It's easy to forget that we are all perfect in our own design. Sometimes we muck it up with habits and choices that do not serve us.
“OMG, your past is speaking to you. What a validation of your truth!”
That’s what my friend Nadine said after reading my column in The Sunday Paper last week. In it, I wrote about the concept of leaving and about my parting words with Winnie, a woman who cared for my brothers as we were growing up.
"You knew your truth all along,” Nadine continued. “You knew what it was, and yet you didn’t believe yourself. You sought outside validation. Perhaps now you will trust yourself!”
Amen. Trust me, that's what I hope for each of you as well. I hope that you will trust your truth and trust your version of what was and what is true for you now. My hope is that you are able to clear out the conflicting versions that are swirling all around us that seek to confuse you, or that leave you doubting yourself—doubting what you see, what you know, what you feel. I hope you can rub your eyes to see anew.
Believe what you see. Trust how you feel. Trust the truth. Be it about the vaccine efficacy, the attack on our democracy or someone trying to tell you something about your life.
You’ve got this. You don’t need someone else to tell you that they see it too. Sure, it’s nice to be validated, but I’ve learned that deep in your soul—deep in your gut—you already know who you are. You may have lost your direction along the way (we all do), but you can steer yourself back toward your center. You can let go, leave well, and begin again.
As I prepare for my August recess, a.k.a. my digital break, I find myself looking back over this past decade and looking ahead. At my age, one has to have hope that the days ahead are going to be amazing. In fact, I would argue that you have to have hope about the future at any age.
It’s inspiring to look ahead. It’s also important to learn lessons from your past, but you don’t want to dwell there, especially if your past involved heartache, pain, or loss. Many decades ago, the poet Emily Dickinson wrote that she “dwelled in possibility.” I love that because I do, too. I also dwell in love, hope, and the belief that you and I are both here to create, to inspire, and to lead ourselves and others forward to a better place.
Do you know where you dwell? It’s an intriguing question.
I dwell in my tender heart and in my glorious mind, and I am more certain than ever that our world needs both to be working together. Over this past year, I’ve been listening to the little voice within me that has long urged me to try something new that is outside my comfort zone. For so long, I tried to make an idea I had into a reality by convincing others to bet on me. I got one “no" after another. Yes, I did. I tried to convince others to fund a brain wellness company that could nourish, educate, and empower people my age and in other generations to live a brain-healthy lifestyle. I wanted to empower people to prevent (as best one could) dementia, Alzheimer’s, and other diseases that impact you with age. I wanted to create a company that could be delicious, nutritious, successful, and focused on its mission (supporting Alzheimer's research).
Everywhere I went, people smiled at me and then said “Um, no, thank you.” I felt the ageism and the fear at every meeting. Then my son Patrick said, “Mommy, just go try it yourself. Bet on you. Do what you believe in. I’ll help you. If not now, when?”
Good point. And so now with his support and the support of so many others—be it my colleagues at Shriver Media and The Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement, or be it the many doctors and researchers who have worked with me over these last many decades—I am launching that very company in the fall. Yes, I am.
So, what is it? It’s a brain wellness food company and we are starting with a protein bar for your brain! (Click here for an exclusive sneak preview and check back in next week for more exciting opportunities.)
Why a bar? Because I'm a protein bar fanatic, and no bar existed that was good for your brain and your body while also supporting Alzheimer’s research with every purchase. No bar combined the vitamins and superfoods that I take like this bar now does. My hope is that people give it a taste as they say—that people love it and that it can then give birth to other products. It’s a vision—one step or one product at a time.
So here I am, starting something new with lessons and knowledge from my past.
I’m doing this so that I can empower myself to be the best version of myself moving forward. I’m doing this because I believe in the message, the mission, and myself. I know the chances of success are slim. I don’t care. I know the field is crowded with young entrepreneurs who work around the clock like I used to do at their age. That’s okay. If Jeff Bezos blasting into space taught me anything, it's to pursue your dreams and to not worry about the detractors or your age (thank you, Wally).
The truth is, we all have our own versions of space. We all have our own dreams. You don’t have to be a billionaire to bet on yourself. Our world is filled with those who had no money, who bet on their idea and themselves, and off they went. Falling down or failing is always an option when you step out, but guess what? So is succeeding. And my definition of success is finally my own, one that is good enough for me. Every new endeavor teaches us something, and we learn nothing by sitting still or sitting in fear.
So, my fellow dreamers: dwell in the possibility of your own possibility. Trust in new beginnings. Trust that your best days are indeed yet to be lived. Bet on yourself. Let’s go!
PRAYER OF THE WEEK
Dear God, may I never stop believing in what's possible or betting on myself. Allow me to trust my inner wisdom and use the gifts you have given me to imagine what can be and to move humanity forward. Amen.
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