Are You Worth More As You Age?

There seems to come a time in our careers when we have reached the pinnacle, the financial gain seems to peter out, even our interest beings to dissipate. Out with the old and in with the new, so they say. Maybe that’s a good thing but for some us, we’re not ready to be downsized or put out to pasture. What happens then? Do you have a plan of what you want to do as you age?

Why is it that food is more expensive as it ages? Who made that a rule? Maybe we are just suckers for good stuff to eat. Wine, cheese, aged beef, soy sauce even, how are they getting top dollar? That was my question when my husband and I arrived at the parmesan cheese manufacturing and curing facility in Parma, Italy.

What I learned from traveling is that food is often named after the city or region that it is from. In the instance of parmesan cheese, the real stuff is to look for in the grocery store is called ParmigianoReggiano. The city of Parma, is in the region of Emilia Romagna, where the co-operative of farmers is that produce Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, which are under strict guidelines from the Italian government as well as the European Union.

The cows can only graze on a certain type of grass and must be free to roam. Our guide told us that having happy cows is extremely important to the taste and structure of the cheese. So, if you’re a cow this is where you want to live. Is that the answer to a happy life…eating grass?

The cows are milked early each morning and the milk is then quickly transported to the certified manufacturing and curing facilities where the curds and whey is separated. This process makes two types of cheese. First the Parmesan and the leftovers is turned into Ricotta.

The Ricotta goes to market within days of it’s curing but the parmesan will sit on the shelf for years and gets better with age. I’d like to think that I get better with age as well. There is one person that’s only job is to pull the drums of parmesan off the shelf and knock on them with a small hammer. The sound will tell him if the cheese is ready for market, needs more time on the shelf or if it is not saleable.

The difference in taste as the cheese ages is remarkable and all I could think of is the glass of fine red wine that I need to complement my tasting. Italian wine of course, Chianti is my favorite…and there is a region for that also! Interestingly what I noticed most was the focus and skill the cheese producers have. They only make these two types of cheese and are experts.

One thing that I noticed most was the passion that these cheese makers had. Day in and day out they go through the same motions and yet years later they still get excited to be able to taste the fruits of their labor.

Parma, Italy was a wonderful place to stay and visit. The downtown was charming, the Airbnb that we stayed in was perfect, and of course our meals were simple and amazing. I like simple and amazing. This area of Italy whether traveling by train or car is one fabulous food sensation after the next. Frustrated by life’s pressures? Not knowing where to turn? Head on over to Italy and get back to basics. Simple and amazing…one thing, one reason, one passion.

What could you be an expert at if you focused? What is the thing you love most about what you do everyday that you could hone your skills and become the local, national or international expert on? Sure, it has taken centuries for the cheese purveyors to become the best in the world but what do you do, in your own very special way, that you can be the go-to person for?

Having entrepreneurial roots, I enjoy the thought of morphing myself into something new as I learn, grow and spread my wins in the world. For many that is not the case and is frightening at best. How can you take the skills you have amassed over your career or lifetime and turn it into an opportunity, a financial gain, a give back to the world? As I travel around the globe, I see opportunity everywhere. I don’t believe that there is not a community out there that does not need a helping hand of some kind.

Can you be worth more as you age? Are you already or do you have a desire to become an entrepreneur? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Grow Bolder With Age!

Merry Lynch

P.S. Learn how to get passionate, take back time, and focus with my upcoming Group Mastermind – Time Wasters. Check it out here or simply click on the image below!

How to use excuses to drive you

Excuses come in all shapes and sizes. Excuses are quite simply put…dream busters. On the other hand, what if, we used excuses to fuel our passions?

You know we each have the same 24 hours in a day and yet I often here people say they need more time. That the day seemed to fly by, and they have nothing to show for it. Have you ever found yourself saying that?

We have smartphones and tablets, laptops and televisions, coworkers and family members, that pull us away from our tasks in a moment without us even begin aware of it. Running our life on auto-pilot is second nature to us now.
So, what’s your excuse for not living life to the fullest? What is your escape from life? Where do you go to hide? Are you even present? I know these questions might seem kind of abrupt and in your face but too many times people turn to pass the buck instead of making informed, clear, decisive decisions about anything.

Have a look, if only for today or this moment, at what is your reason behind each of the interactions, thoughts, choices and decisions that you are making. Where are they leading you? Are you making the best use of your time? Do you even care?

I was thinking about this question after being on a coaching call with a client who was refusing to take responsibility for the outcomes that she was experiencing. What’s your excuse? It’s a simple question that has great implications.
Excuses place bright shiny objects in front of us, that steal our attention in an instant. It doesn’t matter how big or small, they are all time wasters. Do you know what your biggest time wasters are? Is it clutter, procrastination, inability to say no, daydreaming, putting out fires, poor delegation, no plan, habits, resisting change, a combination of these or something else?

