Or is it? My experience about life so far is that life becomes easier the older and more experienced I become. Around 40 I defined that my goal in life is to become “a wise old woman”. I am far from that goal but definitively much wiser, and slightly older, than 20 years ago.
Three years ago when I took an early retirement, I promised a couple of my English-speaking colleagues and friends to start writing a blog to share what I am learning and experiencing in life. I apologize it has taking such a long time to get started. I have simply been so busy exploring and experiencing that there hasn’t been much time.
Now my plan is to write one blog post a week during a year. It will be a mixture of what I am experiencing now, what has made an impact on me the last 55 years, and generally what I think about various subjects. My hope is that something I write will inspire you to try new things and to create new friendships, both globally and locally.
Two weeks ago I realised I had been spending all my time in my comfort zone since coming from Denmark to Northern Arizona in the beginning of March. I had been sightseeing with my Chilean friends in Las Vegas and other places, hiking in the red mountains of Sedona, been to parties and enjoying the easy American way of living.
The solution was to challenge myself in order to continue becoming wiser. One thing I have hated since my childhood is all kinds of competitions. Therefore I decided to compete.
In the community calendar I found an announcement about a storytelling competition to be held at a cafe theatre in Flagstaff on March 26. Immediately I wrote to the organizer that I was interested in participating. (Un)luckily I was chosen to deliver a 15-minute true story on the subject “Unexpected” as one out of six contestants.
Choosing which of the many unexpected happenings in my life I would tell was the first obstacle. I decided to tell a story about how I got a job at IBM in 1992. Writing and rehearsing the story was painful. Doing things I am afraid of brings my master procrastinator skills to the surface. However, I managed to rehearse and time the speech so that I knew I would not be disqualified because of time. On the other hand that might be merciful, I thought, because then I would not be judged by the quality of the content and performance.
The three competitors before me acted like stand-up comedians. I grew more and more nervous and thought of sneaking out in the darkness. However I had asked my French hiking buddy, Isabelle, to come and support me, and I just couldn’t leave her. I tried to calm myself by reminding myself that nobody except Isabelle knew me and however I performed would have no greater consequences.
When all stories were told, the audience voted me the winner of the competition. It felt fantastic. My brain was flooding with oxytocin, or maybe that resulted from all the clapping on the back, hugging and not at least the creamy, caramel-tasting Kilt-lifter beer that I was served…
From this day forward I can tell a new story of an unexpected victory in a storytelling competition in Flagstaff, Arizona.