While on my aging gracefully journey, I’ve discovered a key to happiness is being willing to say good-bye to what was and hello to that which is awaiting me.

It sounds so easy. Yet, my mind is challenged by this concept.

Now in Act 3 of my life, my mind is filled to overflowing with an abundance of memories from my Acts 1 and 2.

My mind I recognize has a way of tossing me a memory, adding a note labeled the good-old days.

My mind has a tendency to want to drag me back into the past and hang out there, reminiscing about what was and encouraging me to forget about what is happening now.

I left home at age 18 to attend the University of Illinois. I was so eager to go to a Big Ten school.

I recall the drive with my mother and dad to Champaign. The beige-colored Chevrolet Impala was packed with my stuff.

We arrived in Champaign, got the car unpacked, and me settled into my first floor room at Hopkins Hall.

I met my roommate for the first time.

I said good-bye to my parents and waved as they drove off.

A sinking feeling came over me as I walked back to the dorm and into the room with a stranger for a roommate.

Suddenly I became hesitant in saying good-bye to the security of the loving home at 449 and to the friends from my growing-up years.

For over two years, I struggled in saying good-bye to the old life and hello to the University of Illinois and all that it had to offer me.

In hanging on to what was, I discovered first-hand how crippling home-sickness and loneliness can be.

So today when my mind tosses me a memory from my Act 1 or Act 2, I consciously chose to pull a golden thread from the memory, asking it to reveal its value for me now.

So here I am at the keyboard, entertaining a memory upon leaving home for the first time and the stubborn unwillingness I demonstrated quite well, refusing to let go and say good-bye to a life that was.

What I recall about those early days at the U of I was a heaviness I carried with me, as I walked about the campus, looking out at others and thinking to myself that I was the only one who was missing the friendly confines of home.

I chose then to isolate myself in the feelings of loneliness and to hang out in my mind, comparing college life to the glorious days of the past.

Throughout so many scenes in my Act 1 and Act 2, I played the role of a guy, as a serious, self-contained man.

I bought into this story, repeatedly telling myself that this was what a real man did in life.

I repeatedly told myself this story, as I’d sit with a group of guys, self-imposing upon myself a cap on the joy that was percolating in my heart.

Some 20 plus years ago, I participated in an educational program called Insight. I discovered within my heart a new story to tell myself;  a much more accurate story about who I really am.

Day by day, month by month, year by year, this is the story I’m telling myself now, I am a sensitive man, trusting myself and joyfully loving you.

I’m aware now how this story feeds me so well on my aging gracefully journey.

The story empowers me in saying good-bye to what was.

The story empowers me in saying hello to what is awaiting me.

The story empowers me in trusting the next steps for me to take in life.

The story enlightens me so that what I see and hear is not flavored by the heavy voices from the past.

The story enables me to hear in the silence my whispering heart.

And my whispering heart is encouraging me to say hello to what’s next on my aging gracefully journey.

Loving you,

Robert, aka Bob

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