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Senior Correspondent

Life goes by and you learn or you don’t. Sometimes, lessons in life are forced upon you by emotional pain associated with divorce, loss of a favorite nonhuman animal companion, termination from your job or a serious life-threatening health challenge. I’ve encountered all of these, and in retrospect I can say that each has provided a devastating opportunity for spiritual growth. Humans are basically misoneists. We fear change and we fight it tooth and nail most of the time. However, with a little work you come out the other side a better person. I’ve watched several ‘powerful people’ with big egos, and a complete lack of sensitivity to others, transform late in life in response to a brush with cancer. Basically, they went from ‘jerk’ to ‘real person,’ to become almost unrecognizable personality-wise. They had an epiphany.

Most life-changing events are small, unnoticed and apparently trivial, however, but is there such a thing as a trivial change in our personality? I doubt it! I suspect that the more open we become to change, the more easily we change, and the less we notice our steady growth from self-centered child to happy adult, and finally onto contented ‘older person.’ It is, in fact, this change that keeps us young a heart.

Many of the early lessons in my life came in the form of books, as I have always loved to read and study. Books that changed my life over the years include The Road Less Traveled (persuaded me to take responsibility for my own problems), Atlas Shrugged (moderated my tendency to be too left wing; I am now politically a ‘dynamic tensionist’), Tao Te Ching (gave me good advice on living, which I attempt to use every day), The Power of Now (trained me to silence the chatter in my head and develop a more stable state of inner calm), and Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (caused me pay to more attention to the little details of life). More recently, however, I have been changed through interactions with people in my neighborhood. For the first time in my life I am becoming active in my community, beyond just voting, as I was previously consumed by my career. It all started with a pumpkin experience.

FitOldDog enjoys his first business adventure, risking $500 to make $10 in three weeks, earning 35 percent annualized interest, and creating work for a friend.

Having had a job all of my life until recently (terminated), I created work for someone else by simply risking a small amount of my personal retirement savings, whilst making a small profit for myself. As result of this micro-venture, I discovered the pleasure of investing locally, so I moved on to bigger things, Christmas trees.

These experiences, as a neophyte entrepreneur (Oldpreneur?), have given me the courage to join with two other business partners, Jan and Erica, to revive a local grocery store and community center, including the setup of the Johnny's Gone Fishing Facebook page, amongst many other things. I have never had so many people thank me for my efforts, and it has made me feel much more alive. I even experienced small town politics in the raw, including the creation of a petition to support our case and a fascinating debate in the Carrboro Town Hall, in which we appeared to prevail. This situation even made it’s way into the local newspaper, The Carrboro Citizen. Sure, I’m risking a significant amount of my savings and spending a lot of time, but with some effort, combined with proceeds from my nascent online business, Old Dogs in Training LLC, I’m sure that all will go well in the end. It always has before when I put my heart into an adventure, and life without adventure is no life at all.

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