Interviews

From time to time we interview people about what makes them “thrive.” These are some of those interviews.

Woody


Woody is 50 year old surgeon who is retired from his private practice and still doing contract and volunteer medical work. He is in a long term marriage with grandchildren he enjoys. He is very active, traveling, flying, enjoying his family and various projects he undertakesWoody

What does thriving mean to you?

It’s nice to get up in the morning – I’ve got a nice family I enjoy people – the way you lead your life. Doing what you want to do.

How do you know when you are thriving?

Example when in the military –proposal offered? go to Alaska – take this opportunity. To practice surgery- where is the best place to go – Raleigh, NC?? Raleigh like Alaska – got to take opportunities. Got to have your people, family. Flying – an opportunity, challenge. Read a lot. Church goer – it’s the same anywhere in the world.

>Describe experiences when you are thriving?

Certainly happiness, traveling, the way you lead your life. Doing a good job at first practicing medicine, doing what you want to do, money is not my definition, being with the grandchildren

In what aspects of your life are you thriving?/span>

There is a certain contentment… Keep learning…that’s why I don’t want to really retire…..got my helicopter license….something to look forward to….always doing a project.

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Millie

This is a woman, now a retired banker, a mother and grandmother with an indomitable spirit who survived an abusive marriage the leaving of which allowed her to regain her thriving spirit.

What does thriving mean to you?
Prioritizing my self and my own happiness after having a breakdown that helped me get out of an abusive relationship. Being able to step away from people and situations that are hurtful. Valuing myself. To be the kind of person I've always wanted to be. Being able to be very independent is important to my thriving.

How do you know when you are thriving?
A feeling of accomplishment. I'm healthy and happy for my age. I never payed much attention before getting bad blood work results a year back. At this point I eat great and exercise and my blood work is great now. I'm very spiritual and I know I have a personal angel. I feel connected to the angels and my mother who has died. People who know me in my life and tell me all the time now how much I am thriving and how inspiring that is for them.

Describe and explain, experiences, in which you thrive.
I believe as a human being we experience things that are meant to be that make us stronger, that make us happier. . . My experience with my abusive husband for example. It gave me a chance to recover that young girl in me who is happy and spunky. My being spiritual, being an inspiration to my children and grandchildren who admire me. It is so joyful for me to be able to pull from my life lessons and help my family members to feel joyful. I've learned to accept people's praise and appreciation.

In what aspects of your life are you thriving?
Being able to be more interactive with my sister who is in her 60s and is both mentally and physically challenged. My thriving has been helping her to thrive.

Who would you identify as thriving?
My daughters.

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Bob

This is a colleague, a former ball player and coach who became a successful psychiatrist now retired. He identifies thriving as commensurate with being fortunate, reaching goals and having further goals. Thriving and success are interactive for Bob who clarifies that these goals are individually defined. Both Bob and his wife are generous and make contributions to the community behind the scene and in conjunction with others that are in the spotlight.

Why is thriving important to you?
I think its important. I feel fortunate. I think its important that you have family and friends. Its an important part of my thriving.

What does thriving mean to you?
A degree of happiness and satisfaction. Doing reasonably well. Reaching some goals. Liking the place you're in. Still having some goals and being able to look forward to the future and not thinking its complete. I think of thriving as being fortunate. Being lucky, being healthy, and hard work are part of being fortunate, of thriving.
How do you know when you are thriving?
Feeling fortunate. I don't think we are always thriving. Having things happen for you that you expect is fortunate. We don't always have control over it. Grateful is a response to being fortunate.

Describe and explain, experiences, in which you thrive.
I am where I am today because, well first, I was raised a poor boy from the south. Every year the company my mother worked for (Firestone) ran a worldwide contest to pick a young person to give a full college scholarship. It required recommendations from community members, having an intelligence test and then the young person who wins gets a full scholarship to college, wherever you want to go. In 1925, I didn't expect to even go to college but got a letter that March congratulating me on being the winner. Before that I was in a small school, I was the college football captain and I was the class poet. I went to college initially to become a teacher and a coach. My Dad suggested medical school and I looked close to home for a program that could be completed relatively quickly. I had just gotten married and my wife supported me through it. The day I got accepted to medical school I also got a letter inviting me to coach at the school of my choice.

In what aspects of your life are you thriving?
I have enough finances to do what I want to do. I and my immediate family members are healthy. If those things are in order I feel that I'm thriving. I'm doing what it is I want to do. That's important for thriving. Having some things available that if I'm willing to make the effort I'd do. If I hadn't done what I'd done I might have been a writer. I've always been into sports and was a tennis player but am an avid golfer now.

Who would you identify as thriving?
I see one of my neighbors as thriving. He is a nice person. He has had some challenges. His wife died years ago and he later remarried and they seem to be doing well. He is very religious and involved in helping people.

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Glenda Sue

Why is thriving important to you?
Peace. My family. Having all that is important to me. I have it all. I was in my 30s when my husband and I were millionaires. Being determined and being the person I want to be. I've fallen short on mothering because I was a workaholic but I'm making up for it now with my children and grandchildren.

What does thriving mean to you?
It means all over happiness and still learning. My health is good. Eating right (Pritiken diet). My mother's family all died of heart and artery diseases. Working out and having muscles/fitness. Realizing my dream (something like a children's camp - a destination to hang out and be healthy). It's more than I ever dreamed it would be. Knowing I couldn't have done it any better.

How do you know when you are thriving?
Looking into yourself for some happiness. I quit having to work so hard to achieve. Having plenty of money and its not going to run out. Happiness isn't given but chosen. I don't know where or how but I run into the people that I need help from.

