Irritants Can Be Advantages

This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, and those soon to retire find joy, excitement, and satisfaction in life after their retirement. Her public lectures on this subject are titled, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement Years.” Her memoir, available on, is: Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class (Click here for book website:

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
June 13, 2015, 2:00pm, Author Talk & Book Signing, Crown Books, 6100 Topanga Canyon Blvd, Woodland Hills, CA 91367
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

CHITCHAT:  A few weeks ago I gave a talk in front of 100 people at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute’s “Lori and Don Brault Lecture” at California State University Long Beach.  It was very well received, and I had a great time.  I love to help and inspire people to reinvent themselves in their later years.  It’s definitely possible, and people just need to be encouraged and informed how to do so.

Now, onto my blog:

Hand Reaching for PencilLast week I was sitting at my computer, busy, busy, busy. I went to grab for my pencil, missed, and knocked it off the computer desk.

Oh, I don’t need this now! I muttered to myself.

I bent over and groped for it on the floor. No luck. After a few choice expletives, I turned on the flashlight on my cell phone (a nice feature BTW) and bent over even further, shining the light around.

I finally spotted the blasted pencil. Of course, it had rolled completely under my desk to the far end, tightly jammed up against the wall molding behind the computer cord, like a kitten hiding under the bed.  I had to bend over to the point where my head was at the same level as my feet and reach to my arm’s length to grab it. As I was doing so, I realized how good it felt to stretch my spine. My errant pencil had offered me a little free exercise.

Why can’t we extrapolate those kinds of experiences to larger ones in our lives? How many times are we inconvenienced by unforeseen circumstances which annoy, irritate, or anger us? We’re less able to tolerate them when we’re on a deadline, tired, running late to an appointment, and on and on. That’s when each of our own versions of “expletives deleted” kicks in.

Some opt for the “F” word, the “S” word, the “D” word, the “H” word, or whatever.  Others downplay it such as what a childhood friend’s father used to say: “Oh, feathers and moose meat!” I always liked that. I wish I had found out the origin, but I was just a kid and not so fascinated by words and phrases as I am now. Anyway, that was just as powerful for him as the current popularity of the “alphabet” words.

There’s that old expression, “When life hands you a lemon, make lemonade.” Well, that’s not just for the big, oppressive stuff of life. It can also be for the little things, too.

When something interferes with your plans for a minute, an hour, a day, see if you can turn it into an advantage or opportunity. Don’t let the small irritants you encounter take a few more seconds off your life span.  Those seconds are valuable and finite.  Save them for the rewarding things.  If you must, throw that pencil on the floor deliberately to open new possibilities.

Please forward my blog to anyone who might be interested and post it on your Facebook, Twitter and other social media. To reprint any material, contact me for permission at: 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.  To opt out of receiving this blog, just reply to sender, let me know, and I’ll remove you from the list.


Filed under active seniors, aging successfully, Baby boomers, gerontology, healthy aging, longevity, older adults, reinvention, retirement, second acts, seniors, successful aging, wellness

3 responses to “Irritants Can Be Advantages

  1. Nellie

    I always enjoy reading your blogs! They always make me think and give me a chuckle. Keep them coming!

  2. Thank you for telling me that, Nellie. I love writing the blog, and it’s so great to get feedback as I don’t know how I’m coming across. Hugs to Milo!

  3. This is a really good perspective, LGG. Thanks for sharing it.

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