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May 2010 Archives

Donna_Bennett.JPGThresholds. Transitions. Transformations. Moving into a new phase of life calls for courage, guidance, sustenance, and more. Some call it having "true grit." Life beyond career used to be all laid out for us. We followed those who went before - parents, grandparents, and great grandparents. As a society, we ended our careers by stepping out of one way of life and into another. Like it or not, the majority followed the societal course. They left work behind, and replaced it with leisure. It was the way to retire.

Society, however, is shifting and changing in the wake of the Baby Boomers. As Boomers have changed the course of society in each stage of their human development, they also demand a new way to "retire." The old model no longer works. Careers are phased out, rather than ended, and people now look for ways to recycle their personal gifts and resources.

The new retirement has no rules. For one, it is no longer called retirement. Rather, it is more current to use titles such as encore careers, the second half of life, and similar versions that are a better fit. With no rules or precedence to guide us, we must create our own way. So, now there are options. We can do what we want with the life we have left. Where to begin?

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Thumbnail image for catherine_watson.jpgThe foreign-language section of my memory is more jumbled than usual this spring. It's always been something of a junk drawer, where all the odd remnants of my past linguistic efforts have accumulated.

Like so many drawers in my house, this one makes me regret I didn't keep it organized all along.

I'm about to teach a summer writing workshop in France, for the second time, and this time I vowed I'd be ready. This meant signing up for remedial French in a community education program this winter. Just how remedial, I didn't know.

At first, every sentence I tried to form in French came out in Spanish, the language I started learning in Mexico 40 years ago and am still working on. (I decided long ago that I'd never understand Spanish subjunctive, so I've concentrated on accent and vocabulary, but I cling proudly to those.)

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space-suit.jpgRocket science for everyone

By Megan Gerst Rocker

This summer, Curiosity Camp patrons will have a chance to "go boldly where no man has gone before," if they attend Space Camp for Grown-Ups--Minnesota Style, offered on July 8.

Well, maybe they won't be going somewhere no one has gone--but they will get a glimpse of something few people have: the experience of "space camp," right here in Minnesota.

Hernando de Soto and J. Brian Atwood discuss "The Global Economic Crisis" in a May 18, 2010, Great Conversations. Listen online or download the mp3 file.

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About the speakers...
Hernando de Soto is a Peruvian economist internationally known for his work on the informal economy and the importance of property rights. Praised by President Clinton as "the world's greatest living economist" and named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Forbes magazine, de Soto is the President of Peru's Institute for Liberty and Democracy, located in Lima.

J. Brian Atwood is the dean of the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs of the University of Minnesota. Among his past leadership posts, he served as the administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development during the Clinton Administration; as the leader of the transition team at the State Department and as Under Secretary of State for Management, also during the Clinton administration; and as a member of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's Panel on Peace Operations.

The Star Tribune has a nice article about the shift from people developing large vegetable gardens to integrating edible plants into their broader landscape plans. Learn more about this topic, and hear from Julie Weisenhorn, state director for the U's Master Gardening program at a fun Curiosity Camp this summer- The Edible Urban Landscape, on June 28.

Katherine_and_Elizabeth_Hirsh.jpgWhere are you in life journey? Where are your thoughts, feelings, and inner murmurings leading you? Sometimes we feel a yearning but don't know what it is telling us or how to bring that yearning into focus so we can do something about it. Sometimes we need to try something unusual and creative to decode the message and unlock the potential that comes from moving toward where our instincts are leading us. With this in mind we want you to use food as a metaphor. Look at the list below for inspiration - what "soul-nourishment" are you missing, desiring, or moving toward?

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Donna_Bennett.JPGLoss is inherent in the human experience. It is a constant in all of life. Yet, it always comes as a surprise - as if it had never happened before. As if it isn't supposed to happen.

Loss is most often wrapped up in negatives - negative thoughts and words that conjure up negative emotions.

I asked several people, "What words bubble up when you think of loss?" They were quick to offer words such as: regret, uncertainty, grief, sorrow, emptiness, missing, overwhelmed, anger, isolation, separation, sadness, pain, alone, stalled. One offered, "release, hope, and joy."

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catherine_watson.jpgWhat does a maverick professor do when he stops teaching? If he's Tom Walz, he keeps right on being a maverick.

It's not just a choice for the former University of Minnesota professor - it's more like a mission. That has made him a powerful influence, a role model, an agent for change and - for many people, including me - a hero.

Walz insists that anything I write about him should focus on what motivates him now - the memory of another maverick hero, a retarded man named Bill Sackter, made famous by a movie starring Mickey Rooney. I'll come back to that.

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Katherine_and_Elizabeth_Hirsh.jpgMany people choose to invest in a retirement fund or other savings plan to have security for the future or lower their current tax burden. How many made the far less complicated investment in their well being and personal growth?

We invite you to audit your own personal investment practices and seek new ways to build your physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, and social assets. Just as you need to start now to maximize the gains on your financial investments, make it a priority to do something today, in the next week and over the course of the next year that brings you joy and helps you develop.

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