Life after 50

Do You Stand Up to Your Self?

Happy Belated New Year.

Almost one month ago, I walked – mentally – the year 2023 out the door and toasted the arrival of 2024 with a couple of shots of bourbon while watching the note drop at Nashville’s New Year’s Eve celebration on television.

That night, I was gifted 366 days to accomplish new goals and do new things.

You see, it’s not important how many times you have tried something but not succeeded. What is important is how many times you stand back up on your own two feet and start another time.

How long can a “yesterday” be?

My “yesterday” has lasted more than 6 years. Yes, I am being serious.

In 2014, as I approached my last day of teaching before I retired, I was asked by many fellow teachers just what I would do with my time. I had several things in mind, but what I was excited about was that I would have every day to write.

As New Year’s Eve – midnight – ticked closer and closer, I found myself reflecting on 2023 as well as the last 10 years. What, if anything, had I accomplished? What had happened during that time? What didn’t I finish? How had I changed? How had I grown? Was I where I wanted to be on this New Year’s Eve?

I was nowhere close to where I wanted to be. Life had lifed at me. It had detoured my plans; no, it had taken my plans and created an entirely new journey.

It was not a journey that I had any regrets taking, but I realized that I had not given my plans and goals enough value to carry them through the new and difficult journey after I retired. I had “fallen” down. However, for some reason, this realization did not stop me from falling asleep New Year’s Eve (ok in the wee hours of the morning) because as I closed my eyes that night, I closed an almost 10-year chapter of my life. I would figure things out in the morning.

On New Year’s morning, I sat down with my first journal of the year and my coffee. In committing words to the blank page, I realized that I had fallen down numerous times. I had set my goals, especially for writing, on the back burner. I had ignored projects I had started. I had procrastinated living life. I had become a master at wasting time and procrastinating.

As I wrote that first entry in my journal, I realized the only person who would pick me up was me. That I had to stand up to my former self and forge ahead, learning to complete tasks I started.

Did I fall down in January 2024?

Since I had not followed through with any writing plans in 2023, I was not able to re-start, or re-launch, this blog on time. Instead, I had to hold myself to a new schedule and plan. I took January 2024 to re-work and re-evaluate how to proceed with my writing and many other projects that are in various stages of completion.

How about you?

Have you fallen down, let yourself down, or procrastinated on important things in your life? Do you have projects you haven’t finished? Is there something about yourself that you have wanted to change, some habit, but making that change seems monumental?

It is never too late to stand up and improve your life by making positive changes. It is never too late to start making healthy choices. It is never too late to decide to learn something new. It is never too late to stand up and begin again.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas about lifelong learning and learning in retirement.

Please take a moment to share your thoughts and ideas in the comments below.

Until next time . . .

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