Happy New Year, my friends!
Welcome to the first installment of my favorite posts to write this year! My List of Top 10 2019 experiences!
Have you noticed how much we all love lists of Top 10? Sometimes we need details. But there’s something so clarifying about the short version, the skinny, the lowdown. Put all the info into a boiling pot and then let us know when it’s reduced by two-thirds. Right?
Well, here’s the lowdown on my very adventurous, action-packed year at Texas Over Fifty. Of all the experiences, even the many firsts (NASA, Southfork Ranch, wineries, restaurants, museums and concerts), it all boils down to these ten things. These are my Top 10 2019 experiences.
But … this is a different kind of list than I’ve written before, dear friends.
What you’ll find in this list is not so much what I saw as what I saw in someone. There were moments of revolutionary realizations, surprising sweetnesses, and gut-wrenching glories. Yep. These were the memory-makers of the past 365 days, and I can’t wait to share them with you.
So, let’s jump in.
Here’s #10 in my List of Top 10 2019 experiences.
I Saw Something Special in Myself
My list of Top 10 2019 experiences starts with something I saw in myself that I was pretty thankful to encounter.
This was the year I started my 14th (or 15th ) new job. After we moved from Austin to Dallas, I gave myself a few months to get used to the place, then I asked God to direct me to a new place to work.
I love working, and while I entertained the idea of “not” for a hot minute or two, there was really no question about whether I would get my secretarial groove on once again in our new city.
Once the ball started rolling, i.e., connected with a recruiter on LinkedIn, took the tests online (seriously, all.the.tests!), and found my way to the interviews, things moved pretty quickly, and I found myself in an exciting new spot.
Once again. For like the 14th time. (15 times if you count the two months I endured an icky place where I never should have gone.)
What I saw in myself that makes my 14th new job such a memorable part of the year was this.
I’m Over Fifty, and I started over like a champ.
It Wasn’t Easy
Let’s be real. Since the day I walked into my first (part-time) job (junior year) at a small construction company, keeping track of important expenses in a ledger book with a No. 2 pencil, office procedures have c-h-a-n-g-e-d.
Really, when you and I think about it, the new (mostly technological) stuff you and I have had to learn in our 50+ years should just about be enough to pop our heads right open from the sheer volume of it all.
And yet, here I was, Over Fifty and over a whole lot of things. Except starting over and learning something new. I plan to be doing that kind of thing until … well, until the roll is called up yonder.
Not only were the procedures unfamiliar at my new (really wonderful) job, but so were the names and faces. Nobody I knew in the lunch room. No one I recognized on the elevator. Everywhere I looked, it was new, new, and way more new.
But It Was So Good
No doubt, starting over for the umpteenth time (14 qualifies as umpteenth, right?) wasn’t easy. But it was very, very good.
I took as many deep breaths as I needed, asked questions, took notes, and cheered myself on with pep talks in the mirrors of the ladies’ room. Before I knew it, things were looking less unfamiliar, and I was no longer performing every task for the very first time. In addition, my coworkers were becoming my friends.
Working is So Good For You and Me
If you’re Over Fifty and retired, I’m happy for you. But if you’re not, nowhere close, or don’t even know if you’ll be ready at 90, then you’ll love what I’m about to say.
Working as long as we can possibly work is good for you and me.
Here are a few reasons I believe this to be true.
Getting up and out the door keeps our brains activated on a steady task-management rhythm.
Working with people all day is a great way to feel connected to a community.
Most of us who are Over Fifty have a strong work ethic, and it can be a little hard to replace that feeling of fulfillment when we are no longer working.
It feels so good to learn something new and be able to use it for the good of a team effort.
Your co-workers need you, sometimes to actually get the job done. Other times, they just need to encounter someone who is glad they’re alive. Looking at your job through a purpose-filled lens brings meaning to the very dreariest of days.
Driving to work offers lots of time to listen to good podcasts or talk on the phone to the kids. Or talk to the kids about the podcasts. Millennials are c-r-a-z-y about podcasts.
Working keeps us looking forward to the weekend.
Most work environments offer built-in ways to volunteer as a group, which is always a good thing.
Working keeps us cognitively stimulated. Many Over Fiftyers are kicking it into high gear and doing their very best work now, at an age when their parents had long since given up the ghost. (Think pastors, writers, Shark Tank celebs and Cher (73?!)
The freebies. People who work downtown can often leave a car at the office and walk to sporting and concert events nearby. Also, if your office building has a gym that’s free for tenant use, that’s another big perk.
Watching TV all day can be super-depressing! Of course, no longer working doesn’t have to mean you’ll spend the whole day in front of the Boob-Tube (that’s what my father-in-law called it). But you’ll likely watch a whole lot less if you’re just not home.
The money. A friend told me recently about an older gentleman she met while playing golf. He can only play on certain days because on the others, he’s working as a retired pharmacist in their small town. He felt a little selfish spending all his money on himself, so that weekly shift counting pills gives him an opportunity to give more to his church, and he feels really good about that.
I’m not the only one who is a strong proponent of delaying retirement.
Quoting from an article in The New York Times entitled Working Longer May Benefit Your Health: More so than people in most previous generations, baby boomers are continuing to work past their early 60s, often well beyond. Sometimes, this means delaying retirement from a longtime job, but it can instead involve some kind of bridge job, part-time employment or self-employment. It turns out that, these days, older Americans who retire — in the sense of completely withdrawing from the paid labor force — are increasingly in the minority.
And from U.S. News and World Report’s 4 Reasons to Work Longer: Work provides many opportunities for learning, reasoning and social engagement, all of which help stave off the adverse effects aging can have on the brain. It also helps keep many workers physically active, and exercise has proven to be one of the most effective ways to keep mentally sharp in old age.
Are You Encouraged?
For someone like me, shifting the focus from annoying to adventurous isn’t all that far a stretch. So, I realize all the optimism contained in my List of Top 10 2019 experiences may not strike a sweet chord with everyone who reads it.
But hey, if you’re in need of a little dose of New Year encouragement to keep on working, I’m happy to be your gal.
Let’s do this thing together as long as we can and as well as we’re able.
Encouraging a life filled with everyday intentional adventure, even while we’re at work,
PS: Here are a few other posts you might enjoy: