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Award Winning Author
Barb Warner, MEd.
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After reading and researching for this article, I realized that when I wrote my book, I didn’t dig deep enough into the different aspects of passion and may have left readers feeling “hung out to dry” after reading it.
Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray Love, addressed this in a recent Super Soul Sunday talk she gave. She had often spoken about the necessity of finding your passion until she recently gave a talk in Australia. After her talk, she had gone back to her hotel room and read an email from a woman who had just heard her speak. This woman was very upset as she felt that she didn’t know what her passion was that Elizabeth’s talk had left her feeling very helpless.
I remember as I was getting older, I didn’t feel I had a passion. I responded to situations as they arose, but there didn’t seem to be a common thread. Sometimes I was interested in the arts, sometimes in politics, and I did love to plan trips and travel. You might say I was a dabbler.
It was October 1964. I was in Istanbul Turkey. I had just arrived with other Peace Corps Volunteers and we were having a party. A friend had a record of a new singing group, the Beatles. I remember hearing the song, When I’m 64.
Fast forward 43 years later. I’m sitting in my living room in Denver, Colorado with boxes of papers surrounding me. I have just retired from corporate America. I had worked in a variety of jobs, raised a daughter, moved a lot of times and taken several wonderful vacations. So what was next? Mark Twain once said, there are two important days in your life; the day you were born and the day you figure out why. I realized that I hadn’t figured out why and my years of living hadn’t really given me any meaningful clues.
Are you an older adult? Are you concerned about maintaining good brain health? Do you have a deep and abiding regard for the role of chocolate in your life? If you answered yes to any of these questions, do I have some great news for you!
Dr. Gene Cohen, ground-breaking author of The Creative Age says writing an autobiography for older adults is like chocolate for the brain. If you are reading this article, you probably are in the position of benefiting from writing a life review or helping a loved one write one.
Studies have found that reminiscing lowers depression, alleviates physical symptoms and stimulates the hippocampus where memories are stored in the brain. It has also been found to touch many dimensions of wellness including physical, emotional, social, spiritual and intellectual. Telling life stories is essential as we get older as this is when we begin to look within and are yearning to get a clearer sense of the meaning of our lives.
It’s been fun savoring interactions with several groups in the past couple of months, sharing our stories and thoughts on the second half of life. At the Academy of Life Long Learning Institute in Denver, forty people attended my presentation on Savoring the Second Half of Life. With the Boulder Valley School District Life Long Learning Program and OLLI, a community education learning center at the University of Denver, I facilitated 2-3 hour workshops.
If that wasn’t fun enough, after speaking at a luncheon of 50 NewComers at the Olive Garden in Highlands Ranch, I sold a bunch of books and inspired one participant to follow her lifelong dream of being a stand up comic. It doesn’t get more rewarding than that! Two of the organizers of that event are shown with me in the photo.
Do you remember the Back to the Future movies? Michael J. Fox starred in the three blockbuster films in the 1980s. As we plan the second half of our life, this title has major implications.
Sometimes we tend to plan our future by looking only at what we have experienced in the past. If we had trouble learning French in high school, it is too late to learn French now. If we have not had a lot of experience dancing, it is probably too late to take tango lessons. Using our past limitations to modify our dreams for the future restricts the possibilities we have to create a future filled with wonder and amazement.