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The lion has come in – and let’s hope he leaves as a lamb. We all like to feel a little spring when we turn the calendar to March – and especially me.
This is my birthday month – not just any birthday either. It’s the big one. Forty was okay – I didn’t freak out at all – and I have to say that my forties was the very best and worst of times. Greg and I successfully raised two teenagers during this period – and our daughter even got married while I was 48. And we’re still here to tell about it.
So what will a new decade bring? I’ve never been one to dwell on age – and it IS just a number – so why do we freak out about it? We are only as old as we feel, right? Yeah – that’s what I’m afraid of. In my forties I felt pretty good up until a couple of years ago – then little things like upper body pain from sitting too long – or not bouncing back as quickly from exercise and sickness – are just some of the wonderful joys of getting older. One lovely senior woman once told me many years ago – “Cindy – don’t ever get old”. Great. I’m working on it.
The happy news is that my husband is a couple of years older than I – and most of our friends are hitting this happy spot on their journey too – Yes, Ron – I’m talking about you my friend – you will join me soon after my birthday. And a few of our friends are already there – waving us on – like Barbara and Bob Coccia. They say, “Hey it’s not so bad!” And so I have no other choice but to believe them. One of our friends is 10 years older than Greg – and when Greg turned 50 he told him – “You think the time went fast from 40 to 50? Just wait until you see how fast it goes from 50 – 60”! Great.
Well I plan to take the whole month to celebrate – even though my actual birthday isn’t until the 11th of this month. And spring better hurry up – my capris and sandals are looking a little lonely in my closet – and you can’t have a spring birthday without those! And if you are in this ‘season of life’ – take heart – you are not alone – I’m right there with you! Let’s CELEBRATE!!
Lesson #1 – NEVER skip workouts – even when too busy to get to the gym. Even if you have to stop what you’re doing (i.e. directing a musical production – organizing a recital – vocal and piano lessons) and say to whom ever you’re with, “I’m sorry – but I have to get to the gym now – or my body will punish me later and we wouldn’t want that, would we?” I’m sure they will all understand and wait for you. (Yeah right)
Lesson #2 – When you finally DO make it back to the gym – under no circumstances should you compare yourself with other skinny and younger people around you. You are NOT looking at them – so you KNOW they are not looking at you. (Again – yeah right) You should continue on with your weight regime and try to concentrate on your own business – without staring at the other people incredulously that are doing chin ups across from your lame leg curls. They deserve to be stared at incredulously.
Lesson #3 – No matter what – you MUST NOT giggle! It’s offensive to the people around you – AND it draws attention to the fact that you are a wimp – laughing more than doing the actual sit ups. There should be NO joy in the gym – it isn’t allowed. Even the people on the HUGE posters look scary – even when they smile.
Lesson #4 – Try to look like you know how to operate the equipment. Every machine is different with a little thingy that you pull or push to adjust – and the whatchamajiggy for getting the prongy thing into the lowest amount of weight possible. I myself am an expert at working every machine now – but it took careful preparation and patience. And if I can’t get it – I call Greg over. The same holds true for the treadmill. Just look like you know what you’re doing – and you just blend in.
Lesson #4 – Try to join a class. There are many at my gym to choose from. I want to join them all but Greg says I can’t. He is very mean. I have, however joined a Zumba class (with my friend Jackie Christensen) that meets once a week on Friday nights. I used to look ridiculous because I didn’t know any of the moves. Now I still look ridiculous – but at least I’ve been going long enough that I know the moves. At least some of them. Okay – not many of them – but you get the idea. Try to join with a friend or two. My friends are too smart to do this however – and my daughter ended up coming with me. She has many friends coming with her each week – and I’m sure they laugh at me.
Lesson #5 – Don’t let anyone criticize or make fun of your efforts for trying to get into shape – such as my friend Ron Almberg did – by posting a HILARIOUS article on his blog yesterday about a woman trying to get into shape. Is it a coincidence that this woman sounds very much like me? I think not.
And finally – just relax and have fun. If you can’t laugh at yourself before the gym – you will really see the humor in yourself, the people around you and everything in general – AFTER going! Remember – just keep moving!
Yesterday my friend, Ron Almberg wrote a very interesting article entitled “Human Capacity”. I encourage you to read it when you have a moment. It got me thinking about the subject he was writing about – talents and gifts that we all possess and how they are used. Also the age-old question, “why does ‘so and so’ have more talent or gifts than I do”?
As I pondered this question and others like it that he brings up in this article – I was keenly aware of those on programs like American Idol and other reality shows – who may think they are really gifted and talented – only to have the truth plainly spoken to them by others with both experience and insight in that field to tell them – they are not. As a musician I am very interested in this subject and I can’t tell you how many “gifted” children and adults who have walked through my doors over the years. Well at least they thought they were.
There may be something that you have a passion for – but reality sets in and you may have to give that dream up – because your dream or goal may be unrealistic in comparison to your gifting and talent. I looked up the word ‘passion’ and here’s what I found:
any powerful or compelling emotion or feeling, as love or hate.
strong amorous feeling or desire; love; ardor.
strong sexual desire; lust.an instance or experience of strong love or sexual desire.
a person toward whom one feels strong love or sexual desire.
a strong or extravagant fondness, enthusiasm, or desire for anything: a passion for music.
the object of such a fondness or desire:
Accuracy became a passion with him.
an outburst of strong emotion or feeling:
I believe you can have a ‘passion’ for something and yet – lack the talent or skill needed to accomplish a personal goal. How many times have you heard the judges tell a contestant, “Singing is not going to be your career – you need to find something else” and while those words may be a HUGE blow to someone – ( we see the outbursts and tears don’t we?) – it may be the biggest favor that these strangers could give to that person.
I believe with my whole heart that NOT getting everything we’re desperately wanting – we’re passionate about – may be the greatest gift we ever get. Not getting everything we ask for – is sometimes for our own good.
So what am I saying? Don’t work hard at anything we’re passionate about? No way. But I believe that God “gifts” everyone in different ways – and it is our job to find what uniquely makes us different and special from all the rest. Not trying to fit into something we’re not – not trying to be a pro athlete if we’re not given special ability – or to be an artist – if we have trouble even making stick people. Find out what makes you unique – and where you have abilities that only you have – better than anyone else. Can you pray? Do you have a passion for interceding for your friends and family – how about missionaries? Then be that prayer warrior. No one can pray like you can! Do you have a special ability to work with your hands? Do you like to build things? Do you love to bless people? Just know this: No one can do that as well as you can!
We are happiest and most joyful when we find and operate in the boundaries of what God has gifted us to do. As soon as you discover what that is – ask someone you are close to – to confirm it. Soon you will be soaring – sharing what is unique to you. No copycat attempts – just a special and gifted…YOU!