To the best that is in you

January 8, 2017

Once the holidays are over, we shelve the gifts and recycle the boxes.

Did you open the gift you wanted? Throw away the box. Ask yourself, “Where in my life is there a longing that only I can fill?”

Stop making excuses for your own foolhardiness. You can do anything you want if you set your mind to it.

My mother-in-law, Edna Graff, who put herself through college and got her doctorate from UCLA when she was 50, worked tirelessly until she had a stroke. She became blind in one eye. She retired and took up porcelain painting.

She painted minute flowers, fruit, and lots of birds with exquisite detail. She bought a standing magnifying glass, took classes, bought a kiln, and expanded her basement so her new friends could take classes in her studio alongside her.

She spent her time doing precisely what she wanted to do. Painting and jarring homemade applesauce.

Jars and jars of it. Sadly, three years later, a heart surgery went awry and she died shortly before Christmas in 2002.

I learned an important lesson from her. Pursue your passion while you can.

A friend of mine was relating his frustration that his partner didn’t want to retire.

He said he thought it was sad that his partner simply wanted to keep working into his 80s. “How will he ever find out what else he might want to do?” he asked me. I wonder if he had already found his passion. Charlie Rose loves to interview people, and he is passionate about the integrity of the people he meets. There are many people who fear retirement because they don’t know how they will spend their time, but there are significant others who simply enjoy the work they already do.

I often hear retirees say, “I’m busier now than I was when I worked full time!”

Busy is a good thing, but does it bring you happiness or make you feel in harmony with the yourself and the world?

Reading has become one of my passions and has made me feel more open-minded than ever before. I have 76 titles on my Kindle, and I do still love the libraries too.

I just read a poem by Christian D. Larson titled, “Promise Yourself.” I hope you enjoy reading part of it.

“Promise yourself to be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind...

To think only the best, to work for the best, and to expect only the best...

To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future...

To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others.

To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.

To think well of yourself and to proclaim this fact to the world, not in loud words but great deeds. To live in faith that the whole world is on your side so long as you are true to the best that is in you.”

Happy New Year to the best that is in all of you!