Thankful that you never stop growing

Every once in a while, I consider if I am at midlife the person I expected to be when I was younger. Prior to my twenties, I didn’t imagine much past 28. It’s not that 28 was some sort of deadline, but it was an age that resonated in my head when I thought about the future.

In many ways, I’ve fulfilled the visions of my youth, but given that I didn’t consider life past my late-20s, I can’t say that I am who I reckoned I’d be. I had few expectations.

But one thing I imagined about midlife in the generic sense was that people settle into a loop that plays over and again as they head toward their golden years. Don’t think that by “loop” I mean “rut,” because I choose that word very specifically. A rut is like that saying about the definition of insanity — doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. My dependence on sweets is rut. A loop is more like a routine, I imagined, though not in the strict sense of a schedule. It’s that point that one gets to when they have established a rhythm in their life, a collection of interests and responsibilities, and a community. Together these elements comprise their world.

To my great delight, this loop doesn’t exist, even when interests, responsibilities and community have a solid role in one’s life. The number of changes I made between my high schools years and 28 do not compare to what I have done between 28 and now. Though I haven’t earned any diplomas or degrees during this time, I’ve had an education that has been just as valuable as the one that comes with a transcript. I still like to learn. In fact, I may enjoy it more now than I did then. My desire to succeed remains. But my definition of success is more complex.

I am settled in ways that I wasn’t at 28. I don’t move apartments every year as a result of salary increases. My responsibilities now include lives other than my own. But, I probably embrace new things more easily than I did then. I am more open-minded. I have greater expectations of what life should deliver.

I find that in midlife, I am in less of a loop than I was at 28. It’s exhausting sometimes. And it’s easy to blame that fatigue on age. I didn’t test myself in this way as a younger person, though, so I can only assume that I have less energy. Maybe I just know how to drain the cup and ask for a refill now.

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Thank you Jeff Kinney

On behalf of my daughter, I am thankful for the visit Jeff Kinney paid to our neighborhood bookstore, The Book Cellar. She was thrilled to meet the author of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, as she’s read every single book at least twice (including the one she received two days ago). According to her teachers, he was friendly, generous and wonderful with the kids. And he’s even rolling across the country in a big tour bus fit for a rock star!

When she met him, my daughter told him that she’s his biggest fan. That was much better than what I told John Taylor when he signed my book a few weeks ago!

Thankful that a corporate entity “gets it”

Christmas begins way too soon, in my opinion… at least the commercial side of Yuletide. Even before time brought the lights down on Halloween, it seemed that retailers were prepping for their next big consumer event. I have a lot to say on the subject of retail’s abduction of this religious holiday, but I’ll keep that to myself for the moment.

So, I was quite thankful to see this notice from Nordstrom on Facebook this morning. The department stores won’t begin their Christmas festivities until it is appropriate, which is after Thanksgiving.

Apparently this is not the first year they’ve done this, and that is even better news. It shows that not only are they committed to this, it also must have worked for them. If there was any impact to not dragging out the faux-fir greenery and decking their aisles with tinsely delights before the “offical” beginning of the December holiday season, it must not have been much. Perhaps it worked in their favor.  At any rate, it’s a great move.

If there is any holiday that deserves America’s attention, it’s Thanksgiving. And with retailers pushing Christmas wares in late-October and early-November, it’s as if they are trying to diminish its importance.  Sure, it doesn’t contribute to the bottom line for most of them. But, it still exists.  And without it, when would their precious Black Friday take place?

Thank you, Nordstrom… an any other corporation willing to stick with tradition and keep Christmas commercialization contained.