I’ve been thinking a lot about aging in this birthday week. And I believe that being intentional about learning new things, applying learned lessons to my life, staying holistically healthy so I can share what I’ve learned, and thanking God for it all, has kept me young at heart, full of laughter and feeling blessed.
So I will continue doing those things. Happy Birthday to me!
“Age is just a number, and agelessness means not buying into the idea that a number determines everything from your state of health to your attractiveness to your value.” ~ Christiane Northrop
At some point along my fitness journey, I discovered my physical health was impacted by and impacted my mental, emotional and spiritual health. So my focus became challenging myself to be the best me I could be…the least stressed, most aware, calm, fearless, peaceful, holistically healthy version of myself so I could do what I was supposed to be doing.
“Self-care is never a selfish act—it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others.” ~ Parker Palmer
I believe negative attitudes toward aging are unique to western culture if not uniquely American. We act as if getting older is some kind of failure, like there is another choice. And while I’ve never lied about my age, I don’t share, not because I’m not proud to still be here but because I don’t want someone else’s negativity about aging to impact me even for a second.
“We either grow old or we don’t.” ~ Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO
Inhale Older, Exhale Old… Inhale Mature, Exhale Undeveloped… Inhale Bucket List, Exhale Kicking the Bucket… Just Breathe…
I really tried to create more space in my new place before I moved by getting rid of stuff. Inventories from military moves, instructions for appliances I no longer own, playbills from plays and other performances…clothes from when I first retired and worked full time…stuff that needed to go.
It took longer to pack up but I’m reaping the benefits of additional space…physically and mentally.
“…Out of clutter, find simplicity…” ~ Albert Einstein
It took me weeks after my last move to get sufficiently settled so I could sleep in my own bed. I remember crawling into bed for that first time, exhausted and grateful. I slept soundly and woke up feeling determined to get back on His purpose for my life.
“I’m doing a great work; I can’t come down. Why should the work come to a standstill just so I can come down to see you?” Nehemiah 6:3, MSG
My TL around Veteran’s day was full of posts from Vets, some of whom I didn’t know had served, and families of vets honoring loved ones. Included was a post from a woman I respect, discouraging people of color from joining the military to serve this country, which does not always honor us.
And while I get the sentiment, it also made me sad. Because there are many ways to effect change in America to include changing its institutions from the inside. Because since integration in 1948, the American military has often been at the forefront of social innovation. Because now is not the time to separate, now is the time to take a stand, to look America in the eye and declare… “It’s my America.”
“What one does realize is that when you try to stand up and look the world in the face like you had a right to be here … you have attacked the entire power structure of the Western world.” ~ James Baldwin
Inhale Knowledge, Exhale Cynicism… Inhale Stand Up, Exhale Separation… Inhale Involvement, Exhale Absence… Just Breathe
A young activist recently thanked me for publically recognizing the service of those who protest America. I believe there is nothing more American than protest; after all, going back to the Original American Protest, the Boston Tea Party, protest has been the means through which Americans have demanded change.
Protesters, like Colin Kaepernick, serve America by reminding us to live up to our ideals of Freedom, Equality and Justice. They too are patriots.
“There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.” ~ Elie Wiesel
Inhale Resistance, Exhale Status Quo… Inhale Activism, Exhale Complacency… Inhale Protest, Exhale Powerlessness… Just Breathe
I write a lot about the grand experiment that is America. It was and is a great idea that was flawed from inception. We keep working on it, we keep trying to reach perfection, we get closer and sometimes, some of us believe we have arrived.
Then we have a 2016 election.
And those who thought we were close to realizing the ideals written in our foundational documents realized we were not. And those who knew we still had a ways to go recognized the relentlessness of the racism, sexism and violence rooted at our foundation.
Yet we persist in resisting complacency and accepting the unacceptable. And in 2017 elections, Americans who believe in what America stands for are fully engaged.
“A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government.” ~ Edward Abbey
I participated in a lovely Veteran’s Appreciation ceremony hosted by VISION Outreach afterschool program. The elementary school age children choose the ceremony as their November project, they did most of the speaking and their enthusiasm was contagious.
They were excited to recognize the service of the veterans on hand and we were appreciative of the appreciation.
I reminded them that they too can serve our country in ways that allow them to use their talents. I encouraged them to take their citizenship seriously and learn about the things that they can do to make our country more inclusive, more compassionate and more welcoming to all Americans.