The Attitude Doc- Senior Dating & Vibrancy Articles


A new year: how thrilling it can be! Even though we simply turn the calendar sheet from one day and month to the next, there are incredible opportunities to embrace during this momentous time. A new year can be a turning point, the motivating factor for personal transformation, or it can be “just another day.” You get to exercise your free will and determine what January 1, 2005 is going to mean to you. Let’s explore your choices.

Here are a few scenarios from the “just another day” option:

  1. It’s been over ten years now that your son has been estranged from his father. You are thinking that neither one of them is going to change, nor will you be able to influence resolution, so you might as well continue to distance yourself from your son also. After all, your life is with your husband and that is where your future lies.
  2. Being retired has made you feel lonely, old and without purpose. Just look at those wrinkles on your face and the continuous battle of the bulge. The golden years are looking rather tarnished and downright depressing.
  3. Senior dating is really getting to be old hat. You want a relationship that can lead to marriage and you want it now. You’re weary of the small talk and putting your best foot forward. It’s all too much effort.

As we examine the above feelings, let’s associate the attitudes and beliefs along with the choices that accept this established way of doing things. Here are a few:

  • Nothing is going to change anyhow.
  • I am ineffective in making a difference in the quality of my life.
  • Don’t make waves.
  • Ignore your feelings and they’ll just go away.
  • It’s important to be right.
  • I deserve to be treated better.
  • The wrong man is always showing up at my door.

We could go on, but you get the idea. Each of the above statements describes perceived powerlessness and a commitment to remain stuck in past behaviors.

In the first example, what happened that was so awful to act as a wedge between your son and your husband? What could be so horrible that would cause two grown adults, father and son, to isolate themselves from each other? Healing comes from communication, which fosters understanding. The next natural step is compassion, which is ultimately love. It must start with the willingness and desire to be real and forgive people for their humanness. People act out of meanness and disrespect because they are ignorant. They’ve never been exposed to or learned the skills of knowing the importance of kindness and a positive attitude. Generations perpetuate the criticism and judgment. Be the one to stamp it out. Speak from your heart and have a strong intention to restore harmony in your family.

All events are neutral. Not some, but all. It’s what we make of them that brings us pain or pleasure or gives them power in our lives at all. To heal this situation, a father could say, “Son, I’m sorry. I acted foolishly. It’s more important for me to be your friend than judge your behavior. Let’s clean the slate.” A son could say, “Dad, I’ve wanted your approval all my life, and I was so hurt by your comments that I protected myself by turning away from you. I’m done with this old behavior. I don’t need to be right anymore.” What matters in the end is that we learned to let go.

Example two can be resolved by taking a fresh view of life. Rise each morning, look into the mirror and see your bathroom lit up by the glow from your inner beauty. You can choose to think, “Today will be the best day of my life. I have 24 hours to adventure and express my free will. How can I be of service? Who or what is on my gratitude list today? To whom do I want to communicate my love during these glorious moments?” Forget the numbers and focus on the moments. Each one is precious. If you’re obsessed about the image that is reflected to you in the mirror, do what you can about it and learn to love the rest. Resist and it will persist. Focus on the many blessings in your day and be grateful for your life, taking nothing for granted any longer. As Gandhi said, “be the change you want to see in the world.”

The third scenario also encourages change. It appears to be scary to commit to change, but that may be exactly what’s needed for you to draw the man you see yourself with to your door. Be willing to look at the similarities in the men you date and your father. This is normally a huge clue. Is it time to forgive your father for the lack of involvement in your childhood? Staying stuck in old views is one indication that you’re living in fear and doubt. Fear that you’ll never be loved. Doubt that you’ll ever find your Prince Charming. Taking a new perspective on life, such as being open to change, is all about opening up to love and trust. Your outer world is a reflection of your inner world, and you are the one in charge.

Choosing to embrace change, internally or externally and head in new directions this new year is the only real option if you want to be happy, experience health, be a positive role model to the younger generation in your family, and be an inspiration to everyone your encounter. What a powerful responsibility we each have!

You might be thinking that this is too good to be true and wonder how the simple act of embracing a positive viewpoint could change your entire life. The fact is, you can’t change your behavior until you change your beliefs. Let’s look at some beliefs that can move you far beyond the old way of doing things:

  • I’d rather be happy than right.
  • Who I am makes a difference.
  • It’s important to my well-being to recognize and express my feelings.
  • Present moments are influenced by how I perceive the past and future.
  • Only love prevails.

A prescription for a shining and outrageously happy new year is really simple, and it’s all up to you. Below are ten tips for thriving in 2005:

  1. Examine your belief system. Keep what works and toss what doesn’t.
  2. Create an attitude of gratitude. Establish a gratitude journal and make daily entries.
  3. Are you holding onto regret and remorse from your past? If so, why?
  4. Does the future activate fear and worry? If so, why?
  5. Be relentlessly honest in your communications.
  6. Free yourself from the desire to judge.
  7. Be aware of the power of your thoughts and your ability to choose the positive over the negative.
  8. Trust the process.
  9. Surround yourself with fun, upbeat, genuine and loving friends.
  10. Be willing to be open up and learn something new every day.

Remember that change starts with your willingness to improve and enhance your lifestyle. If your life is terrific and satisfying, that’s great. You can choose to expand by removing any lingering limitations and have it be greater still. If your days are not so rosy and cheerful, that’s great too. Remember it’s all neutral and it’s all about attitude. Acknowledging that you are not as happy as you want to be is a first step towards change. Undaunted determination will be the catalyst for joy-filled moments and meaningful relationships. Turn the searchlight inward and allow the beacon to guide your way as you embrace the new year, one step at a time.