Author: Varner, Mark

Growing up, growing old & some good advice

Dear friends,

Good heavens. I am at this moment escaping the first quarter of a well known sporting event. Yikes. So allow me to cower here in my office and compose my monthly allotment of mouthing off, made possible by our hosts, the fine folks at the California Bluegrass Association website. Maybe things will be looking up when I get back to the game…?

As my scion, the redoubtable Mary Varner, so eloquently pointed out the other day in his own Welcome Column, I have once again burned through another year of my brief span upon the Earth. As I set forth on my journey into extremely early middle age I cannot help but take stock of this little island of time upon which I find myself cast. When I think about the way I have chosen to spend this wonderful portion of my life, since my wife Allison and I drove HRBY, our old ’74 Bus onto the red dirt of the Nevada County Fairgrounds back in the mid 90s, I cannot help but feel grateful. Grateful for the folks I am lucky to call friends in this place where the grass is blue. How many grownups have as many friends as we have? How could it be possible to spend our precious “spare time” in a more joyous and constructive manner? Where else does one see the level of mentoring
that takes place in our community, in which the 90 year old and the 9 year old are both held in high regard? Oh, make no mistake, this is a good place to grow old, if grow old we must. (Yes, we must. Sorry!)

So when I got this list of imperatives from a friend it hit home. In a gentle and playful way it tells it like it is, directly from the heart of a person who sounds like they know for sure. Written by Regina Brett, 90 years old, of the Plain Dealer, Cleveland, Ohio, I would like to share this list with you.

She writes:
"To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 42 lessons life taught me. It is the most requested column I've ever written. My odometer rolled over to 90 in August, so here is the column once more:

1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.

2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.

3. Life is too short – enjoy it..

4. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and family will.

5. Pay off your credit cards every month.

6. You don't have to win every argument. Stay true to yourself.

7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.

8. Save for retirement starting with your first pay check.

9. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

10. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.

11. It's OK to let your children see you cry.

12. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

13. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it...

14 Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.

15. Get rid of anything that isn't useful. Clutter weighs you down in many ways.

16. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.

17. It's never too late to be happy. But it’s all up to you and no one else.

18. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.

19. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.

20. Over prepare, then go with the flow.

21. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.

22. The most important sex organ is the brain.

23. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.

24. Frame every so-called disaster with these words 'In five years, will this matter?'

25. Always choose life.

26. Forgive but don’t forget.

27. What other people think of you is none of your business.

28. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.

29. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

30. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does..

31. Believe in miracles.

32. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.

33. Growing old beats the alternative -- dying young.

34. Your children get only one childhood.

35. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

36. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

37. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.

38. Envy is a waste of time. Accept what you already have not what you need.

39. The best is yet to come...

40. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

41. Yield.

42. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift."

Your pal,
Mark Varner

Posted:  2/4/2013

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