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"I could tell you that when you have trouble making up your mind about something, tell yourself you’ll settle it by flipping a coin. But don’t go by how the coin flips; go by your emotional reaction to the coin flip. Are you happy or sad it came up heads or tails?"
– David Brooks  
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  Volume No. 16 Issue No. 6 June 2019  

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  Reaching goals in my later years
  By Mark Stoller

   Mark Stoller is a nine-year resident of Colorado. He and his wife, Andra, both U.S. Air Force veterans, moved to Falcon in 2007 and are now raising their three teenage daughters in Latigo. They enjoy their home on the prairie with plenty of room for their six adopted dogs, bagpipes & Celtic Festivals and beekeeping. Mark enjoys the privilege of his wife and daughters being his muse for topics, people to meet and places to investigate.
A couple walks into the hardware store and a sales clerk asks them, “Can I help you find something?” The husband quips, “How about my misspent youth? Without missing a beat, the clerk responded, “We keep that in the back between world peace and winning lottery tickets.” I read that gem in Reader’s Digest.
   A couple weeks ago, I had the opportunity to sit with my good friend and mentor, Mark Hilton. Two and a half hours flew by and we had covered a lot of ground in our conversation. We didn’t have any scotch; otherwise, we could have solved a few of the world’s problems while we chatted!
   We walked down memory lane of our operational days in the military – Mark as a Naval Aviator in the P-3 Sub Hunter/Intelligence Collector and my days as an Air Force Intelligence Officer, providing intelligence to F-15E aircrew and Special Operations.
   Those were the good old days! We were reminded of the joke: “Everything's starting to click for me!” said the old fellow. "My knees, my elbows, my neck … .” We certainly aren’t young bucks anymore.
   This took us down the rabbit hole of our current age, the right age for retirement and what we wanted to be when we grew up.
   Mark is 58 and I’m going to turn 50. We are on parallel paths — kids in college, teens in school and parents we are keeping a close eye on. As devoted family men, this is absolutely NOT the time to try something new for our careers – especially not at half the salary we are currently earning. My hat is off to those who can make the mid-stream change!
   We agree we’re not washed up and still have much to do in our remaining years. It’s time we got serious about shaping the near future. Our colleague, Jon, brought up the idea of creating a vision board of what we thought we had yet to accomplish in our lives.
   A vision board is a tool used to help clarify, concentrate and maintain focus on a specific life goal. You cut out, print and post images that represent whatever you want to be, do or have in your life. By looking at the board every day, you stay focused on achieving your end result.
   Marcus Luttrell, former Navy SEAL and subject of the movie Lone Survivor, said it best. I talk to some people who say, ‘you know I wish I was doing this other thing.’ I tell them if you knew how short life is and how fast it can be snatched away from you — you wouldn’t waste one second on doing anything that didn’t bring you absolute enjoyment — period!
   Maintaining the status quo, being reactive and just showing up to life isn’t going to cut it anymore. There is more to our existence and more to be achieved. Using the vision board and committing myself to results, it’s time to take control and lay out a path to accomplish ideas and goals I have been thinking about — but not implementing.
   There is no age limit to accomplishing anything we value and set our minds to. What have you been putting off? What do wish you could do? What do you want to have?
   Carve out the time, post the photo and focus on earning the goal, achievement, certification, license or possession you desire. Get out there and get after it!
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