On Sun, Sep 18, 2016 at 11:28 PM, Sandhya aka Sandy <
sandhya.varn...@gmail.com> wrote:

To Dave and other's points on wondering what to do with time - I don't
> think I'll have that challenge at all. I have a number of things that I
> want to do. Or want to do more of. Like not ending a sentence with a
> preposition. Shame on me. :)

​Something just floated past on the clickstream that seemed appropriate in
this context:​


8 Ways You Can Survive — And Thrive In — Midlife 7:52

One secret to midlife happiness is being a rookie at something. Trying new
things and failing keeps you robust.

After two years of research and more than 400 interviews about midlife,
former NPR reporter Barb Bradley Hagerty received dozens of insights about
how to live well in the middle years. We've distilled them here, with a
little context. And, by the way, these ideas work well for people on both
sides of the midlife divide.

1. Aim for long-term meaning rather than short-term happiness, and you will
likely find both. Aristotle suggested as much when he talked about
eudaemonia, or the good life: striving with a purpose — raising terrific
children, training for a marathon — rather than setting your sights on
immediate pleasures, such as enjoying a good meal or a day at the beach.
It's also the best thing you can do for your mind and your health.

2. Choose what matters most. Clayton Christensen at Harvard Business School
describes the eroding effect of short-term decisions — specifically, doing
the activity that brings you immediate gratification (such as work) and
putting off harder but ultimately more fulfilling activities (such as
investing in your marriage and children). I talked with many people who
privileged work over family because work brought immediate rewards. These
people closed the sale, they shipped the product, they pulled an
all-nighter to get the story on the radio, they were promoted and praised
for a job well done. "And as a consequence," Christensen says, "people like
you and me who plan to have a happy life — because our families truly are
the deepest source of happiness — find that although that's what we want,
the way we invest our time and energy and talents causes us to implement a
strategy that we wouldn't at all plan to pursue."

3. Lean into fear, not boredom. Most of us become competent at our work by
our 40s, and then we have a choice: Play it safe or take a risk. Howard
Stevenson, also a professor (emeritus) at Harvard Business School, believes
the greatest source of unhappiness in work is risk aversion — which leads
to stagnation and resentment. "There's a difference between 20 years of
experience, and one year of experience 20 times," he says. Stevenson and
the other career experts I interviewed do not recommend chucking it all to
blindly follow a fantasy. Rather, be intentional as you try to shape your
work to reflect your skills, personality and talents. But we have only one
spin at the wheel, so make it count. A great line from Stevenson: "Ask
yourself regularly: How will I use these glorious days left to me for the
best purpose?"

4. "At every stage of life, you should be a rookie at something." This
insight comes from Chris Dionigi, a Ph.D. in "weed science" and the deputy
director of the National Invasive Species Council (that kind of weed). He
believes trying new things and failing keeps you robust. He took comedy
improv classes and now spends many nights and weekends riding his bicycle
as an auxiliary police officer for Arlington County, Va. Always have
something new and challenging in your life, he says, "and if that something
is of service to people and things you care about, you can lead an
extraordinary life."

5. Add punctuation to your life. Young adulthood offers plenty of
milestones: graduating from college, starting a career, getting married,
having your first child. But Catharine Utzschneider, a professor at the
Boston College Sports Leadership Center who trains elite middle-aged
athletes, says midlife is like "a book without any structure, without
sentences, periods, commas, paragraphs, chapters, with no punctuation.
Goals force us to think deliberately." She was so right, as I found when
Mike Adsit, a four-time cancer survivor and competitive cyclist, challenged
me to compete in the Senior Games (for people 50 and older) in 2015.
Suddenly I had little goals every day — a faster training session, or a
50-mile ride — and the prospect of these little victories launched me out
of bed each morning. Even if you don't win — I came in seventh in the race
— you win.

6. A few setbacks are just what the doctor ordered. Bad events seem to
cluster in midlife — losing a spouse, a marriage, a parent, your job, your
perfect health. But people with charmed lives — zero traumas — were
unhappier and more easily distressed than people who had suffered a few
negative events in their lifetime. According to resilience research, some
setbacks give you perspective and help you bounce back. And here's what I
learned from Karen Reivich at the University of Pennsylvania, who trains
Army personnel about resilience. After I fell off my bike and broke my
collarbone — threatening my book deadline — I called her up. She gave me
two tricks: First, "OPM": Other people matter. People who let other people
help them tend to recover better than those who are fiercely independent.
Second, rely on your top character strengths to get you through. (You can
take the character strengths test as well as other questionnaires on the
University of Pennsylvania's website.) As embarrassing as my strengths are
— industry and gratitude — they helped me cope until I could drive, type,
dry my hair or unscrew the mayo jar.

7. Pay attention: Two of the biggest threats to a seasoned marriage are
boredom and mutual neglect. The brain loves novelty, and love researchers
say a sure way to revive a marriage on autopilot, at least temporarily, is
to mix things up a bit. Go hiking, take a trip to an undiscovered land — or
drive an RV down the Blue Ridge Parkway, which my husband and I did in June
2013. Honestly, I thought nothing could be more pointless or boring, but
based on the novelty research, we piled in with our dog, Sandra Day, and
two friends. Something went wrong almost every day — we got caught in a
flood, the brakes nearly went out, we could not figure out how to dump the
blackwater (don't ask) for some time. We had the time of our lives. It took
us out of our comfort zone, it gave us a grand adventure; it was, in short,
The Best Vacation Ever.

8. Happiness is love. Full stop. This observed wisdom comes from George
Vaillant, a psychiatrist and researcher who directed Harvard's Study of
Adult Development for several decades. The study — still ongoing — followed
men from the Harvard classes of 1939-44 to see what makes people flourish
over a lifetime. Vaillant found that the secret to a successful and happy
life is not biology. It is not genes. It is not social privilege or
education. It is not IQ or even family upbringing. The secret to thriving
is warm relationships. Oh, then there's this happy coda: Second chances
present themselves all the time, if you'll only keep your eyes open.

Barbara Bradley Hagerty is the author of Life Reimagined, and a former NPR


((Udhay Shankar N)) ((udhay @ pobox.com)) ((www.digeratus.com))

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