Do you Dare?

Today is your day.
You're off to Great Places!
You're off and away!

For me, this day, Monday, is a day that’s been a long time coming.

It will begin like lots of other work days. In the morning I will have breakfast with four interns to introduce them to the company, ask them questions and hopefully be engaging enough that they’ll be happy with their decision to work at the company. 

Later I will have a conference call, a planning meeting for another meeting, and lunch with a friend. I will do some short tasks; I will clear and send email several times. Unknown to any of the people I interact with today, I will be marking each of these ordinary minutes. As they tick by, I am being pulled closer to a moment of no return.

You will come to a place where the streets are not marked.
Some windows are lighted. But mostly they're darked.
A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin!
Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in?
How much can you lose? How much can you win?

Truth be told it’s not the unknown that concerns me as much as getting so used to the known that resistance to change calcifies.

I am retiring. This transition was a long time coming. Before I could get to this point I had to come to peace with the goals I would not achieve. For while there’s always more to be done, I started to consider that it did not have to be me to do it. As I loosened this personal responsibility and ego, it became easier to allow others in to bring their own interpretation to the work. By letting go, I felt the freedom to explore and to learn more about the personal passion of writing that I’d allowed to play second (or third) fiddle to my priorities and time for years.  

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.

There is more to be done! Look at the examples of those who have preceded us:

  • At 59, “Satchel” Paige became the oldest Major League  baseball player.
  • At 60, playwright and essayist George Bernard Shaw finished writing "Heartbreak House," regarded by many as his masterpiece.
  • At 61, Charles Cagniard de la Tour, a French doctor,  demonstrated that fermentation depends upon yeast cells.
  • At 62, J.R.R. Tolkien published the first volume of his fantasy series, "Lord of the Rings."
  • At 63, John Dryden undertook the enormous task of  translating the entire works of Virgil into English verse.
  • At 64, Thomas Bowdler “bowdlerized” Shakespeare’s works, making them “family friendly.”
  • At 65, jazz musician Miles Davis defiantly performed his final live album, just weeks before he died.
  • At 66, Noah Webster completed his monumental "American  Dictionary of the English Language."
  • At 67, Simeon Poisson discovered the laws of probability after studying the likelihood of death from mule kicks in the French army.
  • At 68, the English experimentalist Sir William Crookes  began investigating radioactivity and invented a device for  detecting alpha particles.
  • At 69, Canadian Ed Whitlock of Milton, Ontario, Canada,  became the oldest person to run a standard marathon in under three hours (2:52:47).
  • At 70, Cornelius Vanderbilt began buying railroads.
  • At 71, Katsusuke Yanagisawa, a retired Japanese schoolteacher, became the oldest person to climb Mt. Everest.
  • At 72, Margaret Ringenberg flew around the world.
  • At 73, Larry King celebrated his 50th year in broadcasting.
  • At 74, Ferdinand Marie de Lesseps began an attempt to construct the Suez Canal.
  • At 75, cancer survivor Barbara Hillary became one of the  oldest people, and the first black woman, to reach the North  Pole.
  • At 76, Arthur Miller unveiled a bold new play, "The Ride Down  Mt. Morgan," free of the world-weary tone of his previous  works.
  • At 77, John Glenn became the oldest person to go into space.
  • At 78, Chevalier de Lamarck proposed a new theory of the  evolutionary process, claiming that acquired characteristics can be transmitted to offspring.
  • At 79, Asa Long became the oldest U.S. checkers champion.
  • At 80, Christine Brown of Laguna Hills, CA, flew to China  and climbed the Great Wall.
  • At 81, Bill Painter became the oldest person to reach the  14,411-foot summit of Mt. Rainier.
  • At 82, William Ivy Baldwin became the oldest tightrope  walker, crossing the South Boulder Canyon in Colorado on a 320-foot wire.
  • At 83, famed baby doctor Benjamin Spock championed for  world peace.
  • At 84, W. Somerset Maugham wrote "Points of View."
  • At 85, Theodor Mommsen became the oldest person to  receive a Nobel Prize in Literature.
  • At 86, Katherine Pelton swam the 200-meter butterfly in 3 minutes, 1.14 seconds, beating the men’s world record for that age group by over 20 seconds.
  • At 87, Mary Baker Eddy founded the Christian Science Monitor.
  • At 88, Michelangelo created the architectural plans for the  Church of Santa Maria degli Angeli.
  • At 89, Arthur Rubinstein performed one of his greatest  recitals in Carnegie Hall.
  • At 90, Marc Chagall became the first living artist to be  exhibited at the Louvre museum.
  • At 91, Allan Stewart of New South Wales completed a Bachelor of Law degree from the University of New England.
  • At 92, Paul Spangler finished his 14th marathon.
  • At 93, P.G. Wodehouse worked on his 97th novel, was  knighted and died.
  • At 94, comedian George Burns performed in Schenectady, NY, 63 years after his first performance there.
  • At 95, Nola Ochs became the oldest person to receive a college diploma.
  • At 96, Harry Bernstein published his first book, "The Invisible  Wall," three years after he started writing to cope with loneliness after his wife of 70 years, Ruby, passed away.
  • At 97, Martin Miller was still working full time as a lobbyist on behalf of benefits for seniors.
  • At 98, Beatrice Wood, a ceramist, exhibited her latest work.
  • At 99, Teiichi Igarashi climbed Mt. Fuji.
  • At 100, Frank Schearer seems to be the oldest active water skier in the world.
And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)

Indeed, today is simply the company-wide announcement of all retirements. I will be working until the end of the year but now I will gleefully be known as “retiree.” And as I gradually transition my work to others, I can continue...

...Taking Steps toward Writing a Book
Instagram posting of writing 30 minutes/day: Today is Day 100! Today I’ll post my nice big, beautiful final 100th day Instagram post. Here are the big happy outcomes: 1) Writing is a habit. I absolutely think about it daily and find the time to write; 2) Sometimes I write crap. I gave myself permission to be nonjudgmental early on because the goal was not quality but dependability; 3) Keeping a promise — a commitment to myself, for myself feels fantastic. Like you, for so long I have put others and work before my own interests, and this is important; 4) THANK YOU if you “liked” the posts or simply thought, “You go, girl!” when you saw my notes about the Instagram challenge in this blog. The support kept me accountable. 

(Next week’s blog will have a little surprise, inspired by the 100 Day Challenge.)

Books I'm reading:  I’m engrossed in Margaret Atwood's, The Blind Assassin. I’m picking up my pace; puzzle pieces of the plot are coming together. She is a master storyteller, leaving bread crumbs that are beginning to connect with suspense and shock.

Finally, a happy conclusion from Dr. Seuss’ book, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!*  

You're off the Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So...get on your way!

I dare you!