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Keep Going, Growing and Gratitude-ing

“Love is the beauty of the soul.” – Saint Augustine

“In the second half of life, we do not have strong and final opinions about everything, every event, or most people, as much as we allow things and people to delight us, sadden us, and truly influence us.”― Richard Rohr, Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life

Abby is my birthday buddy today. Born 7 years ago. I begin the last year of another decade moving well into the second half of life, assuming longevity. We don’t know what happens or when it will happen. So steep in this day alone and be present to what is right now. Not lingering in the past or moving too far into the future.

The past 7 years have been a long season filled with joy and loss, change and transformation, being stretched and pulled, made new from many things I wouldn’t choose. Loss of parents, dogs, aunt and the grief that follows and remains. Gain of five great nephews and delight and hope overflowing from children. An unexpected and necessary career change. Good friends. Caregiving. Two marathons. Cancer diagnoses for family members (ugh and heavy sigh). A three plus year pandemic woven through it all. Resilience, grit and gratitude.

Any advice from it all?

Keep going.
Take full count – more blessings than burdens, sometimes they are the same.
There’s compound interest in loving well.
Be present in each day.
Ordinary days are ripe with joy, laughter and delight if you choose to see and partake.
Don’t become your job, making it your identity.
You are bigger than what you do.
Diversify. Try new things.
I’m two months into guitar lessons and love being a beginner and struggling to improve slowly with practice and fortitude.
Keep learning.
Life is in the little things.
Small exchanges with friends and family.
Sticking when times get tough.
Forgiveness required and imperfection a staple.
Believe in something bigger than yourself.
My name for this something bigger is God.
Pause, pray, praise.
Faith, grace, hope required daily.
Someday is today.
Always get the squeaky yellow tennis balls – the best for ball chasing and shredding (Abby’s insight)
Know what you stand for not just what you are against. Focus on that.
Work and pray for things to get better – it’s not the government or the “other guys” job.
Give up cynicism and criticism – dead end road and merely adding to the noise.
Be generous and kind.
Laugh a lot and allow tears to release and heal.
Love is the journey and the destination.
When all else fails, keep choosing love.
Life keeps happening – be a participant, not a spectator.
May you keep going, growing and gratitude-ing (just made this word up – gratitude is a verb – put it in action)
And don’t forget to celebrate.
Happy birthday Abby and me.

“Wholly unprepared, we embark upon the second half of life. Or are there perhaps colleges for forty-year-olds which prepare them for their coming life and its demands as the ordinary colleges introduce our young people to a knowledge of the world? No, thoroughly unprepared we take the step into the afternoon of life; worse still we take this step with the false assumption that our truths and ideals will serve us as hitherto. But we cannot live the afternoon of life according to the program of life’s morning; for what was great in the morning will be little at evening, and what in the morning was true will at evening have become a lie.”― C.G. Jung

3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Anonymous #

    Happy Birthday, dear cousin! I wish you a year filled with love, happiness and health and a few good beers!

    October 26, 2023
  2. I love this and it’s so true

    October 26, 2023

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