Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Tough times never last but tough people do. Robert Schuller

On Friday night we had our first in-person book club meeting since last fall. Four of us got together we had a bit of wine, ate some cheesecake, talked, and laughed. It was a lovely evening sitting on the deck chipmunks and rabbits keeping us company. I don’t have any chipmunks at my place. One evening in my backyard I thought I saw a firefly. I’ve seen them in New York but never here. My son tells me he’s seen them a little North of us.

Life is forever changing. On Wednesday, I leave to see first my brother and his wife, then drive with my youngest sister, her husband, and daughter to Mom’s, another sister, brother, and their families. I feel lucky to be able to make this trip and everyone is weathering this time we are in.

I listened to Tony Robbins yesterday on the “School of Greatness” podcast with Lewis Howes as I tried to finish up jobs before I go. He mentioned a book I want to get called, “The Fourth Turning,” by Neil Howe and William Strauss. I then listened to a podcast by Neil Howe. He tells us our history has cycles he is calling them turnings and the cycles move into each other. Each cycle lasts about a generation. The fourth turning can be likened to winter and after winter comes spring and new growth. Winter is necessary because it renews and regenerates our society. At the end of the fourth turning, society is changed. He believes the last fourth turning was the end of the Second World War. We are in that stage again. What a time my parents lived through growing up in the thirties and then the war but many things did change and they lived in prosperity, peace, and plenty.

Most of us have only lived through prosperity, peace, and plenty, but we can see the distrust of authority and institutions. Living through peace and plenty doesn’t mean everyone has plenty. We have to grab hold of opportunities when they present themselves but sometimes there are fewer opportunities. Sometimes we have to hunker down and get through the storm.

We must accept finite disappointment, but we must never lose infinite hope. Martin Luther King Jr.

What comes after good times? Bad times and what comes after bad times? Good times! Spring follows winter and when we are in winter we need to know that spring is coming. I think we have some people thinking we have winter coming in society but it will never be spring again. We need to know, this too shall pass. We face winter in our relationships but if we get through to spring we may be happier than if we bailed in the middle of winter.

Jim Rohn says, “Don’t ask for life to be easier, ask for yourself to be better.” I prefer to think that we go in seasons and cycles than the people thinking the end is near. There is a point in persevering, doing the best you can with what you have, and planning for a better tomorrow. Spring is coming, what seeds will we plant, in fall what harvest will we reap? If we sowed in the spring and harvested in the fall, then the winter won’t be so hard.

Some people get to start the spring of their life in the winter of society. This is what makes “The Greatest Generation.” The generation that overcomes the most will grow the most. We may be seeing another, “Greatest Generation” in the making. Good times create soft people, and hard times create strong people. Can we make the best of where we are? We didn’t get to choose the generation we would be part of. We get to deal with the hand we are dealt and make the best of it.

Change is the constant we always need to deal with. We may be in the best time of our life and wish it wouldn’t change, or in the worst time of our life hoping it will. Some of life we have control of but much of it is the wheel of fortune and dealing with what comes. If we recognize that is the case it might be easier to deal with it.

If this is a winter cycle of history, we have lessons to learn, changes to make, renewal, and spring is coming. What if the best is yet to come? If Neil Howe and William Strauss are right many of us grew up in spring and summer where life was idyllic and opportunities seemed endless even if we didn’t take advantage of them. I’ve always felt I was trying to catch up to those just a little older than me. They seemed to get to the opportunities first which means I didn’t see the opportunities staring me in the face.

Renewal and decay are part of life. We live with cycles small and big. Wherever we are, we must do our best to make the best of it. Sometimes, all we can do is get through to spring, but spring is coming and we must be ready to take advantage. We may find ourselves in the fall of our own life, in the winter of a generational cycle and if you look into it there are cycles within cycles.

If this theory is correct, if we live five generations we will die in the cycle we were born in. This means for me if I am lucky born in spring, die in spring. Can it get better than that?

When you’ve exhausted all possibilities, remember this: you haven’t. Thomas Edison

Always remember you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. A.A. Milne

When you face difficult times, know that challenges are not sent to destroy you. They’re sent to promote, increase and strengthen you. Unknown

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