thriving after fifty and mountain climbing

Thriving After Fifty can be likened to a climb up a mountain. There are times with the climb is easy and fulfilling, the weather cooperates, and you’re feeling strong and powerful. There are also those times when you need to take an extra days rest, regroup, and even descend to get some breathing room. Usually there’s a combination of both going on with every challenge.

I’m living a pretty perfect life right now.

I have a woman I love, and who loves me back in the way I need to be loved. I can be myself – expressive, creative, quirky, tactile, moody, spontaneous, overbearing, loving – without being shamed, ridiculed, conscientious, or inhibited. Simply put, I can risk being my true self without risk or withdrawal of love.

I live an adventurous lifestyle, traveling to various kick-ass places throughout the country and/or world every year. In this past year I’ve visited Costa Rica, Nicaragua, the Netherlands, traveled for three months in a motor home in the SW United States, and spent the summer months in the beautiful northern latitudes of NW Michigan. Presently, we’re now in the Outer Banks of North Carolina and absolutely loving it!

I’m in the best health and physical condition of my life. Every day I eat healthy, drink plenty of water, and work out 5 days per week. As a result I’m experiencing boundless energy and creativity, without so much as taking an aspirin. I have the sexual drive of a 20 year old, a body-fat content of 11%, and recently fulfilled a personal goal of getting a black-belt in Tae Kwon Do. I’m pretty proud of this one… I never took a martial arts class in my life prior to setting out to do this years ago at the age of 59.

I have a gratitude meter that runs off the charts! I recognize and give thanks daily to our Creator for all the endless growth opportunities that come my way. I’ve slowly learned that all is happening just as it’s supposed to, and that I must always search for and be open to “what’s good about this” in everything that happens, regardless of how life changing or challenging the circumstances may be.  

thriving after fifty and learningI’m continuously growing and learning about myself. I’ve leaned to risk letting my voice come forth to express itself, without concern of retribution from others or self embarrassment. I AM myself, a very special unique me, just as you are, and I’m no longer willing to feel inhibited, shamed, or self-conscious about it. To help do this, I’ve found I’ve needed to close myself off from the everyday drama of life that’s delivered to us in daily unending doses, and focus on what I can control. I’m also getting better at paying attention to my inner workings and giving heed to that part of me which gnaws at the opportunity to express itself, for this is where true growth lies.

But not all is perfect. Perhaps my greatest personal hurdle to overcome still lies ahead… that of creating an abundant monetary lifestyle.

And I’m determined to succeed.

Money

I know of no greater worldly issue than the stigma and challenges that money brings to people’s minds and the world as a whole. I am no different. I too was raised with the belief that making money was the most important thing in the world – the key to success, prestige, power, influence, sex, material goods, status, and recognition.

There’s truth in this. Money can bring all this and more to a persons life. Yet, even as a kid, I struggled with placing the drive for this asset over common sense, wisdom, integrity, honesty, personal growth, genuineness, and heart. Yet I, as so many of us do, succumbed to this temptation when opportunity knocked, and found myself ingrained in a lifestyle of working a job out of need, not desire. I soon found myself married, providing for a family, and enmeshed in the parental desire to give my children the best upbringing and opportunities possible.

This lasted for the next 30+ years.

But today I have new personal rules, requirements and specifications around money. These are mine… you may have yours. I still recognize the importance of money and the role it plays in society, but the following are now important to me:

  1. Making money for the implicit desire to just make money is not acceptable. Money, as a goal in of itself, is empty, and often compromises integrity, values, and common sense. Today I believe the accumulation of money must be a side consequence of serving others, delivering value, and improving lives. Ego and self-serving needs must be secondary, taking a back seat to helping others and expressing your inner inherent wealth you were blessed with. We all can make a difference – even if it’s only in one person’s life.
  2. Making money must not involve deceit… deceit to others or deceit to oneself.
  3. Making money must be fun… from doing something you love. Fulfilling an inner need and desire of your own is one way to measure this. If the path you are on is a constant struggle and/or compromises your values, it’s time to re-evaluate your methodology and redirect your efforts by readjusting and/or shifting to a different plan or course of action.  

