Encouraging words and thoughts toward making the rest of your life the best of your life
Author: Diane Patterson
I am 54 years-old and the mother of three grown children. In the last five years, I left a profession I was in for over 20 years, I moved to a new city, re-married, went back to school to discover a new profession, and became a grandma for the first time. I also am pursuing my passion for writing. I am writing a children's picture book and I started my first blog ever.
For years I was afraid of change but I now I embrace it
As we reach our fifties, our mindset changes as we think about our future. What will life look like when we are in our sixties? Then not too far after, are the seventies? Discussions about retirement , savings, bucket lists, best states for retirees, and things we want to do before we get to the point where we can’t are all valid and necessary issues to think about either by yourself or with your partner.
Thinking and planning for these future events shouldn’t be negative, it should be exciting. We are all getting older and there is nothing we can do about it. However, we can do something about the quality of life as we age. Take time to go to the places and do the things you put aside to do “someday”. Someday is now. If money is tight, consider downsizing so that you can enjoy life the way you have always imagined.
Everyone has a different “imagined life.” Maybe you imagine having a huge home where family can gather or maybe you want to live in a motor home and travel. Maybe you have always wanted to have a beautiful garden or learn to make quilts. Your “imagined life” doesn’t have to require a lot of money or a total life change, it requires passion. It is a desire to live in a way that makes you fulfilled. If you’re living your imagined life right now, that is awesome. If you are not, it is not too late. It may take some planning, sacrifices, research, and making some hard decisions, but it is worth it.
Be realistic though. If you can’t sing your “imagined life” as a rock star is not going to happen. You must know what is realistic according to your own strengths and desires of your heart. If it is within reach, go for it and don’t stop. I have been in the process of living my “imagined life” for the last seven years. My husband and I are in another phase of planning for our future” imagined life. ” I know it can be scary, but you will never know if you can do it until you do it.
Psalms 37:4 Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.
As thanksgiving approaches, we begin thinking of all the good things in our lives. We are thankful for family, friends, and our jobs. We think of our blessings, but have you ever been thankful for something that didn’t happen for you? Can you think back to a time in your life when you wanted something so bad? You thought about it all the time. You might have even prayed that God would allow this in your life. Maybe it was a relationship, job, buying a house, or something that you wanted to own. For whatever reason, it didn’t work out and you were disappointed.
I think all of us can look back on something that we really wanted and think “Wow, I am glad that didn’t work out. ” Think about how your life would be so different if that “want” would of happen. If we are really honest with ourselves, we realize that some of our “wants” were not good for us anyways. Maybe it would of put us in debt, created heartbreak, or kept us from experiencing current blessings in our lives.
For me, this is where faith comes in. I know God knows what I need more than I do, so if something doesn’t work out, I have to believe that it is for my own good. I think to myself that there must be something better for me in the future. This way of thinking gives me hope for the future and softens the feelings of disappointment.
Garth Brooks sang “Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers. Remember when you’re talkin’ to the man upstairs; that just because he doesn’t answer doesn’t mean he don’t care. Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers”
So as we express our thanksgiving for all of our blessings remember to be thankful for the unanswered prayers too because they just might be blessings in disguise.
Our lives are so filled with “to-dos” and “to-bes”. We have so many things to do and so many places to be. Until one day we are forced to slow down either by an illness, injury, or change of situation. This happen to me recently. I was so busy taking classes and helping my husband in our business that being busy became a way of life. No longer enough time to watch the sunset at the beach, no longer time to go to the gym , or just watch a movie. We were always so tired,
Then my classes ended and the business slowed down. My husband had to spend more time on the road with his primary job. I was left at home wondering what to do with myself. I experienced some disappointments with the career I was pursuing, so I started doubting my purpose in life. My life was quieting down.
In those quiet times, I began reflecting on what I really love to do. I love to write. Then I remembered the outline of a children’s book I have written down on a yellow pad in my file cabinet. I got it out and started working on it. I watched You-Tube videos about self publishing through Amazon. I will update everyone as I go through the process to let you know when I will be releasing my book.
This morning I read my friend Jaime’s success story about a journey she and her husband have been on and it inspired me to write this blog. Jaime, too, experienced a unexpected quiet time of life which changed her path. Read her story by following the link below.
So be thankful for the quiet times in life, for that is when you hear your soul
Here is a link to my friends’ Tony and Jaime’s clothing line and new magazine…just launching today. Wishing them much success and happiness.
