How My Wife & I Broke 4 Different Laws on our 15th Wedding Anniversary

Suncadia Resort
Suncadia Resort

Okay, I have to admit that I used the title to get you interested in reading my blog, but I’m fairly certain that my lovely wife and I did break at least 4 laws during our anniversary weekend.  I can’t tell you what they are because, well as I said, we broke them!  I may at least give you a hint if you keep reading, but my point is that I don’t want people to think love and passion fizzles in the forties.  Think about what younger people see on TV.  Every Viagra commercial has a good-looking middle-aged man on them.  I wonder if the younger audience is watching and thinking, “Shit man, my willy is about to die any day now!”  Sure, the willy can wonder & slumber for some, but here is the good news youngins…it isn’t as common as you are lead to believe.  The plumbing rarely starts rusting in the forties!

When I was in my twenties and early thirties I thought that romance and marriage in my forties (almost 50s) would be boring and lame. And what I want you to know is that is entirely up to you.  You can choose whether or not midlife is a time to light the fire or you can begin a downward spiral of sexual and physical boredom.

I want to challenge all of us to begin seeking out ways to enjoy our lives every single day.  And I want to convey that the midlife years can be the best time to begin doing so.  Our twenties and thirties are the years many of us were so busy focused on “climbing the ladder” that we missed the many blessings that surrounded us.  We didn’t fully embrace and enjoy life.

When the forties arrive you begin to realize life is going too fast, and you feel challenged to enjoy being physically active.  You simply realize the days of running, jumping, and well…humping may be gone before you know it!  And so you have a choice to make as to how you will accept that reality.  Some of you may be hitting your forties and saying, “I’m too old to ___________.”  Well I want to challenge you to start saying, “I’m too old not to _______________.”  You still want to know what laws Amy and I broke?  All I will say is that 3 out of the 4 involved indecent exposure.  Go have some fun!

Click Here to Get $aved

Money-goes-far-in-Missouri-Show-me-the-moneyI posted the following on Facebook:

“By not saving & managing your money in your youth…you greatly increase the likelihood that you will one day feel enslaved to a job. People will tell you that money doesn’t make you happy, and that’s because they are broke. Money will offer you freedom, which can lead to both peace and happiness. Make it-Share it-Save it”

Uncle Tony

Being on the radio for almost 20 years has taught me that you can’t make a statement everyone will agree with, and so I was not shocked that a few (very few) disagreed.  However, I am a little shocked that someone would disagree.  Does that make sense?  Sure, I know that not everyone will realize I’m like a Caucasian Buddha, but not sure how anyone can deny the importance of money here in America.  Regardless, I want to clarify my statement to help people understand the brilliance that flowed so easily from my tortured mind.

Note that I didn’t say money can take care of all of our problems, and that it is the source of happiness. I said it can make life easier for you. When life is easier it can thus bring more peace and happiness to most situations.  For example, one of my dear friends replied with the following statement to my post:

I agree with you Tony. Always been a “save for rainy day” fund gal. In my 20s..when we were making very good money-we both socked 16 percent into 401ks…bought a modest home.  15 year mortgage ( house now paid off and I am only 43 ). Being responsible then when we were making big bucks saved me a world of grief later.

You will notice the phrase, “Saved me a world of grief later.”   What you don’t know is my good friend lost her husband to cancer at a very young age, and was left to raise 3 children. Did the money take away the grief.  No.  Did she ever think the money would replace the loss of the love of her life?  No.  However, did it reduce the stress in her life greatly? Absolutely.  Let me give you an example on the other side of the spectrum.  My parents are now almost 80 years of age, and despite having Medicaid and an AARP health policy their medications cost them over $500 a month.  If my parents had not saved money then they would be having even more struggles  Life is still difficult for them, but at least one stressor has been removed due to a few extra “Benjamins” in the bank.

Money shouldn’t be worshiped, and allowed to control us, but you sure as hell better learn to respect it and know the value of it.  I’m not speaking from a place of expertise, but I am speaking from experience.  I’ve made and continue to make great money, but because I wasn’t wise throughout the years it has tripled the amount of stress I have in my life.  I simply didn’t listen to my father who told me to save my money.  Now, please know I’m blessed beyond my dreams with most of the important things in life so don’t miss my point about money. My post is simply a way of advising younger folks to not just live for today.  Sure, enjoy today and spend some of your money on things that will bring joy into your life…just don’t spend all of it!

A few others insinuated that my Facebook post showed that I’m a broken man and in need of turning things over to God.  I would like to say that we are all broken, and you know what is worse than being broken?  Being broken and broke at the same time!  I fully believe that a belief in a high power will bring an incredible amount of peace during difficult times.  However, God doesn’t even carry a wallet, which makes it very difficult for Him to pay my rent.

