I’m often amazed at people who feel they are more important than others. Those who believe that their wealth, status, or whatever circumstance they create in their mind, entitles them to special treatment or reverence that others do not receive. These people tend to treat others in a subservient manner.
When we look back at all the people who have lived before us and all that will live after, it’s easy to see that we are nothing more than a dot on the line of humanity, and that each one of us is a part of the line, no greater than another, and reliant on each other. No matter who you are or what you’ve achieved, you are a part of the line, connected to other human beings.
I recently turned 56 years old. 56 YEARS OLD! Like most other 50-something-year-old individuals, I’m not sure how this happened – it feels like a blink of an eye. One day I’m a college girl, the next a young mother, and now more than one half a century old. How can I be over 50? Most days I feel, think and act like a 24-year-old, so I know it’s only a number, but when that AARP membership card arrives.
When I was growing up, I thought 50-plus women were old; they were on the downside of life. Or were they??? I know I’m not the first half centurion to say age is only a number. We have to say that, right? Growing older can be a challenge. We must work hard at looking good, keeping our mind sharp, and maintaining our weight and health. Nothing comes naturally anymore.
Do you often think about doing something different or implementing a new idea only to allow fear to stop you dead in your tracks without giving the opportunity a try? Do you frequently conjure up a list of reasons to be inactive, why you shouldn’t try or can’t accomplish something?
All too often we build roadblocks to personal and professional success because we allow fear to be a governing force in our life.
Recently, I had the privilege of interviewing for the second time, an incredibly inspiring man, Sean Swarner, who went beyond the bounds of being human and not only faced his fears, but conquered them!
In his teen years, Sean was diagnosed two times with different, unrelated end-stage cancers, and each time he was not expected to live for more than a few weeks. He underwent rigorous treatment, which included the removal of one lung. Throughout his ordeal, Sean wasn’t sure if he would live and he wondered about the future quality of his life. He astounded the medical community when he survived both diseases. But, he didn’t just survive, he emerged stronger than anyone could have imagined!
Developing mental strength was the topic of conversation that I recently had with Amy Morin, author of the 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do series. To be honest, up until a few years ago, I never thought about mental strength or the role it played in my life. I just lived, moment to moment, blindly existing. It wasn’t until my life literally imploded and I came out the other side that I started to wonder how I made it through those challenges, relatively unscathed.
“If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands, if you’re happy and you know it clap your hands, if you’re happy and you know it and you really want to show it if you’re happy and you know it clap your hands”
Thinking about this song brings back joyous memories of dancing around my family room singing it with my children and perhaps, even having it sung to me as a child. The lyrics are simple and yet so profound – if you’re happy and you know it, show it (feel it, live it, experience it).
This past weekend I tried something that I had never done before. One of my friends invited me to a Tarot card party where an expert would offer private readings. Intrigued, I agreed to attend. During my reading, the woman said something that really struck a nerve with me; she told me that I don’t know when I’m happy.
Interestingly, this thought has been on my mind ever since I interviewed Dr. Rick Hanson, the author of Hardwiring Happiness. As a result of our discussion, I have been contemplating whether or not I truly feel happiness.
I was watching television recently when it happened … I saw the first commercial for the Valentine’s Day diamond collection – you know, the gift that every woman will treasure. As I listened to the music and watched as the camera panned the romantic setting, waves of emotion overcame me like a tsunami. At that moment, in my mind, everyone in the world was in a loving, committed relationship and I was going to be the only person sitting home alone on February 14 (most likely eating ice cream).
Realistic assumption? Of course not. But for a few minutes the drama queen in me took over and my emotions ran wild. Fortunately, I was able to reign them in, but the feelings I experienced are very common.
I’m a control freak. There … I said it. I like everything to be in perfect order. I have a difficult time when there is a mess in my surroundings or in my life. Being a person who is addicted to certainty is manageable when everything goes as planned, but what happens when life throws a curve ball? That’s when things get interesting!
As a driven, type A personality, I made sure it was all in order. College … marriage … two kids … a house with a fence … money in the bank. I left nothing to chance. There was always a master plan.
Then, one day, without warning, it all began to unravel. At first it wasn’t anything major, a few issues here and there, but before long, piece by piece, my life fell apart. And when it did, I didn’t know how to cope. I was a person who was addicted to certainty and everything was out of my control. Fear of the unknown consumed me.
This morning I had a conversation with a colleague about the topic of loss and grief and in it we shared intimate details about traumatic experiences that we each have survived. During the discussion, she made an interesting statement. She told me that there was a time when she knew she had to leave the “waiting room”. I have never heard the phrase “waiting room” used in relationship to grief so I asked her to explain. She told me that “waiting room” describes the space between the horrific pain of an experience, and the life of possibilities that can be lived. She added that many people spend their entire lives in the waiting room.
She got me to thinking about all of the time I spent hanging out in the waiting room. Simply existing. Staying in my comfort zone longing for what will never be. Not truly living or thriving!