Middle aged Man with silver hair wearing a red sweater being kissed on the cheek by older woman with silver hear wearing a blue dress

The Kissing General

There is no time machine. There will be no do-overs. For that reason, when I see a person who has lived life to the fullest measure, I stop and take notes.

I met Brigadier General U.S. Army (RET) Myrna H. Williamson at one of my on-stage Christmas shows. She was a charmer. The general graduated in 1960 from South Dakota State University and followed her husband into the Army. Twenty-eight years later she retired. I didn’t ask her age (none of my business, although I can do math!) but wished I had a notepad to furiously write down all the wisdom she poured forth in the 10 minutes we talked. I’m using quotes to catch the gist of what she said.

1. She was funny! 

  • “I always ask a man to help me cross a busy street.” Why? “They wear sensible shoes. You can’t trust a woman to not wear some kind of high-heeled getup and stumble when she walks.” 
  • “I tell the man as I’m walking with him, that I always pick the most handsome one. When we finish crossing the street, we are laughing and I have never met a man who didn’t then offer to walk me to the rest of the way to my destination.
    Takeaway: Humor, a smile, and a little charm can disarm almost anybody, a gift to both the giver and receiver.

2. She was wise! 

  • “I live in a retirement home now. I can’t tell you the number of times I hear, ‘I shoulda- I coulda- I woulda… I want to say, ‘Well why DIDN’TYA?’”
  • “Oh, there’s always a reason. But it’s too late now. When I was a recruiter I would ask, “So you want to stay here your whole life, or do you want to DO something?” 
    Takeaway: Regret is a very real thing that is the inevitable consequence of not taking enough chances or risks. Keep that in mind as you dream about 2023.

3. She was fully alive and still living! 

  • “I wanted to get back to the Branson area (it’s been a while since I was there). So I bought a ticket on a bus tour. Everyone at the retirement home is asking, ‘But who will you go with?’ I say (exasperated) ‘A buncha people on a bus!’ Jiminy, what’s with these people?”
  • “What’s this about needing to have other people to do something? Just GO.”
    Takeaway: It’s YOUR life. Make the decision right for you and DO it. If you wait for approval or company, you may never do it. And the regret will haunt you.

4. She was blind.

  • 100%. I guess she could see blurs and shapes, but that’s it. She walked with men on her arm because she needed to. But she did it in a way that turned her disability into a strength.
  • “I stand at a corner and say, ‘Excuse me, sir, but I have limited vision, would you be so kind as to walk me across this intersection?’ Halfway across, I spring the handsome line, and we laugh out loud, and they never fail to walk me to my destination.
    Takeaway: What you do best is enough to overcome any obstacles. Myrna uses charm, tenacity and courage to overcome advancing age and blindness. What possible excuse can the rest of us have?

2023 is your year. If you haven’t thought about it, do it now. Find a chair and a quiet place and think about what awaits you. If you need a little help, I have developed a course, “What the Heck Am I Supposed to DO With my Life?” This will be the theme of my short podcast in 2023, click here to listen and subscribe for details coming in the months ahead!