Life Reimagined: Part Two!

Setting Purposeful Goals

In August, I began exploring Life Reimagined, a program sponsored by AARP.  Friend for the Ride readers are invited to try it too, free of charge. Please do! Just follow this link.

I’ve had a wonderful time and learned so much about what I want in my years ahead. You can read my first post here.

You begin your work in Life Reimagined by coming up with a purpose statement. Here’s mine:


This purpose statement becomes your guiding light as you navigate all the activities their website offers.

In my first conversation with my life coach, Christine Ryan, we looked at my purpose statement together. At the close of the call, Christine encouraged me to focus on the very last word of my statement: “content.”

“Look at the activities that relate to contentment on the Life Reimagined site,” she told me. So I did.

The activities led me to this conclusion: Above all, I want to make strong strides toward better health. One activity I found especially helpful was on how to avoid getting stuck. Many of us know the getting stuck story when it comes to diet and exercise.


Two recent blood tests confirmed that my blood sugar is close to pre-diabetic. Yikes!

“I first ask my patients to stop drinking sugar,” my doctor said. “That’s where most of us go wrong.”

“I don’t drink sugary sodas or fruit drinks,” I told her. But then it hit me. I put too much sugar in my beloved Lipton’s tea. And I often drink four cups every morning.

Solution: Sugar cubes! I love dropping them into me tea, and now I know just how much sugar I’m using. (It’s a lot less messy than measuring too). My tea isn’t nearly as sweet, and I was surprised how quickly I got used to the lowered sweetness.


I’ve cut myself back to two cups a morning, which not only slows down the sugar but the caffeine. (More on my insomnia soon.)


I’m ramping up my walking. I love to walk, but sometimes, the day gets so full, I don’t get to it. New goal: Walk earlier in the day. With my new plan, many mornings in the last month, I’ve hit Hillsborough’s Riverwalk right after dawn.


I sometimes bring that second cup of tea with me, later hiding the empty mug in the grass. Trick is to remember to pick it up on the way home.


I never quite understood why so many people are into counting steps. I downloaded a step counter on my phone called “S Health,” and I love it. Here’s the report from a five mile river trek one morning.


I’ve taken in the morning mist in Gold Park (an extension of the Riverwalk).


The light through the trees.


And the new bridge that connects the Riverwalk to the historic Occoneechee Speedway.


Is this the wet squiggle of a snake?


When I come home, I’ve already hit my tea limit, so I’ve taken to making smoothies. I’ve never been deep into smoothies, mostly because I tire of washing the blender. But gosh are they good. This one features bananas and frozen berries with a splash of milk and a few ice cubes.


On to my insomnia. My friend Joanna told me that cutting out all alcohol has cured her insomnia.I seldom have more than two drinks,usually just one (except for Beach Week and a really fun wedding). But after talking to Joanna, I began to wonder: Could just one drink keep me from sleeping? So I am drinking only tiny bits of alcohol, if any at all.

We had dinner the other night at a favorite Hillsborough haunt, Radius Pizza, I asked for a mocktail made of seltzer. Yum!

My sleeping has improved dramatically. We’ll see what happens as time goes forward, but I’m encouraged.

In my second conversation with my coach Christine, we talked about my eating and fitness goals. “Small steps,” she said. “Success builds success builds success.”

Perhaps this is why attempts like these have failed me before. I want all or nothing. And I want it in an instant. So I keep repeating:

Success builds success builds success

Life Reimagined offers group coaching sessions too. I signed up for this one.

Setting Purposeful Goals

Our leader, Elissa Ashwood, talked about the difference between purposeful goals and performance goals. With purpose-driven goals, we’re accountable to something inside of ourselves. “Go back to your purpose statement,” she told us. “Purpose is the why, and it’s got to be bigger then the objections.” She laughed: “Your why has to be bigger than your but.”


I liked the group session and definitely got some takeaways. I even spoke up! I plan to sign up for more.

The Life Reimagined website features excellent articles, too. Here they are listed by topic.  This one, written by a grieving father, address purpose: How Purpose Saved My Life.

