New Years Day 2021

This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help retirees, those soon to retire, baby boomers, and seniors reinvent themselves in this new stage of their lives called retirement. Her blog, public lecture, and new self-help book on senior reinvention are titled: Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement Years: Find Joy Excitement, and Purpose After You Retire. Her memoir is: Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class. Books synopses follow her blog below. Both books are available at Amazon.com by clicking here and here. Her website is: LeeGaleGruen.com

Now, on to my blog:

Throughout the world, folks have been anxious to leave 2020 in our collective dust. We’ve designated 2021 as a year of hope and change. We’ve been through a miserable time for the past year with bad behavior globally by Homo sapiens and microbial wannabes. (There is debate as to whether viruses are actually alive.) As the scene in the 1937 movie, Lost Horizon, so graphically illustrates, now is the time to round that last snow covered, treacherous mountain peak in the Himalayas and enter Shangri-La.

What did you do on January 1, 2021 to start yourself on this new course? Was it special, memorable, or the same old, same old?

I went for a glorious hike in a nearby, regional park covering over 6000 acres of unspoiled wilderness accompanied by my son who that very day marked a half century of living on this earth. We actually counted down on our watches as the time arrived when we first met fifty years earlier. Since then, on the opening day of each year, I have spoken with him to say “Happy Birthday” no matter where in the world he or I happened to be which at times has fallen on opposite sides of the globe. Yes, each January 1st, I remember very well where I was and what I was doing as I welcomed in a new child and a new year at the same time.

During our hike, we happened upon a corral of horses which is allowed by some government machination to be on this public land. A bit more hiking brought us to a few dozen cows, also given permission to reside there as they add to the health of the ecosystem according to a posted sign.

One cow was quite irate over our invasion of her territory, and she mooed us away in no uncertain terms. We did a 180 and skedaddled, but she followed us and continued harping. We bumped up our pace as her lowing faded into the background. I can’t blame her; I’m not thrilled either when others overstep my boundaries without asking permission.

After about two miles, the sun’s angle and our watches notified us it was time to turn around which was going to require another two mile hike. My energy began to flag, and I had to stop and rest more and more.

“Stay here, Mom. I’ll be right back,” said son as he walked off the trail toward a downed tree.

I could see him searching the debris, and he soon returned carrying a thin branch about six feet long and three inches in diameter. Thrusting one end in my direction and instructing me to grab it, he stepped ahead while holding the other end. Then, leaning into his task, he started to walk.

“Hang on, Mom,” commanded my self-appointed puller as he imparted some of his energy to me while remaining socially distanced in this time of Covid 19.

We proceeded like that at a good pace the rest of the way back as other hikers who passed us in the opposite direction glanced in amusement. I may have detected a little envy, too, but I’m not sure. Sometimes, natural resources and a bit of ingenuity are all that’s needed to solve a problem.

We must continue moving forward in these trying times, even when we don’t feel like it. Don’t give up. Be innovative. Seek out ways to improve your situation. Search away from your usual path, and grab your own tree limb to assist you.

***

SYNOPSES OF LEE GALE GRUEN’S BOOKS:

Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement Years: Find Joy, Excitement, and Purpose After You Retire (self-help): Not a one-size-fits-all approach, this self-help book for retirees, those soon to retire, baby boomers, and seniors offers an individualized, detailed guide to assist readers in discovering activities and pursuits in this new stage of their lives called retirement, based on their own likes and comfort level. I learned the secret the hard way transitioning from retired probation officer to actress, author, public speaker, and blogger. Audience members at my lectures on senior reinvention requested a book on the subject. This is the result, and it contains the content of those talks and six years of posts from this blog. CLICK here TO PURCHASE FROM AMAZON.COM.

Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class (memoir): After retiring at age 60 from my 37-year career as a probation officer, I mistakenly enrolled in an acting class for seniors.  A few weeks later, my mother died, and I invited my grieving, 85-year-old father to come to class with me.  This is the true story of our magical journey attending that class together for three years, bonding more than ever.  I wrote the comedy scenes we performed onstage twice a year in the acting class showcases, and all six scenes are included in the book.  I eventually transitioned into the world of professional acting.  As my fledgling, second career started going uphill, my dad’s health started going downhill.  I would recount to him each of my new experiences while I sat beside his bed at the nursing home where he resided in his final years. CLICK here TO PURCHASE FROM AMAZON.COM.

