Monthly Archives: January 2015

Having a Bad Day

This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers and seniors find joy, excitement, and satisfaction in their lives after retirement from a job, career, parenting, etc.  Her public lectures on this subject are entitled, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Senior Years.”  Her memoir, available on Amazon.com, is: Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class (Click here for website link:  http://AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com)

NEWS:  I will be interviewed on Blog Talk Radio “Giving Voice to Your Story,” with Dorit Sasson on Feb 5, 2015, 7:30am (PST), link: blogtalkradio.com

Now, on to my blog:

Lion Roaring

Have you ever had a bad day? I can almost guarantee the answer is, “yes.” I don’t think anyone can get through this life without having one. Well, last week I had a doozy. I set my alarm for 7:30am to allow plenty of time to get dressed, have breakfast, and drive carefully over a one-lane, winding, canyon road to pick up my friend for a writers’ club meeting.

She answered the door dressed in an old sweat suit. “It’s tomorrow, Lee Gale.” “What,” I responded without comprehension. After she repeated it a few more times knocking me out of my denial, I fished out my calendar book. Yup, she was right. I had arrived at her house a full twenty-four hours before our date.

I couldn’t believe it; I was really bummed out. I didn’t have to be at my first appointment of the day until 11:30am. I could have slept another few hours; I could have avoided a twelve-mile drive over a steep canyon road; I could have done a million other things with my life.

I did some shopping to kill the time and made my way back over that horrible canyon road, fighting a traffic snag which made me late.  When I got to the restaurant for my real appointment that day, all the parking spaces in the lot were taken. I found one on the next block and had to pick my way with my sore toe through an unevenly paved alley. When I walked in to join the senior center “dining out” class as an invited guest of some friends, there were about thirty people seated at a very long table made from several placed railroad car fashion. My friends had been unable to save me a seat next to them.

I had been to the same restaurant once before, and I wasn’t too crazy about the food. Because this was a large group, the restaurant had set a fixed price menu costing almost twice what I paid previously. That would mean I’d have to sit at the far end from my friends and eat a mediocre, expensive meal with strangers.

Right at that moment I went on overload. I had to have a time-out from my so far bad day. I whispered in one friend’s ear that I was going to leave, and I did. I drove home and had lunch, some quiet time, and a rest.

That’s one of the few times in my life I’ve been able to do something like that. Of course, the circumstances allowed for it: I was alone with my own car, I was close to my house, I didn’t know anyone at the event except for a few people. Nevertheless, the lesson was that I assessed my needs and acted to meet them.

It made up for the fact that the week earlier I had done just the opposite at a social gathering and brooded over it for the next few days because I hadn’t been able to take care of myself. It’s so difficult to learn how to take care of ourselves, and so worth it.

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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Every Time I Drop a Spouse, I Blossom

Blossoming FlowersThis 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)

Someone emailed me recently suggesting I write a blog about suddenly finding yourself single in your senior years. She is in her late sixties and getting a divorce.

Loss of a partner be it a spouse, live-in relationship, or significant other, and whether by death, divorce, mutual agreement, etc, is a blow at any age, but maybe even more so in your later years when your resiliency has decreased. Such a shift is a major passage of life; we face the unknown future alone, scared, naked and shaking. I’ve experienced it twice in my life, and what I’ve found is that no matter how hard it seemed at the time, my life eventually became better than before.

I’m certainly not advocating termination of a relationship if each party is enhanced by it. However, in my case, I blossomed after my two divorces. I found myself freed from a constraining existence which only served to restrict and diminish me. After the initial shock, fear, and devastation, I gathered my resources, struck out on my own, and flourished. The first time, I became much more independent, made new friends, and learned to ski. The second time, many years later and as a senior, I became an actress, author, motivational speaker and blogger—whew!

Although I make it sound easy, it was anything but. Each blossoming happened slowly over some years, and there were a lot of periods of self-doubt, misgivings, and lack of motivation. However, I finally did it, and I can honestly say that those new, wonderful things in my life would not have occurred within those marriages.

Divorce or a breakup of any type of relationship usually happens when it changes from one of nourishment and support to one of toxicity and isolation. If the deterioration comes gradually, we at least have time to get used to it. If the termination was sudden such as in the case of an unexpected death, the devastation can seem much worse. Nevertheless, in both instances, even if the relationship was positive, there might be an element of relief if it made you feel oppressed and stifled, or forced you into the role of submissive underling (laborer to his/her CEO), full-time caretaker, etc.

Regardless of the reason you find yourself single, the healing process is the same. After grieving the loss, you must look inside yourself at your strengths (yes, you have them) and move forward with the goal of becoming healthy. You may have to alter your lifestyle: lower your standard of living, move to other quarters, find a job. However, in the process, you might find those strengths you never knew you had.

Go check out that local senior center you’ve heard about. Sign up for a class others have mentioned or sounded intriguing. Take a trip with a friend or group. Follow up on a hobby, pastime, or something you always thought you might try some day but never had the time.

As I’ve emphasized so many times in my blogs, you have choices. You can become mired in your grief and turn it into a life-style, constantly discussing it with everyone you encounter until they start avoiding you. Or, you can proceed to carve out that new identity for yourself and blossom. This is your chance!

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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