 

Do you feel like you don’t get any respect? These 5 Questions can Help Change that!

rodThere comes a time in our life when we need to say, “I have no one to blame.”  If you are like me that time may have come later than you hoped, because it is a very health time of awareness.  Many go through life blaming their parents, an employer, spouse(s), friends, and for some…even their kids for not being the man or woman they dreamed of being.  Sure, all of the aforementioned do influence the projections of our life, but other than our parents we made the decision to enter into the relationships.  As I will say again later in this blog post, where you and I are in the world today is a result of the decisions we have made, the relationships we have made, and more importantly…how we have chosen to project ourselves to the world around us.  We have all been told that life is not about us, but the quality of our life will be determined by how we choose to project ourselves to others.

Do you remember the great Rodney Dangerfield?  He was a comedian whose entire shtick was based on the fact he got no respect.  He was the king of self-deprecating humor.  One of his lines was, “I went to my psychiatrist and he said I was crazy; so I told him I wanted a second opinion.  He said okay, you’re ugly too.”  As a child I loved him!  And being one of the fat and under achieving kids in the class I realized I could use that same self-deprecation to get laughs.  And even as I got thinner and better looking on the outside…I felt the same on the inside.  So I continued with my Rodney Dangerfield shtick.

The problem with my decision to project myself as the guy who always screws things up, isn’t very bright, or simply gets “no respect” is that it became a self-fulfilling prophecy.  People laugh at the jokes, but there is a part of them that begins to believe what you are saying even if or when there comes a day you don’t.  There comes a time in most of our lives when we want to be taken seriously.  If we are growing in maturity and getting healthier then we begin to realize we have something to offer the world.  We quit blaming everyone else, get our head out of our ass, and then we want our parents, friends, spouse, and everyone else to know we are not who we have led them believe.  We no longer want to be the punch line or a punching bag.  We no longer want to be told what to do, who to be, or where to go.  However, in order for us to change their perceptions we must first change our projections.  We have to change what we are projecting to the world around us or they will continue to feel the need to put us in our place.  After all, through our words and behavior we have told them we need that in our life!  We have projected a persona that says we aren’t capable!  It may be that we’ve led others to believe we aren’t capable of managing our own affairs, leading, getting a job done, or making our own decisions.  Most people don’t just assume you or I are incapable…we have lead them to believe it.

Let me ask you a few questions to help you see if this “mighty blog” can help you today.

  • Who are you in your heart?
  • Do you believe you can do more with you life if others would give you the chance?
  • Do you wonder why others don’t take you seriously or don’t see your gifts and talents?
  • Do you often times feel overlooked or disregarded?
  • Do you wonder why others think they have the right to boss you around, treat you like a child, manipulate you, or literally speak down to you?

Focus on that first question for a moment, because it is the place to start.  You first must realize that you were put on this earth with gifts and talents.  You must understand that you can achieve the things you have dreamed of achieving.  Because if you don’t believe it then you sure as hell aren’t going to convince others.  The other questions will help you determine what message you are sending to the world around you.  Simply put, you and I have to demand respect if we want it from others.  Yes small doses of self-deprecating humor and true humility are important for success, but they shouldn’t be your shtick unless you are a comedian, entertainer, or just enjoy it!

Again, if you and I want respect then we will have to demand it.  However, we don’t demand it by directly asking for it or being rude to others…we ask for it through how we project ourselves to the world.  It is time to introduce everyone to the real you so move out of your heart, into your brain, and out into the world!

The Ten Signs You’re Having a Midlife Crisis

exit-from-crisis-signFitz and I talked about my midlife crisis on the radio show this morning, and he had a Top 10 List for me.  New research says these are the “modern-day” top 10 signs you are having a midlife crisis.  I have to be honest and say that I have done all, but two of them!  Well, I didn’t get my back waxed, but I do have my wife Amy shave it.  And I haven’t gotten Botox or a facelift, but it’s only because I can’t afford it!

Top 10 Signs You are having A Midlife Crisis:

1.  Getting a tattoo.

2.  Getting a facelift.

3.  Getting botox.

4.  Running a half marathon.

5.  Going to a music festival.

6.  Getting your back waxed.

7.  Changing careers.

8.  Buying a fancy watch.

9.  Buying the latest gadgets or technology.

10.  Getting into extreme sports.

A few other signs in the top 40 are getting a Twitter account, buying a fancier smart phone than your kids, and buying a juicer.

Please share this with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, and etc.!

Want to have AMAZING Relationships? Then read my, “ABCs of A Healthy Relationship”.

oopsI was recently in someone’s home and noticed a stone tablet that I absolutely loved.  On the tablet was what I would call the Relationship Alphabet, and for each letter there was very brief relationship advice.  Over the next several days I would like to share some of the advice with you.  A is for “Admit Mistakes” and I’m not sure people fully understand how powerful this step can be in improving their relationships. There is another way of saying “admit your mistake” and that would be, “Say you are sorry“, but maybe that will be S!

