Monthly Archives: December 2017

The Time We Have Left

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:

SunriseI was having an email discussion with my friend, a cancer survivor, about an article we both read listing predictions for our future world.  One involved longevity.

According to the article, our current average life span increases three months per year.  Within the past four years, life expectancy has increased from 79 to 80 years. By 2036, it will increase by over one year per year.  Therefore, many more people will live to be over 100.

We had this email back-and-forth:

Her:  “I went to see my new primary care dr., a geriatrician, and got quite a shock.  I asked her at what age I can stop getting colonoscopies.  She said that the average for female death is 84, so there is no point in trying to prevent diseases such as colon cancer that take time to develop, unless I plan to live a lot longer than that.  It’s not as though there is any of that that I didn’t already know, but it hit me like a punch in the stomach.  I feel the same way I would feel if I were 30 and got the news that I had a life expectancy of 9 years. I now evaluate everything I do to make sure I’m not wasting any time.”

Me:  “As for your punch in the stomach, don’t assume that you only have a life expectancy of 9 years.  That email said that longevity is predicted to increase. Therefore, assume you’re going to live to 100, which means you have 25 more years.  So, get that colonoscopy and go ahead and waste some time:-)”

Her:  “The average for women now is 84, 82 for men.  I’m pretty healthy so far as I know, and my parents both lived longer than 84.  Still, I am confronting a short life.”

Me:  “We are all confronting a short life.  Stop focusing on that and focus on enjoying it.  Try the AA mantra: one day at a time.”

Her:  “…my short life isn’t because of cancer, it’s because of my age.  I do focus on enjoying life–I certainly don’t want to piss away whatever time I have left.”

If you are in satisfactory health, I’m not sure which is more destructive to your enjoyment of life: excessive worry that you might get or have a recurrence of a serious disease such as cancer, or apprehension over statistics predicting at  what age you might die. Dwelling on such considerations spoils embracing the time you do have left.

Among the more inspiring people I have known was Rose Freedman, a classmate in a community Spanish class I attended many years ago. She was the last living survivor of the terrible fire in 1911 at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in New York City where 146 young, immigrant garment workers died.  That tragedy led to significant changes in labor laws.

Rose was full of life, dynamic and always well-dressed with her hair nicely coifed. She consistently arrived at class with her  homework completed, spending the opening moments before the teacher arrived socializing with everyone. She was, also, an artist and an avid, Lakers basketball fan.

One day, the teacher announced, “Rosa (we used the Spanish version of our names during class) has invited everyone to go to the bakery down the street after class for cake and coffee to celebrate her 100th birthday.”  I was blown away!  Given her exuberance and youthfulness, I always thought Rose was in her eighties.

I continued going to that class for many years with Rose until she was hospitalized  and died a few months later in 2001 at the age of 107.  Yes, good genes and healthy living had a lot to do with Rose’s longevity.  However, a positive attitude and a love of life contributed significantly.

Let’s let Rose serve as our role model. It’s our choice how to embrace our final years.  If we live our lives in agitated worry about our waning life, can we really enjoy that precious time to its fullest?  Yes, we want to be productive–leave a legacy.  However, the pressure to do so caused by fear we might die sooner rather than later spoils our journey.

In your final years, be productive for the joy of it, not in a race against some elusive calculation about the amount of time you have left.

***

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 on Visual hunt (modified by user)

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

Let It Go

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:

Releasing Bird from CageWe all get upset, pissed off, angry, enraged, and worse at circumstances, the behavior of others, life. Yes, we need to vent; it releases tension. But, be careful who you choose as your ventee. Is he/she the right choice–the one who done ya wrong?

Are you dumping your situation on whomever you stumble upon? Are you taking any and every opportunity to steer the conversation around to your hurt or bad luck? That gets very old very fast, and others don’t want to constantly be at the receiving end of such conduct. After all, they have their own issues for which they’d like to vent, and it’s so easy for your interaction to devolve into a mutual ventfest.

Whatever it is that is bumming you out, there comes a point where you just have to let it go and get on with your life. Easy to say; hard to do, but, what is the alternative?

You can continue to stew for days, weeks, months, even years. While you’re doing so, what else is happening? Have opportunities passed you by because you were too angry and distracted to grab them? Have you missed out on jobs, relationships, etc. because others picked up on your rage and backed off? Who is the loser with your attitude? The way I see it, it’s you!

I’m still carrying around pain as the result of being hurt or let down by others whom I trusted. I’m probably pretty typical of most people. Very few get through this life without those types of experiences. Yes, I’m still a work in progress, but I try. I think about it and work at moving on. Sometimes I do a better job than at other times.

Letting it go doesn’t have to be done all at once. It can be done in stages–baby steps. I have been estranged from a family member for several years. I thought a lot about letting it go, mainly to heal myself. Recently, I sent her a birthday card. It was very difficult to do and took a lot of mental back-and-forth while buying the card, addressing it, putting on the stamp, and releasing it from my fingertips into the mailbox. I lived with that small act for awhile until I was able to digest it. The next step I took was some very light, superficial email correspondence. I’m currently in the process of living with that and trying to digest it. The next step may be a telephone call.

Keep working at letting it go even if you’re not always successful. View yourself as a wounded child, and take care of yourself with tenderness, support, and encouragement as you would any troubled youngster. Help that child heal. Strive to make yourself the winner, not the loser.

 ***

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: Dean Croshere via VisualHunt.com /  CC BY

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