Tag Archives: golden years

The Passion Phenomenon: Live Long, Be Happy

                           “…Keeps me living. Keeps me going.”

Beverly Guitar Watkins has lived her passion as a phenomenal, pioneer rhythm & blues guitarist for the last six decades.  Recognized as “Queen of the Blues”, Ms. Watkins continues to tour and play concerts at age 77. She provides an important inspirational lesson on longevity, quality of life and the pursuit of passion.

It is interesting to note that over the course of her lifetime, Ms. Watkins labored in some tough and physically demanding jobs cleaning houses and working car washes. Notwithstanding decades of bodily stress and toil, her hard classic blues style continued to evolve. Most importantly throughout her lifetime, Ms. Watkins never stopped the pursuit of her passion–music.

The pursuit of one’s passion has long been recognized as a driving force to lifelong happiness.  I recently learned of another life affecting derivative related to the pursuit of passion from a study published in the November 2015 Journal of Psychosomatic Research entitled, “Purpose in Life Predicts Allostatic Load Ten Years Later”.   The scientific term allostatic load” describes wear and tear on the body that occurs over time with exposure to chronic stress.

This study has significant implications to life span and quality of life. Greater life purpose predicted lower levels of allostatic load in 985 subjects evaluated at their ten-year follow-up.  Researchers concluded that living a purposeful life correlates to better mental and physical health including longevity.  Mounting evidence of these associations might be explained by the connection between life purpose and our body’s ability to regulate physiological systems related to stress response.

It makes infinite sense. As we pursue our passion, internal mechanisms mobilize our body’s ability to withstand exposure to chronic stress. In turn, our pursuit of passion drives sustainable happiness and reinforces our will to live.  Ms. Beverly Guitar Watkins is a brilliant example of the “Passion Phenomenon”.  Bottom line: Pursue your passion. Live Long. Be Happy.

“Almost everything–all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure–these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.  Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.  You are already naked.  There is no reason not to follow your heart.”  ~Steve Jobs

 

Six Fringe Benefits of Growing Old

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Look around, it’s easy to see that growing old is a privilege not a right. So why does our confused culture place such a premium on youthfulness while waging war on any sign of old age? Why does society promote the idea that aging is simply the beginning of the end?

Younger generations render twentieth century baby boomers as antiquated and obsolete.  As people grow old, we are easily characterized by deterioration and decline.  How easy we forget the enormous advantages that come with our golden years.

Growing old is a beautiful thing.

SIX FRINGE BENEFITS OF GROWING OLD

1. Vast Arsenal of Wisdom, Knowledge and Experiences. Have you every considered how different your younger self would have been if you knew back then what you know today? Consider the rich resource of intelligence and perspective we acquire over in our lifetimes. Our arsenal of wisdom, knowledge and experience is akin to having a comprehensive owner’s manual  to life, readily accessible to troubleshoot, course correct or soar to new heights.

2. Finely Tuned Sixth Sense. How many times have you received a call from someone you were thinking of just moments before? Have your dreams ever foretold what’s awaiting you on the road ahead? As our intuitive sixth sense matures, we develop a powerfully compelling ability to feel and know things before they occur. As we learn to listen and trust this mystical phenomena, we understand how our instinctive insight is a gift from nature that strengthens as we age.

3. Strong Sense of Purposefulness and Self-Confidence. It is very powerful to embody a strong sense of purposefulness and inner confidence that comes from growing older. After decades of living, older adults are acutely attuned to our strengths and limitations, likes and dislikes. As we age, we become much less influenced by the opinions of others. We know who we are, what we want and where we are going.

4. Ability to Balance Triumphs and Defeats.
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think and not make thoughts your aim
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster,
And treat those two impostors just the same.

This verse from “If” by Rudyard Kipling perfectly describes one of life’s most critical survival skills that strengthens with the wisdom and experience of growing older.  Over time life puts decades of our victories and setbacks into proper perspective.

5. Passion to Grow and Thrive.  The early decades of our lives are typically spent learning prescribed subjects and curriculum. In our advancing years, we choose precisely what we want to learn.  Developing new skills and capabilities provide older adults with immense satisfaction and intensify our desire for continued growth.

6. Reshaping and Redefining Love. As we age, our character and inner self increasingly radiate our long and winding journey.  Our spirituality often reaches new heights as we come to understand how all things are connect. In turn, our capacity to love and to be loved expands in ways we could never have imagined.

Perhaps the greatest fringe benefit of growing old is a stark realization that our time on earth is far too short and fleeting. May the wisdom of our golden years remind us to live each day to its fullest, as though it were our last.