Fortune Cookie Says

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 retirement. Her public lectures on this subject are titled, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement Years.” Her memoir, available at, is: Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class. Click here for her website:

Now, on to my blog:

Fortune CookieMy friends and I had just finished dinner at a local Asian restaurant. We moved to the obligatory next step and opened our fortune cookies.

“Here, Lee Gale, write a blog about this,” suggested Sheila as she handed me her fortune.

The thin slip of paper said: “Develop an appreciation for the present moment.” I put it in my wallet and forgot about it. A few weeks later, I noticed it hiding between a one-dollar and five-dollar bill.

What shall I write, what shall I write? I pondered.

Some days later, I had parked my car in the underground parking lot of my neighborhood corner shopping center and was running for the elevator. I squeezed in just as the doors were starting to close thinking, Whew, I made it. These stupid elevators take so long to come.

I turned around to face front as all good elevator riders are taught as children when I noticed an obese, crippled woman walking toward us. Without even thinking about it, my arm shot up between the doors and broke their pending contact, almost breaking my arm in the process. I forced the doors open and said, “Don’t rush. We’ll wait for you.” Of course, I hadn’t polled the other passengers, but I noticed one looking at me, smiling, and nodding.  The lesson was that the present moment had presented me with an opportunity to do something nice for someone else and to feel good about myself–no, proud of myself.

The woman stepped into the elevator and thanked me. Maybe she’s used to people helping her out. She’s also probably used to people ignoring her or even berating her for delaying them as they go about their busy and important agendas.

We exchanged a few idle, ice-breaker words as the elevator took off. When it arrived at her floor, she thanked me again as she exited. It should have been me who thanked her. With a tip of the hat to Clint Eastwood, she “made my day.” I am sure I walked a few inches taller until bedtime.

Get some of those good feelings for yourself. It’s easy; just be kind to others. Your acts might even splash onto bystanders, too, and remind them to slow down and appreciate the present moment.

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3 responses to “Fortune Cookie Says

  1. Sheila Sauber

    Thank you, Lee Gale, for coming up with such a good example of the “fortune”. Now you have me thinking! It’s not an easy topic to address. I do have an idea, but it’s an idea and not a good story, well written like you did. Hope all is well. Love, Sheila

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. It’s surprising how little random acts of kindness can foster warm feelings.

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