Ode to My Younger Self

Reflections from 70 on a life well-lived

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Louise Stanger is a speaker, educator, licensed clinician, social worker, certified daring way facilitator and interventionist who uses an invitational intervention approach to work with complicated mental health, substance abuse, chronic pain and process addiction clients.

At 72, I look back on my life and here are 13 things I might tell my younger self:

  1. You will make mistakes. These are guideposts for new beginnings. Be gentle with your soul.

  2. Life and death are inextricably tied. Thus is an okay phenomena. Do not be fearful.

  3. You will journey near and far. Take trips as they are presented to you – visit cities near and far. Walk through sunflower fields and view the sky.

  4. Say please and thank you. Thank outside the box. Thank the person who fired you, who challenged you as you would not be the person you are today had those things not happened.

  5. Your body will change. Stay true to a spirit of health. Your body will take twists and turns that you may or may not like. Get over losing that 5 pounds as you will invariably gain that back. Love yourself and your body and take time out each week to do something physically, emotionally and spiritually for yourself or consistent with your values.

  6. Your children will grow because of and in spite of you. They may experience hiccups along the way. Know that it is their life and they must learn to spread their wings. Give them opportunities to grow and to fall down.

  7. You will achieve success and failure along the way. Each one is a lesson. Without failure there is no success.

  8. Friends and family may please and disappoint you. You can choose who you want your family to be and if some friends betray you or disappear know they were placed in your life to teach you something. One can not repair that which has not been broken.

  9. Life is ultimately your responsibility. Everyday wake up and write three things you are grateful for. Everyday can be a day of possibility. The choice is yours.

  10. Being of service is important. When you thank outside the box you feel better. Whether it is volunteering at a homeless shelter, donating clothes, taking a sick friend to the doctor, or performing an act of random kindness – you will reap a cornucopia of rewards.

  11. Being mindful. Take time to be quiet, to meditate. Mindfulness allows for reflection, reflection leads to silent actions.

  12. Exercise your heart, mind and body. Discover something that you like to do and consistently practice in time as your body changes.

  13. Lastly, know that you are beautiful and enough and that at whatever age you find yourself at, you can rise to your best possible self.

Remember great things occur after 70!

To learn more about Louise Stanger and her interventions and other resources, visit her website.

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