By Dr. Dorree Lynn

I have often written about life’s shadow side, the dark shadow that people so often don’t want to face. I have written about life’s underbelly, not because I live there, but rather because I believe that one of the best ways to experience happiness is to be able to deal with those life issues and events that cause unhappiness. When we acknowledge our own “truths” and accept responsibility for our actions we become fuller and more potent individuals. The more personal power each of us has, the better we can feel about ourselves and the more knowledgeably we can negotiate the downs and appreciate the ups of our personal journeys. 


I write the above reflectively because summer, the season of blossoming and beach books is bursting forth for me as I hope it is for you-filled with past summer memories and joyful wishes for a delightful stress free few months. I think that one of the secrets to Saging well is developing the capacity to go with the flow and especially the capacity to forgive, to be grateful for what we have and to embrace joy when it exists. Far too many people fiftyandfurthermore tend to believe that (as the saying goes) they are like old dogs who can’t learn new tricks. This simply is not so. We are capable of learning and changing until our final moments of life. Multiple studies show that with a positive attitude and willingness to learn, Sages develop increasingly more adaptive coping mechanisms. Those who worry less about aches and pains and spreading waistlines and more about developing qualities of fun, forgiveness and gratitude have more joy in their lives. These individuals tend to have more community, better relationships and more fulfilling marriages. They also keep on growing, changing and “learning new tricks.” 


Gratitude is not some airy-fairy concept. It is a sense of appreciating what one feels in response to a gift, including the gift of a long life. Gratitude may be viewed as an emotion, a quality of character that gives one a positive perspective on life, a coping response or even a skill. However one may define it, it helps one experience the world and drink from life’s cup as half full rather than half empty. Life through a prism of fullness is always easier than life as bleak. Life’s issues can be difficult. But one’s attitude can make even the hard times easier. 


Fostering the quality of forgiveness can also help one experience a good life. Forgiveness requires giving up long held resentment, constant negative judgment of oneself and others and sometimes even the ability to “love thine enemy.” However, forgiveness does not necessarily mean a saccharine sweet other world concept. It doesn’t mean being an unrealistic “goody two shoes” who never sees real evil or genuine harm. Forgiveness does not mean condoning bad behavior or ignoring hurts. Developing the quality of forgiveness does require giving up grudges and when relevant, working towards reconciliation. It also necessitates the ability to make choices and to proactively try to do one’s best to make one’s own life, one’s relationships, one’s community and even the world at large better.


I write these thoughts as summer’s lazy days come upon me. I find these days can be times of reflection and of joy. So many people get lost in minutia of negativity and forget to play, forgive, appreciate and to be grateful for what they have. During this summer season, let yourself experience fun and joy. Joy is infectious and has a ripple effect. Whatever your beliefs, be they atheist, agnostic, religious or spiritual, use these summer months in between beach books to bring relaxation, fun and joy to those around you. You and those whose lives you touch will benefit. 


Life is too hard to do alone-Reach out!


Dorree Lynn,
Ph. D
Phone DC
Fax DC
Phone FL


© The Enchanted Self