Such a cliché …but where the hell did the time go? Have you ever said that to yourself? Boy do I relate as I reflect this week on turning 60!

I recently went out West to have a mini family reunion with my 3 kids and 10 grandkids and suddenly looked at them and thought “Oh my hell, I still remember what I was doing at 14!” Can you relate?  I even asked my 10 grandchildren “Have you had your safe sex talk yet?” and they were mortified to hear those words coming out of my mouth.  Yes, we baby boomers can laugh…we invented the sexual revolution!

I’ve decided to celebrate and embrace turning 60, instead of mourning the ‘loss of youth’….again. I wouldn’t go back for anything, nor trade a single thing that has happened.

The worst that has happened can turn into the best thing that ever happened.

Instead, I have a few lessons, which may be of help to you.

  1. Failures are not optional; they are a gift in your life.

After the failure of my marriage, I moved from Kansas City MO. to St. George UT. and lived in a mice infested, 112 degree desert heat, in an unfinished attic to be able to start life over.  Freedom is always with some sort of price, but always worth it!

  2. Don’t play the ‘Blame, Shame, or Justify Game”.

I have screwed up, but there is NOBODY to blame…not even my abusive, dysfunctional father, for he was my greatest teacher.  He was doing the best he could with what he knew. When I told him I was pregnant in high school his response was “Go apply for welfare, that’s what I pay my taxes for.”  Without that incentive, I wouldn’t have had the drive to succeed…what a wonderful gift!  Don’t make excuses, don’t justify why you didn’t ____________ (fill in the blank).  Take ownership, choose JOY, and get engaged and committed to YOUR life! Get over it and get on with it!

  3. Shame is a prison.

“You should be ashamed of yourself!”  Have you ever been told that?

Carrying labels that we put on ourselves, or allow others to is a prison.  It limits your beliefs, it keeps you from loving yourself, and allows you to compromise in your relationships because you don’t feel ‘worthy’.  There is NO good reason for shame!  I carried the ‘shame’ of being an unwed mother on welfare, and being excommunicated from my church, not once but twice…for over 50 years.

Shame is manmade, not God made.  God is love, period!

4. Pain is our teacher, for that is how we experience true joy.

40 years…of trials and curves. Ups and downs, the highest of the highs and the lowest of the lows…but always moving forward.  I made a lifelong dream come true…I moved to the beach.  When I meet people and tell them where I live their response is generally, “You’re so lucky” and I just smile. They have no idea the price I had to pay to make it happen.  Many are too afraid to take the pain, to take the risk, to experience the failures to reach the joy!  Carpe Diem Baby!

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‘You’ve got to crawl through the shit sometimes to get to the sunshine’.  

5. Love Wins…and Forgiveness is a daily practice.

All that really matters is the choices you make to invest in the relationships you keep in your life.  Blood doesn’t make it mandatory to keep that relationship. Love and forgiveness is the only way to find true joy.  It doesn’t matter what others think, do or say…it only matters that you can lay your head on the pillow and know if it were your last day on earth that God can rejoice and embrace you and say; “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”.

My deepest wish for you…may you be well, may you be happy…and most importantly may you embrace your life with every fiber of your being!

To Your Success!

Charlyn Shelton, Visionary team leader, Speaker and Encourager.