But what happens when we use excuses to push us to do something? For instance, I think about this question even when planning a trip. What’s my excuse for spending money on yet another trip? So, I’ll be perfectly honest here, I travel for food. Yup, I love to eat, but it has to be really, really good food as well as good for me. I have a weird belief that my body is my temple and that what I put into it has to be worthy. Ok, so there are times when I just flat out will eat whatever is available or when I travel to places like Old Orchard Beach, Maine for some Pier French Fries but for the most part I am really concise and clear about what goes in my mouth.

After I’ve had a great meal or read an article about a certain region of the world that is known for raising a particular kind of animal, vegetable or fruit, then my antennas perk up and I am like a hound on a scent. The research begins, I work on a plan and then BAM, off we go. Living and eating like a native is always at the base of the travel plans for my husband and I.

This is exactly how we ended up in San Daniele, Italy. In pursuit of the best prosciutto in the world. It all began after reading an article in Bon Apetit magazine about prosciutto sandwiches. The seed was planted, it was the excuse that fueled the desire. After a short flight, a train ride (my favorite), and a car rental we found ourselves winding through the small villages and towns of the Italian countryside to our destination.

As a little girl there was an Italian delicatessen called Micucci’s Market the next town over, that is still open today. Every Thursday we would all pile into the car and take the weekly jaunt to Micucci’s. I still remember the smells coming from the deli. My dad’s mother was from Italy, so he was very particular about his cold cuts and being a big man, he loved his food. So, this trip to San Daniele had other excuses fueling it. It was a trip that I knew my dad would have loved to have taken.

San Daniele is a small village in the mountains with a population of 8100 but boasts the most magnificent prosciutto in the world. San Daniele, sits halfway between the Carnic Alps and the Adriatic Sea which provides an exquisite micro-climate for the meats aging process, which has been taking place since the 1600’s. The views of this region are breathtaking.

Prosciutto, which translates to “ham” in Italian, is made from the hind legs of the pig. Because of the aging process, prosciutto does not have to be cooked, unlike bacon or pancetta. There are mainly two regions in Italy where prosciutto is famous, that is Parma and San Daniele. There is a long-standing battle between these two regions as to who offers the best prosciutto. I say, you must check them both out for yourself and then you can decide.

There are never any additives to the aging process other than salt and the air and, of course, time. The aging process takes from 200 to 400 days, so just as in parmesan cheese, the older the better or like a fine red wine. Can I say that about myself…that I’m getting better with age? I always have feared about becoming a cranky old lady.

As my husband and I descend upon the small town of San Daniele it is siesta time and the town is quiet and the streets are empty. It is ten minutes to two and we are starving. Hoping to get a taste of this exquisite ham we find ourselves entering a delicatessen where the pig legs are covering the walls. The butcher behind the counter is expertly slicing some prosciutto for his client and offers us a slice. It’s heavenly. As he is about to close up shop for the siesta time, we ask him where he would go to eat.

His eyes light up and he draws a map on a napkin, pointing us in the direction of a small restaurant a few blocks away that is down a side street, off the beaten path. We arrive at the L’Osteria di Tancredi restaurant which is simply charming.

We are seated and ask the waitress to bring us a board of prosciutto, cheese with paired wine. These are the moments in life I seek. When time stands still. The taste, the smell, the wine…life doesn’t get much better than this simple meal.

Then I notice a couple at the next table were just served noodles with this amazing prosciutto on top. I ask them if they speak English and thankfully, they did. They described this dish as their favorite (they are natives) and I quickly summon the waitress as we order the same. Homemade pasta with aged prosciutto and a perfectly paired Italian wine. I can honestly say that there is nothing better than eating food from the region, in the region, served by the natives. They are passionate which makes it even better.

So, if you are ready to start having your excuses work to your benefit, then book your travel next June for the Aria di San Daniele La Festa, which is the annual San Daniele prosciutto festival. Which for you pork lovers would certainly be an event to attend. And while you’re at it, stop by the L’Osteria di Tancredi for a bite of something fabulous, maybe a mouthwatering dessert? My husband was certainly in heaven when our very attentive waitress suggested a bite of something native.

The next time you attempt to point your finger at someone or something as the excuse for you not being able to complete something, then think of this post and flip the script. Stop using excuses for not achieving your goal, instead use the excuse to empower you to push forward and live an outrageous life!

Eat well, laugh often!

Merry Lynch

P.S. Don’t miss next weeks post titled, “Are you worth more as you age?”