Wisdom from Never-Never Land

 

In that groggy place suspended between dreams, I often get my clearest insights. Inspiration lurks there and I have to be quick to capture it before it dissolves into the murky shadows of Never-Never Land.

It’s fortunate on such mornings that I live alone. When I leap out of bed, throw covers on the floor, dash across the room, stub my toe, hobble to the table, scrabble among the papers for a pen, and write furiously without being able to see the words because it’s still that dark, anyone watching would have to laugh…I have to laugh!

Sometimes I return to my cozy nest and immediately fall back to sleep. When I awake again an hour or so later, I have no memory of my pre-dawn brilliance, throbbing toe aside, until I sit down with my first cup of coffee and see the scribbled note.

That’s what happened this morning.

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When I looked at what I’d written, the concept my subconscious mind had been chewing on all by itself with no help (or hindrance) from me came back in a flash. The more I considered it, the more it made sense. Here’s the gist.

1 – 20 Lost.     From birth to around twenty years old, we’re not our own. The adults in our lives make the plans. They mold us, scold us, and hopefully we arrive at adulthood fairly unscathed. Those years are lost in the sense that we don’t control them.

20 – 60 Learning.     I’d like to say that we have things pretty well figured out by age forty or so. But I didn’t. I was still repeating the same stupid mistakes I’d made in my 20’s and 30’s. They wore different clothes and had new faces but underneath those choices were driven by the damaged sense of self that hadn’t changed since childhood. Damaged or not, our child-rearing, career-building years are spent learning.

60 – ?  Living.     There should be another category tucked between 50 and 60 called Transforming. It’s a time of reckoning. The kids have gone on to start their own learning years. The nest is empty. If we’re still married there’s nothing to distract us from our mate any longer. It’s just the two of us trying to remember why.

And we change. It’s impossible not to. But is it conscious change or unconscious? If we’re aware of the growth opportunity and work with it, we’ll advance into our sixties wiser, making good decisions for ourselves and modeling positive aging for others. If the change is unconscious we may go to the grave still making the same mistakes.

The morning insights could have stopped there.

But my subconscious has a mind of its own and it likes to do math. (This is definitely not me.) What it came up with was so simple and obvious I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of it myself.

Bear with me now. We’re going to throw away years 1 – 20, we had no control over them anyway. From 20 – 60, then, are forty years of self-management, probably much of it spent meeting expectations, shouldering responsibilities, keeping the nose to the grindstone, the pedal to the metal, with a two-week vacation thrown in now and then to maintain sanity.

But consider this: our life expectancy in North America is around eighty years. Think about all that happened between ages 20 to 40, then from 40 to 60. Now we have another 60 to 80 ahead, one-third of our adult life yet to be lived. My mother at 90, still works out five days a week, beats the pants off the others at Bingo, and pretty much rules the roost in her assisted living facility. So where am I going with this?

Don’t waste the Living years.

What did you always wish you could do but never did? Make a plan and do it. Have you neglected exercise and proper diet? Start now to implement healthy habits. Does the cost of living where you are prohibit retirement? Move. I did, and it was the best decision I ever made. Did you fail to finish your degree? Check out your state’s Statutes. In Minnesota senior citizens can attend college tuition free. Maybe your state has a similar ruling.

Live like dying isn’t an option.

It’s not denial, it’s grabbing hold of the greatest gift we’ve ever been given, life, and running with it…wee wee wee, all the way home.

 

 

 

 

 

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11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Marilea
    Jul 08, 2018 @ 21:16:55

    Another good article. Thank you. I read your words and it strikes me that you only put out something when you really have a solid word to say. I like that. No mishmash here. Solid, clear and inspiring.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    • writingforselfdiscovery
      Jul 08, 2018 @ 21:26:22

      Thank you, Marilea. I want people to know there are choices that don’t fall into the confines of the obvious. They’re outside the box. And since they aren’t familiar, they can yield the most amazing surprises and change us in ways we couldn’t have dreamed.

      Like

      Reply

  2. Mary Gunn
    Jul 08, 2018 @ 21:34:26

    Thanks so much for the last post. I had written to you a couple of years ago, very inspired by your blog.
    A year ago I moved back to Canada after living 36 years in Chile.
    I’m still finding my way, it hasn’t been easy, but no matter what happens in the future, I’ll never regret trying!
    I really eat up everything you write!!! Thanks again.
    Mary

    Like

    Reply

  3. Anonymous
    Jul 09, 2018 @ 06:43:41

    Always so enjoy your writings. They are spot on….been through all the stages.
    Sharon

    Like

    Reply

  4. Sondra Jackson
    Aug 10, 2018 @ 01:54:24

    “Live like dying isn’t an option” Is my new Mantra. Thank you 🙂

    Like

    Reply

  5. Sondra Jackson
    Aug 10, 2018 @ 01:56:47

    Ohh I just realized that I am all caught up reading your Blog. Hopefully July 2018 is not the last that we will hear from you about your wonderful life. Thank you for sharing every word.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

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