“It doesn’t really matter how we get older,
only what we think about getting older.”
There’s no way we can spin certain things that happen as we get older. Broken hips. Bad hearing. Oddly flowing urine. Embarrassing pauses in speech. It’s downright inconvenient. And, of course, there’s nothing funny about Alzheimer’s, or losing a spouse or facing a life-threatening illness. The fact is, we could fill volumes on all the challenging ways we get older, or all the things we can no longer do.
But, we’re looking to do something different here. We’re looking to lighten up our lives, in spite of our circumstances, however overwhelming they may be. And we can begin by injecting a new brand of optimism into our blood.
This will not be denial. Or avoidance. Being an optimist isn’t about putting on rose-colored glasses, holding hands and wishing on a rainbow that our skin would suddenly tighten up.
We can sing Kumbaya all we want and we’re still going to end up one day with our kids asking for our car keys. It’s not if, it’s when.
And let me be the first to break the news: somewhere out there in the middle of space, probably a thousand light years away, asteroids are ricocheting off of stars at 17,000 miles per hour. And, should one of these make an untimely left turn at just the right spot, there is a centillion-to-one chance that it could end up crashing on your front porch. And with apologies to Norman Vincent Peale, it’s unlikely that any amount of positive thinking will change that. But, don’t worry. I’m betting the asteroid will miss us. You should still go to the gym tonight.
The fact is, being optimistic isn’t about changing the world, or redirecting the planets so they align with our personal wishes.
And being an optimist is also not about pretending to feel good when you don’t, or saying you’re happy when you’re obviously miserable. The true optimist doesn’t bury his head in the sand and pretends that life is a stroll down Main Street at Disneyland.
Real optimism is about being vulnerable enough to acknowledge that life sometimes hurts. And our job is not to ignore the suffering, but to transcend it.
Real optimism is about focusing on what we have, not what we lack, and seeing what is, instead of what is not. It is a cultivation of gratitude that allows us to appreciate whatever falls on our plate.
And when it really, really, really comes down to it…real optimism is about living as if everything in our world is here to point us toward some deep secret that will change our world. It’s about living as if every moment and experience has something to teach us, empower us, and free us. Even—and especially—the challenging bits.
We can still face our challenges head on, and always knowing that when we say we need to lighten up, what we really mean is that we need to bring light and meaning to things that were once dark and meaningless.
And, that my friends, will be the secret sauce to a life well lived.
Sign up for our mailing list today. Get instant access to the latest Buzz. Like any growing movement, we’ll find the answers together. Our purpose will always be to help you rearrange your life in new patterns, opening your hearts and minds to what is possible in your life. It’s time to turn life into art, which for those of us who are reaching a certain age, will take everything we have, and everything we are. And if you’ve forgotten who you are, let us remind you: you are one badass, superhero, philosopher, dreamer, explorer, and Zen master. You are an alchemist warrior who can turn lemons into champagne. You just have to believe.
Now, raise your champagne glass and toast to an amazing second half of life.