A Manifesto On Thriving

Some people are curîous why I focus on the word “thrive” with such intensity.

So I decided to write a sort of “manifesto” to capture the essence of what thriving means to me and how I see it playing out as the theme of this website.

While thriving might be equated with success, there is a distinction I would like to make.

Success is predicated on the notion of competition. To attain success, you need to cross a certain qualifying threshold – an exacting bar, either real or implied,  that gets raised or lowered according to how your results compare with the results of others.  Success is based on the winner/loser paradigm – someone being better and someone being worse. Just when you think you’ve gotten there, someone outperforms you and you’re not a success anymore. Success carries a lot of energetic baggage – the thrill of accomplishment,  the bitterness of defeat, the angst of struggle.

Thrive, though, is a word that speaks to me of pure positive energy propelling me forward. Thriving is a state of becoming. It’s a place of transition, of potential and possibility. It carries a sense of exhilaration and joyful expectation.  It’s about forward momentum.

To put it another way: Thriving is not about the end game, it’s about the journey.

Thriving encompasses all of life’s experiences.

When I think of thriving, I think about community and connecting with others of similar lifestyle and beliefs, as well as with those who differ. A strong community isn’t built on conformity, it’s built on diversity. When we can speak and live our own truth alongside another who speaks and lives differently, that is when the fabric of our community is strengthened and we reach that place where we can drop the judgments we have about others and even have compassion for our own faults and frailties. In essence, we give ourselves permission to thrive and we invite others to join us.

Thriving is about reaching beyond the limits we have accepted and instead, believing that there are no limits. The possibilities and potential we can live into are bigger than we ever dreamed.

Thriving requires us to stop the complaining and blaming and adopt an attitude of being blessed, and a practice of blessing others.

Let’s face it, life never seems to go in a straight line. There are challenges. We face battles we could never have imagined.

Yet, within these complexities, we can still find the ember of the light that is our spirit.  We can fan that spark until it bursts into a blazing inferno that will serve as a beacon to others searching for hope and meaning in their life.

I’m a believer in miracles, in the indomitable spirit of humanity, and in a bright and awesome future.

Yes, there are days I listen to the news and I fret that there’s still too many wars, too many people at odds with each other, too much greed and too much hate. It takes a genuine effort to withdraw my attention from the drama unfolding on my TV screen.

Yet, when I look around at my immediate surroundings, the amenities at my fingertips, my friends and family, at the magnificence of the structures and machinery we’ve build as a civilization, at the beauty of nature and how we are supported by earth’s resources… I realize how truly blessed I am.

Others, with far less, have been examples of thriving. They’ve measured their days by the number of smiles they gave out, by the love and peace in their heart, and by the connection they had to the Source of that love and peace. People like Nelson Mandela who said, “There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”

Settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living is about surviving.  In looking for my passion, I find it in the opportunity to challenge myself and others to thrive.

As I consider my intent, I feel the wind of Source at my back.  I feel hope begin to grow. I realize that everything I need to accomplish this journey lies within reach and so does everything I want.

It starts with my next breath and my first step. It starts with how I care for and nourish my own body, mind and spirit.  It starts with reaching out to one or two friends with some regularity.  It starts with determining that the first step is the most important, not the last.

It starts with an intention to be part of the solution, not the problem.  When one of us starts down that path of hope, another joins, and then another… and before we know it, we have a community of people who are connected through their mutual caring of one another, who support the best in each other and forgive and have compassion when someone has a bad day. That someone might be you.

We want to have lives of meaning, to connect with others of similar passion and to savour the pleasures and gifts of this wonderful world.

And we deserve no less.

It means we must make a commitment to focus on the positives, not the negatives.

Within us stirs the desire to be, do and have more. It’s not about being famous, or saving the planet, and it’s not about collecting more gadgets and gizmos.

Thriving will find those souls who say, life isn’t over by a long shot!  Thriving will find those who will make an effort to worry less and laugh more, who will give up gossip and embrace gratitude, who will make every moment count for something.

