As a mental health counselor, I’ve had my share of suicides, psychotics, schizophrenics, and a host of other tortured, lost souls: Men emasculated by women. Women abused by men. Siblings that can’t stop fighting. Couples that can’t stop quarreling. Addicts that can’t stop addicting and an aging populace that has lost its’ purpose. Recently, a teenager told me that she was ‘too old’ to start re-inventing herself. ‘Too old?’ She has a lifetime ahead of her. If she’s lucky, she’ll reinvent herself many times over.
I know what I’m talking about. In the last 5 years, I’ve changed cities and my entire friend group, taken up a new sport, learned how to play ukulele, had two knees replaced, two cataract surgeries and started working again. Between podcasts, reading books and observing others, I’m not done learning by a long shot.
Our brains start to solidify by age 25, when our neural pathways become well-worn into grooves. Change is still possible but it takes work. The key is to continuously create new pathways to break apart those stuck patterns in the brain. The older you get, the harder it is to break free of them. If you really want to change, you need three conditions:
- Focus on what you want to change.
- Create the right environment (meaning eat healthy, sleep deep and move often).
- Repeat/ practice (meaning do the ‘new’ thing, like learning ukulele, over and over).
Often, my older clients are reluctant to leave the house at all. Some only go as far as the mailbox. It’s not just COVID. Sometimes it’s due to physical issues but more often than not, they’ve simply forgotten all their options. Even if they think of things to do, they’re hesitant to do them alone. They feel stuck. I get it. But you know the irony? I meet far more people when I’m out alone than I do when I’m out with others.
Here’s the thing. Unless you believe in reincarnation, you have ONE life. There are no do-overs. From my perspective, many people not only live lives of quiet desperation, they feel STUCK. And the irony? They are not stuck at all. They just THINK they are. Look, you don’t need to burn the candle at both ends—you just need to light it.
Insightful wisdom dispensed in concise, effective, bite-sized doses — thank you, Helen! (And, miss you!)
oh oh oh….and how I miss YOU!!!! Think of me as a pez dispenser. 🙂
Well said, as always! Work on! Dream on! Be “far out” and “act out”! “Torch it”!
you’re a nut 🙂
True. But I am stuck with my sciatica.
Thanks for sharing your light Helen. Xo
I am impressed how you have reinvented yourself and yet stay with publishing and singing music the rest of us enjoy. I am curious what led you to move to AZ.
Also impressed how your voice really hasn’t changed over the years – still as impactful as ever. Mick should take lessons from you!
Hope you can one day perform in the LA area. I haven’t seen you since 82 (yeah, we’ve both been around awhile) We wrote a few emails some years ago. Doug
Nice to hear from you. What are you up to now? I just played the Mint in LA a couple months ago & the Coffee Gallery in Pasadena.