Monthly Archives: March 2016

Beer and Diapers

This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, and those facing retirement find joy, excitement, and satisfaction in life after they retire. Her public lecture on this subject is titled, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement.” Her memoir, Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class, is available by clicking on this link: Amazon.com. Click here for her website: AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com

Now, on to my blog:

Beer & DiapersAn article in the newspaper a few months ago mentioned that companies like Walmart track purchasing patterns. One thing they found was that beer and diapers are often purchased together. Yes, it brings a laugh. However, in analyzing it a bit further, it’s not so funny.

Having a baby is a significant stressor. Resorting to alcohol, drugs, over-eating, etc. on a regular and maybe excessive basis to handle that stress can be counterproductive and dangerous. Substance abuse to cope with stress doesn’t just happen to new parents, it occurs across the spectrum of age, sex, race, and every other classification. We are bombarded with stress all the time. Sometimes it’s externally driven and sometimes internally. However, it creates anxiety, nervousness, and a search for a solution, too often in the form of ever-encroaching, addictive behaviors.

We can’t eliminate all stress from our lives. But, we can try to lower it. Look carefully at what causes you stress. Are you babysitting too often and too long for grandchildren who wear you out? Do you have too many activities and obligations scheduled and just yearn for some down time? Do you (fill in the blank)? Learn to assess your personality and abilities. Admit if you can no longer keep up the pace you did when you were younger. Maybe things that didn’t used to bother you do now.

Practice prioritizing. Learn to tell others “no.” Learn to tell yourself the same. When life becomes overwhelming and you find yourself sinking into substance abuse or other self-destructive behaviors just to function, find another, less harmful drug of choice—an alternative, more beneficial means of managing it.

Exercise is one example. Join a gym, attend it, and work out on a regular basis. Take long, brisk walks. Climb stairs whenever possible. Writing is another way to deal with stress. We used to write in our diaries; today it’s called journaling. It’s therapeutic and calming. Use the old-fashioned, paper and pen method or do it on your computer.

Think of other non-self-destructive means of attacking the stressors that life throws at you. Be your own advocate. Handle life rather than the other way around.

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: gowergulch@yahoo.com. 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, either scroll down or look on the right side of this page and click on specific titles under “Recent Posts” or on specific dates under “Archives.” To opt out of receiving this blog, just let me know at the aforementioned email address, and I’ll remove you from the list.

 

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The Art of Senescence

This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, and those facing retirement find joy, excitement, and satisfaction in life after they retire. Her public lecture on this subject is titled, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement.” Her memoir, Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class, is available by clicking on this link: Amazon.com  Click here for her website: AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com

Now, on to my blog:

LG & Morton Bay Fig - VRG 2-27-16While reading an article in a scientific journal, I came upon this word which I knew but had forgotten: senescence. It simply means aging. Senescence happens to all living things; it is a normal trajectory of nature.

Many things that are alive practice senescence artfully. For example, as trees age they become more beautiful, majestic, and regal. Applying this to humans, some people are able to make the act of aging into an art. Unfortunately, so many aren’t. They bemoan the inevitable rather than accepting and growing into it.

I recently saw a movie, “The Lady in the Van,” starring the wonderful actress, Maggie Smith, as an elderly woman who, although successful when younger, had fallen upon hard times and was living in her van. The actress portrayed her character with authenticity, joy and dignity just as she did with the polar opposite character she portrayed, an English dowager noblewoman, in the television series, “Downton Abbey.” The most important take away from this observation is Maggie Smith, the person. She has aged naturally, embracing her wrinkles, sagging neck, and faltering voice. They are her trademark, and she wields them with skill. She has discovered the art of senescence.

Another example of such a person is Iris Apfel, the 94-year-old fashion icon. A documentary about her, “Iris,” (click here for trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fo8jwJ_2l0c) was released last year. As is evident from the movie, Iris Apfel does not hide herself from public exposure because her youthful looks and stature have eroded.  She is proud of her accomplishments as a designer and as a businesswoman. She has created an image of an elderly person who is positive, sharp, and respected.

Rather than fighting growing older with one elective surgical or dermatological procedure after another, both of these women have used their own aging process to their advantage. They are the human equivalent of the senescent, awe-inspiring Morton Bay Fig tree I’m standing next to in the photograph. That tree and these women challenge the rest of us to follow in their footsteps, to not fear and fight aging, but to investigate it, embrace it, and make it work for us.

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: gowergulch@yahoo.com. 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, either scroll down or look on the right side of this page and click on specific titles under “Recent Posts” or on specific dates under “Archives.” To opt out of receiving this blog, just let me know at the aforementioned email address, and I’ll remove you from the list.

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Let Your Children Teach You

This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, and those facing retirement find joy, excitement, and satisfaction in life after they retire. Her public lecture on this subject is titled, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement.” Her memoir, Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class, is available by clicking on this link: Amazon.com. Click here for her website: AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com

Now, on to my blog:

Father & Son on Tandem Bike

I often get advice from my son who is an adult with children of his own.  He’s bright, and I learn from him. He enjoys counseling me and I enjoy our interaction.

No matter how old your children get to be, it’s hard for a parent to switch from the teaching mode into the learning mode.  I’ve heard parents say to their adult children something along the lines of “Don’t tell me; I’m your father (or mother).” What does that have to do with hearing sound advice?

I suspect that what’s really going on is a power struggle. The parent doesn’t want to admit that their child may surpass them in any way. It’s also a sign of aging which so many distain–passing the baton when a child is old enough to be the adviser to a parent. But the flip side is that it allows the aging parent to have an adult-to-adult relationship with their child. This scenario can be extrapolated to any relationship between an aging person and a much younger person whether it be an aunt/uncle relationship with a niece/nephew, a boss-employee relationship regardless of which person is in which role, etc.

What a wonderful gift to receive at this stage of life. Embrace it! Be grateful for it! Don’t push it away just because your ego becomes a little bruised or you don’t want to give up being the pack leader.

It’s also a wonderful gift to your child. It lets him/her know that you admire them and have confidence in them when you listen to and/or accept their counsel. What an empowering experience for a child to know how much they’ve succeeded in their parent’s eyes. What a boost to their self-confidence. That’s probably one of the things they crave the most.

Remember to thank them. Remember to verbalize how proud of them you are. Too many parents forget to do so. Be aware of the gift you are giving each other. Not all parents get such a reward in the later stage of their lives.

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: gowergulch@yahoo.com. 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, either scroll down or look on the right side of this page and click on specific titles under “Recent Posts” or on specific dates under “Archives.” To opt out of receiving this blog, just let me know at the aforementioned email address, and I’ll remove you from the list.

 

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