I received an invitation to my 40th high school reunion this week.

This was one of those reality checks I could do without.

Reading it was the equivalent of someone taking me by the shoulders, and saying, “Look me in the eye. You, my friend, are no spring chicken.”

Followed by me smashing a lemon meringue pie into the messenger’s face..

Forty years. Holy cow, that’s a long time.

Let’s take a look back in time, shall we? Cue the rotating hourglass…

The year: 1977.

The place: Poughkeepsie, NY.

For fun, and to make the magnitude of this event even more depressing significant, I looked up a few stats from that year…

In 1977…

  • The first Apple computer went on sale
  • Jimmy Carter was elected President of the United States
  • The average annual household income: $15,000
  • Average monthly rent: $240

Popular toys: Viewmaster, Barbie dolls, Easy Bake Oven, Silly Putty

Am I seriously that old?? Who else remembers using Silly Putty transfer newspaper cartoons and then stretching out the faces into weird contortions?

Which begs the question: What’s a newspaper?

            Today’s lunch: MYSTERY MEAT

At that time, my biggest concerns consisted of being popular, if my highschool crush would go to the prom with me (he would not), and whether or not the cafeteria would serve its infamous grilled plastic cheese for lunch that day.   

Those seemed like huge problems. And back then they were huge problems.

If I’d known what was in store for me down the road, I may have taken all of it a little less seriously.

Life challenges grow as we age.

As I write this, my 81-year old dad is in surgery to determine the cause of water in his lungs. I’m trying to remain positive, but I’m 3,000 miles away and feel helpless sitting here waiting for news from my mom.

I’d rather worry about cafeteria food offerings any day.

So that’s today’s challenge for me: staying positive dealing with the unknown and not jumping to the worst conclusion.

I did a little research and found the following tips on a psychology blog for dealing with what life throws at you…

  1. Face it

It may seem easier to run from problems, or try to eat or drink yourself into numbness, but dealing head-on with challenges enables you to become more effective at handling future issues.

It’s a matter of turning something frightening into something manageable. It’s also the basis for building confidence and becoming stronger in the process.

  1. Be grateful

This may be tough to do when you’re in the midst of a crisis, but it’s about seeing the silver lining in each situation. I hear about this a lot from cancer survivors, how they’re so much stronger now, enjoy life more and appreciate everything to a greater extent than before they got sick.

I didn’t say any of this would be easy!

  1.  Feel your feelings

For many of us, it’s hard to feel scared, confused, frustrated, or otherwise emotional. It’s uncomfortable. But here’s the thing: Running from your feelings only prolongs the agony and can make it worse in the end.

Call a friend, find a support group or therapist if it’s a long-term emotional rollercoaster, but don’t stuff your feelings. Feelings give our personalities… personality.

NOW YOU…. How do you cope with struggles? What helps you feel better? Let me know in the comments section below… 

SPEAKING OF CHALLENGES… If you enjoy a fun challenge for a change, be sure to join the Ageless After 50 Facebook group! I’m presenting a free challenge all this week for members.

Want more? If you sign up for my AGELESS ARMY monthly plan you’ll be privy to an extended version of this challenge plus a whole lot of other good stuff! Sign up HERE

Other posts you may enjoy:

3 Biggest fitness frustrations solved

How to flip a switch so you crave exercise (based on science!)

3 Ways to instantly improve your mood

Your Ageless Body Coach,