Please forward my blog in its entirety to anyone who might be interested and post it on your Facebook, Twitter and other social media accounts. To reprint any material, contact me for permission at:  gowergulch@yahoo.com. If you want to be automatically notified when I post a new blog, click on the “Follow” button in the upper right corner of this page and fill in the information. To read my other blog posts, scroll down on this page or click on “Recent Posts” or “Archives” under the Follow button. To opt out of receiving this blog, contact me at the aforementioned email address, let me know, and I’ll remove you from the list.

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Hope You Had a Happy/Merry Whatever

This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help retirees, those soon to retire, baby boomers, and seniors reinvent themselves in this new stage of their lives. Her public lecture and recently published book on senior reinvention are titled: “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement Years: Find Joy Excitement, and Purpose After You Retire.” Her memoir is: Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class. Both books are available at Amazon.com. Her website is: LeeGaleGruen.com

CHITCHAT: My new book is now available on Amazon.com. The title is the same as this blog and my public lecture: Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement Years: Find Joy, Excitement, and Purpose After You Retire. Not a one-size-fits-all approach, the book offers an individualized, detailed guide to help readers discover activities and pursuits in this new stage of their lives, “retirement,” based on their own likes and comfort level. I learned the secret the hard way transitioning from retired probation officer to actress, author, public speaker, and blogger. Audience members at my lectures on senior reinvention requested a book on the subject. This is the result, and it contains the content of those talks and six years of posts from this blog.

Now, on to my blog:

This is the holiday season. It coincides with the winter months which can be a dreary and depressing time for many. Centuries ago, humans, those smart little buggers, figured out a way to brighten up this part of the year for themselves. What better way to raise spirits than a party? So, we created all the fun stuff that goes with such an occasion: invitations, decorations, songs, dances, particular symbols, special clothing, distinctive foods…

Of course, we must not forget gifts. We cogitate about them, agonize about them, shop for them, wrap them, and mutually exchange them, hoping that we got it right this year and the recipient won’t once more thank us profusely and sequester said item in the back of a drawer, never to be seen again.

Somewhere along the way, tribal instincts entered the picture. They included their own interpretation of how the celebrants should think and behave. Ritualism evolved. Boiled down to their respective essence, however, each is about the same, just with different window dressing. Nevertheless, individual actors or groups are positive that their particular spin is the right way, the only way.

Well, you know what happens in such situations: they devolve into “my way or the highway.” Bad behaviors arise like anger, rivalry, ostracism, violence, and wars simply because someone or a collection of someones has to prove that my variation on a theme is better than your variation on a theme.

We see this on personal levels, global levels, and everything in between. One’s ideas, beliefs, views, goals, lifestyle, blah, blah, blah are viewed as good, and anyone who opposes them is considered bad. Why do we as the highest level creatures on earth have to devolve into such grubby little characters? What’s the big deal, anyhow?

Rodney King, an average guy who most people never heard of, gained instant fame in 1991 after he was beaten by police officers following a high speed chase in connection with his arrest for drunk driving. The whole thing was caught on video, making him a celebrity. Subsequently, he questioned publicly why people can’t get along.

I ponder like Rodney. Why must everything be a competition? Why must it all turn into a cat fight? Why do we end up killing each other, literally and figuratively? Are we fated to that end; is it in our DNA; is there no other way we can behave?

I don’t have answers, only questions. One final one: Don’t you all just get tired of it already?

***

Please forward my blog in its entirety to anyone who might be interested and post it on your Facebook, Twitter and other social media accounts. To reprint any material, contact me for permission at:  gowergulch@yahoo.com. If you want to be automatically notified when I post a new blog, click on the “Follow” button in the upper right corner of this page and fill in the information. To read my other blog posts, scroll down on this page or click on “Recent Posts” or “Archives” under the Follow button. To opt out of receiving this blog, contact me at the aforementioned email address, let me know, and I’ll remove you from the list.

