Life of Adventure

Especially When You Don’t Want To

December 15, 2016 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

You know well, the truth is: many things you don’t want to do are often the very things you need to do, maybe especially when you don’t want to do them most.
[Read more…]

Staying in the Game

October 14, 2016 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

“I will not be ‘famous’ or ‘great.’ I will go on adventuring, changing, opening my mind and my eyes, refusing to be stamped and stereotyped.” Virginia Wolff

“This ain’t no dress rehearsal” may be one of the oldest quotes I know. Still, it is a timeless truth that we all need to be reminded of regularly.

Throw in the Towel???

It’s so easy to “throw in the towel” especially when you get older. But the elderly are not the only ones with this tragic attitude. I know far too many people that have virtually dropped out of the game: working jobs they hate, hanging with people that bring them down, relying on drugs and alcohol, or simply accepting a life they find meaningless and lacking excitement.

Right now I am in Italy. The first few days were less than I hoped for: small rooms and too many radically steep hills in route to the tiny place I was staying. Initially I forgot I was in one of the most awesome places in the world. My temptation was to hold on to a lousy attitude and complain about everything. In fact, I think I found an odd pleasure in being a cantankerous old curmudgeon.

And then… each location somehow became adventurous, beautiful and fun. What changed? Not the locale. It was me deciding to get “back in the game” and remember that I was in freaking Italy, maybe my favorite country in the world.

I was struck by the 80 year old adventurers with the travel bug and the hunger to fully taste the privilege of travel. Unlike those that stay home, watch TV, and drink martinis, these old folks have a hunger to experience and learn.

The Love of Learning and Doing

Leonard Bernstein wrote, “Though I can’t prove it, deep in my heart I know that every person is born with the love of learning. Without exception.” Hmmm. I think the astonishing composer was on to something, something too easy to forget. Few things in life are more gratifying than learning something new: new sights, new cultures, new jobs, new technologies, new hobbies, and new perspectives.. All of these fill some primordial human need to take risks in search of that which is chancy and better.

Theodore Roosevelt put it best…

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming…who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

The Arena or Stadium Seats?

Yes, “The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly.”

Does Teddy describe you? If so, good for you! If not, perhaps today is the day you reconsider “getting back in the game.”

Get in the Game

Or Buy a New Comfy Couch

Photo courtesy of dima_sidelnikov at istockphoto

Self-Centered? Good for You!

September 8, 2016 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

“When I think of the long history of the self on a journey to becoming a whole self, I get tired. It was the kind of trip you keep making, over and over again…”

Poem by Naomi Shahib Nye

How many times have you heard someone say to another person (maybe you), “You’re too self-centered? All you think about is yourself.”

Really? Of course I am preoccupied with myself. It’s ludicrous to think otherwise. Are we not raised to be independent and responsible for ourselves? Yet when we do so we can somehow get labeled “self-centered.” Perhaps there is some confusion with self-centered and selfishness.

Being Self-Centered is a Good Choice

To me, self-centered is simply admitting the truth that the bulk of my life is all about dealing with my stuff, including: love, service, creativity, adventure, learning, discovery, moral consciousness, open-mindedness… wow, it’s a never-ending list. And it’s all about me. Even when I serve or give, it is me that makes some choice to do so. Yes, it is my choice.

So is there a problem with being too self-centered? Sure there is. The demons show themselves when self-centered denigrates to being inordinately self-consumed at the expense of others. It’s when I use people, ignore people, or hurt people. It’s when my needs most always take precedence over just about anyone or anything else.

So this thought leads me to reconsider a life of self-centeredness. I live to enjoy my brief life to the fullest and help others do the same.

It’s is all up to me to make that choice, a rather self-centered choice. I’d have it no other way. Yes, it requires sacrifice—a choice to do so. Yes, it requires compassion—another choice. Yes, it requires contributing to the value of society—yet another choice.

So… Make the Choice!

And ironically, it is a self-centered choice that gives me pleasure in helping others and having exciting experiences.

Want a great life? It’s all up to you and your choices.

Wherever I go, who is there? Me!

So I am obligated to make the most of it.

Photo courtesy of Moussa81 at istockphoto

What Got Me “Here” Won’t Get Me “There”

August 18, 2016 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

So here I go onto MY Next Chapter in life. It used to be called retirement but, for many of us, that term is no longer acceptable. We like to think retirement is a word for old people, not us Baby Boomers.

Baby Boomers Moving On

As a social group, we, Baby Boomers, redefined the American ideals regarding careers, science, technology, self-reflection, and so much more. After all, we were the hippies, the yuppies, the proud spoiling parents, and the high-producers.

