Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Start Where You Are

Today is the day to dust off your retirement dreams. Begin by writing down what you imagined doing in retirement. Don’t edit. Crazy ideas are the most fun to bring to life. They provide the chapters in your life story that your children and grandchildren will talk about for years.

Now take a close look at your list. Is there a dream that seem impossible to achieve or improbable at best? Is there a big divide between where you are and where you want to be? When the gap appears impassible, it’s easier and more comfortable to dismiss your big ideas and try to convince yourself they’re no longer important to you. Before you do this, let me tell you something about camels.

Being married to a veterinarian contributes to knowing some unusual, interesting facts about animals. One is that camels won’t step over something if they can’t see the bottom. The Catskill Game Farm built a trench 18 inches wide and 24 inches deep, similar to a moat but without water, to confine the camels. There was no fence. No need for a fence. The camels believed the ditch was un-crossable. If they had tested this limiting belief, they could have easily stepped over the 18-inch divide and been set free.

Is there something keeping you from living the life you imagined in retirement? Is there a limiting belief that needs to be challenged?

Like camels, we view the gap between where we are and where we want to be as impassible, which keeps us from stepping over into a dream or goal we had for this stage of life. To move toward our dreams we need to start where we are. Don’t wait until everything is perfect. Don’t wait for a bridge to be built across the moat.

Take the first smallest step, and find out that you can.

Copyright 2019. Patrice Jenkins. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

What did you say?

Over seven years ago I went to an audiologist to have my hearing evaluated. My husband had a friend with hearing loss that was reversible. He said maybe I had that type of problem and if I didn’t wait too long it could be corrected.

I went to the appointment, and like a good student, I answered all the beeps correctly. At least I thought I did. When the doctor shared her report, the graph had a big dip in the middle, typical of hereditary-related hearing impairment. I didn’t have the type of loss that Dave’s friend had. Mine couldn’t be “fixed.” The audiologist suggested I get fit for hearing aids. Right then. I said maybe I would in five years, gathered my stuff, went out to my car, and cried.

Fast forward seven years…

January 6, 2019 I decided this was going to be my “Best Year Yet.” I wrote a letter dated one year later—as if I had already lived 2019. In the letter I described what contributed to this being a year of growth, joy, health, family, friends, and other things that I value. In the letter I wrote, “I got hearing aids.”

Occasionally I read the letter to check how I’m tracking. Buy a larger condo—check. Maintain weight loss—check. Host more dinner parties—check. Get hearing aids—no check. And so in September I made another appointment with a hearing doctor. This time I knew the results would show hearing impairment. I knew hearing aids were the answer.

Fortunately I had a really nice technician who explained how the hearing aids work. She understood the emotional part as well as the technical aspects. When I left her office, hearing aids in place, I said, “Here I go.” I felt like I was walking into a new experience.

One week later the hearing aids still feel like I have ear buds stuffed in my ears, which for now feels uncomfortable. But, I’ve decided to reframe my experience. As I write in Starbucks, nearly every person sitting alone is wearing ear buds—probably listening to music or a podcast. I’m one of them, except mine are hearing aids. Cool.

You might not need hearing aids, yet, but we’re all growing older. We can focus on “growing” or we can focus on “older.” I choose growing—which includes facing reality and doing what needs to be done to live life fully engaged. And to do that, I need to hear well.

Copyright 2019. Patrice Jenkins. All Rights Reserved.