#7 Younger Next Year by Crowley & Lodge, 2007

The next third.  

It’s the season I am wading into and this book promises to help men thrive in the final third of their lives.  Who knew it was a book for males?  The cover gave no hint.  But I was intrigued and read on.

When I was in my 20s and 30s I had no grand aspirations to live a lengthy or healthy life.  But now that I’m here, I have grown awfully accustomed to living.  Now at 59, I have the desire to have a body that is cooperative.

Each decade has brought more joys than struggles.  My late 40s were some of my favorite years.  In my early 40s I found joy in the journey of seminary.  My 20s had me snow skiing in the Rockies a couple times for an entire week – and my early 30s had me working a lot so that Tom could go to seminary full-time.  It was a tough time in many ways living in the Deep South, being a self-identified Midwesterner.  But during that time I enjoyed working with recovering addicts and singing in a choir.  In my 20s I married the man of my dreams, never thinking he’d go for someone as dysfunctional as I was at the time.   My teen years have some fun memories, but can I just tell you how glad I am to not have to repeat that decade ever again!  My 50s brought hourly hot flashes but it’s sizing up to be my favorite decade thus far in spite of them.

Now here I sit, looking forward to being a sexagenarian in less than a year, and I am enjoying getting fit.  I know I could never do this without the strength of the Almighty or my Weight Watcher community, and I know that if my mindset is not doing battle every day, I could easily revert to old behaviors that render me miserable. I have to come to grips with the fact that I cannot eat “white stuff” as much as I want.  Neither, can I keep cookie dough in the fridge.  Tom reminds me that I have an addictive personality.  Perhaps this quote from the book should be my current motto:  

“For those who are given to excess, abstinence is easier than moderation.”

Just these past two weeks, I have been creeping up ever so slowly in my weight loss journey.  And for the past two nights I have overindulged in ways that are not beneficial.  Indulging every now and then shouldn’t hurt, but my personality screams: every night!  See the struggle?!  I do.  So this morning, I set a few goals for the next 18 hours, and will go from there.  Lord willing.

Back to the book and a few takeaways that I plan to implement now and later. 

Snow skiing. 

Later. 

I thought that was a thing of the past until this book.  I’ve planned to snow ski with most of my favorite people in eternity.  But if the author of Younger Next Year can enjoy skiing in his seventies, surely I could too! I’ve already persuaded my friend, Sharon, to go with me for at least a week in the Rockies some time in the distant future.  As of last night, Elisabeth is on board too!  Woo hoo!    

Now.

I started putting an incline on my treadmill for at least one lap.  Not that I enjoy it, but the book said to do it, so I did.  I started lifting a few weights.  But then I started feeling some aches while sleeping, so I stopped.  Perhaps I need a personal trainer – definitely a recommendation from the book – but I’m cheap. 

And finally, I decided to write out my own rules for living because Harry Lodge gives you his.  If you’re interested, here are his: 

1.  Exercise six days a week for the rest of your life.

2.  Do serious aerobic exercise four days a week for the rest of your life.

3.  Do serious strength training, with weights, two days a week for the rest of your life.

4.  Spend less than you make.

5.  Quit eating crap.

6.  Care.

7.  Connect and commit.

Here are mine:

1. Live all of life in the presence of God.   

2. Practice what you love.   

3.  When you mess up, start over.   

4. Don’t verbalize everything you are thinking.

5.  Don’t think that everything you are thinking is right thinking.

6.  Repent often.

7.  Surround yourself with exceptional people of all ages.

8.  Minister to those needing ministering to.

9.  Practice gratitude.

10. Set goals.

#8 Changes that Heal, Henry Cloud, 1990

Great book.  I recommend reading it! It’s Tom’s favorite book this year, buying many copies so he can give them out to his friends and enjoy conversing over its contents.  I like Dr. Cloud’s perspective on who God is and the human condition.

Lots of takeaways, but the kind that quickly escape my memory.  So, I wrote all my favorite quotes on two pages of my 2019 Reading Journal, and I think they are blog worthy: 

And I Quote:

There is nothing further away from the heart of God than a theology divorced from love and compassion.

Since we often do what we know is wrong, rules rarely keep us in line.  Love does a much better job of keeping us moral.

When we are isolated from God and others it is impossible to feel joy.

Distorted thinking blocks you from relating to others. We must take responsibility for our faulty thinking and work on correcting it.

The Holy Spirit empowers you to change and to come out from bondage of your old ways of being.

If we do not feel like we have a choice, we feel we are out of control of our lives and we resent the ones we perceive as being in control of us.  Denying choice, and it renders us powerless and resentful.

Ownership is crucial in creating boundaries.  On the one hand, people who are not allowed to own their own thoughts, feelings, attitudes, behaviors, desires, and choices never develop a true sense of responsibility.

The victim mentality keeps many people stuck in their pain.

If we feel responsible for other people’s feelings, we can no longer make decisions based on what is right.

The “name it claim it” gospel makes God into our servant and denies his boundaries and choices.  God often says no for reasons we may not understand; his refusal to grant our wish doesn’t mean that we do not have enough faith.  Ask Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane.

Stop blaming others.

Create goals for yourself and set about accomplishing them with continued, patient effort.  Perseverance creates discipline and responsibility.  Perseverance creates character.

Decide what your values are going to be and work toward your goals.

If we demand perfection from ourselves we are not dealing in the real world.

A good witness is a sinner who witnesses not to show how victorious he is, but how forgiving God is.

Seeking the approval of God and not trying to please others is an important aspect of growing into adulthood.