Oh, I Can’t Do That!

This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, and those contemplating retirement find joy, excitement, and satisfaction in their lives after they retire from a job, career, parenting, etc. Her public lectures on this subject are titled, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement 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: http://AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com

April 29, 2015, 5:00pm: Lecture: “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement Years,” Osher Lifelong Learning Institute “Brault Successful Aging Lecture” (Keynote Speaker), California State University Long Beach, 1250 Bellflower Blvd, Long Beach, CA 90840, (free, but pre-registration advised)
May 30, 2015, 11:30am: Lecture: “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement Years,” Joslyn Adult Center, “Health and Fitness Expo,” 210 N. Chapel Ave, Alhambra, CA 91801
September 18, 2015, 2:30pm:  Lecture: “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement Years,” Mira Costa College LIFE Program (Learning is for Everyone), 1 Barnard Dr., Oceanside, CA 92056

Now, onto my blog:

Sheila Ross doing The Plow 1-22-15_editedMany people encounter something new or different and say, “Oh, I can’t do that.” Then, there are others who say, “Oh, I can do that.”

This is a photo of Sheila Ross who is seventy-nine years old and in the latter category. She is doing a yoga exercise called “the plow.” Sheila has never taken a yoga class. She simply saw someone a few months ago doing this maneuver at her gym and decided to try it. Yes, Sheila has been exercising for a long time, and yes, she’s naturally limber. However, she had never done the plow, but she was willing to give it a try.

Not everyone will be able to do the plow. However, maybe we can at least take a lesson from Sheila and try things that seem difficult rather than backing off immediately with an “Oh, I can’t do that” attitude.

This pertains to all types of behavior, not just a yoga exercise. Do you shy away from taking a class, volunteering, going somewhere to make new friends, etc? That’s typical behavior. It’s uncomfortable to venture into the unknown. However, we miss so many opportunities and life enhancing possibilities by retreating into our comfortable cocoons.

It’s so easy to automatically say, “That’s too hard for me,” or “I’ve never been good at that kind of thing,” or whatever your excuse is. What about doing what Sheila did? What about seeing or hearing about something interesting and saying “I think I’ll try that?” Let’s work toward overcoming that little voice inside our heads that always tells us we can’t do things. Remember the mantra which I’ve discussed before: if you think it’s too hard, do it anyway!

You won’t be proficient the first time you try something new. But, you can certainly work up to it.  The secret is: small, manageable portions.

So, the program is:
1.  Think of something that intrigued you, but that you resisted trying with all your reasons and good excuses.
2.  Approach that something with baby steps and keep at it slowly and consistently.
3.  Give it a try for a given period of time, say two weeks.
4.  Check your progress at the beginning and at the end. Have you gotten a little better? Is it a bit easier?
5.  Keep going and give yourself another couple of weeks to reassess.

Remember, it’s not a contest and you don’t have to become an expert. The goal is to find more joy, excitement, and satisfaction in your life.  You might not be successful in all your new endeavors, but at least you tried which puts you a lot closer to success than not making an attempt in the first place. I  promise that if you don’t like it, you can always go back into your cocoon.

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.


Filed under Baby boomers, gerontology, healthy aging, longevity, retirement, seniors, wellness

2 responses to “Oh, I Can’t Do That!

  1. …great advice, LGG, especially for those of us who are aging. I still toddle around on the basketball courts on weekends at Venice beach. Many times that little voice and my aches and pains tell me to stay at home. But another voice says, “Just go out there and do your best.” I am often surprised at the results. Congratulations on your speaking engagements. You seem to be becoming quite the authority on graceful aging.

  2. If we don’t age gracefully, think of the alternative–yikes! I think I’ll write a blog on that:-)

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