As many of you already know, I will be turning 60 in May and I think, because of that, I have spent a lot of time recently talking about the past. Is that what happens as you get older – you rely on your past to feed your present? I’m not entirely sure but feel it necessary to explore the idea.
This past week I have connected with three entirely new people on Facebook all who played a part of my past at Hiawatha Park. And it was great to hear about their lives to see how they’ve changed and to explore the bonds we made that were built many, many years ago. Those bonds are strong and will never be broken. I think it is safe to assume that they will be carried with all of us for the rest of our lives. But to what degree do these experiences shape your life, and is it healthy to continue to dwell on them?
I teach a class on Women and Leadership and a key component of the class is to look at the history of barriers that women have faced in terms of achieving their leadership goals. I learned over the course of my life that in order to better understand who we are now and how we arrived at the circumstances we face, it is important to go back in history and see what it can tell us. History provides information, understanding, tolerance and context. It helps to create a clearer picture of the present and a better awareness of the reasons for what currently exists. It can play a variety of roles from education to acceptance to peace. It has valuable lessons to teach.
So when I recently took a major voyage down memory lane cruising through the straits of Hiawatha Park, it taught me that many of the things that I like about myself now – that I am proud that I accomplished – that I learned the hard way – were rooted in the work and relationship experiences I had there. And I have to say, I am pretty darned blessed. I’ve had wonderful challenging work experiences in both Ohio and Colorado after leaving Chicago. I was able to retire comfortably at 58 and now spend my time only doing what I love to do. I live in one of the more beautiful areas of our country and I still am able to have that connection to wonderful people and experiences in my past – what more can a person ask for?
So, don’t worry about me. I may be turning 60 but nowhere near ready to be pushing up the daisies. In the words of Conrad Birdie “I got a lot of livin’ to do” and I intend to do it. This recent journey back in time only solidified that in my mind. And it is a journey well taken. I suggest you book your own personal cruise as soon as you can, and I hope it is as wonderfully memorable. Believe me, it is worth every penny!