Photo credit: shixart1985 on Visualhunt.com / CC BY

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Life Has No Reverse Gear

This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help retirees, those soon to retire, baby boomers, and seniors reinvent themselves in this new stage of their lives. Her public lecture and recently published book on senior reinvention are titled: “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement Years: Find Joy Excitement, and Purpose After You Retire.” Her memoir is: Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class. Both books are available at Amazon.com. Her website is: LeeGaleGruen.com

CHITCHAT: My new book is now available on Amazon.com. The title is the same as this blog and my public lecture: Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement Years: Find Joy, Excitement, and Purpose After You Retire. Not a one-size-fits-all approach, the book offers an individualized, detailed guide to help readers discover activities and pursuits in this new stage of their lives, “retirement,” based on their own likes and comfort level. I learned the secret the hard way transitioning from retired probation officer to actress, author, public speaker, and blogger. Audience members at my lectures on senior reinvention requested a book on the subject. This is the result, and it contains the content of those talks and six years of posts from this blog. BTW it would make a great holiday gift!

The 11th century Persian philosopher, mathematician, astronomer, and poet Omar Khayyam wrote a haunting and fateful observation. You may have encountered it sometime during your education, but it bears repeating:

The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.

Yes, mankind figured out even a thousand years ago that the cog of life moves in only one direction: forward. That bit of wisdom is as true today as in Omar’s time. Once you have acted, you can’t un-act. No matter how much you rail, beat your chest, pray, or promise, an act or failure to act at any given instant cannot be undone.

How often have we wanted to step back just a moment, five minutes, an hour, a day… to reverse our chosen direction? It’s happened to all of us. You can’t get through life without occasional stumbles.

It happened to me recently pertaining to the publishing of my new book. Only after it was published did I learn that I could have gotten a Library of Congress Control Number. Their hard-and-fast rule, however, is that it must be obtained before the book is published. I had never even heard of such a number and the benefits it might bring.

I beat myself up over that, conjuring up all sorts of machinations to step back in time. None worked, and each made the situation more convoluted. After several sleep interrupted nights over my bad luck, I finally accepted that I would have to live with the consequences. Not long after, I learned about an unrelated opportunity that was soon to expire. I was able to take advantage of it just under the wire. In life, you can’t win ’em all.

The wins, of course, are exciting–the losses, not so much. So how do we survive the latter? First we must forgive ourselves for saying the wrong thing, doing the wrong thing, or other failings. Next, we must be grateful that we do sometimes end up on the right side of time’s arrow. Finally, we must put it all to bed and move on.

 I remember decades ago when my then husband took a course for several months to qualify for a one chance, specialty certificate in his profession with a deadline for completion. He attended classes at night after work for the prescribed months. When he had proof of passing the requirements, I watched as he filled out his application and placed it along with all the proper documentation into an addressed and stamped envelope. After a few weeks, he couldn’t understand why he had not received the coveted certificate.

One evening as we were driving to visit friends, I was sitting on the passenger side and noticed the edge of an envelope sticking out from between the seats. I pulled it out and realized that it was his application. Needless to say, that revelation bummed him out completely and ruined not only our evening but his mood for the next many days.

It’s okay to be upset over situations like this for a short while, but we must get beyond it. I’ve written on this topic before. (See my blog of November 25, 2018: “Waiting for Upcycle Days“, and my blog of November 20, 2016: “You Win Some, You Lose Some.”) The only consolation is knowing that these types of things happen to everyone.

***

Please forward my blog to anyone who might be interested and post it on your Facebook, Twitter and other social media. To reprint any material, contact me for permission at:  gowergulch@yahoo.com. If you want to be automatically notified when I post a new blog, click on the “Follow” button in the upper right corner of this page and fill in the information. To read my other blog posts, scroll down on this page or click on “Recent Posts” or “Archives” under the Follow button. To opt out of receiving this blog, contact me at the aforementioned email address, let me know, and I’ll remove you from the list.

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All We Can Do Is Approach

This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help retirees, those soon to retire, baby boomers, and seniors reinvent themselves in this new stage of their lives. Her public lecture and recently published book on senior reinvention are titled: “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement Years: Find Joy Excitement, and Purpose After You Retire.” Her memoir is: Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class. Both books are available at Amazon.com. Her website is: LeeGaleGruen.com

CHITCHAT: **MY BOOK IS PUBLISHED!** My new book is now available on Amazon.com. The title is the same as this blog and my public lecture: Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement Years: Find Joy, Excitement, and Purpose After You Retire. Not a one-size-fits-all approach, the book offers an individualized, detailed guide to help readers discover activities and pursuits in this new stage of their lives, “retirement,” based on their own likes and comfort level. I learned the secret the hard way transitioning from retired probation officer to actress, author, public speaker, and blogger. Audience members at my lectures on senior reinvention requested a book on the subject. This is the result, and it contains the content of those talks and six years of posts from this blog. BTW it would make a great holiday gift!

