On the surface they covered the range from surprising and hopeful, to difficult to scary. On the plus side: I gained increasing comfort with my new role as Executive Director of an organization whose mission is to help people age positively and creatively; I taught 3 new courses made several new friends, and have a stronger sense of myself as both a Leader and an Elder.
The more difficult events included a surgery to remove a basal cell carcinoma from my chin that was more invasive and more noticeable than I anticipated and my sweet 2006 Honda being totaled by a distracted person who ran a red light. The cancer is gone and I wasn’t hurt, both contributed to a strong feeling of “survivor’s mission.”
And I turned 70. I am still vainly pleased that I don’t ‘look’ 70 –whatever that means. I know I am healthier, more fit, more engaged and, in some ways, more free than I have felt anytime in the past.
The spectrum of change reminds me of some of the basic principles I teach in my course on Positive Psychology. The things that make me happy are not about what happened, but about how I respond to them. I can dwell on the hard things – we humans are hard-wired to pay attention to the negative – but the real challenge is to acknowledge the positive as well.
My resolution for the coming year is to really embody and notice the 10 elements of Positivity described by Barbara Frederickson in her book Positivity: Joy, Gratitude, Serenity, Hope, Interest, Pride, Inspiration, Amusement, Awe, and Love.
Even spending a moment or two with each concept changes my attitude. I invite you all to ask yourself what they mean in your life and see what happens.
Happy New Year!
Graphic thanks: Factory 900 Stained Glass Window Sunglasses