Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Curiosity May Be the Key To Happiness

I am a “social voyeur” who thinks that the holidays are a great time to learn about life. As an author and speaker I like to eavesdrop. It’s what keeps me on the cutting edge of change. Thanksgiving gave me a lot of opportunities to listen and learn. I discovered that everything that I either wrote about in DON’T RETIRE, REWIRE! or talk about in my speeches was happening within my own family and circle of friends. I’m always telling audiences that since we are living longer and healthier lives that we need to be challenging ourselves to imagine new possibilities and to dream bigger dreams. When I surveyed my own family and friends I realized that some people are thrilled about living longer while others aren’t. Some are going for the gusto every day, and others are complaining every day!

I was surprised to learn that an old friend, who had never appeared to be too adventurous in the past, was looking in to going into the PEACE CORPS (www.peacecorps.gov). That brought out a range of comments from “is she crazy?” to “I wish I had done something like that when I was younger.” I realized that I was with an ahttp://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gifssortment of glass half full and half empty people! My Mom, a real on the go woman of 82, always said if you are a pill at age 20, the odds are you’ll be a pill at age 60, 70 and 80! I believe that people can change if they want to, but I also believe that people need to make a conscious effort to change their attitude and jumpstart their future. Here were physically healthy people at our Thanksgiving table who had gotten mentally stale. They needed to be rewired, and actually I think wanted to be, since a few admitted to boredom. My natural instinct was to try and discover what was stopping them from pursuing new activities, or looking at the future with a new set of eyes, or even just taking a different road to get to the mall! But somehow I didn’t think that a rewiring™ workshop over pumpkin pie and coffee would cut it.

During dinner I casually said that I wish that we could create a curiosity gene…I thought that that was what society needed. I happened to mention that it was one of the 10 Nuggets of Knowledge we cited in the Second Edition of DON’T RETIRE, REWIRE! then I left the room. I wanted to give the gang a little food for thought, but not a speech!

My 25 year old niece, who had been quietly listening, asked “is there anything I should be doing to rewire?” I didn’t want to get into a conversation on saving for the future and the power of compounding, I want her to like me, not run every time she sees me, so I said, “ Listen to Jean Chatsky on OPRAH and FRIENDS (www2.oprah.com), she’s got a cool show that addresses a variety of life planning questions.” I felt like I had done some good without coming off as the heavy.

The holidays are a wonderful way to gauge how friends and family are doing, regardless of their age. Phone calls can only do so much, and yes/no answers are too easy. Everyone can use a little rewiring of their energy and their time. It’s easy to get in a rut. Take it from me. We all are there at one time or another!

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