How I Know Being 50 is Better than 30

Maya Angelou Quote, At 50A few weeks ago I did something I have never done before. I ran four miles without stopping. Let me set some context here: I used to be one of those people who said, “I hate running!” I said that when I was a sprinter in college and every year afterwards until recently. The fact that I have overcome such a limiting belief is just one of many reasons why I believe that being 50 is better than 30.

I would have never imagined when I was 30 years old that I would go out and run four miles, for the first time, at the age of 50. Like many events in my life, this wasn’t something I ever planned; rather, it simply unfolded over time. It all began last autumn when my youngest son, Ryan, began working with a track coach. Every week we would meet at one of the local tracks and work out. Sometimes I would watch. Other times, I would work with them. Coach Titus was great with Ryan, understanding his initial resistance to the workouts and gently nudging him until Ryan began asking for more. When Coach couldn’t work with Ryan, he would send a training plan, and I would take him through the paces. You can see where this is going, no? Yes! I also began to strengthen my core muscles, I also began to build up my cardio conditioning, and I also began to want more — little by little.

Don’t think for one minute that you become more limited as you age, because that doesn’t have to be your reality. What you choose to do with your life is up to you and it all begins with your mindset. Too many people I know “dread” their birthdays, especially the big ones that end in “0.” It seems that by the time 30 rolls around people are already thinking negatively about their age.

I’m not 30, I’m 29.95 plus tax

You can imagine what one hears as the big 5 – 0 nears.

Fifty is the worst “F” word

This cultural bias of dread associated with getting older has created some very lucrative industries, especially for women. Hair coloring, for instance, begins the minute the first gray hair is noticed, which for many is around 30.

Here is an important question to consider:

Here’s the good news. Getting older is expansive if you allow it to be. I know this for a fact because it has been my experience. Hands down, I am healthier, happier, more energetic, more creative, more physically active, more of everything at 50 than I was at 30. Seriously. I blogged about this just before my birthday and, given my recent athletic achievement, I believe it deserves further discussion. Specifically, I want to share more of the aspects of my process to better health and happiness. Such as…

I spent years learning how to better love myself. That meant following my heart instead of the crowd. It meant not hiding behind my feelings that were in contrast to those around me (especially family). It meant me accepting me wholeheartedly and not trying to mold myself into the expectations of others. What did that look like as it manifested?

For starters, I stopped coloring my hair and let the true color shine through. That was an important part of my transformation because there is so much ego tied to body image, and I was no exception. I remember when a former colleague asked me why I stopped coloring my hair (with a tsk-tsk and a shake of her head), I explained that I was fighting my ego, and I thought my self-image made a great battleground. The winner would be made evident to the world, and I wanted to win. What I learned from this process is when I began to release attachments to ego, my true self had more room to emerge.

Secondly, I left a job making big money because it was not fulfilling to me. No package, no retirement, just started all over with something new that I loved: writing and coaching. The writing spawned my creative nature, and I’ve published two books and written five more in just over three years. My trilogy is forthcoming and I’ve two self-empowerment books in draft scheduled for release later this year. That’s a lot of inspiration flowing! When I gave myself permission to be me, it was like I unlocked the dam of creativity! Coaching allows me to give back by inspiring and nurturing others in their journey toward happiness and health.

Thirdly, and this is a big one, I’ve let go of beliefs instilled in me as a child that went unquestioned. As children, we expect our elders to know it all and tell us what is important and age-relevant for our well-being. What we don’t understand is that our parents, teachers, and ministers are molding us to fit within the familial and cultural norm. Star WarsIt takes a very enlightened parent to have a belief about something and not teach that belief to his or her children as truth. I’m inspired by MindValley founder Vishen Lakhiani, who openly shares why he rejected religion altogether and raises his son on the tenants of “Star Wars.” If you recoil at the thought, I especially encourage you to read his post. It’s incredibly enlightening!

