Some of my friends are already bouncing grandchildren on their knees. Looking ahead, they’ll be living a quiet retirement while I’ll be helping my younger son move into his college dorm room. And currently, I’m planning a wedding while juggling the demands of growing a new business and co-parenting a 10 year old. I wouldn’t trade my life for anything. But, when empty-nester friends announce their return from yet another European adventure and my major accomplishment has been arranging logistics for my son’s soccer team’s first fall tournament while simultaneously participating in a webinar on making my twitter feed “more awesome,” I admit to feeling a bit envious.
As an older parent, I am more motivated than bothered by my chronological age. This is a second round of child-rearing for me. As someone who is HIV+, I’ve stared down a premature death already, so I tell myself “you’ve got this” and quickly whistle past the graveyard. My life expectancy is 76.4 years, which means I have, on average, about 20 more years ahead of me. Plenty of time — a life time in fact. Mostly this perspective is empowering, but sometimes societal expectations for what life ought to look like at 30, 40, 50 and beyond get the better of me and I begin to feel overwhelmed and discouraged by what can feel like a “younger person’s game.” What do I do at these moments? I eat chocolate and go get inspired…
My 100% sure fire resources:
1. Randy Pausch – The Last Lecture
2. Brene Brown – The Power of Vulnerability [TED]
3. Shawn Achor – The happy secret to better work [TED]
4. Wayne Dyer – The power of intention
…and the most recent addition to my inspiration library…
5. Neil Pasricha – The 3 A’s of awesome [TED]
These people remind me that it is not success that creates happiness, it is happiness [positivity] that creates success. That by focusing on those awesome moments in each day I will create “ripples of positivity” that will continue to reverberate in ways I can not possibly anticipate. That I am never too old unless I think I am. That feeling uncertain and unclear is not only okay – it is necessary for growth and change. It takes courage. That our ability to connect with each other gives purpose and meaning to our lives and that to connect deeply we must first believe we are worthy of connection.
These people and their amazing talks remind me of why David and I created Taylor Street Favors, to inspire friends and family to celebrate life – their unique lives, on their terms. And while the reason for the celebration is important, what is most important is the sense of worth and connection that we all feel when we connect with each other.