Describe and explain, experiences, in which you thrive.
I've always believed that the best is going to happen. God is right here. If I want something I know it's going to happen. Working and building the businesses I've had. Helping women be healthy, eat better and be fit. It took me 2 years to get over my 3rd husband who I thought was so compatible because we were both in the same business but he ran off with a younger woman. I was able to get her back and that was about the time I got over him.

In what aspects of your life are you thriving?
All my dreams have been realized. Four or five things were almost insurmountable (I ran over a little boy). You don't ever forget but you move on. I discovered that you can pretend to get over something that is just killing you and you are not but then you get over it, you are over it.

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Geraldine

This is a 90-something self identified old crone who thrives in translating the Kabbalah in Christian context.  She is a mento and mystic in my experience, a wife, mother and grandmother to her family, and teacher to her many students.  She is here now to enjoy the flavor of the earth and the beauty that surrounds us, being her now to bring in the energy of Spirit.

Is thriving important to you?

 “Absolutely, I don’t want to stay on the earth plane if I can’t thrive here.  That’s what living is about. . . If I fall into a dull, dreary, life then it’s time to depart, to go to a higher calling.  I do believe that we decide when to leave the earth plane.”

Can you tell me what thriving is for you?

“Well I think if you’re not enjoying anything, if you are not singing and dancing and laughing and having fun with Spirit than you’re not thriving any longer.  That’s what I think.”

What is important to your thriving?

“Growing up in a sacred context with fundamentalist Christian parents. . . I have always been seeking and developing my relationship with God. . . My relationship with God has matured from child to adolescent to friend to that of lover of Spirit that surrounds me. . .  I became acquainted with new age thought.  Nutrition, vitamins and whole foods is the way the new age started because the body is the thing that we have manifested that talks to us and has to be nourished.  After learning about the nutrition I learned more about the mystical which opened my eyes to the complexity of the spirit world, how complex the universe is.”

How do you know when you are thriving?

“I always use the test of the gift of Spirit.  You are filled with peace and joy and hope and patience, long suffering.  These are gifts, grace given by Spirit.  When you are seeking a door opens.  We need to get to another level, have another view.  When we are on path, through hard work, we are filled with great joy.”

Are there places you struggle with thriving?

“I have a lot of trouble with envy. . . When I came to understand that we are all a part of the great potential it gives me relief. . . I think I have a tendency to say yes when I want to say no. . . When I do, I find no joy in what I am doing.  In these cases I give myself rheumatoid arthritis episodes.  In this way I am a Christian Scientist as I do believe I manifest my own reality.  Pain is sometimes necessary.  It tells us we have to change.

Is there anything more you want to say, that you think is missing?

“There is just no telling what Spirit will bring.  Sometimes there are tests and gifts.  Life is an adventure.  I think the human race is slowly, slowly awakening.”

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Pauline

Why is thriving important to you?
Its the core of my being. You don't have to think about it. Joy is foremost. Keeps problems in perspective.

 

What does thriving mean to you?
Surviving is the first thing that came to mind because I think thriving is surviving. Thriving is nourishing, cultivating oneself. . . I really don't know. Knowing that things go as they should. Getting excited about the little things.

 

How do you know when you are thriving?
I don't analyze it. You feel life is good and you relish life. In touch with 'life is just a big joy.' Having a grateful heart. Knowing the beauty of now.

 

Describe and explain, experiences, in which you thrive.
I thrive with people. Parea (Greek for gathering or keeping company with people). It takes so little to make someone feel good. It makes me feel good to make someone feel good. I get excited about someone else's joy.

 

In what aspects of your life are you thriving?
Everywhere because I don't think of anybody else as better than me but I don't think of myself as better than anybody else either. Your weakest points are your biggest assets. I can always find ways to connect to people. If I met the king of England I would find a way to connect to him. You know, he has a wife and children. There would be something. He's no different than I am.

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Anne

This woman is an 88 year old retired scientist and academic who has inspired her students, mentored many women in the sciences, and has become an accomplished artist. She has been a particular inspiration to her adopted daughter.

Why is thriving important to you?
Who wants to not do well? That's why I had my ankle replaced, my shoulder replaced. I just try to keep myself going. Its lively. It's what makes you want to live. It's being upbeat. Who doesn't want to be upbeat.

What does thriving mean to you?
Doing well. Being healthy. If you want to do well (thrive), after a certain point in life, you have to keep working at it, exercising and stuff like that. And also your head, you have to keep exercising your head. I do puzzles, I read, I work out and walk and go to the gym. I try to get around people who are talking about interesting things. Following one's own inspired path - whatever makes you happy. You know it when you see it. Some people are just more alive. Feeling to be a part of life energy that's all around us, I feel a connection to this life energy that is all around.

How do you know when you are thriving?
If I have energy. I feel good. I don't feel good if I don't have energy. Feeling up is thriving for me.

Describe and explain, experiences, in which you thrive.
After I retired, I keep working for a while editing science journals and teaching. Eventually, I started taking art classes and participated in juried art events. I joined an art studio and have gotten to meet and interact with all kinds of interesting people. Traveling all over the world has given me experiences in thriving. Learning the languages and traveling in different places, the desert, Asia, Europe has been energizing.

In what aspects of your life are you thriving?
As a child I thrived and was happy but when I was young and had small children we lived in a small town and it wasn't particularly stimulated. When we moved and I got to working, being professor in math and science, I started thriving again. I like to be stimulated.

Who would you identify as thriving?
There is a fellow who wonders in this neighborhood, who does odd jobs and stuff for people around here and earns a little money which he spends on alcohol and cigarettes. In his own way he is thriving.

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