Charlotte A. Stout

If you missed an ealier post, this page has my previous November 2017 Reflection postings.
If you want to read some earlier Reflections, click on the links below for the month you are interested in:

Oct 2017Sept 2017June 2017May 2017April 2017March 2017Feb 2017Jan 2017

November 10th: Pay It Forward

I have taken up the game of Pickleball. I am not a great player but I am an experienced and fun player. I don’t take it so seriously that I get upset if my partner misses a shot. I like to be inclusive and invite others who may not otherwise have a partner to play with me regardless whether it is their first time playing or they are an experienced player. I am happy to introduce people to the game and explain the rules. I believe it is my responsibility as a player to help others.

I also believe it is the responsibility of those who are better than other players to spend some time playing with less experienced people to offer insight, pointers, and create a cadre of excellent players who will ultimately challenge them in future games. Alas, this does not happen as a matter of course. In fact, the opposite is true most of the time.

When a player attains a certain level in a sport it seems to me that they isolate themselves to playing only with those as good as they are or better. They don’t want to play with those whose skill level is below theirs thinking it will drag them down resulting in a less than enjoyable playing experience.

I have experienced this first hand. I don’t like players implying that I will hold them back if they play with me. I do not like seeing other players left on the sidelines waiting for someone to play with because the “really good” players don’t want to play with them. What is this high school? It sure reminds me of the clichés that existed back then.

Why as adults do we still feel the need to create and perpetuate that mindset? It makes no sense to me. As adults we are expected to be mature, act it and pay it forward. We are role models for those coming behind us. We should always be aware of opportunities for us to be inclusive not exclusive.

Please, remember how you felt when you were new at a sport, in a new neighborhood or in a new job. Who helped you learn the ropes, meet people and improve your station? I am sure you did not do it alone; if you did do it alone, kudos to you. You are the exception. Most of us require the help of others to grow. Please take some time and “Pay It Forward.”

November 3rd: Conserve Your Energy for the Marathon of Life

Age and experience have provided me with a powerful sense of being comfortable with who I am and where I am in life. This was not always the case. Sadly, I see and engage with young people who did what I did “back in the day.” They worry excessively about everything, just as I did.

The worry wart in me didn’t stress over one single thing but everything. Work, home, friendships, family were all laid out on the worry menu. Reflecting back on all of the time I spent worrying about anything and everything I realize most of the worry was based in my own insecurities. Would my work measure up? Would I be good enough as a friend, companion, life partner, sister, employee, supervisor and a valued contributor in life?

Headaches, stomach aches, intestinal issues, cancer, ulcers, and numerous other maladies afflicted me during these “worry times.” I had such a difficult time accepting who and where I was that I felt lacking in every aspect of life.

If I have learned anything over these years it is that Life is a Marathon not a sprint. Marathon runners learn how to conserve their energy by moving at a smo0th and steady pace allowing them to finish the race. The same is true in life. If we are to survive we must conserve our energy, always moving forward but at a pace that ensures we make it the distance.

How do we conserve? Easier said than done, that is for sure. Research has proven that stress is a killer. I believe many of the medical issues I experienced were the result of a body worn frail from worry. Life is filled with tumultuous situations we may not be able to avoid. But, as I have said in other posts, how we respond to those challenges is what is important. Will we be responsive through careful thought and planning or will we be reactive with anger, frustration and knee jerk responses?

Guess which one creates more stress on your mind and body, relationships and your life in general? Indeed, the reactionary response does.

As I engage with younger people today I feel it is my duty to help them see, if they are willing, that logic and thoughtful analyses of the curveballs life throws their way if the best approach to dealing with them. If we apply calm and logic to situations, and not immediate emotionally charged reactions, we are on our way to conserving the energy required for this marathon life we are all running.