MORE CHITCHAT: I will be one of the presenters in a four-day, virtual summit online via Zoom. Here is the information and link:

For Seniors in Quarantine “Breaking the Isolation with Entertainment”
Hosted by: Babette Home Care
Date: December 2, 2020, 2:00pm
Link https://www.babettehomecare.com/lee-gale-gruen/ 

Now, on to my blog:

Life is a series of infinitesimal steps toward goals. We might think that the goals are such things as obtaining a job, finding a mate, amassing trendy material goods, and the like. However, scratch the surface and we see that drivers such as those just mask our true aims. What we are really seeking are feelings such as satisfaction, purpose, contentment, joy, purpose, and all the others that make us feel good.

The reality is that such feelings can never be attained completely. We might touch the heights momentarily, but there will always be the pull from the polar opposite and all degrees along the continuum that lurk and intervene as we meander haltingly toward the ends we crave.

We’ve all heard the old adage: two steps forward, one step back. None of us can escape that in our less-than-perfect lives. If it’s any consolation, it is part of the human condition–all of us, not just you.

That shouldn’t stop you from your quest. Use your skills and talents to propel yourself in the direction you want to go. When you hit that roadblock, and you will, work around it, over it, or under it. Rest for a while if you must. Regenerate. Then, forge on. The trick is to continue moving toward your aspiration regardless of setbacks.

During your travels, you might change methods and even goals, but that’s okay. None are carved in stone. You may discover that buying a yacht will not make you any happier than volunteering at the local charity of your choice. The target in this example is happiness or contentment, and they can be pursued through many different paths.

Find the size that fits you. Try not to stray far from the direct path with enticements that hinder rather than help you in your journey. However, if you do wander, just take note of it and push yourself back onto the truest trajectory. You’ll approach closer and closer to what you desire as you travel the right route.

***

Please forward my blog in its entirety to anyone who might be interested and post it on your Facebook, Twitter and other social media accounts. To reprint any material, contact me for permission at:  gowergulch@yahoo.com. If you want to be automatically notified when I post a new blog, click on the “Follow” button in the upper right corner of this page and fill in the information. To read my other blog posts, scroll down on this page or click on “Recent Posts” or “Archives” under the Follow button. To opt out of receiving this blog, contact me at the aforementioned email address, let me know, and I’ll remove you from the list.

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Make Your Bed

This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help baby boomers, seniors, retirees, and those soon to retire find joy, excitement, and purpose after retiring. Her public lecture on this subject is titled: “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement.” Her memoir, Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class, is available by clicking here Amazon.com. Click here for her website: LeeGaleGruen.com

CHITCHAT: I will be a presenter in a four-day, virtual summit online via Zoom. Here is the information and link:

For Seniors in Quarantine “Breaking the Isolation with Entertainment”
Hosted by: Babette Home Care
Date: December 2, 2020, 2:00pm
Link https://www.babettehomecare.com/lee-gale-gruen/ 

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MORE CHITCHAT: My new book on the topic of senior reinvention will be published very soon on Amazon.com. The title is the same as this blog and my public lecture: Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement Years. The book will contain all the material from my lecture as well as more than six years of posts from this blog. I will announce in this forum when it has been published and is available for purchase.

Now, on to my blog:

I remember my mother telling me when I was a new bride that to make my house look picked up, even on stressful days with no time for such things, “always make sure that the table is cleared and your bed is made.” I’ve carried that bit of sage, household advice with me down through the decades.

To this day, as soon as I get up in the morning to start my day, the first thing I do is assemble the pillows, sheets, covers, and bedspread into a neat, ready-for-company appearance. I mean I do so before I go to the bathroom, before I have breakfast, before I take a shower–well, maybe after I go to the bathroom, but the point is that I know if I don’t attack that job ASAP, it won’t get done. After all these years, it’s automatic; I don’t even think about it. On the rare occasions when I’m so rushed that I don’t carry out that task first thing, the bed tends to stay unmade all day, just as I knew it would.

