The Art and Practice of Vulnerability

Recently my delightful twenty-something daughter shared with me the following TED Talk by Dr. Brené Brown, in which Brown reminds us that the most important thing in any of our lives are the connections we make with others, especially our friendships. As I move through the second half of my life, I appreciate this truth even more. What I want in life now is not more stuff, but more people with whom I can share open, honest relationships.

For this to happen, says Brown, one must be open to being vulnerable. Indeed, she has spent the past twelve years studying vulnerability, courage, worthiness, and shame. What she has learned is that vulnerability is necessary if we are to form meaningful connections and care for ourselves. This is scary because we don’t like to expose our naked selves!

As Boomers, we have relied heavily on our striving and success in the workplace. We have touted our achievements, our academic degrees and awards, even hiding our true selves behind them. Learning to be vulnerable, especially after a lifetime focused on productivity and super-achieving, can be tough and even frightening. But the personal transformation it promises us, is well worth the struggle!

Enjoy Brown’s TED Talk below. If you are like me, you will be impressed enough to order her book:  Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead.


Boomers: Don’t Call Us ‘Seniors’!

It’s December! Where did the year go? It seems like just yesterday we were looking forward to the start of 2017 and now 2018 is staring us in the face!

I remember my mother used to comment on how quickly the years sped by, the older she got. As a second-wave Boomer, I can see what she meant. I may not be in the December of my life, but I can see it coming!

Which makes me recall a comment that was made to me by a fellow student when I was doing my doctoral work. The project I was creating for my D. Min. thesis was designed for Baby Boomers, to help them transition into the second half of life while growing spiritually. When discussing how to market the program, my Boomer friend Paula turned to me, looked me straight in the eyes, and said: “Whatever you do, do not identify this as a program for seniors. If you do, I will not come. I am not a senior!” I took Paula’s advice and am happy to report that I had so many register for the first course that I had to develop a waiting list for a second course, which was offered later in the year. The program will actually be available in book form early in 2018.

Boomers have always done things their way, and they are doing the second half of life their way too. Someone once said, if you are planning a program for Boomers at your church or synagogue, think of it as a youth group for mature adults. I like that. As Mom also used to say, “Inside I feel as though I am only 18. It’s only my knees and other aching joints that tell me otherwise!”

Check out two articles on this subject which I found recently. Let me know what you think. What moniker would you like?

“Don’t Call Us Seniors”: The Baby Boomers at 65 by Doug Norris, Ph.D. 

“I Say Senior, You Say Señor” by Frank Kaiser