Breakfast with Fred Leadership InstituteFred believed a healthy person cultivated friendships with younger people, so aging didn’t rob him of all relationships. He also understood the natural life cycle required an active involvement in managing the process. An article for Leadership Journal carried the title, “Old but not Older.” That was Fred!

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Keep It Alive

Aging is a prime example of redefining achievement — the phrase I use to describe the process of refocusing energies to avoid falling into the pit during pits or plateaus.

Erik Erikson, the prominent 20th century psychologist and psychoanalyst, created the phrase “identity crisis.” His work centered on the wholeness of the human being. His remarks about aging have been most helpful to me. He counseled others to move the deterioration to the periphery as they aged.

In other words, the core of who we are never changes. The things we can no longer do are moved to the outside of our life and don’t define us. Let me give you a personal example. My physical condition changed my schedule, severely reducing my travel. This transition could have caused great stress. I could have moaned and groaned, but I took Erikson’s advice. I looked at my gifts and created other venues for making a contribution like teleconferences, personal visits by others to my home, a website, and local speeches.

I like to say “service is the rent I pay for occupying space on earth.” As I age, these alternative ways to experience achievement and productivity help me keep my rent paid up.

The loss of mobility, agility, ability, and responsibility are tough. No one wants to surrender their independence. I made a choice and adopted the attitude “Delightfully dependent.” I moved the deterioration to the perimeter.

So many of my friends are card-carrying members of the “used-to-club.” I used to do this — I used to be that. So what? I tell people I am a true has-been because in my day, “I has been.” The healthy person focuses on the living core and ignores the dying fringes. I recommend to my fellow agers, “Live in the current reality.”

Life prompts us to redefine achievement, but it also gives us the opportunity to strengthen our core. We are not what we do (or used to do) and aging gives us ample room to stretch and shine.

Think about this week: 1) What decisions am I making about aging? 2) How am I preparing? 3) Who models successful aging for me?

Words of Wisdom: “The healthy person focuses on the living core and ignores the dying fringes.”

Wisdom from the Word: “Therefore we do not despair, but even if our physical body is wearing away, our inner person is being renewed day by day.”  (2 Corinthians 4:16 NET Bible)
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News Line: ••• 9/2/14; Brenda A. Smith discusses the pull of darkness and our positive resolve. Check out her blog. Click here to read her blog.


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