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:
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 about them they’d misuse the information, and we’d be harmed in some manner: rejected, ostracized, manipulated, criticized, lose control…
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.