As I reached for the last couple of pumps from the only mousse that makes my hair look thicker than it is, I lamented the inevitable obsolescence of almost every product I love, from shoes to health care products to television shows. My Body Full™ instant bodifier has been discontinued, leaving me to begin the quest for more magical mousse.
I know this is nature’s way of preventing me from staying stuck in the last millennium. But after searching high and low for products that work for my particular makeup, I wish my favorite things would stick around longer. Kind of like how I wish swim suits would be available in stores during the summer.
I like to think of myself as an early adopter, one who is quick to embrace new ideas, try new technology, leap and learn to fly on the way down. But the truth is, when things change so quickly and so often, it’s hard to get my bearings.
In theory, I love the idea of apps that make my life easier. In reality, if I can’t find my phone, I won’t be able to find the list I organized and color-coded and filed under such a clever name I can’t even remember it.
I make supreme efforts to set myself up for success. Yet I’m easily distracted by all the bells and whistles that guarantee it. By the time I get all these systems in place, I’m too perplexed to do the actual work. (Learning curves can last a lot longer than one might think.)
This morning I embraced the idea that creativity coach Eric Maisel taught me a long time ago. I simply must create in the middle of things. There is really no other way around it if I want to get anything accomplished or, in my case, written.
Life is too messy or busy or random to declare, “These are the only conditions that I can birth this baby” – whatever this “baby” may be. As we all know, babies have been born in taxi cabs, bistros, and barns. And these babies have gone on to do great things.
So I will complete the blog post I started when I still had mousse. I will also renew my WordPress site for another year and update the look of it while I’m at it. I’ll write another chapter for my How to Get Your Groove Back course. I’ll write before I book a flight and hotel room for next weekend. I’ll write in between unclogging the shower drain, potting some plants, walking the dogs, enjoying a camp fire, and attending a graduation party. Because this is how life guarantees I continue to evolve.
I am incredibly curious about any number of things. In order to fully explore them, I have to cultivate the conditions for them to take root. This means continually letting go of things, ideas, relationships, products that are heading for obsolescence, whether I think it’s time or not. It means taking the time and making room for what matters most.
All any of us have to do is look through a high school yearbook to realize the wisdom in letting go of what we once believed to be fashionable, cool, or important. I’m not sure any of us could have predicted the path that brought us to where we are today.
Maybe it’s that mystery that motivates us to keep tossing our caps in the air year after year as we transform inevitable obsolescence into ongoing evolution.
My best advice to 2016 grads? Resolve to evolve. You’ll figure out the rest along the way.
Feel free to share your best advice in the comments below.
No Matter What Game …. find out how you can play below post.
G: Your mentioned in your last post “I currently have 5 books begging to be birthed”. Give us a taste of each book.
P: The theme that runs throughout all my books is the idea of “Lost & Found“. I believe we need to get lost before we can truly find ourselves, our sidekicks, and our way in the world.
As cliché as it sounds, it really is the journey, the climb, the adventure that makes the man or woman. We need to set out on our grand adventures with the best of intentions so when we discover the road from here to there is under construction, we can see these detours for what they really are. Divinely orchestrated and unexpected side trips where we encounter the people, places, and experiences we need for our character (and stories) to emerge. Joseph Campbell called this the hero’s journey.
One of my favorite phrases is part of a longer quote by J.R.R. Tolkien, “Not all who wander are lost.” That would be the title of choice for my stories about Santa Fe and why it attracts so many people who feel exiled from other places.
Another book about living the creative life in the Land of Enchantment would be The Dog, The Desert, and the Days that Define a Life. My dog Malcolm and I had the most extraordinary adventures involving red racers, bulls, javelinas, hawks and a wide variety of other dogs as we hiked/housesat/dogsat our way through Santa Fe.
I particularly like stories of pilgrimages and hikes; works that explore inner as well as outer journeys. I was thrilled to see Cheryl Strayed’s book “Wild” and Bill Bryson’s book, “A Walk in the Woods” become movies. I also love books and movies about the Camino De Santiago. I especially enjoyed The Way with Martin Sheen.
At the same time I’m concerned the market will be saturated with these walking stories before I have the chance to write mine.
