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:

Jingle BellSo, 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 them 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, and more appealing 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.


3 average, over-ripe bananas
2 cups regular rolled oats
1 cup golden raisins
1/3 cup oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Mash bananas in large bowl; add rest of ingredients; mix well; let sit for 15 minutes; place large, teaspoonfuls onto cookie sheet (mold into desired shape as they don’t change during baking); bake 20 minutes (NOTE: Cookies can be frozen and defrosted in microwave.)

Happy Holidays, your style!

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7 responses to “What Do You Do When the Happy Holidays Aren’t So Happy?

  1. I’ve tried to cultivate a habit of blessing-counting…works every time. Was there a poem about a factory owner named Richard Corey?

    • I looked the poem up on the internet and it certainly pertains to my blog:

      Whenever Richard Cory went down town,
      We people on the pavement looked at him:
      He was a gentleman from sole to crown,
      Clean favored, and imperially slim.

      And he was always quietly arrayed,
      And he was always human when he talked;
      But still he fluttered pulses when he said,
      “Good-morning,” and he glittered when he walked.

      And he was rich – yes, richer than a king –
      And admirably schooled in every grace:
      In fine, we thought that he was everything
      To make us wish that we were in his place.

      So on we worked, and waited for the light,
      And went without the meat, and cursed the bread;
      And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,
      Went home and put a bullet through his head.

  2. Liz Robinson

    I am thinking of starting a blog which is similar to yours but with more focus on my pre-retirement journey on re-inventing myself. This will include the challenges while attempting online college courses, downsizing from a home which included 6 children and now to empty nesters, the emotions surrounding spending more time travelling and less time grandparenting. The list goes on and on. Do you have any suggestions and/or advice?

  3. Hi Liz, I’m glad you stumbled upon my blog. I’ll respond to your request directly to your email address.

  4. lovely advice & tasty looking recipe! thank you!

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