I was raised in a home where both my parent were willing to say they were sorry so this comes easy to me.  Well that and I screw up often, and I have had a lot of practice!  Many of you may be reading this and saying, “Tony my honey bunny never ever admits they are wrong and I…I always have to say I’m sorry first.”  I know that can be difficult, but if it opens up the lanes of communication and thus forgiveness then just keep taking the high road.  If it isn’t leading to forgiveness and resolution then I would highly recommend finding a good marriage counselor.  Now, let’s think about another situation for a moment.  What happens when two people who can’t admit their mistakes get together?

When two stubborn people argue and hurt one another, but never admit they are wrong or say “I’m sorry” then how do they resolve conflict?  They don’t…they simply go back to pretending that it never happened, and there is no resolution to the problem.  Therefore, as time goes by the pain and resentment are stored in their emotional and relational vault called the heart.  Eventually the vault (heart) becomes full of all those things that tear people apart, and ironically they may describe it as a feeling of emptiness.  The heart is far from being empty, and in fact it is overflowing with emotional damage.  You see, when people learn to say they are truly sorry and admit they are wrong then issues can be resolved, and the healing can begin to take place.  Thus, the space in your heart can be filled with what it was designed for…love.

Tony Russell, MA, LMHC (inactive)

If you have some thoughts or questions please feel free to send me an email below.  Also, PLEASE hit a share button below to let your friends on Facebook, Twitter, & etc. know about The Next Half.  

Being Single in A Divorce Filled World: How Does it Affect Single Adults?

Being a midlifer I wondered how single adults are affected by the divorces taking place all around them.  Does it make them fearful of marriage?  Does it make them think marriage is a waste of time?  So I turned to Fitz in The Morning cohost Ellen Tailor to find out, and I love what she had to say and I think you will as well.  PLEASE HIT SHARE BELOW and consider subscribing to my podcast and blog.

 

ellen-300x300
Ellen Tailor, Cohost of Fitz in The Morning & Blogger and Fashion Fanatic at What’s Ellen Tailor Wearing.

 

 

No Humor in Someone Losing Their Honey: Divorce of Russell & Ashton Wilson

russell-Wilson-Ashton-Meem-wedding-picWhen the news of Russell and Ashton Wilson filing for divorce was released I was honestly saddened and disappointed.  Not disappointed in them as individuals, but that apparently their marriage is over.  Like the many fans here in Seattle I have enjoyed seeing the pictures of the two of them visiting our local children’s hospital.  I pictured them as having a wonderful marriage full of happiness, faith, and excitement.  Even as a counselor who knows what you see is often not what you get…I allowed myself to put them on a pedestal.  I think a byproduct of moving into midlife as a man is that we get more sentimental about life and even love!  We realize how quickly life goes, and we want to see younger people enjoying every moment of it.

As a radio personality it is expected that I’ll say something comedic or controversial about the situation, but I haven’t been able to bring myself to that point with this situation.  Yes, I know they are both young, they have no children, and they will find love again, but that still doesn’t negate the fact that yet another marriage has failed.  I too filed for divorce when I was in my mid-twenties with no children involved, and it was still a very painful process.  No one is prepared for the friends and family members they lose in that process.  My point being that a divorce is always painful even if it is needed and/or wanted. There is truly life after divorce, but at the moment it is happening the world seems very dark for most.  This is especially true for those who have children, and file for divorce.  They then have to battle depression, anxiety, and the ugly one…guilt.

I simply want those of you who are thinking about getting a divorce to follow the advice my mother gave me at one time.  Do everything you can to save your marriage before walking away from it.  And by trying everything I’m talking about marital counseling, sitting down together and truly listening to what the other wants from the relationship, and being willing to make some changes and compromises.  But with all of that being said remember that you only get one life to live, and you should be happy and be treated with love and compassion.  I would never encourage someone to stay in a relationship where they are miserable, but make sure you can’t find love right where you are before moving on.  I am married to the love of my life, and I’m so glad we stuck together through the difficult times.

 

The BJ Shea Interview, Part One: Left on A Doorstep @bjshea

bjBJ Shea is a famous morning show Rock Jock who is dearly loved by many so why was he so damn angry all the time?  Well, when you hear about the first…yes only the first 5 years of his life you will understand.  This is truly a powerful story of a man who has transformed his life by getting honest with himself and others. 

I believe BJ’s story is life changing for those who dare to admit that while it seems they are always right and the world is all wrong…that maybe…just maybe some of their problems in life could have something to do with them.  I was one of those people, and I share some of my own “junk” during this interview as well.   

I have a couple of options for you on this interview with BJ.  You can choose between listening to the full 90 minute interview or you can listen to it in 30 minute segments (Parts 1, 2, 3). 

