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Growing Bolder Article

What was the most significant thing in your life in 2008?

Posted December 28, 2008, 2:20 pm
Growing Bolder asks leaders, thinkers, writers, life coaches, entertainers and role models to weigh in on issues affecting our lives.

Our question is: What was the most significant thing in your life in 2008?

Jean-Newell-3x4.jpg Jean Newell
The most significant thing that happened to me on a business level was getting my product the giZmo bag into Dillard's Dept Store in November 08.  

This was after a year of contact, product review and 101 other hoops I had to jump through. 

I was also fortunate to receive a lot of PR in major newspapers such as the Sun Sentinel and  Florida Today. 

My business was profiled on The Big Idea, Fox News and I've given interviews on various local/ regional talk shows and business magazines.

About Jean Newell
It isn't easy to take an idea and turn it into a tangible business, but that's what Jean Newell did. And on the road to turning her dream into a reality, she turned herself into an entrepreneur. Her product " the PUP: Personal Utility Pouch " has gotten her on QVC and countless network TV shows. Now, the self-made businesswoman is using her road to success as inspiration for a new book, "The Barefooted CEO," to inspire others. Her invention, triggered by necessity, is a high-tech tool belt that solves a personal need. And her product proved to be needed " the first time she was featured on QVC, she sold 4,000 PUPs in seven minutes!

Howard-Stone-3x4.jpg Howard Stone
Working together for Obama here in Palm Beach County, then celebrating with our friends and neighbors election night brought Marika and I closer together in a powerful way.

It felt like a very personal landmark alongside the sense of renewed excitement and hope that came from every corner of this country and from around the globe. We laugh more these days.

About Howard Stone
With Americans living longer, healthier lives, the conventional idea of retirement is obsolete. Millions of Americans are working past the age of sixty-five - not because they have to, but because they want to. Many, like Howard and his wife Marika, discover second careers, start their own businesses, or go back to school. Howard enjoyed a long career in international advertising sales and magazine publishing before he became a certified life coach at age sixty-four. Marika is the editorial director of 2young2retire.com and has been a journalist, English teacher, public relations account executive, and small business owner. She is also a certified Kripalu yoga teacher.

Cliff Eggink, Iron Geezer Cliff Eggink
The most significant event that changed my goals for 2009 was the November 23rd Ironman Arizona. Yes, at 72, it was to be my final ironman-distance event, and even on that day I was coming out of Ironman retirement already.

At the behest and goading of another Irongeezer and friend, Dave Watts, I was there ready once again to take the plunge into a cold, dark lake to swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 and run a marathon - all in a day's work, or, at most 17 hours.

Dave wanted not only to complete an Ironman at 70, after having done countless others, but he wanted to win the age group, but he did not want to go at it alone with an unknown field.

So I returned out of "retirement," which I had imposed after the April 2007 Ironman, after experiencing the absolute worst day of my life.

Now back in November '08, in our age group (70-74) there were seven signed up, four showed up on race day, and all those four finished with Dave winning the age group and earning the Hawaii World Championship spot as expected.

But wait, there is more, and the story does not end here: Dave had no intention of going to Hawaii...oh, oh,  now you know what's coming, don't you? In the end, the spot "rolled down", (Ironman parlance) to me, and I decided to accept against my better judgment.

About Cliff Eggink
Not that long ago, Cliff was a coach potato. But when he hit 60 years old something hit back. He decided to see if he could get into the best shape of his life. He entered an Ironman Triathlon and he found his passion. Now known as the Iron Geezer, Cliff and his wife Tatjana are both USA Triathlon Level 1 Certified Coaches. They are also avid hikers, walkers, swimmers, runners, bikers, cross-trainers and kayakers. They also have their own inspirational Web site.

Gordy Shields Gordy Shields
2008 was quite a year. I has a heart pacemaker installed, a total hip replacement and back surgery all in six months.

I am working on full recovery which is my goal for 2009, actually I am having to learn to walk again!!

About Gordy Shields
In April 2008 while racing in California, Gordy shattered the American record in the 20-kilometer time trial for cyclists 90-and-older. The old record of 57 minutes, 6.89 seconds was set by the late Jack Pardee in 2003. Gordy's time was 44:53.98. He is living proof that it's never too late to excel at whatever it is you enjoy and that anyone can overcome almost anything. The 90-year-old can't walk more than 100 feet but he's one of the country's best cyclists. The discs in his lower back are slowly deteriorating, which leaves him hunched over. Rather than focusing on the fact that it keeps him from walking, he says his condition was ideal for racing. We can't wait for his recovery, and to see Gordy back on his bike once again!

