Thursday, June 25, 2020

Get Ready to Make Lemonade

If it’s one thing those of us in the 2nd mile of life have learned, it’s that life rarely turns out as we planned and expected. In fact, it could be argued that we often find ourselves in circumstances that we would not, even in our wildest imaginings, have foreseen. Circumstances that are less-than-ideal, at best, and sometimes absolutely overwhelming.
Some 2nd-milers, for example, are entering this phase of life alone due to divorce or the death of a spouse. Others find themselves working full-time far past the age they had hoped to retire, and some are dealing with difficult, even life-threatening, health issues. 

And while the old saying admonishes us to make lemonade when life hands us lemons, making something good from the not-so-good circumstances that come our way is rarely so simple.

So what can we do when life circumstances don’t turn out as we’d hoped? 

It depends. It depends on what constitutes the negative circumstances. It also depends on our own personalities. What might help one person in a particular set of circumstances might actually be counterproductive to someone else dealing with a very similar situation.

But I’ve found through personal experience, talking with other 2nd-milers and experts in a variety of fields, and research that there are a few key things that anyone facing negative life circumstances can and should do. 

These strategies will not alter our life circumstances. Rather, they equip us to deal with — and hopefully even triumph over — the lemons life has thrown our way.

But before I share the first key strategy with you next Thursday, I’m going to ask you to do one thing. 

Between now and then, I want you to focus on keeping an open mind.

As I share the 3 key strategies, I may mention incorporating something you’ve tried before or that you used to do but somewhere along the line stopped doing. 

I may share the benefits of something you’ve never done. Even something that you’ve always dismissed out of hand.

I want to be very clear. I’m not going to tell — or even ask — you to do a single thing over the next few weeks. I’m simply going to share 3 key strategies. I’m going to share how I and others have personalized those strategies.

Then I’m going to invite you to think about how incorporating those strategies might play out in your life, in a way with which you are comfortable.

That’s it! 

I’ll be back next Thursday with Key Strategy #1. 

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Stop the Hypocrisy

We’ve become a nation of hypocrites. 

Adults decry bullying, demanding schools “do something”, while at the same time engaging in bullying on social media and among their peers.

We complain about the proliferation of fake news yet share without fact-checking articles on social media. 

Racist language is met with outrage. Sometimes. The same people who are outraged often use it themselves and pay to see movies with it, laugh at stand-up comics whose routines are filled with it, and spend millions of dollars each year on music in which it is rampant. 

The appropriation of cultural clothing/jewelry, even by those who were unaware of the object’s significance, is vilified. A group of white politicians wearing kente stoles and kneeling in a carefully-orchestrated arrangement is applauded. 

We expect our children to obey our rules but are angry at the teacher who catches them breaking school rules and at the police officer who catches them breaking the law. And, of course, we deliberately break the laws we don’t agree with. 

A Christian man holding a Bible at a burned church is labeled a “photo op”, but that same group of politicians kneeling while wearing, for presumably the first time in their lives, a kente stole, is not; in fact, it is applauded by many.

At least 65 % of Americans claim to be Christian, yet politicians who vow to vote for or even have a track record of voting for practices that are blatantly anti-Christian are elected by wide margins.

We demand tolerance yet do not extend it to others.

The Hollywood elite and and many wealthy individuals denounce a wall protecting our citizenry from those who willingly break our laws to enter this country. Those same people live in homes surrounded by a wall or inside gated communities patrolled by high-priced security teams.

It’s far past time for people to stop pointing the finger at the actions of others and focus on our own.

It’s far past time for all of us to truly practice — day in, day out — the beliefs and values we claim to hold, to uphold the same standards that we expect others to live by.

It's time to live authentically.