Encouraging people to evolve and create new opportunities at any age.

So What? 
Rather than
So That...

I was talking recently with a favorite client who acknowledged that one aspect of aging she finds freeing and exciting (at 89) is that her attitude now is “So what?” rather than “so that.”  We both acknowledged that many of our younger years were necessarily goal directed – living in the “so that” mode:  “I’ll take this job so that I can buy the second car we need.”  “I’ll get this degree so that I will measure up to my friends’ accomplishments.”  Etc. 
What is interesting is that, in the midst of all this striving for future possibilities and goals, we were not actually living in the present.  We often forgot to notice or enjoy the circumstances of our lives and the people we loved as the days were unfolding. 

My client and I enjoyed elaborating on the theme.  This means, for example, that a person can start taking piano at 80 or 90.  She doesn’t have to ask (or answer) why are you doing this?  She doesn’t have to have a goal.  She doesn’t have to do it so that she can play at Carnegie Hall or teach piano for a living. 
She can reply to those who question her, “So what!”  I’m 80 (or 90) and I’m enjoying learning to play the piano.  Why must there be a reason or a goal?  “So what” living is about pursuing enjoyment in the present moment. 
The “golden years” provide opportunity to live in the present, to soak up enjoyment in an activity – even if that activity isn’t about producing something or accomplishing a goal - freedom to live in the “So What” mode.  We might add that even people who are not in their “golden years” could profit from these experiences!
An added benefit to “so what” living is that it is relatively failure proof.  How so?  For example, if you have a goal of working so that you can buy a new car, you will either succeed or fail.  If you decide to play piano because you have always enjoyed it and – “so what?”…… simply want to do it – then playing the piano is a success – regardless of whether or not there is an invitation to Carnegie Hall.
Thich Nhat Hanh.   Peace is Every Step:  The Path of Mindfulness in Everday Life

Book Suggestion

I’ve been meeting for several months now with an interesting group of women.  We hope to enjoy many discussions (and maybe even some projects) together.  This month, we decided to read and discuss a book by Elizabeth Strout, the Pulitzer prize winning author of Olive Kitteridge.  The book is My Name is Lucy Barton.
It explores the relationship between one woman and her mother (and thus, by extension, to relationships in general – and especially among family members).  I’m listing below some of the sentences from the New York Times review of the book (January 4, 2016 – by Claire Messud).

   "Elizabeth Strout is a writer bracingly unafraid of silences..." 
        "...she hovers at the edge of the sayable...."
        "...about an individual's isolation when her past - all that has formed her - is invisible and incommunicable to those around her."
        "....about how what is invisible and incommunicable is not only what isolates but also what binds."
        " its careful words and vibrating silences.....(it) ....offers us a rare wealth of emotion, from darkest suffering to.....simple joy."

I heartily recommend this book.  I think it is amazing.
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