The above rules have been presented huge challenges for me. Just acknowledging these ideas as being possible was not easy. Understanding this concept, and next, believing and knowing this is possible were the next steps.

So what changed for me? What led me to shift my views, embed these new ideas upon my internal blueprint, and believe this was possible? The following beliefs, formulated through internal growth and seeking, have had something to do with it:

  1. I believe that abundance is inherent in all things, and is something that every soul on earth is entitled to, as is all life itself. We live in an abundant, continuously growing, expanding universe. Our planet itself expresses it’s abundance continuously through constant changing weather patterns, slowly moving tectonic plates, powerful bold volcanic activity, living breathing oceans, and the plant and animal life that inhabits it. The earth is alive! We too have this same abundant life energy within us, and are meant to flourish in all aspects of life. Money is just one of them, but it must be earned through our self expression by following our own intuition and heart.
  2. In the past, I viewed money as being the driving source of our planets problems. Cultures have been decimated, wars have been fought, families have been torn apart, and individuals have compromised their souls. I now realize that I can be a counterbalance to this force. In short, money will accentuate who you already are. If your a jackass, you’ll be more of one. If your a good person, you’ll be even better. Money is a tool. With it, I can influence and reach more people than by not having it. Money can make a difference in people’s lives when used constructively, conscientiously, and with good intentions.
  3. Recognize and listen to the presence of your internal voice – call it intuition, your sixth sense, God, Buddha, the Universe… whatever, and recognize that this voice gives you guidance, support, and good advice. The challenge is to really let yourself hear it, and not let the ubiquitous voice of societal influence deceive you. How can you tell the difference? By recognizing the feelings you have. Like the saying goes, if it feels right, go for it. If your heart says “hell yes!” go for it. If it puts a huge smile on your face, go for it.

Where To From Here?

So where is all this leading to? Why the story? Why share these insights and thoughts with you?

I’m sharing this because lack in this area is one of my greatest challenges to overcome today. Especially in light of these new rules. In the past, tackling this issue is one I’ve avoided, blamed others for, procrastinated on, lacked knowledge of, and created excuses for. I believe a tremendous amount of personal growth lies at the root of this challenge, as well as all the abundance and riches I could ever hope for on the other side. I know what riches I already have in my life… I just need to carry these same habits and attributes over into this area of my life.

I was once asked to create and state a precise monetary goal I desired for myself. I learned that if you just asked for more money, the next quarter you find on the ground might be life’s fulfillment of that request. So one day or night, I don’t remember which, a voice inside of me said $14,286, 971.00, after expenses… money in the bank. That was a few years ago. I know this isn’t going to happen by someone anonymously leaving a basket of money at the door, nor can I pluck it off the money tree in the backyard, but rather I must give in order to receive.

Problem was I didn’t know what I could give. It’s taken incredible patience and resolve over the years. Now I intend to make this happen.

So what does this mean? It means the following:

  1. Thrive After Fifty will change as I change. It will likely be placed “under construction” for some time as I devote myself to this process of creation.
  2. I know that my love of travel and photography is of great importance and a driving force in my life. Yet, as important as it is, my calling for ThriveAfterFifty is greater. It’s an opportunity for me to help others, and myself, to grow and become better people. It’s an opportunity for us to join forces and reshape the word retirement into rewirement. Besides, photography and travel is what I will always do. It is a part of me. I have no desire to try to make a living from it. For me, that would take-away from the magic and splendor it provides my soul with.
  3. I must live what I preach. In order to better model and serve those of you who are on your own personal path, I must follow my voice. In doing so, I bid you farewell for awhile. I will be back.

The most important thing I wish for you to take from this is that challenging yourself to become yourself, is a journey. We all must work at it everyday, making sure to water those seeds, nourish and enrich the soil, and patiently nurture and wait for growth to appear. I assure you, with patience, perseverance, and determination, it will occur.

Believing this, and believing in yourself, is the first great step we all must take.

Continue the pursuit of thriving my friends… it will happen.

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