So, why is it important in this day of COVID-19 and sheltering-in-place to tidy up your abode? We’re not inviting company inside anyway, so what’s the big deal; no one is going to see it?

The big deal is for our own psychological well-being. Those who live in a disorderly, unkempt manner are more prone to feeling down and depressed. We must do all we can in our isolation to keep our spirits up; we must be self-motivating. Maintaining a routine and having expectations of ourselves helps to that end.

Yes, do it for Numero Uno (practicing my Spanish here). You must work to feel good about yourself and your life. You must survive and thrive in these trying times.

Make a list if it helps so you will remember your daily routine, and follow it! Gather up those clothes strewn around on the floor from the night before, clear the table of yesterday’s dirty dishes, and make your bed rápido! (I’m on an Español roll.) Better yet, don’t leave the mess in the first place. Along with that, clean your house, apartment, trailer, cave, or wherever you reside: vacuum, dust, wash floors and countertops… If it doesn’t improve your mindset, at least it will provide you with a little free exercise.

Thanks, Mom!

***

Please forward my blog to anyone who might be interested and post it on your Facebook, Twitter and other social media. To reprint any material, contact me for permission at:  gowergulch@yahoo.com. If you want to be automatically notified when I post a new blog, click on the “Follow” button in the upper right corner of this page and fill in the information. To read my other blog posts, scroll down on this page or click on “Recent Posts” or “Archives” under the Follow button. To opt out of receiving this blog, contact me at the aforementioned email address, let me know, and I’ll remove you from the list.

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Reading Aloud

This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help baby boomers, seniors, retirees, and those soon to retire find joy, excitement, and purpose after retiring. Her public lecture on this subject is titled: “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement.” Her memoir, Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class, is available by clicking here Amazon.com. Click here for her website: LeeGaleGruen.com

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is xxx-final-front-cover-10-27-20-1.jpg

CHITCHAT: My new book on the topic of senior reinvention will be published very soon on Amazon.com. The title is the same as this blog and my public lecture: Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement Years. The book will contain all the material from my lecture as well as more than six years of posts from this blog. I will announce in this forum when it has been published and is available for purchase.

Now, on to my blog:

Reading Aloud - Michelle ObamaMy son has been reading bedtime stories to his three children since they were infants. It is still a nighttime tradition even though the kids are now ages thirteen, ten, and seven. The oldest has aged out but still occasionally participates. The middle child is close to being too old, but she hangs on because she knows how much Daddy loves it. And, of course, the youngest continues to be enthralled. It’s their special time with their father which they will remember all their lives.

Reading aloud to others is a beautiful interaction which is enjoyed by each one in the group whether you are the reader or listener. The exclusively auditory experience of hearing a story offers a different sensation than one including visuals and can be just as gratifying; it leaves more to the imagination. Of course, pictures are fun and included in many books, especially those for young children.

An enjoyable grandparent/grandchildren interaction is to read out loud to your grandsons and granddaughters.  Then, you can reverse it and be their appreciative audience as they show off their reading skills to you.

Books on tape have become very popular. We can “read” books while we’re driving, falling asleep, or even if we’re visually impaired. We can also partake of the drama as interpreted by the voice actor.

Various religions have ceremonial observances where chosen members of the congregation read aloud in turn as part of the service.  Particular times or sections of the text may be recited by the assembly as a group exercise.

Poetry reading is often done verbally for one listener or a roomful.  Book authors give talks to promote their latest work, and they usually narrate passages to whet the appetite of prospective buyers.

Play reading clubs and groups have sprung up in recent years.  It’s a fun evening at the chosen member’s home with each person vocalizing their part.  The act breaks are times for refreshments, often of the pot-luck persuasion.

During this time of Covid 19 and the increase in Zoom use to replace in-person gatherings, my drama club has chosen plays to perform via that online platform.  We’re each contained in our small Zoom boxes arranged orderly on the computer monitor.  Everyone has a script, and we play our parts with enthusiasm using our acting skills.

Try your hand at reading out loud whether to family members, friends, club attendees or at religious gatherings. It’s a social way to interact in a low cost experience which is mutually satisfying to all.