Another question I’ve been exploring through Life Reimagined is  what to do about my writing for children. My blogging and health writing are going well. The children’s book field is a tough one. I recently parted ways with my agent and am in search of a new one. Not an easy adventure.

My illustrator friend Wendy Wahman wrote me about my agent search: “Hang in, my talented, sensitive friend. It could be a long road. Make it one of the courses on your plate. De-intensify. You do other things, and your blog is great.”

Speaking of talent, here’s Wendy’s upcoming picture book, coming out March 2, 2017 from Boyds Mills Press.

You can read more about Wendy’s work here. 

Other writer friends have chimed in: “Keep writing for kids! You have a great voice.” My friend Margaret Nevinski just read my novel and gave me wonderful insights on the plot. I’m ready to revise.

Small steps to finding an agent, to writing, and to health!

I tell my Life Reimagined story to keep myself accountable to the changes I want to make. But I tell it too, to encourage you to give Life Reimagined a try. Once again, here’s the link! 



9 thoughts on “Life Reimagined: Part Two!”

  1. Wow! Sounds like a lot of interesting and fun work. I am not a driven person and like being retired so I don’t have to have any goals. Except for finding a few volunteer activities, I am happy just the way things are. I honestly love just doing nothing!!! I think that is my purpose–to finally just do whatever I want and be happy with it or be “content” as you talked about. And that may honestly be doing mostly nothing except reading a good book, talking to friends and continuing to try to be healthy. Such peace!


  2. Hi Barbara,

    What a major change, in beginning to look for a new agent. I wish you much good fortune in this venture, and of course ultimate success in getting your children’s books published!

    As for sugar habits: In my twenties, I used to drink cream (actually half and half) and sugar with my coffee. That is, until we had a major cockroach problem in our new and first apartment due to our landlord bringing in new rugs (infested?) So, I got rid of the sugar (as it attracted the little beasties). Never went back to it.

    I have to say that sugar is addictive!! Really! Remember that Dairy Queen that I got a craving for and got a cone after so many long years? Well, I could have had one more right then, and another every day after!! But, I didn’t. I realized, wow, this sugar is indeed addictive!!

    Then, our new neighbor makes toffee, and gave us a whole bag of enormously wonderful candy (and as Michelle Mosier had said, texture matters! Wow, the crunch of the nuts on the chocolate on the outside of the toffee I think was half of what made it addictive!) I ate nearly the whole bag, and although grateful for our kind, generous and gifted neighbor, I felt not that great physically after all of the sugar.

    Although not all agree on this, some researchers believe that sugar is what helps fuel cancer cells. So, when I get a craving for one of those dipped cones, I remember this caution.

    Always, everything in moderation as the wise scholars have said before us!

    As per wine, yes I think eliminating it probably helps sleep, but it is one of those things where it may also help reduce some stress, etc. as well, so is kind of a toss up sometimes, I think. Again, moderation in everything. . . what great, timeless advice!


  3. oh my gosh, re-reading, saw you still put cubes of sugar in your tea, and maybe you could just envision those terrible cockroaches or something and get rid of sugar, instead! I thought I could never do without cream (half and half) in my coffee, but, guess what, when you do without it, you somehow just find ways to adjust! It becomes not so bad, and you get used to a “new normal”! This AARP app/program is is really interesting! What do other readers out there think? I have new goals! What are other people’s new goals?? Would love to hear what everybody’s new goals are now as we get older.


  4. Oh, forgot to mention what mine are (goals, that is)! I don’t even really know if I should keep writing on and on like this. . . hope my long posts aren’t somehow stopping others from writing (I would so love to know what other people my age are thinking)! But here are my goals:

    Find a “vocation” at this later time in life that can allow me to help people achieve healing (and, hopefully, it might also thankfully pay my village’s taxes on our home in retirement)! Otherwise, no home in retirement!! – let me clarify, that is, no “home” to live in – Period – yikes!! “They” always say if you pursue what your love, you won’t have to worry. Right???

    I admire you Barbara, for your ability to always move forward! And to challenge all of us to do the same!


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