courage

40 things I’ve Learned Over 40 Years 

July is less than 90 minutes away. As a kid the beginning of July was like the countdown to the New Year at midnight. Every day until the twelfth I would get giddier, more excited, convinced that each year would make me smarter, prettier, more adept.

One year, I think it was when I turned five, I remember waking up and running to the easel standing in my bedroom and drawing a flower with crayons. Armed with the certainty that because I went to sleep a four-year-old and woke up a much savvier five, I would craft a more perfect, more precise flower. That drawing, framed and dated, would hang in my mothers’ hallway for years.

So now, on the cusp of 40, I am not going to wait until the morning of my birthday to feel older and wiser. I am in a reflective mood and decided to start to ponder what I have learned over the last four decades, and I chose (appropriately) 40 things. I wasn’t totally sure I could come up with that many things worthy of note–perhaps not all are to everyone–but they have special meaning to me.

So, for those who care to partake, the 40 most meaningful things I’ve learned in the last 40 years.  Maybe I’ll come up with a completely different set by 50.

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Looking Back on Summer: Baseball, Camp, Forgiveness and Faith

This is the longest spate I’ve not posted on my blog. It’s so funny, the reason I usually stop writing is not lack of ideas or things to say, but too much to say. It becomes overwhelming and I don’t know where to start. Much has happened already this year, some I have shared and some I don’t, well, know where to start… Some seems almost moot now. I sent my kids to camp: baseball, theater and technology (yes, technology). We were all pretty busy, so no vacations were planned although we did go on a few day trips: Coney Island, the Ripley’s Museum and Madame Tussaud’s.

But the crux of my summer boils down into better understanding three primary themes: Forgiveness, Authenticity and Faith.

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If Only: The Life Lessons I Wish My Kids Didn’t Have To Learn

I ran into an old friend on the subway the other day. He and his partner have a two-year-old little girl, and we started talking about the different types of parenting challenges we face at different stages. As we continued to chat from 96th Street to Times Square, we both agreed how much easier life would have been if only someone had clued us in to a few things before high school.
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Passing The Baton

shutterstock_148204991When I was growing up, my father taught me to play Scrabble. Not by coaching me through a game, side-by-side as players on the same team, but by being a worthy counterpart in a back and forth exchange on the board. Through this methodology I too became a worthy opponent, a skill I am very proud to have today because it connects me to him, his strengths, his values and is a reminder of fond memories.

Throughout my life, some of the most meaningful and transformative moments I can recall were the conversations I had with my Dad. Some may call them “heart-to-hearts” but that would be underestimating the range and scope of what we would talk about. Similar to our Scrabble matches, he never “dumbed down” an intellectual conversation–not in his interpretations or his expectations of how I was to participate–which challenged me to meet him, or at least make a valiant effort to get there.

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Offerings: A New Category

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If you’re a regular or semi-reader of Gifting Whisperer, you may be left wondering “what the heck” while reading a few of my last posts. I mean, they had a more personal tone–not that my other posts aren’t reflective and personal, they are. But where were the gift list? What about the pictures of stuff to buy? What about the connection to commerce? What’s up with that?

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Gifts That Encourage Courage

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Arsen Kurbanov
“David and Goliath”
152×152 cm, oil on canvas

We all know those four-letter-words that shouldn’t be said, at least not within earshot of our kids, parents, grandparents, in-laws, clergy, teachers… you get my drift. In my experience, the most destructive word of them all isn’t one the aforementioned list at all. Simply said, it’s fear. Fear is crippling, it’s blinding, it makes you believe things that aren’t real and question things that are true. But cheer up, it’s not all doom and gloom.

What is brilliant and not-so-bad about fear is that the opposite doesn’t have to the the absence of it–courage by it’s nature usually means still being afraid, but acting IN SPITE OF IT. So anyone can have courage. It’s an equal opportunity state-of-being that’s completely opt-in. Such great news, right?!? That said, it wouldn’t be Gifting Whisperer without a list so here are gifts that encourage courage and acknowledge when someone you love is finding the fight in spite of fill-in-the-blank. We’ve all been/are/will be there sometime.

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