“There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will have defeated age.” ~ Sofia Loren
Okay, so maybe I’m just a little scathed. In all honesty, I have been roughed up a bit.
I had back surgery at age 42 … nearly drowned in the Colorado River at age 44… another back surgery at age 45… a messy divorce at age 46… and stomach surgery (to correct a twisted intestine—ouch!) at age 58.
So perhaps a better title for this post would be Reaching Sixty Feeling Fantastic!
Yes. That’s right! That’s exactly how I feel about reaching sixty years of age. For me, the BIG 6-0 feels fantastic.
For most of my life, I’ve been saying that life just keeps getting better and better, year after year after year. And I still feel that way. I believe it more today than ever. Even after going through the surreal year that was two thousand and twenty.
My life just keeps getting better and better, would you like to know why?
My life continuously gets better and better, year after year, because every day I wake up in a Kaizen state of mind. Kaizen is a beautiful Japanese word that means small incremental improvements add up over time to yield great big results. A Kaizen state of mind is knowing there is always something I can do better today than I did yesterday. It’s a positive mindset. It’s optimistic. It creates a gentle and yet powerful continuous uplifting of my life. I’ve been living my life this way for a very, very long time and that’s why I feel so fantastic to be sixty and why I’m super excited about all the years left to come… one day at a time, of course.
This past year, the surreal one that was two thousand and twenty, I finally figured out how to explain how Kaizening Life works. Let me try out my explanation here, for you.
Kaizening my life is all about creating the capacity I need to take good care of myself and my family and still have plenty left over to give to others. It’s my responsibility to do everything I have to do to become fully optimized as a human being, utilizing the gifts that I’ve been given, to create the life I want to live.
The problem is when most or all of your capacity gets used up doing all the things you have to do it leaves little or no capacity to give to all the things you want to do. If this is the case for you, it’s okay. We’ve all been there. I’ve certainly been there myself. In fact, in my early adult years, there were long periods when I actually had to borrow capacity just to do all the stuff I had to do. It wasn’t fun but I accepted it as my duty. I had to keep at it to live up to my responsibility to get done what had to be done.
If all the capacity you have gets completely used up doing all the things you HAVE to do (100% HAVE to do and 0% WANT to do), you’ve just got to flip it. But it takes time to flip it. And it takes resolve to flip it. And it takes stick-to-it-ivness to flip it. And it takes personal belief that you can flip it!
So, if you think you’re at 100% HAVE to do and 0% WANT to do… if you think that’s where your life is, right now… That’s okay! Just try to make it 99% and 1% next week. And 98%, 2% next month. And 90%, 10% next year. Just keep at it. Keep Kaizening your life in a purposeful direction with consistency on the journey to the (inspired!) life you want to live. As Confucius once said, “It doesn’t matter how fast you go, as long as you don’t stop.”
The positive impact of a Kaizen state of mind will be felt almost instantly. Just becoming mindful that you’re working hard to flip the HAVE TO/WANT TO ratio is uplifting and makes your life more happy, but it does take time. It takes one small incremental improvement, and then another… and then another. You know, Kaizening your life!
Kaizening my life is why reaching sixty feels so fantastic to me. I’ve been flipping my HAVE TO/WANT TO ratio for a long time. And now, at the beautiful age of sixty, I spend most of my time doing things I love, with people I love, in places I love. In other words, I spend most of my capacity doing what I WANT to do.
And so, this past year, the surreal one that was two thousand and twenty, I decided I wanted to kaizen my morning routine. And so, I started adding one little thing, and then another, and then another after that…
And to share the latest version of my Kaizened-up morning routine, I’m going to shift writing styles and make the rest of this post a bit of a show ‘n tell—using pictures and links as much as possible—to explain the benefits I derive from each phase of my morning routine.
I start my day when I wake up naturally (usually between 5:30 and 6:30 AM). No alarm clock except under special circumstances like a plane to catch or an early meeting or a family obligation, etc.
Before getting out of bed, I adjust my sleep number bed to the reading position and get an update on all the news, stock markets, social media, Happy Living sales (books, eCourse, rentals), and I always search for a tidbit of knowledge worth sharing as an Idea for #HappyLiving.
Meditate for ten minutes, relaxed flat on my back with my feet up above my heart, while listening to a guided meditation from my Oura Ring app (which also measures my resting heart rate and heart rate variability).
Ten minutes or so doing five or six yoga poses including the headstand (I heard it helps grow hair back) and the one shown below.
Twenty minutes immersed in our outdoor hot tub that is heated to 104F (40C)… sipping my first cup of coffee, reflecting on my life, and expressing gratitude for being alive, and being loved, and being in love.
Another twenty to thirty minutes in my rocking chair cooling my body temperature down, while wrapped in towels from armpits to toes, and listening to Alexa Sunshine Rose beautifully chant, “I release control and surrender to the flow of love. That will heal me.”
Finish the morning routine with a hot shower washing the only three body parts you need to wash every day.
In my early adult years, I could never have contemplated such an elaborate, two-to-three-hour morning routine like this. No matter how good it was for me. I just didn’t have the capacity (time) because I was so busy doing all the things I had to do, and I was busy flipping my HAVE TO/WANT TO ratio.
Now that I have flipped it way in my favor, I’m enjoying the Economies of Scaling a Kaizened Life. And that’ll be the subject of my next post.
Thank you for remembering & celebrating my 60th birthday with me. May I ask a favor? Please help me raise money for my favorite nonprofit.
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