Fourthly, I learned that genetically modified, processed, hormone-induced food products hurt my body. It took a three-week elimination diet and another four weeks of reintroducing products into my diet for this to be confirmed. Now I don’t eat glutens, soy, processed sugars, or diary. (I stopped eating red meat when I developed an allergy about eight years ago.) Not only have I lost ten pounds and lots of inches around my waist, hips and thighs (and I wasn’t heavy to begin with), I have more energy than I have in years. And even better, my husband tells me almost daily how much younger I look!

Lastly, I focus my thoughts on the good in my life and the wonderful future ahead. I see where I want my life to go, and that’s what I envision. I don’t look at the gap between where I am now and where I want to be. When things happen that make me feel bad (like the death of my mother), I practice allowing. Allowing is accepting life as it is and looking for the good in it. My mother may have passed, but I can be ever-so grateful for the loving relationship we had while she was alive. I am also grateful that I could be with her, along with my brother, holding her hand as her energy left the physical world and moved on to the next great thing.

I know great wisdom comes with aging. I know that mindset is the master of our of experience. I know that learning how to live a joyful life is a process that, if we are open to possibilities, only gets better with age. I know that for me, being 50 is so much better than being 30. And I know this chick just ran four-friggin miles on a beautiful Florida beach. All I can say is, bring it on!

Sheila's four mile run

Click to see a 50-second inspirational clip of my four-mile run in beautiful Ponce Inlet, FL. What do you want to do next?

What can you do to embrace the wisdom that only comes with age and expand your health and happiness?

Makeover Reflects Inner Growth and Transformation

Makeover at Bei Capelli in Daytona Beach, Fl

Makeover before & after. Many thanks to Suzie Beardsley, owner and stylist, Bei Capelli in Daytona Beach, Fl.

From the series: Life on Dog Hill

Here’s the deal: I am committed to continued evolution — spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically. I honor my commitment by asking, “What now?” or “What’s next?” Sometimes I challenge the status quo by asking, “How did it come to be this way?” or “What if we tried something different?” I read. I connect with others. I take courses both online and in the classroom so that I can continue to learn, grow and transform.

The result of my efforts is that I am always changing, always evolving. My eyes and smile grow wide with each new learning that resonates loudly in my heart. I can’t imagine living any other way.

All that to say that I chopped off my hair as an external symbol of my inner growth and transformation. This has been a year of great change for me, and it deserves acknowledgment.

During our Florida vacation, I went to Bei Capelli Salon where owner and stylist Suzie Beardsley gave me a complete hair transformation. Here’s how it unfolded… and, just so you know, I LOVE it!

Makeover

How do you acknowledge yourself?

Why Wait for Happiness? Top 10 List to Claim it NOW

Happiness is... by author Sheila CallahamDeepak Chopra, one of the most-renowned names in the field of mind-body medicine and personal transformation, says one of the biggest mistakes people make is to wait for happiness. When people look outside themselves for joy and contentment, it is ever evasive. What that means for all of us is that we are responsible for our happiness. If you are scratching your head wondering what how you can claim your piece of happy pie, here’s a top ten list to get you started.Deepak Chopra, one of the most renowned names in the field of mind-body medicine and personal transformation, says one of the biggest mistakes people make is to wait for happiness. When people look outside themselves for joy and contentment, it is ever evasive. What that means for all of us is that we are responsible for our happiness. If you are scratching your head wondering what how you can claim your piece of happy pie, here’s a top ten list to get you started.

10) Read

Hey, you are reading now right with the hope of feeling happier, so pat yourself on the back because you are on the right track! Reading is a great way to feel happier because it forces your mind away from your present emotion and focuses on the words you are reading. So blow the dust off your Kindle and download a dozen books from your favorite genres and get lost in another world. Don’t forget that Amazon offers thousands of books everyday for FREE, and that’s gotta make any reader happy!

9) Exercise

Look, this doesn’t have to be painful, just get out and walk during your lunch break. Being in nature has calming benefits, and exercise (even walking) causes your brain to release endorphins, the chemicals that trigger positive, happy thought. Whoo-hoo! Our bodies were made to move; that’s why we have legs with feet. Consider joining a walking or jogging group in your area or recruit a friend and sign up for golf, tennis or tango lessons. The added commitment of paying for a program will help motivate you to get your body moving.

