Crazy Transparent


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 .

Terra incognita if ever there was one!  A place where more & more people celebrate 100th birthdays, as four living generation families – sometimes under one roof! – become less & less a rarity.

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 misfits.
The rebels.
The troublemakers.

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.



Okay, I finished reading THE AGELESS WAY on Monday,  wrote my 2nd review about it yesterday, was geared up to tackle the end-of-chapter Reflections, when it hit me – last night – that the book has exerted a greater power over me than I’d imagined.

Last night, John & I were at a “Designing Your Dream Day,” part of Be Well Cafe‘s Wellness Speaker Series.  A table of five women, ranging in age from early twenties to forties, sat to my left.  They looked like the sort of friendship circle that most touches my heart, so I introduced myself & shared my happiness at seeing them together.  Then, to my shock, I heard “There’s a book you should get & read together!” come out of my mouth! And I dove right in, describing THE AGELESS WAY.

As I started describing Karen Sands’ opus, they edged back a bit in their seats, like they suspected they were dealing with a crazed publisher, but as I described THE AGELESS WAY – the generous margins, the interweaving of subject matter, that reading it would give them an unmeasurable advantage moving forward in their lives – they leaned toward me.

I am NOT the sort of person who goes around advocating authors & their books, but I am convinced that reading Karen’s book – all the people & stories & lives she draws into it, as well as her own strong clear clarifying voice – would put all of us in a terrific place, whether we are aging upward from 20, 40, 60, 80, 100.

The depth of my belief harks back to…  dessert.  Young adulthood is the equivalent of Jello – tasty but still a bit wobbly.  Our middle years blend into a luscious pudding – cool creamy delectable.  But our upper years – ah, they beat the other two on every count!  They combine into a fabulous trifle, delectable layer upon layer beckoning others to dip deep down & discover a sampling of our textures & flavors.

That could equally describe THE AGELESS WAY.  I have just gotten through the first layer; the second automatically formed through my personal response – underlines words comments throughout the book.  Am just started on the third – journaling my impressions, jotting down the quotes that speak most deeply to me, recording what I jotted in the margins.  Then, will onto the fourth – going through the exercises at the end of each chapter.

That IS a lot of work & will take way more time than doing the end-of-chapter exercises as I read through.  We all read differently.  That would work for many, maybe most people.  For good or ill, when a book calls to ME, it can take eons to fully finish it.  The deeper the call, the longer the read.  I need to take the time to concoct a trifle – with some books, the treasured few, Jello & pudding won’t cut it.

Again, I urge everyone 20+ to read & experience THE AGELESS WAY.  As I told the circle of friends next to us last night, it will touch deepen enrich your life experience in unimagined ways.


I’ve spent days, weeks reading THE AGELESS WAY   Will spend more weeks journaling.  Will cap that by printing out the workbook Karen so generously makes available, using it as my guide in processing through the end-of-chapter reflections.   But my way isn’t yours ~ some people will get a lot just reading through it, without even doing the exercises.  Do what works for YOU.

As for me…  Well, it was a couple years back that I learned that, with certain books (a precious few), a DEEP read works best for me.  A former student  (Blessings on you, Andy Adams!),  now a successful serial entrepreneur, recommended  The Greatest Salesman in the World  after  I griped about what I felt was my weak internal infrastructure.  He suggested I read a book by an author by the curious name of Og Mandino.  I ordered it that very night!  From reading that book as the author intended, I learned that some books – the few – are meant to be read, reread, reread again & again, leading to more than fresh insight & inspiration. Leading to permanent, glorious transformation

I started reading The Greatest Salesman in the World when I was 63, finished it a year later.  Andy’s hunch was right – it tightened up & strengthened my previously woefuly weak inner infrastructure.  I’ve always wondered what I could do for him to fully express my appreciation for his life-evolving, world-changing advice.


But not anymore.

Thanks, Karen, for writing the perfect “thank you” gift – your glorious trifle,  THE AGELESS WAY.