Bob Becker Bob Becker
There were two very significant events in my life in 2008. First, with the real estate (and real estate finance) collapse, I lost my job in February and most of my life’s savings.

As a result I turned to a new field of work (and labor of love) at the age of 63, full-time Race Director. I’m now creating and directing a series of prostate cancer benefit running races in Florida and thoroughly enjoying the challenge and excitement of a business start-up.

The second major event was running and completing Badwater in July, the 135-mile footrace through Death Valley, CA, that is considered one of the toughest footraces in the world.

With a considerable sense of accomplishment and thanks to my wonderful support crew, I finished 35th out of a field of 80 runners, in 40 hours, 48 minutes.

About Bob Becker
He was 57 before he ran his first marathon, only 26 miles just wasn't enough for him. He became an ultra marathoner and was running strong until he was hit by a double whammy that nearly ended his running career and perhaps his life. He's overcome having a steel rod inserted into his leg in 2005 and a fight with prostate cancer in 2006 to set an inspiring and hopeful example for us all. Now 63 years old, Becker is back!

Susan Silver Susan Silver
Well, I'm glad to see 2008 leave! I almost left with it...having a few health scares and hospital emergency room visits!

And, like many others have lost a ton of money in the market.

But on the positive side, we elected a really terrific President and I have lots of hopes for our future as a country and believe we will regain our stature in the world.

About Susan Silver
Susan was a writer for many of the greatest TV shows of all time, including "The Bob Newhart Show," "Mary Tyler Moore," and "Maude." These days, she writes a hilarious relationship column called, "The Search for Mr. Adequate." She is a frequent guest on the Growing Bolder Radio Show.

pat paciello.JPG Pat Paciello
The most significant event of 2008, besides the Giants winning the Super Bowl, was my wife's recent illness. She twice had to be taken by ambulance to the hospital.

Eventually the doctors found out that her gall bladder was the source of the problem. This seemingly simple procedure required my wife to be hospitalized for three and a half weeks, and then to be under the care of a home health nurse for two weeks.

Only in the last week has my wife resumed her normal activities. During one of my visits to the hospital, I was teary-eyed. I told "her that I didn't want to see her in discomfort. I wanted her back home where she belonged."

She said "that I shouldn't worry and soon she would be better." I said "honey you don't understand. The laundry is piling up to the ceiling and the bedding hasn't been changed since you have been hospitalized."

For a brief moment, she regained her strength and her voice was clear and strong. I'm sure it was the pain medication that made her say those colorful words. Fortunately, the nurse came in and sedated her and my wife went into a peaceful sleep.

Although challenges still remain, retirement is a whole lot better than it used to be.

About Pat Paciello
Pat Paciello is in his late 50s, has three grown children, and has been happily married for the past thirty-four years. (The first year wasn't so hot.) He has been retired from the workforce for almost eight years. During that time span Pat has been particularly adept at enjoying leisure pursuits, and earning the highest recommendation from his peers for his "I do nothing, but I do it well attitude." His book, Has Anyone Seen My Reading Glasses? offers a unique and fresh approach to the subject of Baby Boomer retirement. First, it's written by a Baby Boomer who is actually retired. Second, the book is long on humor and personal anecdotes, and short on statistical analysis.

Ronda Beaman Dr. Ronda Beaman
After a 5 year battle with breast cancer, suffering through 3 years as a widow, the past two of which I was her main caregiver, friend, companion, errand runner, medical advocate and reluctant, often times resentful confidant, after living in emotional pain for 20 years following my father’s affair, and following her 40th move to another town, another house, and making another adjustment, my Mother passed away last week.

I am now the predecessor in the family. There is no one who remembers me as a baby, no one is my living ancestor.

This is freeing and debilitating, an opportunity and an obstacle, a sadness and a celebration. It is significant and common. Experts claim that hearing is the last sense to go, and as I sat next to my Mother on her final day, I simply told stories.

Up until that day, the stories I told others were all about how difficult, ungrateful, harsh, and stingy with praise my Mother was. In that setting, at that moment I didn’t recall, couldn’t recall, past slights, unnamed hurts, unfair judgments, disappointments, punishments and all the eroding relationship stuff that so often happens as the child becomes an “adult”.

