Monthly Archives: December 2014

What Do You Do When the Happy Holidays Aren’t So Happy?

This is a blog written by Lee Gale Gruen aimed at helping Baby Boomers and seniors find more joy, excitement, and satisfaction in their lives after retirement from a job, career, parenting, etc. Her memoir, available on Amazon.com, is: Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class (click on this link for the book website: AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com)

NEWS:  I gave a talk titled “Reinventing Yourself in Your Senior Years” last week at the SCAN Senior Wellness Center in Ventura, CA.  Click on this link to see a short video clip from that talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_cen-dN6SUU&feature=youtu.be

Now, on to my blog:

Mistletoe - LG DrawingSo, what do you do when the “happy holidays” aren’t so happy? Well, you bake cookies, of course (further discussion below).

Yes, it often looks like what the other guy has is so wonderful compared to what you have. This is the season where that’s especially true with seemingly everyone discussing all the wonderful things they’re going to do over the holidays. Maybe your plans or lack of plans look pretty paltry next to theirs. How can we be happy with what we have and embrace it?

I had an experience a few years ago where I was feeling envious of a friend. It doesn’t matter what it was about–just fill in the blank. The point is: what she had seemed better, more desirable, more appealing, etc. than what I had, and I was jealous.

I was telling my sad story to another friend who commented, “be careful what you wish for.” Ah yes, it’s so true and so easy to forget. When I took a good look at my coveted friend’s whole life, I realized I was cherry-picking. Yes, I was envious of “Thing A” that she had, but I certainly didn’t want “Thing B” in her life.

So, folks, when envy strikes, and it will, think about whether you’d really be willing to switch places with another person if you had to take the whole package and not just cherry-pick.

To cheer you up a bit if you’re feeling down at holiday time, and lots of people are, here’s a guilt-free cookie recipe that’s super healthy and yummy. You can also freeze them and with a 20-second zap in the microwave, they’re ready to serve last-minute guests or pack in sack lunches.

“NO SUGAR, MILK, SALT, BUTTER, EGGS, FLOUR” COOKIES

3 very ripe bananas, average size
2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup (8 oz) chopped & pitted dates or golden raisins
1/3 cup oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Line cookie sheet with parchment paper (or use non-stick cookie sheet)
In large bowl, mash bananas
Add rest of ingredients
Mix well and let sit for 15 minutes
Drop dough by large, rounded teaspoonfuls onto cookie sheet (NOTE: Cookies don’t spread during baking, so you need to shape them.)
Bake 20 minutes or until golden brown
Let cool 5 minutes & transfer to wire rack to cool completely
(NOTE: Cookies are best the day after baking. They can be frozen and defrosted individually or in batches in microwave for about 20 seconds on high.)

Happy Holidays Your Style!

Please pass my blog along to anyone else who might be interested and post it on your Facebook, Twitter and other social media. 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.

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Do You Have Something to Say?

This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help baby boomers and seniors find more joy, excitement, and satisfaction in their lives after retirement from a job, career, parenting, etc. Her memoir, available on Amazon.com, is: Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class (website: AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com)

NEWS:  I will be giving a free talk titled “Reinventing Yourself in Your Senior Years” at the SCAN Senior Resource Center, on December 9, 2014, 10:00am, 6633 Telephone Rd, Suite 100 – Room 108, Ventura, CA 93003

Now, on to my blog:

PelicansA few months ago, a woman bought my memoir.  I ran into her recently, and she told me she had really enjoyed it.  “I knew you had something to say when I first met you,” she commented. 

There’s a trendy term for that:  “finding your voice.”  It means getting in touch with and revealing your innermost feelings—expressing your real self.  It’s a hard thing to do.  After all, we keep so many things private fearing that if others learned them they’d misuse the information, and we’d be harmed in some manner: rejected, ostracized, manipulated, criticized, lose control, etc.  

Have you found your voice?  When is it finally your turn to do so?  In my case, I was too inhibited by social constraints:  this isn’t acceptable; I might hurt someone’s feelings; someone might get angry at me; I might be judged; someone might find fault with me.  So, I went for years without saying what I had to say.  I was so good at keeping my true feelings hidden that I even did it from myself. 

I finally decided to write a memoir.  It was just supposed to be a lightweight, father/daughter bonding book about when my father and I attended a senior acting class together when I was sixty and he was eighty-five. However, as I wrote, things appeared on the page almost involuntarily.  Sometimes, I would sit back and ponder what I had just written:  I didn’t realize I felt that way.  I haven’t thought about that incident in decades.  I was finding my voice through the process of writing about a small piece of my life.  My sweet, little memoir became much more than that; it became a catharsis.  The hidden feelings I was writing about are universal feelings, I’m sure, filtered through my own unique experiences.

How do you feel about things, about life, about your own life in particular?  When is it time for you to start saying it? You don’t have to write a book like I did.  There are many ways to say what you have to say. If you like writing, then keep a journal or diary, write a letter to a friend (remember letters?), write a letter to the editor, write an article for a publication.  If your preference is verbal, then tell it to a friend, acquaintance, group, therapist, the world. 

We all have something to say.  It’s gratifying to finally say what you feel inside without having to mask it for society’s approval.  Try it.  It may take baby steps, but with some practice, it will become easier.

Please pass my blog along to anyone else who might be interested and post it on your Facebook, Twitter and other social media. 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.

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