Now at 66, the time has come for me to move on to my next phase of life. But the big question is, “what the hell is that next phase?” When someone asks what I do, I love to say, “Nothin.” Just to confuse them. However, I’m at the gym 3-4 days per week, maintain a blog and a podcast, help my wife in her consulting business, manage my son’s business, play Mr. Mom, counsel people with life issues, paint, and travel. Whew! Doesn’t sound much like “retirement” does it? Or, does it?

Strategy or Something Else

In this enigmatic life-change there is one truth I have stumbled onto: the process I used to get me where I am now will not get me where I want to go in my future. Strategic goals do not provide solution. Talk about a paradigm shift, this is the biggest I’ve faced yet.

It took me more than one year to figure that out. I’m a “strategist.” I served as a corporate business consultant for crying out loud. I created strategies and plans, and then assisted in the implementation of those strategies. I got things done! So, naturally, I used the same tactics to plan my new life after normal employment. Oops!

I took a two-day personal retreat, wrote a mission, including about a half dozen major areas, followed by strategies and plans for each. OMG. I was attacking the Next Chapter exactly as I had done in business.

It took me about 1½ years to conclude that process was loony. What I needed was not strategy but freedom. Yes, freedom, to finally be the unique me in the process of “doin nothin.” At the risk of being overly trite, I found it essential to discover who I wanted to be in old age.

And in order to do that, I had to almost completely lose “strategy” and strengthen my ability…

  1. To listen to my inner voice(s),
  2. To follow my intuition as much or more than my logic,
  3. To be even more open to the words of wise people (famous or not),
  4. To dismiss my great need to be great, and embrace my need to be a simple lover of a simpler life—of every single moment in that life.

IXNAY on Retirement

Yesterday a friend and I discussed the huge need for re-naming and norming Boomer Retirement. It is certainly not the Webster definition of retirement, “the act of leaving one’s job and ceasing to work.” The first half is accurate, but the second half, “ceasing to work,” does not fit. Most Boomers I know have little desire to cease working.

So, what’s the name of this Next Chapter—the chapter of old age before old, old age sneaks up on me? This chapter will continue, at minimum, until my mid 80’s, almost 20 more years. That’s a long time…

I don’t have a name for this chapter yet but some attributes of the new model for working might be…

  1. It may or may not be monetized.
  2. It is generally generated by my own self.
  3. It is (or should be) both pleasurable and fulfilling.
  4. Flexible hours are preferred.
  5. It contributes to something that I consider significant.
  6. It is consistent with my talents, gifts and desires.

In each day is planted “a seed for tomorrow.” Just how and where that seed sprouts I do not know today, but the results will become evident as time passes and I maintain some diligent (yet not anal) observing and paying attention to life as it occurs.

Listen to Your Inner Voice

Allow Your Intuition to Emerge

And… Pay Attention

Your Next Chapter Can Be the Best Yet

Photo courtesy of PongsakornJun at istockphoto

Life Without a Map

July 16, 2016 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

Seth Godin says, “Don’t curse your dead ends and failures. They’re the key element of the work you are doing. We find our way by getting lost. Anything other than that is called reading a map.”
[Read more…]

5 Tips for a Great Day

June 23, 2016 by Charlie Hedges − 2 Comments

What would it take for you to have a Great Day, every day? Is a Great Day Everyday even possible? Probably not. But you can make most days Great Days. All it takes is some kind of combination of 5 High Impact Options. Check it out.
[Read more…]

I’m Back and Full of It

June 2, 2016 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

After a 6-week hiatus from writing the blog, I’m back now and I am full of it.

Breaking Out

What I’m experiencing is brand new for me. I can actually feel an acute revelation of an exciting life transition. Tis true. I know my life is changing: the past has past and what lies ahead requires new thinking and doing and being. I genuinely feel myself emerging from a temporarily dormant cocoon into another evolved being.
[Read more…]

When “Your Time is Almost Up”

April 15, 2016 by Charlie Hedges − 2 Comments

“Okay, your time is up.” We expect these words at the completion of a paint-ball game or massage or training session. But what about when God or the Voice of the Universe whispers these same words as a reminder that your time here on earth is “almost up?” Hmmm?

No, I’m not on my deathbed, nor am I even in the room that bed sits, but I do reside in the same house. Every decade or so I find the time has come for me to reevaluate what I want to do and be in the next decade. That time is upon me now. I think that because of my age this may be one of my most important life-assessment adventures.

So, I plan to take a 4-8 week hiatus from writing the blog
[Read more…]

Be Open-Minded: After All, You Could Be Wrong

March 24, 2016 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

“Your brain is like a parachute. It’s pretty much useless until you open it up.”

Frank Zappa

It was twenty years ago when I encountered my first introduction to what it means to be genuinely Open-Minded.
[Read more…]

The Next Chapter Podcast
Living a life of meaning Living a life with adventure Living a life with awe