Full 90 Minute Interview: 

Part One, 30 Minutes of Interview: 

I’m Coming Out of The Closet!

weddingringesequalitysamesexmarriage2World Vision sure stirred the religious pot over the last couple of weeks!  In case you missed it, they made a public statement that they would lift their ban on hiring those in a same-sex marriage.  It was a very bold statement and move by a Christian organization, and many of us here in the Northwest applauded them.  However, it wasn’t long until some very prominent evangelical leaders openly condemned them, and several thousand donors cancelled their child sponsorships over the new policy.  A few days later World Vision realized they were going to lose a substantial amount of funding, and released the following statement:

“We listened to [our] friends, we listened to their counsel. They tried to point out in loving ways that the conduct policy change was simply not consistent … with the authority of Scripture and how we apply Scripture to our lives,” said Stearns. “We did inadequate consultation with our supporters. If I could have a do-over on one thing, I would have done much more consultation with Christian leaders.”

“What we are affirming today is there are certain beliefs that are so core to our Trinitarian faith that we must take a strong stand on those beliefs, We cannot defer to a small minority of churches and denominations that have taken a different position.”

“Yes, we will certainly defer on many issues that are not so central to our understanding of the Christian faith, but on the authority of Scripture in our organization’s work [and employee conduct] … and on marriage as an institution ordained by God between a man and a woman—those are age-old and fundamental Christian beliefs. We cannot defer on things that are that central to the faith.”

I wish that I could say that this is all surprising to me, but unfortunately I understand the fundamentalist world much too well.  This is going to come as a shock to some of you, but growing up in the Baptist church I heard one or two people talk poorly about gay people.  In fact, I was taught that God opened up a big ole can of whoop-ass on a city because of all the homosexuality.  By the time I was a teenager I was fairly fond of boobies so I was extremely thankful that I was not going to be burned to a crisp for being a “lover of my own kind.” And since I didn’t know of any openly gay people it wasn’t something I spent much time thinking about.  And then I met Steven!

I was in my first semester of seminary, and working for a large radio company when I met Steven.  And he is one of those gay men that didn’t come out of the closet quietly…he ran out of it screaming “I am gay hear me roar.”  In fact, we were on the same radio show together, and he went by “Big Gay Steven.”  Did I mention this was in TEXAS?  I have to admit that I was a little scared of him at first.  He was purposefully flamboyant, and because he knew I was studying to be a minister he enjoyed watching me squirm.  He would often ask me for a hug, and ask me if I thought “queers would go to hell?”  As time went by something very strange happened…I began to consider Steven a dear friend.  And in the process I also learned a great deal.  One of the most important things I learned was that who someone finds sexually attractive is not a choice.

For the last few years I have lived in the pacific northwest where I have had the privilege of getting to know many who are gay.  I almost used the phrase “gay community”, but they are not part of a gay community…they are part of the community.  They are wonderful folks that love their partners, their children, and believe it or not…some actually love Jesus! And I personally believe that Jesus loves them as well.  The heartbreak in the World Vision story is the fact that there are Christians and Christian “leaders” who are using their power to bully an organization into discriminating against a part of our community.

Let this sink in for a moment…people withdrew their financial support of starving and sick children, because World Vision said they would consider hiring those in a same-sex marriage.  World Vision didn’t say they condoned same-sex marriage or a homosexual lifestyle they simply said they would not discriminate against them, and that caused people to get angry, lash out, and withdraw support.  I can’t help but wonder if the same thing happened years ago when companies stated that they would begin hiring certain minority groups. I hope those who disagree with World Vision will take the “high road” and still continue to support the children who need it.

Now, let me end by telling you why I’m writing this on my blog that is supposed to focus on midlife issues.  It’s because I have reached the point in my life where I have decided to be me.  For too many years I said what I thought others wanted me to say, did what I thought others wanted me to do, and followed belief systems that were handed to me by others. And I allowed that to keep me from stepping forward and showing my love and support for those who are gay.  So I want to come out of my closet, and openly express my support for a group of people who for far too long were forced into the closet.  My wife Amy is truly the love of my life, and I can’t imagine someone saying to me, “Tony because of my religious beliefs I can’t allow you to get married, and share your life together.”  It would crush my spirit to live in a world that didn’t allow me to share my life with someone that I love.  I don’t think we all have to share the same belief system, but we should all be able to share our life with those we love.

Please click below to share my blog with others.

Podcast: A Man’s Journey from A Born Again Believer to Buddhism

 

header

In today’s podcast I interview Dr. Jay Forrest about his journey of faith.  Dr. Forrest has a weekly podcast and blog called Five Minute Dharma where he helps others grow mentally and spiritually through the teachings of Buddha.  He also explains that Buddhism is not a religion as much as it is a philosophy and form of psychology.  However, the former pastor has been on quite the journey to get there!