Many of my close friends are in my same age range or older, some are younger. I remember when my parents or their friends were in their fifties and sixties and thinking that was old. Now, my current thinking about that age range is that I have mixed feelings. I generally don’t think it’s old … because of course I don’t want to yet think of myself as old. But, then I do kind of think it’s old. This proves age is definitely relative, as so many things are. So when someone is in their fifties and sixties, what is there left to learn?
This week, I turn 58. So, of course it is just a philosophical question because I know I have a lot left to learn. And, I have a lot left that I intend to do. But I ask the question because I usually get contemplative on my birthday. I reflect on the past 12 months, thinking about how I lived, what I did well and what I would improve on. I think ahead about how I want to live over the next 12 months. On my birthday, I ask myself a lot of questions and wonder what do I have left to learn. Other questions I ask:
- What do I intend for myself for the next 12 months.
- Can I up my contributions to making life better for others.
- Did I do my best over the last 12 months and what can I do better.
- Would my parents be okay with how I am living.
- Can I be a different role model for my daughters and son.
- Am I being who I should / could be in my relationships.
But do you think there’s ever a point in life when there’s nothing left to learn? I hope not. I hope we all keep learning. I think the human spirit is meant to stretch and grow. I think we are supposed to push ourselves to be more than we were the year the before, the decade before. I think we are better when we see each day as a new day to learn something new. I remember seeing a calendar gift at Christmas time that was a word for each day of the year. It’s a great challenge to learn a new word each day.
Have you heard about the bank that gives out 1,440 at the start of every day? There’s no application required to open an account. Everyone is eligible. It’s totally nondiscriminatory and available to each person. It doesn’t matter whether you are rich or poor, black or white, Italian or Latino, the same amount is given to each person. What’s the catch? This amount is deposited at the start of each day and has to be used only within that day. At the end of the day, it expires and is gone. You have no ability to carry over anything. What is the name of this bank: Time. There are 60 minutes in an hour and 24 hours in a day, that adds up to 1,440. So, what is there left to learn? Use each minute of each day because you can’t carry it over and you can’t get it back. Use those minutes to serve your highest purpose for your best self. And, use those minutes to have a lasting impact that will carry over to tomorrow.
What is there left to learn. I am reading Hillary Clinton’s book, What Happened. Of course the book was a way for her to do some analysis of what happened and determine what could be learned as a result of it. But, she also says a major reason she wrote the book is to give a message of resilience, particularly to women. Some people want her to go away and not speak out. She is clear that she won’t ever be a candidate again but she is also clear that she wants to help others be involved in the political process and do whatever she can to assist. I think there is more to be learned from her expertise than telling her to go away. I look forward to what I have left to learn from her.
I am looking forward to learning more about listening to the whispers of my soul. I’ve gotten so focused on politics in the past nine months, I’ve missed moments of sanity. Like Congresswoman Maxine Waters, I need to reclaim my time.
For the past two days, I have re-started my practice of starting my day with stillness & quiet time before I hit the streets running. I am also putting some limits on my time on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and news sites. While I was on vacation at the end of August / first week of September, I read books and chilled out. I let my mind decompress from the stress of the current events and the frenzy of family events. Some days I am wound as tight as if I were still working and what I have left to learn is that if I intend to live another 58 years, I need to reclaim my time.
One more thing I have left to learn, continue to follow my truth and speak truth. That’s not always easy and sometimes it gets me in trouble. I am determined that these next 12 months will be lived deliberately and with truth. I read this quote in an article in Oprah’s October 2017 issue from Glennon Doyle, author of Love Warrior, a 2016 Oprah’s Book Club pick.
We grown-ass people do what we need to do to follow our truth. We don’t have to be defensive — we can afford to be gentle because we know what’s right for us. Those who disapprove will either come around or stop coming around. Either way, lovely.
Listen, we can become women who know who we are and refuse to betray ourselves. We can grow comfortable enough in our own skin, our own knowing that we are more interested in joy and freedom and integrity than in what others think about us. And when we do this, it’s not just for us individually — it’s for all of us. To grow, to relax, to find peace, to become brave, we must witness one woman at a time doing the thing that is revolutionary for her: living her truth without asking permission or offering explanation.
Truth is powerful and yet it isn’t always received well (certainly seeing that in US politics right now). Sometimes even when truth is delivered to me, I don’t always receive it well. So, what else is there for me to learn about myself and truth? That’s a goal for me over these next 12 months into my 59th year: my intention is to give truth and receive truth better. I do believe with those we love and care about, truth and kindness should go together. What I learned when I was working in corporate America every year is that sometimes people treat co-workers & strangers better than they treat their own. Let that not be you. There is everything right about being kind even when being truthful with people we care about. Find a way to give truth with compassion to people you care about.
Whatever your age, on any given day, it’s a good question: what else is there to learn? As I finish my 58th year of living and move forward into my 59th year, I am asking, what else is there to learn. And, I am asking myself other questions and deciding on goals and ideas for where to spend my time in the next 12 months. I want to be of some good to others. I want to spend time with family. I want to give service to my community. I want to explore ideas and places, I want to read and sip tea. I want to keep fresh in my views but I also want to make the best use of my 1,440 at the start of each day because I can’t carry it over. Happy birthday to me.