SURVIVE: How to Survive in Life After 50

By Susan "Honey" Good

I am flying on American Airlines through the white fluffy clouds at 34,000 feet. My ultimate concierge is on my left, my pooch Orchid is lying at my feet and I couldn’t be happier. I am so grateful. I turn to my husband and tell him I love him. He takes my hand and tells me he loves me. We smile at one another and I pat Orchid who looks up at me with her big black eyes. I know she is smiling inside — I am content. My concierge goes back to his novel about the war in Afghanistan and I open my laptop and place my fingers on the keyboard. 

I ask myself, “What am I going to muse about today?” This phrase goes through my mind most days because I either have too much to expound on or I don’t have a clue. This happens to writers. Writing is hard, darlings… or on second thought, maybe it’s better to say writing is a challenge?

Today was one of those days when I did not have a clue what to muse on until I wrote that last line. Immediately a thought popped into my mind, ‘I will write about the emotional meaning behind the word hard versus challenging.’

I decided that if I used the word ‘challenge’ rather than ‘hard’ when dealing with inconvenient or difficult situations, I felt uplifted.

Let’s imagine the car battery dies, the suitcase zipper breaks, the sink disposal backs up or I lose my house keys. If I say, “I am challenged,” I think I have a better chance of solving my problem rather than if I were to say, “This is going to be very hard to deal with.” It is positive reinforcement when I say challenge. I am saying to myself, “I have the endurance to solve this situation.”

From dealing with life issues I have learned to…

  • ACCEPT WHAT I CANNOT CHANGE: When I lost my late husband, when I had cancer, when my children moved away, when I had to blend two families, when I moved across an ocean, when I lost my car keys and when the disposal overflowed all over the kitchen floor, I took action on what I could do.
  • REACH INWARD FOR PERSPECTIVE: I let the trauma die down and think of solutions — letting the trauma die down is key. You cannot make a wise decision when you are upset. 
  • ACT RATHER THAN REACT: Act means to take action. I use my ability to act to brighten my situation. When I lost my husband I knew I had to heal. I figured out how to act rather than react to what was best for me. Where should I live in a peaceful setting? What should I do to stay healthy? How could I release my stress?

We all face challenges in life. I always do my utmost best to land on my feet on the sunny side of the street. I take what is handed to me and I deal. I want you to do the same.