The Lost Ladies of Cumbria is about a week long hiking trip with poet David Whyte through the Lake District told from the perspective of seven middle-aged women. The circumstances that brought each of us to that place and that time are themes I think many women at midlife can relate to.
We often hear about men’s midlife crises, but women’s stories have largely been left untold. (Except for Stella.) This book gives those stories a voice while weaving in the incredible poetry and wisdom of a gifted poet.
I’d love to create a day book called A Penny for Your Thoughts which could be a compilation of blog posts and the Midlife Manifesto I crafted a few years ago.
And last but not least, I plan to turn a class I designed and taught 11 years ago called Read It & Leap! into an ebook that ideally you will be able to download on February 29, 2016. Yes, approximately three Leap Days after I originally conceived of the idea, I’d like to finally birth this baby. Long labor, yes?
So, there you have it. The books demanding I write them into existence. Which one would you like to read first? Let me know in the comments below.
Follow along or play the No Matter What Game weekdays at www.midlifemacgyver.com. The world’s best coach Gillian sends me a prompt each weekday and I post a response no matter what. You are welcome to use the same prompt and record your answers in a private journal, share with a group, or even better, share in the comments below! If you’d prefer to have your own prompts sent just to you, contact Gillian at https://www.facebook.com/gillianpearcecoach.
There is a series of children’s books written by Laura Joffe Numeroff and beautifully illustrated by Felicia Bond detailing the outrageous shenanigans that follow when a child takes a seemingly innocent first step like giving a moose a muffin, a dog a donut, a cat a cupcake, a pig a pancake, or giving the mouse who started the whole thing a cookie.
When I stepped into this experiment called getting my groove back a year ago, I had no idea I would be stepping into a similar situation as the unsuspecting character who gave the moose, the dog, the cat, the pig, and, of course, the mouse what they wanted.
As we’ve all learned even if we haven’t read these fabulous fables, one thing leads to another and another ad infinitum. Some of these things are hilarious, some are mischievous, some are expensive, some are silly, some are unfortunate, and some are surprising.
And surprise, it turns out, is one of the things that most of us try to avoid. But according to the authors of the fascinating book called Surprise: Embrace the Unpredictable and Engineer the Unexpected, it’s one of the things we should embrace in order to spark the best kind of change in our lives.
The thing about my journey or any journey is that we don’t ever really know what we’re in for, even if we think we do. The brilliance of our ignorance or beginner’s mind is absolutely essential if we are to be open to what lies ahead.
Preconceived notions or assumptions of how long it is going to take, how much it is going to cost, how easy or difficult it might be are usually based on our past experience or that of someone else.
Even though that experience may serve as a helpful guide, it will continually pull us out of the here and now if we are not open to the element of surprise and the many gifts of an unpredictable present.
For example, at the end of my How to Get Your Groove Back class I wanted to give participants the opportunity to physically experience what we had been discussing and understand what it felt like to change eating habits, improve energy levels, curb cravings, reduce hormonal fluctuations, etc.
So five of us embarked on a 21-Day Purification with the assistance of a functional medicine doctor and me, their newly certified Eating Psychology Coach.
Having done something similar six months ago, I thought I knew what we were getting into. Suffice it to say, I did not. Surprise! The first day my predominant thought was, “What was I thinking?” I’m sure the others were wondering the same.
But as the days progressed and we figured out what we could eat, found our comfort foods and figured out how to prepare them, and started losing weight and noticing a difference in our energy levels, skin, moods, and stress levels, we were amazed at how quickly we were adapting to the new world order.
In a very short time, we were able to make significant shifts in our outlook and health that previously none of us thought would be sustainable. Ironically, as much as we looked forward to Day 22, that’s when the real work started.
Like the unlikely actions that follow feeding a moose a muffin, I’ve become this version of myself I’d only imagined I could be. I’m actually excited about kitchen knives and cutting boards, joining a co-op, and spending the weekend tackling the clutter around every corner (while listening to The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo).
As Einstein said, “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” It wasn’t that I was unhappy before. I just knew if I wanted to get to my own personal Promised Land, I was going to have to take a different route if I intended to get there this lifetime.
So I did what we all need to do from time to time. I did what graduates and retirees and entrepreneurs the world over are urged to do. Give a moose a muffin. And let the adventures begin!
Share if you dare in the comments below. What grand adventures await you?