Monday, November 16, 2009

A Powerful Shot-In-the Arm For ALL Baby Boomers!

I have a question for you: What do the Baby Boomers Have to Offer the Millennials and Gen X’s in our society, today? For me, this question reminds me of a great story my Mom used to tell me when I was a young girl. I sincerely believe my quest for seeking wisdom and knowledge stems from my mother and grandfather.

When my mother was a little girl, her father used to say to her, “Little Girlie, I wished I could just tell you all my knowledge and wisdom. But, unfortunately, you are going to have to go out into the world and learn it all for yourself.” Over and over again, my mother repeated this message to me, from my dear grandfather’s words to her.

Now that I am 63, I feel that I have a vast collection of experience, and I look forward to gaining tons more. And now I am reminded of a wonderful teaching my mother has given me. She used to say: “For everything you think you know, in ten years from now, look back and see how much more you know then.” Of course the first time she said that to me was when I was in my late teens – early twenties – back in the days when I thought I knew everything!

Well, I followed her advice, and as my 20’s past I started to reflect back on the last 10 years of my life. Needless to say, it was a real eye-opener, for I was in shock at how much I had learned. Worse yet, I realized how much I did not know that I did not know when I was 10 years younger. And it was my lack of knowledge and wisdom that caused me to make the choices and decisions I probably would not have made, if I had known better. So the joy I have today is, I have lived long enough to have a lot to offer for myself and others.

Just recently I had the opportunity to meet Lisa Orrell, the author of Millennials Incorporated. Since hearing her speak, I have purchased and read her book and I loved it immensely. For, I am a person that has spent most of my life, immersing myself into the study of human dynamics and learning about “what makes people tick.” From her book, I quickly realized that if I want to keep up I must learn more about the younger generations that are rapidly coming up behind me.
And the best part of my discovery is: I am just coming into my prime and I have more to offer now than I ever have. I am just so thankful to be old enough and wise enough, to know it! So now I ask myself, what words of wisdom and encouragement can I pass on to you Boomers that are struggling with the fact: “That the world and the young people are just not like it (they) used to be.”

What can I teach you that will contradict the belief that society defies the youth and abhors the aging? And, sadly the result of this critical mindset is: Many older people feel ignored, disrespected, and even shunned in the workplace and in their personal lives. For many they suffer a sense of confusion and rejection and as a result, they are becoming insecure and fearful. This is a very sad reality and even more, a very sad place to be.

So let’s see what words of encouragement and tips I can give you Boomers, to help you realize your wonderful value and contribution you have to offer to any age:

· View yourself as being the best that you have ever been! Stop worrying about how you think you are being viewed by others. You have now lived long enough to know who you are. Hopefully, you have found your authentic self. You are now comfortable in your skin. So, live the life that brings you great self-respect, pleasure, and dignity. Realize that living through the many chapters and experiences of your life have gifted you offerings that are rich and priceless. See yourself as the rough edged, rugged stone that has gone through the “rock tumbler” of life, and has transformed into a divine, priceless gem. Yes indeed, no matter what your walk in life you carry with you, the “rich makings of you!”

· Nurture the courage and heart to want to age gracefully. We all have a need to belong and be a desirable member of the group. Some of us desire that to the point that we will resort to extreme measures to retain a youthful appearance. But that method for fitting in is only going to delude ourselves. First, we must love ourselves for who we are, right where we are at this time. This simple insight is truly the best recipe for presenting a beautiful personal glow and enlivening your youthfulness. We must embrace our aging with internal joy, comfort, and grace. And our inner peace will certainly enhance our exterior beauty as well.

· Pursue your passions. Give these excited young people something to look forward to when they mature. Illustrate to them that at any age we have tremendous offerings and value. “Walk the talk” that they can model for their own developing and maturing. Your actualized example will accomplish two things: Your active presence will draw interest, attention and even admiration from others of any age. And you will give these young people great hope for their own future, as they mature into their “golden years.”

· Remove negativity from your life. I constantly teach that we only have control of two things in our life: our behavior and our attitude. That is all we can be in charge
of to change the world for ourselves and to influence others. So, foster your own positive behavior and attitude, then, stay focused on helping others. If you struggle with negative self-talk, replace it with affirmations that are positive and desirable. Don’t rely on others to save you, not any longer. Don’t waste time fretting and worrying, and becoming defensive, hostile, even angry, and blaming others for your feat. Instead, look for the lessons learned from your negative experiences and impart this knowledge onto others. Share like a mentor.

· Treat your aging as a natural process that you can go through with acceptance and grace. Experience “joy” in your life; stop seeking “happiness.” To understand joy in the Biblical sense, it is not to be confused with exuberance or with superficial cheerfulness, such as happiness. It is a peaceful quality that can run all through your life, no matter what the various circumstances that can arise. It is staying grounded, centered, and in a state of harmony with the universe – no matter what delights and/or challenges come into your path. Yes, joy is long term contentment.

· Consider the journey of life to be like a long hike crossing through the deep valleys and over the peaks of mountaintops. Yes, there is that great delight from viewing life from the mountaintop. We get that momentary, euphoric high, as in the state of happiness. But it is when we are in the deep dark valleys that we truly face our trials. That is where we do our best soul searching and, as a result, the best lessons are learned and the richest wisdom is gained. It is in the valleys that we get to find out who we really are, not who we are when everything if going just fine.

· Take good care of yourself. Respect the body that God has given you and take good care of it; and keep an active mind so that you will be motivated and a good interest to others. By taking good care of yourself you will definitely gain the respect and trust of the young people, and you will make yourself more appealing to people of all ages.

· Stay up to date with what is going on in the world around you. Pay attention to current events, social concerns, and political and ideological changes. Keep up with topics that matter to young people. Staying abreast to what is going on in our fast evolving world will offer you a strong bridge for building rich connection, and quality relating and interacting with the younger generations.

· By all means: avoid being “self-focused” and telling the younger generations about “the good old days”. Instead, be “other-focused” and be a curious student about what life is like in their “good new days.” Don’t bore them with what you have done. Instead, be curious and admire them for their great qualities, attributes, and contributions that they have to offer our society today. Learn more about them. And, who knows - they may teach you something.

· Best of all - concentrate on being helpful, caring, and a positive, healthy contribution to others. Honor and respect others for their uniqueness and differences. Learn some new practices and behaviors. You are never too old to grow! Some like to say: “When I quit growing I might as well die.” Being other-focused keeps you vital, interesting, and youthful at any age. And this is another great place to plug Lisa’s book, Millennials Incorporated: If you want to expand your horizons and grow with the times, her book is a wonderful, wonderful place to start!

I would love to hear from you if you have comments or any other information you would like to share. We are living in a fast changing world and us Boomers are living longer than any other generation before us. So let’s make our time here count and let’s leave our mark on the world for the short time we are here. We ALL do make a difference!

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