Friday, January 4, 2013

Tell Me A Story

So here we are. The tree has been taken down and the ornaments are all packed away. The last of the boxes and wrapping paper are in the recycling bin and the last Christmas cookie has been eaten (hopefully). Time to curl up with your favorite blanket, fuzzy slippers and a good book with a cup of tea at hand. It's a time to go within and take a look at where we are and where we want to go. Winter is officially here.

In days of old during the winter season, the family would gather around the fire in the evenings after the day's work was done and listen to the old timers tell stories (this was, of course, before the age of any and all electronics of any kind). The stories would be about those members of the family that came before them, their adventures, hardships, and triumphs. In this way people had a sense of who they were and where they came from. It also gave them a idea of where they were going and their place in the family and the community. No one suffered from an identity crisis or wondered what their purpose was.

These days the only fire we gather around is usually a virtual one as we bury our heads in our computers and tablets, searching the internet for - what? We are still telling stories, but we're telling them to ourselves. As we move into this next stage of our lives we are telling ourselves all kinds of things about what we're going to do next, what is ahead of us and whether we're up for the challenge.

Our parents' generation knew their story because it was the same one that their parents told. Once the kids were gone and on their own, they pretty much sat back and became observers of life, letting the "youngsters" take over the job of living. Mom baked for the grandkids, Dad took up fishing or woodworking, or, alas, got under Mom's feet.

Fast forward 50 years. Wow! What a difference. Those of us in our 50's, 60's and beyond are no longer happy with being the observers of life - we are the movers and shakers. We are going back to school, changing careers, starting up a business, traveling, even running for Congress (please note the number of 50+ new members of Congress including the largest number of women since the 70's). So what changed? We started writing new stories. We threw away the ones that said we're too old, not smart enough, not technically savy, no longer useful, not strong enough ... not enough period. Not only are we enough, but we have extra left over to share with the rest of us who are still trying to rwrite our own new stories.

Over the next few weeks we are going to take a look at the stories we have been telling ourselves and which chapters need to be deleted and replaced with new ones. We'll ask ourselves some tough questions and go within to find the answers.

So find a comfy spot, get out that blanket and those slippers and put up the tea kettle ... we're going to do some exploring. In the meantime, why don't we pretend we are sitting around that fire right now? Come one, now, don't be shy. Tell me a story.

And so it is.