52 ODES TO JOY: BEGIN AGAIN & AGAIN

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(Photo from Midwestliving.com)

                                                              ODE TO REINVENTING

                                                  Any given day can be a time to start over,

                                                  It just takes hard work, luck and good intention.

                                                  So, let’s go look for a four-leaf clover

                                                 And joyfully welcome our next reinvention.

“I’ve been a puppet, a pauper, a pirate, a poet, a pawn and a king. I’ve been up and down and over and out and I know one thing. Each time I find myself flat on my face, I pick myself up and get back in the race.” – Dean Kay and Kelly Gordon

BEGIN AGAIN & AGAIN is the message of “THAT’S LIFE,” the popular hit Frank Sinatra recorded in 1966 with the chorus I shared above. Every day we have an opportunity to wake up and reinvent ourselves again and again and again and again—only you make the decision about who you are going to be today and tomorrow.

I’m writing this during the Christian Holy Week, a time when 2.4 billion of the total 7.8 billion people all over the world are inspired by the story of Jesus of Nazareth to celebrate the opportunity life provides us for renewal. We’ve survived another winter and are eager to warm under one sun and spring forth like flowers for: rebirth, regeneration, rejuvenation, revitalization, revival, reawakening, recovery, recuperation, restoral, renaissance, reanimation, revivification—a redo reinvention to BEGIN AGAIN.

“The grounding and energy medicine specialist,” Amelia Vogler, is someone whose work I discovered this past winter. Her niche is teaching and helping people feel connected to the earth, united with others and flourishing with positivity.

BEGIN AGAIN & AGAIN, but first, Vogler offers these elements for consideration in her “My Mag” article (Winter, 2021):

“MESSAGES–There is a wise sage within, waiting for you to ask questions. Listen to what your higher self says to you—sometimes it’s a single word like “STOP!” or “YES!” Sometimes it’s much more subtle. Be patient and stay open.

VISIONS–You can see far beyond your eyesight through dreams, desires and passions. You have an inner seer that casts images of truth and insight.

SIGNS—The universe is a benevolent playground of flowing energies, and you are invited to play! Set an intention and let the universe start sending you signs. Sometimes, through messages around us, we find our own clarity. Stay open to what you overhear, signs you observe in nature, and words you see written on the side of trucks, street signs, people’s shirts and flyers.” (You can find more about Amelia Vogler’s methods and coaching on Instagram at @ameliavogler_healing and learn more online at ameliavogler.com.)

“BEGIN AGAIN & AGAIN—you’re never too old to begin being a new, more joyful you.” That’s a message I’ve shared repeatedly over my 40 years as “The Gerontologist of Joy.” The four points of “The S.U.N.S. (Smile-Making, Uniting, Neighboring, Spellbinding) Aging Joyfully System” is a good place to create your own plan for starting over.

SMILE-MAKING (Positive Thinking and Positive Doing)—Lighten up. People can die more than once but we can also be born more than once. Ask yourself, “What makes me happy? What do I want to be?” Then, write down your thoughts as a sort of “new start a la carte.”

UNITING (Connecting Deeply)—Own who you are and who matters to you. Are there people you’d like to connect with more deeply? Perhaps go meet some new people. Talk to people you normally wouldn’t. Try something new. See if there are people you think you would enjoy knowing who are enjoying things you want to explore.

NEIGHBORING (Others-Centeredness)—A great way to “get over yourself” is to care about others. Pause to be grateful for people who have made a positive difference in your life and then think how you could use your talents, knowledge and interests to help others.

SPELLBINDING (Meaningful, Achieving “in the Flow”)—Eliminate “someday” from your “new you” calendar. No more, “Ready. Aim, Aim, Aim, Aim—Nothing.” Be determined to make a change—GO, BEGIN AGAIN & AGAIN.

BEGIN AGAIN & AGAIN ODES FROM OTHERS:

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”—George Bernard Shaw

“Every day, you reinvent yourself. You’re always in motion. But you decide every day: forward or backward.”—James Altucker

“When things are bad, it’s the best time to reinvent yourself.”—George Lopez

“I thought, I need to reinvent myself. I want every day of life to be wonderful, fascinating, interesting, creative. And what am I gonna do to make that happen?”—Karen Allen

“I am still making order out of chaos by reinvention.”—John Le Carre

“Your power to choose your direction of your life allows you to reinvent yourself, to change your future and to powerfully influence the rest of creation.”—Stephen Covey

“People who cannot invent and reinvent themselves must be content with borrowed postures, secondhand ideas, fitting in instead of standing out.”—Warren Bennis

“Don’t ever feel like your best days are behind you. Reinvention is the purest form of hope.”—Phil Whol

                                                                       THAT’S LIFE’S

One of the most popular works in the American songbook, “That’s Life,” was written by Dean Kay and Kelly Gordon in 1963. It was recorded that same year by Marion Montgomery but failed to chart. The most famous recording is by Frank Sinatra in 1966 but it has also been recorded by: Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Van Morrison, David Lee Roth, Shirley Bassey, Michael Bolton, Michael Buble’ and others.