***

Please forward my blog to anyone who might be interested and post it on your Facebook, Twitter and other social media. To reprint any material, contact me for permission at:  gowergulch@yahoo.com. If you want to be automatically notified when I post a new blog, click on the “Follow” button in the upper right corner of this page and fill in the information. To read my other blog posts, scroll down on this page or click on “Recent Posts” or “Archives” under the Follow button. To opt out of receiving this blog, contact me at the aforementioned email address, let me know, and I’ll remove you from the list.

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Patience or the Lack Thereof

This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help baby boomers, seniors, retirees, and those soon to retire find joy, excitement, and purpose in life after they retire. Her public lecture on this subject is titled: “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement Years.” Her memoir, Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class, is available on Amazon.com. Click here for her website: LeeGaleGruen.com

CHITCHAT: My new book on the topic of senior reinvention will be published soon. The title is the same as this blog and my public lecture: Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement Years: Find Joy, Excitement, and Purpose after You Retire. The book will contain all the material from my public talk as well as more than six years of posts from this blog. I will announce in this forum when it is published and available for purchase.

Now, on to my blog:

Askew glaring animalAh, patience. A little research finds it first mentioned as a virtue (aka moral excellence) by an ancient Roman poet, Aurelius Prudentius Clemens, in the fifth century. Subsequently, others took it up such as in the narrative poem, Piers Plowman, thought to have been written in the 1300s by William Langland. Later that same century, Geoffrey Chaucer in the Canterbury Tales had something to say about it: “Patience is a high virtue… but virtue can hurt you.”

Some seem to possess more of it and some less. I don’t think a lot was parceled out to me upon my birth. However, as I age, someone seems to be slowly siphoning off what little I started with.

It’s hard to stand in line for my turn; it’s hard to sit in my car at a traffic signal which never seems to nod in my direction; it’s hard to deal with people who seem to be blabbering inanities. I’ve displayed my askew glare and stomped out of stores where I had to wait my turn in the queue just to ask an employee where to find an item, hustling back to my car and driving home so I could calm down.

Our life has become so complex and so jostled by the sheer number of human beings on the earth that the competition for absolutely everything is intense. Here’s a typical scenario that happens on the telephone extrapolated from the earlier brick and mortar example:

You call your target, wade through an interminable menu, and finally speak to a live human, all just to be told that you’re not at the right place whereupon you are transferred elsewhere. Of course, the elsewhere requires another menu, another wait, and yet again another staff member who may pass you off to someone else. This game frequently becomes a cycle where you end up back at the first employee. Truth be told, I’m guilty of the telephone equivalent of the aforementioned “stomping out of the store.” I’ve been known to slam down the proverbial receiver, at least in my head. In reality, I now push the off button on my cell phone extra hard–that’ll show ’em!

Is it me or is this one more affliction brought on by the aging process? I envy those who seem to be able to placidly wait their turn. It seems that the delay for so many gratifications in our daily activities has become longer and longer, or is it that I have become more and more impatient? I suspect it’s a combination of both.

Where can I go to get a re-charge of patience? I need more than I have to cope with the reality of today’s planet. On the other hand, Chaucer seems to think that particular virtue falls into a category that can be harmful. Maybe he’s onto something. Thanks, Geoff. Seems I’ve been taking care of myself all along.

***

Please forward my blog to anyone who might be interested and post it on your Facebook, Twitter and other social media. To reprint any material, contact me for permission at:  gowergulch@yahoo.com. If you want to be automatically notified when I post a new blog, click on the “Follow” button in the upper right corner of this page and fill in the information. To read my other blog posts, scroll down on this page or click on “Recent Posts” or “Archives” under the Follow button. To opt out of receiving this blog, contact me at the aforementioned email address, let me know, and I’ll remove you from the list.

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Coming Out of Your Shell

This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help baby boomers, seniors, retirees, and those soon to retire find joy, excitement, and purpose in life after they retire. Her public lecture on this subject is titled: “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement Years.” Her memoir, Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class, is available on Amazon.com. Click here for her website: LeeGaleGruen.com

CHITCHAT: My new book on the topic of senior reinvention will be published soon. The title is the same as this blog and my public lecture: Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement Years: Find Joy, Excitement, and Purpose after You Retire. The book will contain all the material from my public talk as well as my blog posts of more than six years. I will announce in this forum when it is published and available for purchase.