8) Laugh

When was the last time you let one rip? A laugh, that is… Like exercise, laughing causes the release of endorphins. What makes you laugh? How about playing board games with friends, hop-scotch with children, grandchildren, or fetch with your favorite canine. No access to children or animals? Google humorous videos you YouTube or consider joining a laughing group. Yes, they exist! At the Laughter Yoga website, you can find laughing groups near you.

7) Hug someone, ANYONE

If endorphins don’t do it for you try some oxytocin. A big hug increases the bonding hormone known as oxytocin, which reduces blood pressure, stress, and anxiety. Yep, hugging can make you much more open and receptive to happy thoughts (and other juicy things). I love this article by Marcus Julian Felicetti on the 10 Reasons Why We Need at Least 8 Hugs a Day, and I’m sure you’ll feel much happier after you read it.

Oprah Winfrey Quote6) Choose your company wisely

And that means separating yourself from negative family and friends. Spending time with naysayers is an energy drainer — a mental and emotional downer. Fire family and friends who are chronic naysayers and spend your time with the people who inspire you, those who know how to laugh and play. Spend time with people who support your dreams and aspirations, whether they understand them or not, and who accept you wholeheartedly just as you are. Oh yeah!

5) Pass it on

Has anyone ever done a thoughtful or generous deed for you? Remember how appreciative you were? It’s time to pass it on and make a positive difference in the lives of others. Passing on a good deed can be a simple, one-time thing where you anonymously pay for the meal of the person behind you in the drive-through lane, or it can be a long-term, volunteer commitment at the local school or hospital. Whatever you choose to do, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how happy you will feel doing good for others.

4) Watch your words

Don’t allow yourself to say negative things about yourself or anyone else. Words are the result of your thoughts, so when you feel something negative about to emerge from your mouth stop, check your thoughts, and shift to something positive. Not sure how to do that? Consider this little trick: “Wouldn’t it be nice if….”  When you think about what would be nice to see, have, hear, or experience then your thinking shifts to a higher vibration and so does your feeling of happiness.

3) Chase a dream

Thomas Edison once said, “If we did all the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.” What invisible dream do you want to make visible? Oh, and a head’s up… don’t wait for everyone to jump behind you and support you along the way. You’ll be surprised at how many of your family and “friends” will poo-poo your great idea. See number six above and proceed with wild abandon!

2) Practice gratitude

Oprah Winfrey Quote

Keep a gratitude journal. It only takes a couple of minutes to acknowledge the good in your life. Maybe it was a compliment you received, or that you found the perfect parking spot when you were rushing out to do some shopping during your lunch hour. When you tune into all the good around you, then you begin to see how wonderful life is. Your positive attitude creates an energy that is matched by the universe, bringing you even more happiness. Make the words, “attitude of gratitude” your mantra, and see how much better you feel.

1) Meditate

Setting aside a few minutes every day to meditate is a wonderful way to ground yourself into the present moment, eliminating ties to the past and anxiety for the future. Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax participants and induce feelings of appreciation and happiness. Whether you are new to meditation or are a practiced participant, consider joining Oprah Winfrey and Deepak Chopra on their latest, all-new, free, 21-day meditation experience focused on…. wait for it… “Expanding Your Happiness!” Although the first mediation began four days ago, the recordings are available on the website for five days, so you can still catch up. Or, just start with today and continue the journey until the end. Over 2.6 million people in over 200 countries participated in Oprah and Deepak’s past meditation experience so don’t miss this one! Sign up at www.Oprah.com/meditation.

Sheila Callaham’s book “The Guide to Setting and Achieving Goals that Enrich Your Life,” the first in the series “The Power of Living Joyfully,” will be released this autumn. Sign up for the newsletter at the top of the page to receive notification for the release date and free giveaways!