Can you appreciate your smile lines?

The sight of a face that shows the smiling signs of wisdom, contentment and appreciation of life uplifts us.

Most of us realize in midlife that opportunities to witness beauty and experience joy in the moment are precious. We want to develop the practices, philosophy, and open heart and mind of a smiling sage. But those smile lines can turn into frowns so quickly.

In our mature years, we’re searching for contentment, but what we notice most looks suspiciously like more things to worry about…

– Facing up to the end of a career, giving up job titles and paychecks and facing what comes next. Or worse, being pushing out of a job when it’s needed most. Even scarier, finding a new job after age 50.

– Financial stress over flagging retirement accounts and threatened changes in benefits that hardly promise a secure future.

– Parenting challenges that reach beyond childhood and young adulthood and that require subtle shifts to remain healthy and effective.

– Changes in primary relationships, whether from illness, death, estrangement or divorce, that  destabilize and undermine peace of mind.

– Struggles to maintain ties with siblings and friends in faraway places and perhaps aging or ill parents who may live far away.

-Echoes in empty nests that cause us to consider the costs of maintaining versus “right-sizing” outside our familiar communities.

-Daily battles with new technologies and ways of living and working that stretch our patience.

-Physical changes that creep up like thieves in the night to rob us of the flexibility, agility and health that perhaps we’ve taken for granted for many years.

Enough. I think you get the point. There is so much that could bring us to our knees. How then, in mature midlife, can we smile more, maximize pleasure, and focus on enjoyment everyday?

It helps to keep wondering, reading and realizing our lives are “works in progress” in a process of continual change. A little humor, some thoughtful insights, a pinch of philosophy is my recipe for making it all easier to swal

SmileLines is a “Weekly Reader” for women and men in The Third Act (of life) between the ages of 50 to 75.

It contains observations about everyday living and ways to continue to grow and develop as a “human bean.” The content is designed to help you to notice changes, appreciate moments and discover new paths to personal development as we attempt to age gracefully in the 21st century.

More than anything, I hope that SmileLines makes you smile.