Now, on to my blog:

Shells are not just for turtles, mollusks, and their brethren to inhabit. Conversely, not only birds, reptiles, and their kin break out of shells. Humans do both, although not with the tangible kind as in the aforementioned examples.

Many people plaster on a false face to conceal their feelings or absence of them. That’s right, we hide in our invisible shells. Fortunately, we can alight from them, also.

When life becomes too much to bear, we find solace in retreating behind a barrier to protect ourselves from further onslaught, pressure, and the other stresses we experience. However, if we continue in that mode for too long, it becomes a lifestyle. In so many cases, we drag such behavior along from childhood when we hadn’t developed the ability to cope with rejection, humiliation, disappointment, distress, and the other pain caused by life’s hardships or fellow humans.

The problem is that once we enter the protective housing created in our minds, it can take years to emerge. Shy, inhibited individuals dream of being able to be forthcoming and take on all challengers rather than slinking away as has been their modus operandi for years. Those who go along to get along struggle to find their voice. Even those who seem so confident and in control strive to let go of that facade and be themselves, if they can figure out what that is.

Shells are neither good nor bad, but they can be constructive or destructive. Make your shell work for you. Be aware of it, and use it in a manner to your benefit. Retreat into it when you need protection and a breather. Cast it off when you feel stronger and can face what life throws your way. The trick is to store your shell in a safe place to pick up or lay down as the need arises.

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Please forward my blog to anyone who might be interested and post it on your Facebook, Twitter and other social media. To reprint any material, contact me for permission at:  gowergulch@yahoo.com. If you want to be automatically notified when I post a new blog, click on the “Follow” button in the upper right corner of this page and fill in the information. To read my other blog posts, scroll down on this page or click on “Recent Posts” or “Archives” under the Follow button. To opt out of receiving this blog, contact me at the aforementioned email address, let me know, and I’ll remove you from the list.

Photo credit James St. John on Visualhunt.com CC BY

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Filed under active seniors, Baby boomers, gerontology, healthy aging, longevity, reinvention, retirement, senior citizens, seniors, successful aging

Just Me and My Bonsai

This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help baby boomers, seniors, retirees, and those soon to retire find joy, excitement, and purpose in life after retirement. Her public lecture on this subject is titled: “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement Years.” Her memoir, Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class, is available by clicking here Amazon.com. Click here for her website: LeeGaleGruen.com

CHITCHAT:  I have slightly altered the name of this blog to “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement Years.” It will be the same blog, but it will  match the title of my public lecture on the topic of senior reinvention as well as my pending book: Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement Years: Find Joy, Excitement, and Purpose after You Retire. The book will contain all the material from my public lecture as well as my blog posts of more than six years. I will announce in this forum when it is published and available for purchase.

Now, on to my blog:

BonzaiMy cousins, Gail and her husband Paul, visited me some months ago and brought me a lovely bonsai plant as a house gift. You can see my reflection in the window as I’m taking a picture of my new darling after having just given it a haircut. Yes, miscellaneous shoots were breaking out of its manicured silhouette and upsetting the continuity of the design.

Learning to care for this newest edition to my plant housemates has centered my attention. Nothing else can occupy my mind while I’m at my bonsai tasks. (See my blog of April 15, 2019, “Outfoxed by a Plant,” about another of my green, earthbound friends.)

Focusing on anything has that effect. The chosen object of intense immersion can be a pet, another human, a hobby, writing a book, painting a picture, or anything else that occupies you completely.  It forces you to concentrate for that block of time on only one thing, holding back all the other stimuli of the world vying for your time.  Multi-tasking can be kept at bay for a little longer.

In the case the flora of the earth, the study and care of them is a therapeutic endeavor. Many people find gardening to be calming and healing. If you have the space for it, you might try planting a variety of vegetables, flowers, and other plants that you enjoy. The act of tilling the soil, mixing in the fertilizer, laying down the seeds or saplings, weeding, watering, harvesting, and all the rest can be consuming yet enjoyable.

