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changing the face of aging
Susan Brooks
Everyone is Watching You

Everyone is Watching You
June 2022

True that: everyone is watching you:

Everyone is figuring out how to live this ONE life of ours as we age, grow, learn and 'how to...' one day at a time.

Those of us who are today's Modern Elders* are the role models, the trailblazers, the pioneers! We've never lived this long before. We've never had so many choices at this older elder age.

To change the face of aging, to build on our years of experience and well-earned wisdom, we want to push our limits to live life fully, to heighten our awareness and embrace every moment we breathe, right? Wisdom is our contribution now. Living generously becomes your legacy. You inspire others. What do you want to be known for? Everyone is watching...

Fear is the opposite of freedom. It keeps your world small. Fear persists...it's pervasive. And, yes, everyone is watching: what choices do we make that are right for us? Do we take risks, or not? How does curiosity show up for you vs knowing?

"If you think travel is dangerous, try routine: it's lethal."

It's summertime in Arizona: 115 degrees on an average day. The sun is ever-present, like living in an oven. Anyone who can leave, already has. For many, we have not traveled just endured in these last three years. Too risky: Covid concerns, canceled flights, rising costs: the world is a scary place.

Yet, in spite of those risks, your curiosity tugs at your feet. You can hardly breathe fresh air. Your suitcase is already packed. You simply must make your world bigger! It's about being fully alive!

Here are some real-life Modern Elders who are throwing routine out the window and blazing their own trail, not letting their fears rule. Instead, they dig deep for courage and confidence... and they wake-up their creative nerve-endings...and GO!!!!

Tina Liston shares, "When summer comes along, I occasionally Airbnb my house in Victor Idaho and rent somewhere else for that time. It's not always easy to rent somewhere that takes pets and also considerably less expensive to rent than my own house. I needed to explore other small neighboring towns. So here I am, at a little cottage on a fairly busy street in Pocatello, ID. This experience has helped me to eliminate some fears and given me more appreciation that modesty can also be beautiful. What will 5 days here feel like?"

Peer-to-peer RV rental marketplace RVshare said, according to CEO Jon Gray, high gas prices appear to have caused a shift in user behavior. "Many travelers are considering having RVs delivered to a campground of their choice or targeting trips closer to home to save money on fuel," said Gray.

Diane and Steve Hart, a retired couple in their 70's own a lovely home that easily translates into a BNB for a client who wants a 4-month stay, forcing Diane and Steve to create a forced, all-expense paid vacation. Each year, the Harts travel from coast to coast visiting friends and family...and actually make money doing it!

And then there's Sara, a recent widow in her 70's, thanks to covid, infirmed with back and knee issues, who decided she has to get beyond her 4-walls for new vistas, fresh foods, and cultural experiences."When you are alone, you have many conversations with yourself." She knew she was ready for change. After doing a bit of research, she looked for summer music festivals. She chose the one that got her the most excited and bought herself a ticket! Then she found an apartment to rent on the first floor for easy in-and-out navigation. She's close to an active Main street and, of course, the music festival core. Can't you see her with her sun hat and large sunglasses on, looking so lovely, using her walker that has a cushy seat, as she enjoys every concert in the cool summer breezes? Brava, Sara! I can't wait til you return in a couple of months to hear all about your new experiences with stories to tell..

How can you lazlo answer your fears, throw routine out the window, get creative and LIVE?

Use these modern elders as your inspiration, your teachers and your guides. If they can do it... you know you can, too!!!

Each of us is a role model, even if we think no one is watching!

Need guidance? Looking for help making decisions and finding the creative solutions you need? I am the coach, the listener, the Modern Elder Guide that you have been looking for.

Email me here: Susan@SusanLBrooks.com.

Miriam Center

Featured Modern Elder*

Miriam Center
Age 96

When Jessica Lebos, author of Savannah Sideways (the only real travel guide to and around the real Savannah, past and present), nominated Miriam for this month's Modern Elder* profile, she got my immediate attention: "Miriam has friends of all ages and remains sharp as a tack about current events and neighborhood goings-on. She inspires me, but mostly she's so much fun to be around: she's bawdy, hilarious, political and unapologetic...I just adore her!"

I confess: I don't know very many 96 year-olds who can attract and hold an audience of much interest to younger generations, but the 'bawdy and unapologetic' parts of Miriam's personality certainly intrigued me to know more.

First off, Miriam let me know early in our conversation that at 96 she is still sexual. She's been in a relationship with a retired lawyer, John, for 15 years, and, btw, he happens to be15 years younger than her. "I'm not fat and sloppy. Women need to take care of their looks and care about their appearance." Good for her, I thought, as I sit here at noon today at my computer in my bathrobe.

Miriam also shared that at 70 (at 70!!!), she got a breast reduction 'throwing her bra away offered up the greatest freedom.' Amen, Sista!

She was married at 20, birthed three sons. One son was 16 when he passed away from brain cancer.

At 50, she divorced her husband and decided she was long overdue to leave Savannah and move to California to study Spiritual Psychology and indeed achieved a Masters at University of Santa Monica.

She also built-up a real estate empire.

"Follow your heart!" Miriam says is her best advice. Now, I gladly pass on this nugget of elder wisdom to you 50 year-olds who are squirming and squealing that half your life is over and now what?

"You are not a woman until you're 50!" ~ Miriam Center

In the next almost 50 years of her life, Miriam fills her days with writing three manuscripts at the same time, one is her autobiography, hoping to live long enough to finish them. Her greatest pleasures in life are her two young grandchildren Leo and Sophia, 8 and 10 who are, of course, brilliant and beautiful. And, lest we forget, she does have a younger and most devoted lover in her life as well.

Most importantly, Miriam Center now knows who she is...and she's grateful for every day. She stays curious, she leads Daughters of Destiny spiritual group, and she lives fully immersed in making the most of each present moment.

Miriam inspires us to want more for ourselves as we grow older. When I asked Miriam what qualities about herself did she want to be known for, she took seconds to respond:

"I am a liberal, a writer, and a sincerely good friend." (That 'sincerely' part brought my tears...it does make a difference.)

What would be your three qualities...

What would you want to be known for?

And, how do you live up to making these qualities stronger every day?

Thank you, Jessica Lebos for your nomination and constant wit: savannahsideways@gmail.com

Thank you, Miriam Center: mkcdestiny@gmail.com

*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*. Please send in your Modern Elder* nomination. 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 Pro-Age!

According to Chip Conley, one of today's leading thought leaders: "Experience is making a comeback. Wisdom never grows old." Chip created the hallmarks of the Modern Elder*: "learning to marry wisdom and experience with curiosity, cultivating a beginner's mind so that learning never ends, exemplifying a willingness to evolve both as a student and sage." Research shows that shifting our mindset about Aging can add 7.4 happy years to a person's life.

Proud to say 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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