needed.

Countless people engaged in an older loved one’s care have great insights to share, innovative ways to help olders increase their sense of independence, to be as fully themselves as possible, whatever their circumstances may be, how they’ve lessened the stress & strain on themselves.

Where are the forums to hear them, to build on what they’ve discovered, to stop reinventing the eldercare wheel?  How do we create them in time to help boomers & their children, friends?

My proposal for a  Masterpiece Lyceum presentation speaks for those in the trenches & throws down the guantlet – – how do those of us who understand the ways, means & power of communication make it easier for the naturally mute to find & use their voice so we can gain from & build on their experiences?

From my earliest days, my great passion has been doing what I can to encourage  people of every age to be as fully themselves as possible.  My presentation will seek to find ways to help people with no letters after their names, who didn’t ask to become a care partner but have embraced it, who have more to offer than they imagine, to become part of a conversation around how we provide eldercare, to share worst nightmares & best practices.  To be part of a greater whole instead of isolated, alone.

There’s always going to be new recruits reporting to the trenches.  I aim to make sure that they have the right equipment & guidance to serve with honor & even distinction.  That’s what I want to talk about at April’s Masterpiece Lyceum, what I want to spread through the Radical Age Movement, what I want to share in casual conversations.

I am an eldercare evolutionary  dedicated to flipping our country’s culture around aging from woe to WOW.  Hear me roar, watch me soar!