When small sprouts start to shoot up, there’s a sense of fulfillment in having contributed to the birth of a living thing.  Consuming your own veggie efforts or serving them to friends makes you a fertility god or goddess, partaking in and offering nature’s bounty.  My friend, Jane, often shares the yield from her garden plot with those she encounters including service personnel in the retirement community where we both live.  The trunk of her car contains numerous bags for the offerings along with her gardening tools–always ready just in case.

Getting involved with plants can be as simple and inexpensive as a small pot on your table or window sill containing a cutting from a friend’s plant. You can graduate to more complex dealings if you wish–maybe even planting, training, and caring for a bonsai.

Try developing your own “green thumb.” It can be a gratifying pursuit, which will bring you satisfaction and offer a periodic respite from more demanding concerns.

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Please forward my blog to anyone who might be interested and post it on your Facebook, Twitter and other social media. To reprint any material, contact me for permission at:  gowergulch@yahoo.com. If you want to be automatically notified when I post a new blog, click on the “Follow” button in the upper right corner of this page and fill in the information. To read my other blog posts, scroll down on this page or click on “Recent Posts” or “Archives” under the Follow button. To opt out of receiving this blog, contact me at the aforementioned email address, let me know, and I’ll remove you from the list.

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Too Many Decisions

This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help baby boomers, seniors, retirees, and those soon to retire find joy, excitement, and purpose during retirement. Her public lecture on this subject is titled: “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement Years.” Her memoir, Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class, is available on Amazon.com. Click here for her website: LeeGaleGruen.com

CHITCHAT:  I have slightly altered the name of this blog to “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement Years.” It will be the same blog, but it will  match the title of my public lecture on the topic of senior reinvention as well as my pending book: Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement Years: Find Joy, Excitement, and Purpose after You Retire. The book will contain all the material from my public lecture as well as my blog posts of more than six years. I will announce in this forum when it is published and available for purchase.

Now, on to my blog:

head in hands 2Our lives have become constrained by too many decisions we are called upon to make every day just to get through it. It encompasses everything from what to eat for breakfast to what to put on for bed. That, of course, spills over outside of the home.

Life didn’t used to be this complicated. When you wanted to buy something, there were usually one or two choices, maybe three. Now, there are dozens, each with its own features.

When we want to buy a car, we need to consider so many bells and whistles that come or do not come with it.  It seems that these days we must decide whether to have our air conditioned just so; our derriere warmed by the seat; our music delivered by various means; our roof able to admit fresh air, sunlight, or none of these; our…

When I last went grocery shopping, product labels demanded constant adjudications from me: low-fat, low sugar, no artificial sweetener, yes artificial sweetener, low sodium, organic, and on and on. The meat, produce, dairy, bakery, and household sections were just as bad.

“I don’t care,” I screamed back.  “Just give me a jar of mayonnaise!”

I was wasted by the time I arrived at the checkout stand. I perked up when I saw my favorite box boy, a sweet, young man who had been working there for years.

“Hi Chad,” I greeted him.

He smiled and responded, “paper or plastic.” That was the last straw! I considered jumping ten feet in the air and landing on his throat but was constrained by my decades of socially acceptable behavior training. After all, those three words made up the bulk of his on-the-job conversation. Who was I to interfere with his brief moment of importance? So, I gave Chad a pass.

I need a fairy god-decider in my life. However, I know such a wish is fraught with potential problems; my official decider could become an authoritarian and morph into my fairy god-dictator. No, I don’t want that. What I want is a decider who will decide for me when I decide I want him to decide, and who will melt into the background when I decide that, also. If such a being or spirit exists, I’m unaware of it. Looks like I’ll just have to do it myself, like usual. But, right now, I need a nap–groan.

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Please forward my blog to anyone who might be interested and post it on your Facebook, Twitter and other social media. To reprint any material, contact me for permission at:  gowergulch@yahoo.com. If you want to be automatically notified when I post a new blog, click on the “Follow” button in the upper right corner of this page and fill in the information. To read my other blog posts, scroll down on this page or click on “Recent Posts” or “Archives” under the Follow button. To opt out of receiving this blog, contact me at the aforementioned email address, let me know, and I’ll remove you from the list.

Photo credit: nick farnhill on Visualhunt / CC BY-SA

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Filed under active seniors, Baby boomers, gerontology, healthy aging, longevity, reinvention, retirement, senior citizens, seniors, successful aging