#24 Learn Martial Arts

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#24

Learn Martial Arts

While this is an activity that is often introduced at an early age, it’s an activity that we are never too old to learn. As long as you are willing to move your body, practice patience, and you won’t throw up each time a ten year old advances past you… you are able to learn a martial art.

Defense

One of the primary benefits of knowing a martial art is the ability to practice self defense. A solid karate chop will set back almost any average offender. We’re never too old to defend ourselves. Self defense is an essential life skill. When we are able to think quickly and react as such, it is a skill that transfers to many other aspects of our life.

Overall Health

Your martial arts activity will be good for your overall health. Just the fact that you’re getting regular exercise has all the traditional benefits. Martial arts training is specifically good for your heart and bones. Some people believe that engaging in martial arts can actually reverse the aging process!

Personal Challenge

Learning a martial art can be as good for the soul as it is for the body. Challenging oneself to push physical boundaries increases esteem, confidence, and trust. The increase in physicality will encourage you across all areas of your life.

There’s a lot to gain from taking the time to…

Learn martial arts.

TTAH

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#130 Embrace Aging

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#130

Embrace Aging

On a rather gloomy day in my late twenties – maybe after I noticed the most significant patch of grey settling in – I spent an entire weekend pampering myself, my skin, and my eyes. I exfoliated, scrubbed, hydrated, and massaged every part of my body that showed any signs of aging. The next day, I stopped for a bottle of wine on the way home from work and got carded… I was elated – beyond – that my efforts at disguising my advancing age (!) had worked!

Valuing Youth

Our culture values youth so much that we tend to fixate on staying young, for women at least and more than one client, friend, and relative has lamented on the aging process weekly for as long as I can remember. Even though we see more and more examples of middle aged and older individuals in the media, there is an acute undercurrent of anti-aging in our current culture. Everywhere we look, we are exposed to ideas of how to ‘stay younger, longer’.

Out of our Control

In practice, I think the most troublesome part of aging is that it is out of our control – this seems to be the component that most people have difficulty with. Even if they attempt to control their health – people are acutely aware that there is an absence of control over the years – time – slipping by. My suggestion for all those things that we can’t control: Embrace or let go!

Embrace

Perhaps to some, these are one in the same. Embracing, for the purpose of this suggestion is to see aging as an honor; a testament to strength and perseverance. It means accepting that our bodies change as the years pass. It means to stop fighting the organic process and to stop wishing for a fountain of youth. It may also mean that we stop spending money on wrinkle removal but see them as honor lines; earned through the years as we loved, laughed, and lived.

It doesn’t mean to give up on self care; to let our bodies atrophy. It doesn’t mean that we give up the goal of making each day count or the joy of learning something new with week that passes. It doesn’t mean that we surrender to the term “I’m too old”.

Let Go

Letting go doesn’t mean that you should necessarily ‘go gray’ – although that may be a stunning option – or to give up on your physical health. It does mean acceptance and letting go of critical thoughts about your appearance as it relates to age. It means to silence any disparaging comments about getting older. It may require conscious effort to be present and find joy in the present rather than lamenting over the past.

Letting go requires you to stop comparing your current self to your younger self with disdain or regret.

Wisdom

With everyday that passes, wisdom grows. Each day is an opportunity to learn and to love – both allowing us to embrace life more completely. In our older years we are the Autumn of life – where we burst into full color, demonstrating maturity and seasoned perspective. Hold onto this ideology and make the effort to…

Embrace aging.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

A Letter to Myself – Age 40

“40 is when your body gives your brain a list of things its not going to do anymore.” – unknown

My forties were a time of freedom; emancipation from worries about what other people were thinking about me. I often wonder why it took forty years for that to happen. Once I experienced the pleasure of this peace, I encouraged my younger friends to let go of their need to please and yet it was as if there was an automatic release valve… a disintegrating dam that was locked into place until the fortieth year unfolded. Inevitably, someone would call and share their own ah-ha acknowledgment of the ‘pleaser’ independence. Needless to say, it isn’t that automatic but there is relief as we mature and center our perspective.

My forties, the first decade of the twenty-first century, was filled with tremendous grief and personal development/growth that I had never could have forecasted. It is a true testament to the idea that it is impossible to predict the future and that anything is possible. It was a decade of self-discovery and reinvention; a decade of loss and exploration.

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What surprises me the most is how young I continued to feel… it wasn’t anything like I imagined when I was younger. In my head – I wasn’t aging – I was learning. Everything in my life seemed to be highlighted and slightly more enjoyed. Well, except for alcohol… drinking a lot wasn’t much fun anymore.

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I’m not sure I would change anything but if I am ever able to offer some compassion to myself, some words of encouragement or a gentle warning… here it is; just in case I am willing to listen.

Hey Lady!
Welcome to middle age. It’s really not bad, in fact – it’s great overall. In retrospect, your 20’s were for exploring, your 30’s for creating, and now your 40’s are for growing. You will be growing your family – hey, by the way – those kids, all four of them – wow. You did good. And… you will be growing. Yes, there will be some growing pains but it will be OK.
Some of your growing pains will be because you didn’t take my advice in your 30’s. (see my raised eyebrows?) I don’t want to say “I told you so”, but since we are one in the same… I did try to tell you.
Stand in front of the mirror. Where are YOU? Where did you go? While it’s a little sad that you disappeared for awhile, I know it was for your protection. Your kids are more self-sufficient these days and so you get to pay more attention to yourself – thankfully, you discover the benefit  of balance. I know you can’t imagine it but guess what? By the end of the decade you will have a graduate degree… yes ma’am, you go back to school, finally! Way to go! Don’t worry about it now – the details work out perfectly and you’ll do great.
Your marriage is a mess. It’s good that you are trying counseling, that ends up being a great decision and will impact you far beyond what you can now imagine. You need to ask yourself an important question… why are you allowing yourself to be so disrespected? You, at the very least, deserve respect! Everyone does. The behavior you are allowing in your life does not respect you as a woman or a wife. Get smart. Respect is at the very core of your need as a human… pay attention. Also, while you are looking – what is it exactly that you love about the man you are sharing your life with? Is it the man he is showing you he is? Or the man you ‘want’ him to be? Listen. Watch. Learn. The man you want him to me may not be the man he is… Be present.
Your mom is going to need you for a few years and then she will leave you. I’m only telling you so that you remember to take time with her. Ask her everything you want to know – don’t leave anything unsaid. She ends up in an impossible position and does the very best she knows how to do. She’s only human too… you may have to forgive her.
Speaking of motherhood… think about what you want your children to know. What do you want them to learn about the world, about themselves? You are largely responsible for setting the example – both to your son about how women should be treated and to your daughters… how will you teach them self-respect? You are going to make a ton of mistakes… some of them will seem huge and irreparable but like your own mother… you are doing the best you can – based on what you know – in that moment. That’s all you can expect of yourself. Ever.
When you know better – well, as the saying goes, you’ll do better. In the meantime – give yourself a break and keep doing what you know to do day by day – that’s it. That’s as good as it gets. Your intentions are good and you demonstrate respect in most everything – that makes the difference. Get up in the morning and be grateful for a new day. Go to bed every night and count the day’s blessings – every day has a few. Hug your children. Keep your family close. Be kind to yourself. Keep learning to let go.
Even when you don’t think so or don’t feel like it, there is a core of strength in your spirit and you are going to be using every fiber of it. Stay strong and remember that true strength is feeling even when you don’t want to.
I’m here.
Me.

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