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changing the face of aging
Susan Brooks
Who Are You Now? That's what I want to know...

Who Are You Now? That's what I want to know...
February 2022

Signs of Covid restrictions are finally lifting.

BUT WAIT....use up the juice from these last 2 years of being in lock-down: What did you learn? What have you changed...besides the color of your hair? In other words, WHAT'S NEW??? WHO ARE YOU NOW???

As a Modern Elder*, I am more aware than ever to live in the nuances of the moment, one day at a time. I listen more. I stay in gratitude. I cultivate curiosity. I only give advice when asked. I do my best to unpack judgment of myself and others...I'm learning more in every moment!

My curiosity was aroused on zoom as part of a Wise Aging book group. There are 10 of us over 60, 9 women and one very brave man, meeting for the first time. The facilitator asked us to introduce ourselves to each other. As I waited my turn, I noticed that every person talked about who they WERE:

Then it was my turn... and I remembered an important lesson from my sessions as part of the Modern Elder Academy (MEA*). I discovered the value of "Third Vault" conversations and how I want to communicate who I how I want to be With so little time ahead, let's get right to our connection, shall we?

I looked over my notes about the three levels of communication according to Aaron Taylor, a Super Bowl star and part of the MEA* guest faculty:

So when it was my turn to share the NEW ME, the Modern Elder* ME, I took a deep breath and shared my Elder Self from the Third Vault:

"Hi, I'm Susan Brooks. I'm 75 years alive...grateful to be healthy! Like so many other times in my life, trailblazer that I am, I have chosen a passionate mission: to change the face of aging in this next chapter of my life. I am privileged to be one of the 58 million boomers who are coming of age right now, seasoned by all the other significant historic times where we made major change happen. I welcome our connection..."

Silence followed. The facilitator was speechless. I realized I never mentioned I was a multi-million dollar woman business owner who created Cookies from Home here in Arizona. It has been how I have defined myself for decades...amazed I never mentioned cookies, now that's a First for me!

I don't want to minimize that our pasts have shaped us. We can be proud of how we've lived this life up to now, the lessons learned along the way, honoring the mistakes that were our greatest teachers! I want to know where you are at - to see how we can connect RIGHT NOW.

And just when I was immersing myself into what I thought was an original perspective, a friend who is in great support of my new mission, sent me this poem by Oriah Mountain Dreamer with all the right words and images I know you will enjoy...

"It doesn't interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart's longing.

It doesn't interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive..." CLICK here for the rest of this poem.

THIS poem is the Third Vault! Fully!

So how do we get to the 3rd Vault in our communications?

Aaron Taylor describes Third Vault relationships and connections like this: "The Third Vault is where the magic of life is. It's where our truest essence lies...where our intuition comes from...where our joy resides."

I want more of this...don't you? I want to live the rest of my life in the Third Vault!

So as doors start to open, invitations for life's celebrations start to fill up your schedule, be deliberate in this new beginning, this new expression of YOU, who you are post-Covid...Now is the right time...I'll meet you in the Third Vault! Let's be in the NOW together...

So, go ahead: hit reply and tell me - What FIRST will you put on your calendar this month? What adventure will you embrace? How will you be open to curiosity? How can you live in the Now?

For more inspiration scroll down and read the wisdom of this month's Featured Modern Elder*, Jerry Oliver.

Every month this newsletter will Feature the stories and wisdom of Modern Elders* we know and love.

Share your Modern Elders* with us...maybe it's you!! Please send in your Modern Elder* Story along with a one-line Wisdom statement plus photo to be featured. CLICK HERE TO SUBMIT

Featured Modern Elder*

Jerry Oliver Age 75

At the Richmond Police Department in 1996, Chief Jerry Oliver was making some big changes when change doesn't happen very often. Chief had a vision (a dream) to bring the Police to the people, create dialogue, grow better leaders that would better serve the community and the officers themselves. Changes like reminding his team that the Richmond Police Department was, after all, in the customer service business...they were here to serve the community, schools, businesses, families, and each other. This was the Chief's highly contagious crusade, and I was blessed to be chosen as part of his strategic plan. Chief Oliver hired me to train and inspire a service-driven culture with his executive leadership team. I was able to witness upclose courageous leader in action right then...and still, to this day.

As a Modern Elder*, here are Jerry's words:

"I have lived through some of the most important strides in human history. Advancements in technology, science, the arts, travel and the universal human condition. I have experienced Jim Crow, segregation, integration, redlined, sidelined, being Negro, Colored, Black, but never just an American. I have held the titles of policeman, police chief, community leader, director, advisor, professor, owner and, now, retiree. I have headed a family, loved and been loved as a devoted husband of many years pruning our five children into productive adults, contributing to deepening my own posterity.

Today I want to explore and expand the rights, privileges and wisdom that come with longevity and durability. I want this next chapter to be a process of emancipation from obligations, savoring the gift of tranquility. I want to live on the right side of righteousness.

My Legacy Statement is: Live your Life camera-ready at all times. You never know when God calls your name. It's always unexpected. Don't get ready...Be Ready. At the end of every day, I review any loose ends I need to square up that next morning: conversations, apologies (I'm quick to apologize.), priorities. I want to do whatever is necessary to be at peace. I am free."

*Chip Conley, best-selling author and speaker, hospitality entrepreneur and leading thought leader, created The Modern Elder Academy's mission "to inspire the ability to reframe a lifetime of experience and recognize one's mastery, relevance, and value in the modern workplace." The Modern Elder* is Conley's term and effort that "liberates and inspires us to embrace wisdom as a path of growing whole, not old...The Modern Elder*marries wisdom and curiosity."

Every month this newsletter will Feature the stories and wisdom of Modern Elders*.

Share your Modern Elders* with us...maybe it's you!! Please send in your Modern Elder* Story along with a one-line Wisdom statement plus photo to be featured. CLICK HERE TO SUBMIT

Susan Brooks

Today, I am 75 years old, and proud of it! Paul Simon, who is now in his 80's said it best years ago: us boomers are BORN AT THE RIGHT TIME!

Yes, I was born at the right time! I'm still a hippie from the 60's, I marched for civil rights for all humans, equal rights for women, waving my bra with the best. I am proud to be living and growing in a robust marriage of 55 years. I survived motherhood, and so did my now-adult children. I was an award-winning woman business owner when there were but a few of us. I've learned a whole bunch of lessons, and more importantly, I've earned my fair share of Wisdom, too.

I am a graduate of the Modern Elder Academy as well as an active participant in Wise Aging: Living with Joy, Resilience, and Spirit programs. As one of the creators and hosts of the Thrive@55 event, we celebrated our female community leaders who were 55+.

As long as I'm able to have the blessings of good health and a curious mind, there's more living to do, so much more to learn, so many new ways to serve. Trailblazer that I am, and always will be, I recognize my next mission: by example and demonstration I am committed to Changing the Face of Aging: One Modern Elder* at a time!

I welcome both local and national speaking engagements as well as one-on-one coaching opportunities to delve more deeply into navigating life transitions. Email me Here.

Juicy ways and energizing action steps: how to soak in the wisdom and energy of becoming your own Modern Elder*
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