What came to mind was my beautiful auburn haired Mother bringing cookies for a school party, plucking my first eyebrow hair for a play, teaching me an Irish jig, frosting a cake with a star on it for following an audition, buying me my first leather skirt, helping me choreograph movements for cheerleading, what came to mind was the good stuff, the real stuff, the stuff that matters most in a life, the seemingly ordinary, everyday things that become extraordinary upon reflection and repose.

The significant loss of my Mother provided me a broader horizon for this new year, a clarion call to build more ordinary kindness into my day, to have grace and generosity be more common gestures, to smile at others without expecting one in return, to fill each of my days with love and laughter and light.

Watching my Mother die reminds me to live into the story of my life, and, finally, to have my stories re-told or replayed for me at my time of passing and not have my children or friends have to strain to remember those moments, or ad lib amusing anecdotes, or fake a sentimental journey. My Mother’s death has made me sadder, but wiser.

As Bob Dylan sang, “If you’re not busy living, you’re busy dying”. I suggest to all of us who are growing bolder, that it need not be the giant moments, the herculean efforts, the headline material we pursue.

Notice the small details, the fleeting beauty, the brief caress,the gentle smile, the ordinary stories of your day that will become the extraordinary tale of your life.

About Dr. Ronda Beaman
Ronda is the author of "You're Only Young Twice: 10 Do-Overs to Reawaken Your Spirit." The wife, mother and grandmother is the ultimate renaissance woman -- she holds a doctorate in leadership and she's a dream coach, a distinguished professor and a personal trainer.

Sherrie Mathieson.jpg Sherrie Mathieson
There were at least 3-- all important. One, I handed in my manuscript and photos for my book "Steal This Style" last Feb., 2008 (Random House, pub date 4/15/2009).

Second, in more collective terms, like many folks around the globe, I fully realized that all my recent real estate decisions proved ill-timed and costly. The stock market was also a huge blow this year.

And third, I, along with other US citizens over age 18-- got to take part in a momentous election, and that privilege should never be taken for granted.

What effect did these things have? I hope my second book will effectively extend my "platform" and philosophy. It is clear I will need to work --for all the foreseeable future. And as far as the election, the media has been placated---and hopefully we are in good hands.

How did all this change me? I've become familiar with  the realities of present day publishing--and learned some tough lessons. I realize I could use a staff for these books, as they are difficult to accomplish alone. From the investment perspective, I think I'm going to shy away from any more real estate.

Lets just say I'm looking forward to better days!

About Sherrie Mathieson
She's made an indelible mark as an award winning Costume Designer and Fashion Stylist. You've seen her work in countless feature films, TV shows, music videos, commercials and print. She's styled Academy Award winning actors, sports figures, rock stars and many others. Now, she's offering to style you! Sherrie created a manual to help bring you and your clothes into the 21st century. Her book, "Forever Cool: How to Achieve Ageless, Youthful and Modern Personal Style" is tailor made to give baby boomers a tailored look! Don't wait too long to read it because she has a new book due out this spring!

Ted Skup Ted Skup
Last April I put in my request for an early retirement after working at my company, BP for 35 years.

Three weeks before I was to leave I got cold feet and withdrew my retirement. Hindsight proved it worked in my favor with the way the economy went south.

This time luck was actually on my side. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that 2009 will be an economic turning point and I could pass my batton off to someone in need of a job.

About Ted Skup
Ted believes that with obesity levels at an all-time high, fitness needs be a national priority. He says despite the fact we have an arsenal of exercise options at our disposal, the ultimate choice is, the simple push-up. Skup takes on the 35-billion-dollar fitness industry and explains why it is failing us, with its bogus claims, magic bullets, and quick fixes. Although the fitness industry may not want to hear it, push-ups are free, no equipment, no gimmicks and totally portable. He is the author of Death, Taxes & Push-ups.

Lou Whitney Lou Whitney
There were many significant things in my life during 2008, most of which had to do with my wonderful family. However, there was one thing that happened that was totally unexpected and life altering.

The key word was "Life." While on a planned 12,000 mile motorcycle adventure, my fantastic trip came to a screeching halt at mile 9,135 in Tucson, Arizona.

After riding much of the day in temperatures well above 100 degrees, I started feeling woozy as I approached Tucson. I noticed as I was coming in to Tucson that my on-board thermometer was at 137 degrees, which records the actual temperature as well as the road and engine temperatures that I am feeling.

