Right now I am playing a game that I have played ever since I was a kid. (I just took another drink of milk). When I got a box of chocolates as a gift, I would grab a whole container of milk and run into my room with the box. I would then try to make the milk last for the entire box, trying hard not to run out of milk before the last piece of chocolate, or run out of chocolate before the last bit of milk. To this day I wonder if I had more fun playing the balancing game than I did actually eating the chocolate. I do know one thing. Sometimes the game distracted me from the delicious taste of the chocolate and I do regret that.
What does any of this have to do with being in business or becoming an entrepreneur? Plenty, so bear with me a few paragraphs more.
THE TRUTH HURTS, A LOT
I have reached that age where I am now sure of a few things.
One. Time moves only forward. The number of grey hairs on my head far exceeds the black ones. Outside of a dye job I don't see that ratio ever going back the other way.
Two. The hands of time spin ever forward and the direction they point to is eminently clear. This journey is of a finite length, and I am now of the age where I can start estimating that length. I am reminded of this every time I wince at the realization, that I am squarely in the age bracket those health insurance commercials for the silver set are targeting.
Three. Although I have many good years left, I am absolutely out of time when it comes to wasting any of them. Even one single day. Every day is precious and I need to treat each and every one of them that way.
BACK TO BUSINESS
One of the dangers of the later years can be an extreme sense of isolation. Loneliness. A sense of being disconnected from the world and those around you. This can be especially devastating for women. Women by nature are more social than men, especially mothers and most of all grandmothers.
Take a caring human being that has been actively involved raising one or more generations of human beings. Then place them in a solitary environment, with their only comfort being perhaps the television, or the occasional guilt motivated call from a relative. This is a recipe for sadness, despair, and a loss of self worth. But I would never paint such a bleak picture for you if I didn't believe that there is a cure.
THE CURE FOR CHOCOLATE DEPRIVATION
The best solution for isolation is to start your own business.
All of us, especially women, need to feel that they are performing a useful service for somebody. For society. To be part of a group and to be needed. You can of course perform charity work or other similar work for free (if you can afford to do so). But will you feel really needed?
Let me put it this way. Have you ever told a friend about a great business idea you had? I bet in many cases, they were very supportive and were very excited for you. Now, did you ever ask them for money to invest in your business idea? I will also bet that in most cases their enthusiasm vanished and was replaced with negativity, or perhaps a series of excuses for why they can't give you any money right now.
Outside of love from your family, the only way you know if someone really needs your services is if they pay you for them. The best compliments I have ever received from anyone were from paying clients, not from friends.
STILL GOT MILK
What happened to the chocolate?
The good news is that after the last bite of chocolate, there was still a nice helping of milk left in the glass. Perfect! Even though I was typing this article I made a point to relish every chunk of chocately goodness as I washed it away with milk.
The question is what will you do with the last piece of chocolate in your box? Will you begrudgingly finish it, holding back tears of regret and resentment for the life that you could have had, or for the gratitude not received from the family you did have? Or will you create a new family and a new self-image based on a sense of empowerment? Power that comes from creating a new family of people that you help, and who in return, pay you for the valuable services that you render.
I don't know you so I don't know how many years you have left in your box of chocolates. But I can make you this promise. Try your hardest to enjoy each and every day to the fullest. Create for yourself at least one more terrific year, filled with a sense of belonging to the world and rich with the memories of people and events. If you can do this, it will wash away all the sadness and life again will make sense. Perhaps in a way that it hasn't for a long time.
This article has now come to an end and like the chocolate I just ate, I hope it was as much fun for you as it was for me.
Copyright 2004 Android Technologies, Inc.
About The Author
Ted Riley is an entrepreneur and educator interested in teaching others on the benefits and rewards of having your own home business. He writes frequently for the web site “A Grandmother's Business", a web site dedicated to the needs and equirements of the mature woman entrepreneur and job-seeker. To see more articles like this visit: http://www.grandmabiz.com/