Monthly Archives: February 2018

Hugs

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:  I will be giving free public lectures titled: “Reinventing Yourself in Your Senior Years” on the following dates, times, and locations (RSVP REQUIRED):

March 15, 2018, 10:30am, The Samarkand Retirement Community, 2550 Treasure Dr., Santa Barbara, CA 93105, (877) 412-6305,   www.thesamarkand.org/events

April 13, 2018, 1:00pm, Covenant Village of Turlock Retirement Community, 2125 N. Olive Ave, Turlock, CA 95382, (209)-226-4621,   www.covenantvillageofturlock.org/events

Now, on to my blog:

Man hugging elephantsWe all need a hug. It is tactile contact with another human being; a warm, intimate gesture; and comforting. It can be a balm when we are feeling low; an expression of closeness; a display of  acceptance, or a greeting like a handshake on steroids. However, we must be careful when, where, and to whom we deliver hugs.

The subject of inappropriate touching has been in the news a lot lately. Many have experienced this during their lifetime, both women and men. It may have been as the hug giver, the hug receiver, or both.

I’ve had such experiences including some incidents years ago at my job which would today be considered sexual harassment. These acts are usually carried out by the perpetrator when no one else is around, so it becomes an unprovable  “he said-she said” scenario.

From my youth until well into my adulthood, I was not a huggy type of person. Although I’m still not exceptionally huggy, as I’ve matured and been subjected to life, I’m more prone to offering a hug to relatives and good friends upon meeting or departing, or to someone who has been especially nice and giving in a situation.

I can think of three things that changed my hugging persuasion:

1.  When I had children, they needed hugs, and I found that I loved embracing them.
2.  I have some close friends who are very huggy, and I’ve grown to be comfortable with it.
3.  When I became an actress as a senior, I discovered that the acting community as a whole is a pretty huggy/touchy bunch out of camaraderie.

Sometimes my hug has been well received and other times it has seemed to make the recipient uncomfortable. I think the response comes from how the hugee was raised, where they were raised (different parts of the country or world are not as huggy as others), his/her culture, etc.

I’ve had a few strange experiences when I’ve initiated a hug. I made the mistake of hugging a man out of friendship. He then expected us to hug every time we saw each other. He finally made it clear that he wanted our relationship to ramp up to the next level which was not what I wanted, so I broke off the whole thing. It probably would have remained on the friendship footing I had preferred had I not initiated the initial hug out of good feelings.

Once, I invited a group of friends over for lunch. One I knew well, and the other two, a husband and wife, were his friends whom I had only met a few times. We had a lovely time, and when they were ready to depart, I gave each a hug. The husband and wife both seemed very uncomfortable with the gesture, and I was sorry I had done it.

I remember another uneasy situation. A program director had hired me to give a talk to a large group. Although our interaction prior to the event was purely a business relationship, she had been exceptionally nice and helpful to me. After the talk, we were chatting, and I thanked her. Out of exuberance at how well things had gone, I moved forward to hug her whereupon she jerked back with an alarmed look on her face. I immediately backed off, but it felt very awkward.

Hugging or other types of touching can be interpreted incorrectly. If one gets a different idea from your initiation of a hug or other simple touch than you had intended, it is very hard to convey to that person that you were simply expressing your exuberance in an embracing manner. Conversely, when people make themselves vulnerable by expressing affection for another whether physically or verbally, it is hurtful to them to learn that their overtures are unwanted. You take the chance of alienating that person and the discomfort whenever you encounter him/her again.

Don’t stop hugging or enjoying hugs. Just learn to be prudent when engaging in them.

To get you into a hugging mood, here are links to a video offering free hugs and a poem about hugging which are both very moving.

“Free Hugs” Video

“The Hug,” by Tess Gallagher

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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: cheetah100 via VisualHunt /  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

Free at Last!

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:  I will be giving free public lectures titled: “Reinventing Yourself in Your Senior Years” on the following dates, times, and locations (RSVP REQUIRED):

March 15, 2018, 10:30am, The Samarkand Retirement Community, 2550 Treasure Dr., Santa Barbara, CA 93105, (877) 412-6305,   www.thesamarkand.org/events

April 13, 2018, 1:00pm, Covenant Village of Turlock Retirement Community, 2125 N. Olive Ave, Turlock, CA 95382, (209)-226-4621,   www.covenantvillageofturlock.org/events

Now, on to my blog:

Boo-Boo dragging leashAn oppressive lifestyle can be imposed from without or within. Sometimes, it is the people we live with or the situation we find ourselves in that causes the  oppression. Maybe a spouse or significant other demoralizes us. It could be a parent or a child who is the culprit. We might feel ourselves excessively burdened by our job or daily activities.

Humans are also quite accomplished at weighing themselves down. We might impose impossible-to-meet standards on ourselves or aim for perfection to the point where we always fall short.

If you are living in an ongoing state of oppression no matter how you got there, you must escape for your own well-being. That is easy to say, but so hard to do. Our situation, no matter how burdensome, usually provides us with something that we desire or fear we cannot obtain elsewhere. It could be as basic as  food and shelter. It might be the siren call of social position that binds us. Perhaps it is the fear of forfeiting something precious such as children, income, or even a pet that keeps us there.

It is scary to disengage from a situation that offers us things we crave or fear losing. Yes, walking away is  chancy. “What if‘s“ pop into our mind, usually miring us in the status quo, often for years.

However, if you ever want to break free of those chains that hold you prisoner, you must take a risk. Decide if you want to escape; make your getaway plans; and do it.

Many years ago, I had a friend, Priscilla, who told me that shortly after she married her husband, she realized what a mistake she had made as he proved to be an abusive alcoholic. However, by that time, she was already pregnant and dependent upon him. So, she made her escape plans and spent the next several years carrying them out. Priscilla went to college part-time and got an education so she could find gainful employment. By the time she finally put her plan into effect and left her husband, she had two children. She had also found a good paying job and was able to support herself and her kids.

We’ve all heard about people leaving lucrative employment to start their own business or to take lesser paying work that they find much more fulfilling.  I once had an attorney who handled a case for me.  Years later, when I needed more legal work, I sought him out only to find that he had given up the practice of law and opened a ski shop. He told me that he had never really enjoyed being a lawyer, and that he loved his new venture even though he made far less money.

Don’t just wallow in an oppressive situation. Envision a goal of throwing off that yoke. Make your jailbreak plans and carry them out, even if it takes years.

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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