Monthly Archives: September 2013

Try Something New

Life can get stale, just like bread.  Try something new.  If you don’t like it, don’t run back to the old, boring stuff you’ve always done; try another new thing.  Eventually something might grab you.

That’s how I got into acting.  I retired from my 37-year career as a probation officer and immediately signed up with the department to work as a retiree on an as-needed basis doing the same thing I’d been doing for years because I didn’t know what else to do in my retirement.  Luckily for me, a friend told me about a local senior community program.  I saw an acting class listed in the catalog and thought I’d try it, as it was something I had never done in my life–something new.

I know it’s comfortable to stick to the tried and true, both in activities and friends. However, trying something new might open doors for you that you never knew existed.

That acting class changed my life. As a result of just deciding to take a chance on doing something different, I am now an actress, author (I wrote a book about attending that class with my 85-year-old father) and speaker (about the book and about inspiring Baby Boomers and seniors to find a passion as a motivation to embrace life).

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I read a self-help book awhile ago called “The Tools,” because a friend raved about it. Those kinds of books are usually not my thing, but I checked it out.  It had a lot of interesting things to say, but others didn’t resonate.  Rather than ignoring everything because it didn’t all work for me, I chose the things I liked and discarded the rest.

The part I liked best talked about being grateful. I’ve incorporated a few minutes of “gratitude reflection” into my morning back-exercise regimen.  I sit back on my heels, take a deep breath, and say out loud: What am I grateful for today?  I think of five things and say them out loud.  Verbalizing that way helps me focus on them.  When my attention strays, I notice that and gently bring it back.

I try to find different gratitudes for each day.  They might sound the same as previous ones (example: my son called me last night), but it’s new for today even though it was the same gratitude I verbalized last week after he called.  Doing my daily gratitudes helps me stay positive in my life.  I have so many good things and don’t want to spend my senior years focusing on the not-so-good things.

We all have a choice. If you get off on complaining and rehashing each negative, upsetting thing that happens, then go for it.  However, if you want to embrace life, stop whining and focus on what makes you grateful.

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