Life Reimagined Thanks to AARP
The AARP card was waiting in the held mail when I returned from celebrating my 50th birthday in Las Vegas. I did not like to see it, although I had been warned it was coming, unbidden. I am not close to retirement; I don’t feel like a senior citizen, I don’t even know what I want to be when I grow up, so getting an AARP card just seemed wrong somehow.
In any case, as much as I did not like the significance of the AARP card, I am finding some very interesting member benefits. Yes, there are member discounts on goods and services, and you will want to check those out if you haven’t already. But I am also loving the “Life Reimagined” website sponsored by AARP. You can access the site at lifereimagined.aarp.org. Once you register, you will start receiving emails about every two weeks containing a newsletter that, according to the tagline, is designed to help you answer “What’s Next?”
I was intrigued by the topic heading Fill Your Empty Nest With Opportunities because I will soon be an empty nester. With our daughter heading into college in a year, my husband and I are really on the fence about what to do from here, as for the last 18 years every life decision was made with raising a child in mind. Now we could go, live, anywhere. This is a daunting turning point!
I found so much great material regarding this dilemma at Life Reimagined, not only an article, but a “well being exercise,” the kind of thing you might do with a life coach to help sort out your priorities, along with practical actions to take when trying to make these big decisions.
In an excellent article From Empty Nest to No Nest, author Janice Holly Booth tells stories of empty nesters who divested themselves of their homes and hit the road, some to travel the world and live a nomadic, adventurous life from one country to another, others to do the same but by volunteering and mission work, others traveling the country in RVs. My husband has for some time advocated such a lifestyle, simplifying to the extreme, selling the house and all of our belongings and traveling after we retire. I have rejected this idea as outrageous and ridiculous, I couldn’t imagine not having a home base, but I must say reading about others who have chucked it all for total freedom and absolutely love it…Well, it makes you think.
Another intriguing subject covered in a recent newsletter was Have You Mastered the Art of Life? I loved the article Life Crafting: Sculpting Yourself Into A Masterpiece. In this piece, Booth writes eloquently about crafting your life into your greatest work of art, opening up to new possibilities, and unleashing creative genius. Booth references Erwin Raphael McManus, author of The Artisan Soul: Crafting Your Life Into a Work of Art. Booth asks us to consider his checklist for revealing your artisan soul.
- Make love the unifying principle of your life—let love inform all your motives, decisions and actions.
- Set time apart to be alone—begin with 15 minutes a day to decompress and reconnect with your spiritual core.
- Take time to see and absorb the beauty and wonder around you.
- Do more of the things you love and less of what kills your spirit.
- Spend more time with people who inspire you and less time with those who hold you back.
- Decide who you want to become: What is the story you want to tell through your life? Write a declaration of who you are and share it with a trusted friend.
- Write a manifesto declaring the kind of world you will create.
- Identify everything you could do now to make your life a closer reflection of the one you long to live. Make every small change you can to move your life into an expression of your passion and longings.
- Find a place to serve—someone or some organization that moves you closer to living out your passion.
I like this concept. It makes me think, and think differently about the road ahead and all the changes I will be facing. My personal philosophy, and our guiding principle in creating Boomer Connections, was the desire to remain relevant, and living a meaningful life your whole life, to explore, to pursue and be open to “second acts.” I have found article after inspiring article in the Life Reimagined newsletter and invite you to check it out. I’m still finding it hard to accept I am AARP material, but can’t help but love this resource.