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I  nearly missed my own 70th birthday! What I mean is … I nearly forgot that this special birthday will occur this year! My dearest forever friend Joan reminded me that both of us are turning seventy this summer. I’m excited to say that the two of us, along with our two hubbies, will celebrate together with a trip to the Berkshires, and a Tanglewood performance!

How do I feel about turning 70? I’ll let Maya Angelou speak for me. Asked how she deals with people’s responses to old age, Maya answers by singing the final verse of her poem, On Aging:

“I’m the same person I was then
A little less hair, a little less chin,
A lot less lungs and much less wind.
But ain’ t I lucky I can still breathe in.”

Bits of Wisdom from a Septuagenarian

Above all else, I believe in hope and love.

“If God put the rainbows right in the clouds themselves, each one of us in the direst and dullest and most dreaded and dreary moments can see a possibility of hope,” she said in a speech at a conference at Weber State University in Utah in 1997. “Each one of us has the chance to be a rainbow in somebody’s cloud.” ―  Maya Angelou

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People are infinitely more important than things. Period.

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You can’t always get what you want. However, you can make the most of your circumstances! I write about this in one of my posts: Your Bucket List: Why You’re Not Living Your Dreams.

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What makes us happy? The science of Positive Psychology is providing some of the answers. As I have been attempting to assimilate these concepts, I’ve been writing about them. This “Happiness Map” represents my understanding of how we can foster happiness and achieve a more meaningful life:

Authentic Happiness Map

This post walks through and explains the map: Mindfulness Plus Compassion Equals Happiness.

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Why do bad things happen to us? I don’t pretend to have the full answer. But I have observed that good things often emerge from the bad ones, including:

  • Gratitude. Even in the midst of our rough patches, we become more grateful for our blessings, for the people in our lives, and even the simplest good things.
  • Compassion. When we ourselves have experienced pain and suffering, we become better attuned to the pain and suffering of others. We become kinder and more compassionate.

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You and I, and all human beings from the past, present, and future – we are all part of something much larger than ourselves. We are meant to collectively move our species consciousness forward to a place where Love, Compassion, Joy, and Peace permeate the entire world. This article captures what I am trying to express, and does it beautifully: Practicing the Four Viharas: Love, Compassion, Joy, and Peace. It was written  by Will Tuttle, Ph.D., composer, pianist, Zen priest, and author of World Peace Diet: Eating for Spiritual Health and Social Harmony, and cofounder of Karuna Music & Art.

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Every single day is a great gift.

Live today. Not yesterday. Not tomorrow. Just today. Inhabit your moments. Don’t rent them out to tomorrow. Do you know what you’re doing when you spend a moment wondering how things are going to turn out with Perry?

You’re cheating yourself out of today. Today is calling to you, trying to get your attention, but you’re stuck on tomorrow, and today trickles away like water down a drain. You wake up the next morning and that today you wasted is gone forever. It’s now yesterday. Some of those moments may have had wonderful things in store for you , but now you’ll never know.

― Jerry Spinelli in Love, Stargirl

Don’t Miss The Good Stuff!

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Everyone deserves as many chances as s/he needs. I have now lived long enough to see many people turn their lives around. I’ve also seen how people interact to make this happen. For some real-life inspiration, see how to start over: 3 inspiring real-life stories and 13 Former Criminals Who Turned Their Lives Around.

“Some things just couldn’t be protected from storms. Some things simply needed to be broken off…Once old thing were broken off, amazingly beautiful thing could grow in their place.” ― Denise Hildreth Jones

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Our home planet, Mother Earth, is a wondrous place. She deserves our respect and our protection. I have come to believe that minimalism is important to the survival of humankind and the planet on which we live. Please see Why Minimalism? What’s Wrong With More?

Solstice dawn at Stonehenge

Solstice dawn at Stonehenge

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Live your life like it matters, because it does! Watch this trailer from the movie The Power of One.

I invite you to read my post by the same name: The Power of One.

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Your Turn

How do you feel about aging? Do you think that we become wiser as we grow older? What bits of wisdom can you share with us?

  • Lois@livingsimplyfree

    Carol, the old saying “if only I knew then what I know now” is so true. With aging came time to learn on my own and the freedom to experiment in life. While I can hardly remember the sad, scared child I was and know I’ve grown in so many ways, it’s still the face in the mirror that shocks me. I rarely look in a mirror because I would rather live how old I feel than by how old I look.

    Happy birthday, enjoy your trip.

    • Hellp Lois, Thanks for your commemts and good wishes. To live how old one feels rather than by how old one looks – excellent advice! Cheers!