Monday, November 14, 2016

Just Say Yes!

After finishing a 6-mile hike in the Adirondacks with a group of nine women, many of whom I met for the first time, Ruth asked for my contact information. She loves to take part in outdoor activities so she was glad to meet other women who also enjoy the outdoors. Apparently since I joined this hike, I was perceived as someone who fits into this group.

As Ruth was entering my cell phone number in her contact list, she asked me a series of questions. 

You must like to hike. Well, sort of. 
Do you like to kayak? No
Canoe? Not really
Do you like to bike? Yes, as long as it's along a paved path. 
Can you do 20 miles? I bike the 10-mile Saratoga National Historical site loop. 
How about 20 miles? Not so sure. 
If it's flat you can do it. Okay. 
How about snowshoeing and cross-country skiing? Sure. 
On the drive home I got to thinking about my responses to Ruth's questions. Instead of sticking to my comfort zone (I'm really not much of an outdoor person) what if I had said yes to more activities? What if I said, "Sure, I'll join you for a canoe or kayak outing." How would saying yes to more add more to my life?

The idea of saying yes to more resurfaced on my weekend flight to Albuquerque. A story headline in the Southwest airlines magazine: "Say Yes!" Then the topic appeared again in the airport bookstore, "A Year of Yes" on the bestseller listing. Maybe I'm supposed to get this message. How would my life be different if I said yes more often? It's worth a try to find out.

I have a couple opportunities to get started on my YES experiment. This weekend Ruth is organizing a 7-mile hike. Ok. I'll be there. (Yikes!) Another chance is in response to an invitation to meet up with a person I met at a recent event. This woman holds a prominent position in the community and so I'm a little intimidated to follow up on her invite to, "Call my office and we'll get a cup of coffee." And yet, if I just say yes who knows what might come from our time together. I'll do it.

Why say yes? Am I trying to become something that I'm not? Absolutely not. Instead I'm intent on becoming all that I can be. Early in life we narrow our choices and interests. We decide what "type" we are and regard that belief as though it's fact and fixed. By saying yes to more, we challenge these beliefs.

How about you? How might your life change if you said yes to more opportunities, invitations, and possibilities? What can you do today to start your own YES experiment?

Copyright 2016. Patrice Jenkins. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Going Home

Having recently returned from an Alaskan cruise, I know first hand that travel is a great way to enjoy my newfound time in retirement. With endless places to explore, I could spend weeks, months, even years touring the world—that is if I had endless financial resources.  I don't, and so at some point I have to go home. 

When I say go home, I'm not talking about my two-story Colonial in rural New York. Instead, I'm referring to a new way of living—a new orientation to life. If you're like me, you've found that retirement disrupts the sense of direction and purpose you knew in the workplace. Abruptly we face a blank calendar and open schedule, with very little to orient our day. This is one reason travel is so attractive. As long as there is the next trip to plan or excursion, we're relieved of the responsibility to create this next stage of life.

So what is home? For now home may feel unfamiliar to you, like you're journeying in an unknown land. As William Bridges says in his book The Way of Transitions, "Things aren't the old way, but they're not a new way yet either." And yet, maybe home is something we've known all along.  According to Glinda, the good witch from the Wizard of Oz, "Home is knowing, knowing your mind, knowing your heart, knowing your courage. If we know ourselves, we're always home, anywhere."

If you don’t feel comfortable taking instruction from a fictional witch, then consider the definition of home from Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love. In her Ted Talk, "Success, Failure, and the Drive to Keep Creating," Gilbert states, "For me, going home meant returning to the work of writing because writing was my home." Furthermore, "if you're wondering what your home is, here's a hint. Whatever in this world you love more than yourself. Creativity. Family. Adventure. Faith. Service…. Your home is that thing to which you can dedicate your energies to such singular devotion that the ultimate results become inconsequential."

My Alaska trip was a wonderful experience and a reminder that I definitely want to include travel in my retirement years. However, vacations are not going to keep me from discovering the other amazing places my life can go when I'm happy being home.

Copyright 2016. Patrice Jenkins. All Rights Reserved.