“That’s life, that’s what all the people say.

You’re ridin’ high in April, shot down in May.

But I know I’m gonna change that tune

When I’m back on top, back on top in June.

I said, ‘That’s life,’ and funny as it may seem,

Some people get their kicks stompin’ on a dream.

But I don’t let it, let it get me down

‘Cause this fine old world, it keeps spinnin’ around.

I’ve been a puppet, a pauper, a pirate, a poet, a pawn and a king.

I’ve been up and down and over and out and I know one thing.

Each time I find myself flat on my face,

I pick myself up and get back in the race.

That’s life, I tell you I can’t deny it.

I thought of quittin’, baby, but my heart just ain’t gonna buy it.

And, if I didn’t think it was worth one single try,

I’d jump right on a big bird and then I’d fly.

But if there’s nothin’ shakin’ come this here July,

I’m gonna roll myself up in a big ball—and die.

My, my!”

BEGIN AGAIN & AGAIN LAFF

“Three friends die in a car accident, and they go to an orientation in heaven. They are all asked, ‘Why you are in your casket and friends and family are mourning you, what would you like to hear them say about you?’

The first guy says, ‘I would like to hear them say that I was a great doctor in my time and a great family man.’

The second guy says, ‘I would like to hear that I was a wonderful husband and a school teacher who made a huge difference in our children of tomorrow.’

The last guy replies, ‘I would like to hear them say…’Look, he’s moving’!!’”

JOY-GIVERS CELEBRATING A BIRTHDAY THIS WEEK:

April 16—Henry Mancini

April 17—Jennifer Garner

April 18—Superman

April 19—Suge Knight

April 20—George Takei

April 21—John Muir

April 22—Glen Campbell

                                                   SELF-RISING HAWAIIAN MACADAMIA NUT BREAD

                                                                  (Source: midwestliving.com)

Each week, Joy & Gerontology shares a recipe saluting a healthy food produced in America. The delicious and nutritious collection is called “The S.U.N.S. USA Longevity Cookbook” and highlights vitamin B-3 (niacin) which many research gerontologists believe hold the promise for a long, healthy, joyful life.

INGREDIENTS

2 cups self-rising flour

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1 cup mashed ripe banana

½ cup butter, softened

3 Tablespoons milk

2 eggs

1 cup chopped Macadamia nuts, toasted

DIRECTIONS

Step 1) In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 cup of self-rising flour and brown sugar. Add banana, butter and milk. Beat with electric mixer on low speed till combined. Beat on high 2 minutes.

Step 2) Add eggs and the remaining flour. Beat till blended. Stir in Macadamia nuts.

Step 3) Pour into two greased 8x4x2-inch loaf pans. Bake in a 350-degree F oven 45-50 minutes or till a toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Remove, cool on wire racks. Wrap and store overnight for easier slicing. Makes 2 loaves (32 servings).

1,070 JOY-GIVING THINGS FROM MY FIRST 70 YEARS (continued)

340. Hand-painted, Ukrainian Easter eggs.

341. Love is in the air on “The Love Boat.”

342. Cruising the Caribbean.

343. Laffy Taffy.

344. Jerry Herman, joy-giver.

345. Laughing with national newscaster, Walter Cronkite, as he haggled a street vendor for a cheaper price on a monkey wrench.

346. The Santa Claus mom embroidered on my kindergarten undershirt.

347. The valentine mom embroidered on my divorce court undershirt.

348. Miz Casey, the bartender at Ruckus.

349. “Settin’ the Woods on Fire,” Hank, Sr.

350. Knowing someone who knew someone who knew Stephen Sondheim.

351. Not airing your dirty laundry nor harboring shame.

352. Motel 6.

353. The boat church service at the lake.

354. Blessing of the Shrimp Boats in Bayou La Batre.

355. 102-year-old Roy Drinkard giving me his “Lucky Shamrock” silk bowtie.

356. Bolo ties coming vaguely in-and-out of fashion.

357. Texas Swing yodeling and steel guitar.

358. My Uncle Maurice picking Jimmy Rodgers songs on his flat-top guitar.

359. Bop She-Bop.

360. The lighted disco floor at The Club in Birmingham.

361. Chocolate bunnies half-priced the day after Easter.

HAVE A JOYFUL EASTER WEEK and BEGIN AGAIN & AGAIN!

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Ben South