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.
Like most of their songs it was enjoyable listening but unlike most of their songs the title and lyrics held no meaning for me. And I didn’t have time to spend on figuring it out.
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.
“Barb is a vibrant seventy-one year old best selling author whose writing inspires all of those in the second half of life to be their best possible selves. She is a world traveler and a millionaire who enjoys inventing herself each hour of every day.” Barb Warner
(All of these descriptions are either completely true or are still in the universal lab working on manifestation. Tune in for manifestation updates, and have a miraculous day!)
I have had this paragraph on the home page of my website for several months now. What fun it was to write! I have discovered that the second half of life is a gift. I am probably, for the first time in my life, growing into becoming the person I have always wanted to be. It is time now for me to openly change my story. This is time for my coming out party to begin.
In our earlier years, whenever we felt passionate about something that was out of our comfort zone, we may have written it on a mental note and tucked it in the drawer labeled, To Be Addressed Later. We may have wanted a horse to ride and care for. We may have pictured ourselves at the top of the Eiffel Tower or caring for small children in a village in Africa. Learning more about the birds in our backyard might have been a yearning.
Our intuition may know that later is now, and that the light of that passion is still burning. It may be a soft pilot light or a blinding bright light. It may only flicker at certain times. The background scenery may be a bit different but the light doesn’t seem to want to go out. In fact, the more we try to ignore it, the stronger it becomes.