Monthly Archives: May 2017

Don’t Be a Crappee

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 lecture on this subject is titled, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement.” Her memoir, available by clicking here Amazon.com, is: Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class. Click here for her website: http://AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com

Now, on to my blog:

Statue & SeagullWhile on a trip to Scotland last month, I was taking a tour of Edinburgh, the capital.  As the guide was waxing on about all the attractions, I noticed this duo: a statue of Dr. David Livingstone, the nineteenth century Scottish medical missionary and African explorer of “Dr. Livingstone, I presume” fame, topped by an uninvited seagull. The statue graces a park in the center of the city.  As you can see, the foul fowl has assumed the role of crappor with poor Livingstone as the crappee.  I wonder how the renown doctor would have felt about that scenario if he were still alive.

How can we avoid being the crappee? I’ve written about this subject in previous blog posts, but it bears revisiting as it’s so important to our emotional well-being.  The answer is: it’s not always easy with the various roles we play in our lives.  We may be a spouse, a child, a parent, a sibling, an employee, a student, etc, or a combination of these at the same time.  Many of our roles are hierarchal in nature, and it’s particularly hard to avoid being dumped on by someone who has  power or authority over you.

So, what can you do?  There are several tactics you can employ when another is castigating you.  You can choose to verbally stand up for yourself and suffer the possible consequences.  Be aware that they can be serious such as being fired from a job; losing a spouse or significant other; becoming estranged from a parent or child; being expelled from a school, club, or organization, etc.  You must decide if such a  potential outcome is worth it.

You can mentally turn off your receptors, choosing not to receive what the crappor is sending.  To avoid extreme results, tune out but behave as though you are attendant.  It’s a hard art to master, but with some practice, you can become adept.

You might try deflection.  Interject something into the diatribe to turn your adversary’s attention in another direction. Example: “Oh, (insert crappor’s name), I heard that the (insert something significant to crappor) just got (insert negative outcome).”  That should send him/her in another direction mentally or physically, long enough for you to regroup and escape, at least for the moment.

You can physically remove yourself from the field of battle.  Create an emergency that requires you to exit immediately.  It can be something like a just-remembered appointment, a bathroom call, a pot on the stove ready to boil over, whatever.  You might even think of some excuses in advance to use when the situation requires it.

Don’t be a statue with bird droppings dripping down your face.  Plan and execute tactical moves to protect yourself from the onslaught of others.

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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, scroll down on this page or click on “Recent Posts” or “Archives” under the Follow button. To opt out of receiving this blog, contact me at the aforementioned email address, let me know, and I’ll remove you from the list.

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Filed under active seniors, Baby boomers, gerontology, health and wellness, healthy aging, longevity, reinvention, retirement, seniors, successful aging, wellness

The Perils of Communication

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 lecture on this subject is titled, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement.” Her memoir, available by clicking here Amazon.com, is: Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class. Click here for her website: http://AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com

CHITCHAT:  My Upcoming Lecture: “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement,” is on May 12, 2017, 1-3pm, Diablo Valley College (Pleasant Hill Campus), 321 Golf Club Rd, Pleasant Hill, CA 94523, (925) 685-1230 (NOTE: advance reservation required)

Now, on to my blog:

Talking on Telephone 1

Being an effective communicator requires talent.  Engaging others with our message and receiving theirs is fraught with danger: misunderstandings, mixed signals, confusion, and all sorts of other roadblocks from differences in age, sex, culture, language, education, etc.  However, communicate we must if we’re going to interact with other humans and depend on each other to get along.  So, how do we do it effectively?

That is a massive task, but with practice, we can all master it. First, let’s discuss what communication is. Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary offers this definition:  “a process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs, or behavior.”

Communication methods can be verbal such as words, grunts, and other sounds; visual such as body language and facial expressions; tactile such as a hand brushing an arm or grabbing a shoulder, a handshake, etc. Babies make their needs known by communicating with cries, smiles, etc.  We become more sophisticated in our communication methods as we age.

There are many subtleties to communication.  It can be controlling, manipulative, friendly, warm, cold, straight forward, duplicitous, honest, conniving, and on and on.  Different styles and personalities dictate the tone of the communication.

Remember, communication is not all about you.  It is not just a one-sided “sending” of information significant to the sender.  It also involves “receiving” of information significant to the other person in the interaction.  Finally, a switching of roles occurs with the original sender becoming the receiver and the original receiver becoming the sender. This reversal occurs over and over throughout the exchange at a rapid speed.

Not only must the parties involved be able to switch from send mode to receive mode quickly, they must also be able to interpret meaning. We practice this as children and hopefully perfect it by adulthood.  However, not everyone masters the lessons so well.  If you fall into that category, watch how effective communicators do it and try out their techniques.  They may feel strange at first, but it will get easier with practice.

Effective communication requires an awareness of goals–what the parties want from the interchange. Do you strive to win favor; do you want an extension of good will; do you simply want to experience the good feelings you get from talking to a friend?  Be careful that your approach matches what you hope to gain.  If not, then you are wasting your time and effort.

An acquaintance and I recently discussed how valuable laughter is in communication.  Including humor and creating an opportunity for laughter usually yields much more than aggression does.  There’s an old proverb to the point: “You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.”  When attempting to communicate, lighten up and make the exchange pleasant and even fun, no matter the subject matter.  It can be done and is often significantly more effective.  Just give it a try.

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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, scroll down on this page or click on “Recent Posts” or “Archives” under the Follow button. To opt out of receiving this blog, contact me at the aforementioned email address, let me know, and I’ll remove you from the list.

Photo credit: Internet Archive Book Images via Visual Hunt /  No known copyright restrictions

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Filed under active seniors, Baby boomers, gerontology, health and wellness, healthy aging, longevity, reinvention, retirement, seniors, successful aging, wellness