One of the best things about starting over when you are over 50 is that you get to include in your life what is important to you. When we were younger, our hobbies and interests were set aside for marriage, a career, or children. I’m not sure if any of you felt this way, but when I was raising my family I felt guilty if I put a lot of time and energy into something I enjoyed. Most days, time did not allow these” indulgences”.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed raising my children and proud to say they are all beautiful and upstanding people. I realize now as I am fully involved in the next phase of my life that I desire to include in my life those things that I put aside. I know a part of me needs to be focused on my new career and taking care of my household but there is a part of me that also needs to rediscover those activities or interests that use to bring me joy. Do you feel that desire also? Maybe you use to curl up with a good book and read for hours , or go for long walks with the one you love in a beautiful area or spend time with your friends.
So think about something that brings you enjoyment. Make it a part of your life even if only for a few hours a week. God gave you those interests and desires. They are a part of who you are. Rediscover that part of you and continue to create the life you love.
Do you ever feel like you have the world on your shoulders? Do you ever feel like if you don’t do it , no none will? So you work so hard to finish the tasks of the day and at times you feel so overwhelmed. If this is you, I want you to think back over your day. Are there any tasks that you stressed over that did not belong to you? Is there anything that could of been put off until another day when the day wasn’t so full?
As women, sometimes we think that the household will fall apart if we do not take care of everyone. I think sometimes we feel as though everyone’s happiness and comfort are our responsibility. If we are honest with ourselves, we get a certain satisfaction from others needing us, right? I will be the first to admit to this. Be careful though, the need to be needed can be addicting. This addiction can be detrimental to your health and your relationships. Examine your motivation for doing what you do for others and be honest with yourself. If you find that you are doing things for others to satisfy the need to be needed, step back for awhile and see if others will step up. There is nothing wrong with doing things for others, just don’t allow yourself to be burdened down with responsibilities that are not yours to carry.
Remember you are not a super human. God did not create your body to carry heavy loads. You may do it for awhile, but someday your body and/or mind will break under the pressure. Give yourself permission to be human. Realize that you are going to make mistakes sometimes. Admit to yourself and to those around you when you get tired or fatigued. Take a break. Take a walk. Take a nap. The people who love you will support you taking care of yourself.
I love the saying, ” If you love someone , let them nap.” I would like to add to that ” If you love yourself, allow yourself to be human.”
Happiness is Defined as a Sense of Pleasure and Contentment
Everyone wants to be happy. We all search for ways to become happy. So if we are always searching to “become” happy, does that mean we will not be happy until we find “it”. Happiness is only a feeling and feelings change quickly. You can feel happy one moment and then something happens that changes the way you feel. So you are no longer happy.
I believe happiness is something you create not something you become. You create happiness in your life by being thankful for what you have. Make a habit of thanking God for the positive people in your life and the blessings , even the small ones. You will find that you will be more content with your life. You will create an intrinsic state of contentment. Circumstances will not defer you from having an underlying happy mindset.
Does this mean you are never sad, mad or frustrated? Of course not, but when those feelings occur, remember they are only temporary. You have the ability to change how these feelings affect your state of happiness. If you have created a “happiness foundation”, these temporary feelings will not take away your happiness because it has become a part of who you are. Pastor Rick Warren, Saddleback Church, says ,” You are only as happy as you allow yourself to be.” So make the choice to create a foundation of happiness and contentment in your life by focusing on your blessings and not your problems.
Below I have included a link to Pastor Rick’s Daily Hope. He is teaching a series called, “How To Be Happy No Matter What”. Much of this blog is based on his teachings. I encourage you to listen to it. Each part is only 20 minutes long. https://pastorrick.com/listen/#
Happiness is a choice- Choose to create it in your life
When you look in the mirror what do you see? Do you see the lines around your eyes and mouth? Do you see the saggy skin around your neck where firm skin use to be? Do you ever wonder where the young girl went who use to look back at you in the mirror? The young girl who use to wish upon a star and believed that if she only wished hard enough the wish would come true. The little girl who imagined that someday a prince would swoop her into his arms and carry her to his castle.
Well, that young girl grew up and realized that life is not a fairytale and wishes don’t always come true. But that young girl also realized that life is a blessing not to be wasted. She learned that difficult times build character. She learned that not everyone can be trusted but there are a few people she could trust with her life. She learned about believing in the person God made her to be. A person with special qualities divinely designated just for her. Qualities that are meant for making a difference in the lives of others by exhibiting a life of compassion. She learned that being apart of this planet means caring about the world and the people she shares it with.
So don’t wish to be that young girl with her head in the clouds. Embrace the woman you are today. Be thankful for the wrinkles because each one represents maturity. Utilize the unique combination of qualities you have to leave an example for other young women to follow. Young women need to see women who are real not superheroes. Women who have faced adversity and didn’t give up or give in to self-destructive behavior. A woman who strives everyday to be a blessing.
Be the woman who the little girl you were would some day want to be.