I had been aware of the high temperatures, and was drinking what I thought was large amounts of water and Gatorade. The closer I got to town the worse I felt.

I queried my GPS for motels, and found one just outside of the downtown area. I unloaded my motorcycle and collapsed on the bed. I was completely drained of energy and didn't even go out for dinner that night.

Instead I opted for some of the snacks that I carry with me. I went to bed early that night, and managed to fall asleep rather quickly. I did wake up a number of times, but overall I had a pretty good sleep.

After I got up and started getting ready, I begun to feel woozy again. I thought I might be hungry, so I had another snack and laid down for a little while. After about an hour I got up and was still feeling fairly lightheaded, so I decided to go to the local CVS drugstore to check my blood pressure.

Much to my amazement, it was 73 over 45, which is way too low for me. I went outside and queried my handy GPS for hospitals, and chose the Tucson Heart Hospital , which was less than a mile away. After feeling like I was going to pass out a couple of time, I finally arrived at the hospital.

I went right into the emergency room and received some papers to fill out from the receptionist. I finished filling out the papers and sat down to wait for my name to be called. I was feeling very bad at this point and was hoping that I didn't have to wait too much longer, which is the normal in most emergency rooms.

Fortunately, It was only about five minutes before someone called my name. I tried to get up, and I didn't have enough strength to get out of the chair, so they got me a wheel chair and helped me get into it. After a number of tests, they told me that I had acute renal failure and that both kidneys had shut down.

The doctor said that it was caused by extreme dehydration. I told the doctor that I had been drinking, what I had thought to be, large amounts of water. Knowing that I was riding a motorcycle, he explained that the water in my body was evaporating at very high rate because my direct exposure to the sun and the wind generated from riding the motorcycle at a relatively high rate of speed.

He said that I was like a human wick, and the exposure to the sun sucked the liquids right out of my body. I was in ICU for the next seven days. I had three IV's all putting liquids into my body at the same time. The doctor was amazed that I was able to ride my motorcycle to the hospital in my condition. They treated me over the next seven days, which included dialysis.

After the fourth day I started to feel better, and was able to get up and walk short distances. Of course, I was still tethered to the IV and all of the other electronic monitoring equipment, so my walks were limited to my room. The morning of the sixth day I was transferred to another room, and was put on a wireless monitor, so I could walk longer distances.

By then I was feeling much better and was even thinking about getting out of the hospital and finishing my motorcycle adventure, which the doctor advised me not to do. However, bullheaded me was thinking that I could do it if I kept myself super-hydrated and rode shorter days.

That afternoon I received a call from my son, who informed me that he and my daughter were flying into Tucson the next day and would take me back home on a plane, and arrange to have my motorcycle shipped back to Florida. They did indeed arrive the next day, and what a wonderful feeling it was to see them walk through the door into my hospital room.

What amazing kids they are to drop everything to come and help their father home. That was the most significant thing that happened to me. Not the health issues, but the love demonstrated by my children to help me in a time of need. They wanted to make sure that I wouldn't hop back on my motorcycle and try to finish my trip. What wonderful children I have. There were many significant things in my life during 2008, most of which had to do with my wonderful family.

About Lou Whitney
Now in his 70s, Lou does things people much younger could not. Whitney is not only a pioneer in Veterans Motocross racing -- he's a competitor. Whitney is a part of the fastest growing division of the sport, and staged the Veterans Motocross Championships in February of 2008. He also does another type of riding -- adventure riding. He goes on an annual ride to places like Mexico, the West Coast and Canada.

christopher-hopkins-3x4.jpg Christopher Hopkins
The most important thing for me in 2008 was actually something I've been working on for quite a while. My book, Staging Your Comeback: A Complete Beauty Revival For Women Over 45 was finally published.

Not only is it my gift to help women stay powerful, expressive and elegant throughout their years but it has helped me gain a platform to help in even more ways.

Opportunities are coming my way to step in and continue to help people make a difference in their lives. And the book as been a door for me to offer my expertise in a wider range.

About Christopher Hopkins
The "Makeover Guy," knows how to revive the looks of boomer women. He believes women become more beautiful as they age. His new book, "Staging Your Comeback: A Complete Beauty Revival for Women over 45," is a guide to looking modern, not foolish, at an older age. It helps older women find solutions to their aging issues and talks about how although they are busy with life, there are simple, quick ways to keep your aura shining bright.

© 2013-2014. Growing Bolder Media Group. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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