Dr. Mike Obsatz, Professor Emeritus at Macalester College
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Life is pretty amazing. I turned 80 today -- and it feels surreal. Just yesterday I was young, raising my three kids. Now, I have 5 grandchildren ages 3 - 12.
I remember the hard times, and how lonely and sad I felt. Growing up on a farm, working every day, being bullied at school -- these circumstances seemed very challenging to me. I don't know how I made it through.
Married 3 times. Each time, I had my reasons. My reasons changed over the years, and I am grateful I got to start over. Endings were not easy -- but they needed to happen.
I have succeeded in many ways. Got a Ph.D. at 25. Taught for 40 years at a reputable college.
Published three books, one of them winning the Minnesota Book Award and the Catholic Press Association Award.
I have led numerous men's and boys' groups. I have presented 300 or more workshops on shame, male socialization issues, spirituality, healing, and transformation.
So -- all these successes. All these opportunities. All this overcoming.
And I am in pretty good health. My doctors and pharmacists know my name, and always help me cope with any health issues.
I have 40 good friends. I have known several of them for 20 - 48 years.
So -- what have I learned? Here are a few items to note:
Be grateful for the good stuff.
Put out the good stuff as much as possible and let go of the results.
Stop caring about what others think of you.
Don't expect perfection -- from yourself or others
Grieve all the sadness in the world.
See yourself as a walking miracle.
Forgive everyone, including yourself and life.
Trust -- but do it selectively. Not everyone is trustworthy.
Listen to the depth of others.
Don't give much advice.
Laugh and smile as much as possible.
Don't get overly involved in social media.
Pay attention, be mindful.
Love nature, animals, birds -- the earth itself.
Connect spiritually in ways that work for you.
Realize that not everyone is ready to grow.
Stop judging everyone and everything.
Realize that sometimes the biggest disasters created the most learning oppotunities.
Love yourself, even when you mess up.
You are as young or old as you feel -- age is just a number.
Let go of the need to "be right."
Life is both simple and complicated. We are still learning.
Enjoy food, sleep, companionship.
We are more alike than different.
Dance and sing whenever possible.
Dr. Michael Obsatz