I recently finished reading “The Second Half of your Life” by Jill Shaw Ruddock.
I resonate with the term “Second Half” instead of “old” or “retired.”
This book covers much information I’ve previously read, available to the woman who reaches those menopausal years, yet Jill Ruddock nicely pulled it all together in one place. Being an American, I enjoyed reading perspectives from “the other side of the pond,” even though I’m currently “on that side.” The core issues remain the same.
I enjoyed the humor found in the different use of vocabulary.
I appreciated her reference to those of us who are “baby boomers” being the “golden generation.” She stated we have defined every age of our lives simply because of how many of us there are; and expects as a group we will redefine what “old” means.
I like that thought. I have no interest in the idea of trying to be younger than my current age, but certainly won’t sit down and wait to die. This is my “second life” and I’m enjoying life. For me, that means life is to be lived; to be creative; to be full of passion and meaning.
Last week I spent a morning with a group of women trying to get a Women’s Resource Center off the ground here in Tralee, Ireland. The room was filled with energy while women shared their vision and passion to create something in the community to benefit many. Some of these women were in their “second half” living a passionate life.
A dear friend from Wisconsin came for visit. Her pre-visit hope was to see lots of Colorado snow. She certainly got her wish! It snowed every day she was here. The grey skies had no impact on the amount of fun we had. Perhaps her next visit will include the bluebird skies we so often enjoy!
As I think about what’s ahead in 2019, it’s hard not to reflect on the last few years. God has been birthing a change in me and my husband’s life. This started after we vacationed in Ireland and England several years ago. That vacation was a great opportunity for both seeing new sites and connecting with family and friends who live in Europe. We also met a couple who live and work in Galway.
Yet, when we arrived home, it was not where would we go for the next trip that occupied our minds. It troubled my husband (Tom) that there appeared to be so few options for going to church in Tralee, the home of his Irish ancestors. As he pondered the dilemma, God put on his heart that he could do something to change the situation.
This seemed like a huge white canvas waiting to be painted, with us having no idea of what the picture was supposed to be. Originally, we thought we were supposed to go back in the fall of 2018, but that didn’t happen. When Tom prayed about all this, he felt the response was, “That’s okay, I’ll wait.” We became more earnest about discovering what this mission is supposed to be.
It’s been several years of praying and working through ‘life’ here where we live. The big white canvas contains a few broad sweeping strokes at this time. It is nowhere near a clear image. I laugh because it seems like we get insight and details only as we move forward, putting one foot in-front of the other on a path which leads back to Tralee; on a path which will provide opportunities to share God’s love; to help people understand God’s love is vast and wide and most importantly for them.
You may ask, how will we accomplish that? Certainly, through prayer and God’s guidance. Tom will work with a pastor in a nearby community, building their small group ministries. We’ll both reach out in Tralee to people both in and out of the church, to help them develop an understanding of God’s love that is deeper than the hurts and hardships previously imposed by governments and the church. This is not a one time in and out mission trip. We expect we’ll spend two to three months a year in Ireland, establishing long-term relationships with people. Currently, it will just be Tom and I, but over time I expect others may take up the mantle and also spend a couple months at a time there.
Recently I heard, “You’re living the dream.” Somehow the statement didn’t ring true for me. Living the dream implies a perfect life with no problems or concerns; and I don’t live a perfect life. In fact, I know no one who does, and my experience has proven that talking about the negative aspects of life doesn’t do much to improve the situation. As I pondered the statement, I realized if I changed the proclamation to “I’m living my dreams” I resonated with this view. My current reality involves seeing many of my old dreams happening. This reality didn’t happen overnight, nor did it happen on my time-schedule. In fact, much of my reality holds dreams I’ve carried for decades upon decades; some are dreams I’d previously abandoned; put on the shelf or assumed I could never accomplish.
I’m astonished when I look back and remember the birth of these dreams and realize they are now part of my life. Those thoughts cause me to smile. Then I overhear people say they have stopped dreaming, and it makes my heart sad. I’ve learned some things require more time to percolate before they come to fruition; some things require more work or effort; and then there’re the elements which come together because of a blessing or gift being bestowed upon you. Those things that are passions within your heart and mind are frequently the things that make your heart beat quicker; they put a bounce in your step; a smile on your face; and are often the things that allow you to realize your life impacts others.
You may have been created to fulfill those aspirations. Hold tight to the ability to dream. Recognize you may need to refine some of your desires or think in a larger time frame. But don’t give up on having dreams.
Are you holding dreams in your heart? Do you have people in your life who encourage you to dream?
This morning while reading “writing” material, I discovered an article on crisis management and how that affects writers.
Oh, the events in life that affect a writer, and how those same experiences impact creativity or the ability to put words to paper. Perhaps I should say, inability to put words to paper.
As I pondered the article, I realized I can exercise crisis management during those seasons when the words seem to have died. In fact, I recognized unwittingly I was actually doing just that. Instead of working on my next book, I found myself absorbed in other writing. I practiced what I call “mental health” writing. Life itself had presented various writing assignments I needed to complete for marketing a couple up-coming author events.
I don’t know what works for you, but for me, words are the answer to healing, to dealing with a crisis, to life. I can smile, knowing I’ll be back to working on that book project soon.
What do you do when life throws you a curve ball and you feel you’ve lost your creative edge?