Thriving is waiting for those who are ready to discard the survival mentality and reach instead for a richer life experience.

The thriving message will resonate with those who don’t want to partake in the pessimism of the world. Thrivers (a moniker I’ve decided will describe us) will engage their thoughts and emotions in consciously creating an abundant and joyous lifestyle.

If something in this message makes you want to pump your fist in the air… then come and be part of this conversation as we embark on our journey toward a more excellent life – inside and out.

Let’s be inspiring to each other. Share your best thoughts, your aha moments, your successes.  Tell us what works for you.  It might work for someone else too.

This isn’t about being perfect. It’s not about being a role model.  It’s not about being a pillar of strength. It’s about letting our spirits speak out of our humanness to comfort, uplift and cherish one another – to share our inner wisdom, hope and passion for a life of thriving.


Barbara Risto is the publisher of INSPIRED Senior Living, a magazine geared for the 55+ demographic; the Canadian best-selling author of “To Move Or Not to Move?” a helpful guide for seniors considering their residential options; the producer of two annual 55+ Lifestyle Shows; and a champion of the 55+ lifestyle, which she is now embracing.

For more information, check out “Who Is Barbara Risto


  1. Very moving and through provoking message on “thriving”, Barb!
    Reading your words: “Thriving is not about the end game, it’s about the journey.” brings to mind a quote that a good friend shared with me that stuck to me like velcro: “It’s better to travel well than to arrive” -Buddha.
    I was greatly uplifted by your positive and energizing outlook on life.
    Irene Butler

  2. While recovering from some particularly traumatic events in my life I found that merely surviving was no longer enough. In order to live fully and well I had to aim to thrive, and that has made all the difference. Now in my seventies I continue to thrive and to be thankful every day for my joyous life.
    I look forward to reading more of your excellent journey.

    1. Well I feel this is just what I need to help me reach my goal of a smashing great party on my 100th birthday! I already have a great plan for MAY 27, 2029! That will be 100 years from my arrival 27 MAY 1929! 🙂
      “55” is a sort of “middle ground” of life given mine to this point.
      A couple of things so far? 🙂
      1/ A few days after my 65th birthday I did my first and only solo parachute jump at the Victoria airfield. incredible!
      My wife wasn’t the least bit happy and offered? If I ever did it again, even landing safely. She would kill me! I’ve never jumped again! Besides, being married to her for 64 years before she passed away 4 years ago. I knew she would probably shoot me! “Oh not really!
      2/ On my 76th birthday day I flew a “boyhood dream” of flying a WW2 fighter plane …. “A USA P-51 MUSTANG over OLYMPIA, WASHINGTON. USA.

      At my 80th birthday party in Ottawa I did 80 sit-ups with my good wife, 3 adult children and 5 grand children cheering me on. And 30 some adult attendees!
      It’s called “ATTITUDE!” Whether you are 80years or beginning to live those fantastic years that begin at “55!”
      THE “key?” It’s ones’ “ATTITUDE” toward life as that big 55 flashes on the calendar!
      When that happens? Start counting backwards in years and some of the wild and crazy things you always wanted to do in your youth! Oh I know folks have had injuries during their lives and they may become somewhat incapacitated. Even so within reason, try to beat the 55 yrs. date by cultivating a magnificent “ATTITUDE!” “to heck with it all, “DAMN THE TORPEDOES FULL STEAM AHEAD!”
      Oh don’t try to be an Olympian athlete, even with the ATTITUDE. It will turn your 55years attitude and desires off! Be gentle in doing whatever your 55 yr. old genes try to make you to do. CHEERS

  3. Just read your email on Thriving.
    I’m so happy you are advocating for journeys of value and fun!
    I hope you take a look at our conscious/positive aging website. My business partner Annie Klein and I teach and facilitate workshops about life to the fullest here in Victoria and beyond.
    Maybe you would like to become an emerging elder? Sounds as if you on the track for enjoying a life well lived.

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