Monthly Archives: February 2019

Outliers

Final Book CoverThis blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, retirees, 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, Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class, is available by clicking here Amazon.com. Click here for her website: http://AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com

Now, on to my blog:

SnowmanWhat is an outlier? It is an extreme example of something–the farther ends of the spectrum.  Merriam-Webster’s has this to say about it: a person or thing that is atypical within a particular group, class, or category.

So what happens if you or someone close to you is an outlier? Are you or yours the fattest, the skinniest, painfully shy, high strung, too-smart-for-your-own-good, developmentally disabled, etc?

For example, a hyperactive child always seems to be the one creating chaos. He/she is soon identified by the group as the troublemaker and becomes shunned, causing distress to the child and its parents.  Such behavior to get attention is the only way that child understands.  The situation escalates resulting in him/her being ostracized further setting up a perpetuating cycle.

Being an outlier is particularly hard while growing up.  One can be stamped with derogatory terms that stick for a lifetime such as: geek, wimp, fatso, beanpole, homo, crazy, ugly, stupid, weird and on and on.  The medical profession is complicit in the labeling game.  Although done for “scientific” reasons, diagnoses like: schizophrenic, paranoid, autistic and so forth categorize their recipients and put them in pigeon holes from which it is hard to escape.  These terms affect future treatment, funding, jobs, eligibilities, etc., and follow said recipient throughout his/her lifetime.

How do you fit into a society that skews toward the middle when you don’t? It’s hard.  You never feel like you belong. You are rejected by the main body of the group. You feel unwelcome, unwanted, unacceptable. Is there a place for you?

It’s not easy to find one’s niche in life.  However, there is usually a community for everyone. You must look for like-minded souls and situations where you feel comfortable. You must seek out your tribe.

How do you go about it? The first step is to figure out what it is about you or yours that makes you or them an outcast from the mainstream. Then, search for people and places where your “thing” is acceptable.

I have always had a loud, projecting voice.  All my life, people have told me to speak more quietly, and the rude ones just show irritation as they bark at me to “shush” while holding their index finger over their lips lest I don’t understand.  The truth is that I don’t even realize when my voice gets loud.  It does so when I’m tense, over-stressed, tired, etc.  It has become worse as my hearing has deteriorated.  People don’t understand that.  Many just think that I don’t care about their admonition.

I discovered acting seventeen years ago.  Now, I’m lauded for my loud, projecting voice.  Yes, I fit in; my acting group admires my vocal abilities.

To find your kindred folks, you will need terminology to help you navigate. Is your child ADHD? Is your brother morbidly obese? Are you depressed? Is your mother an addictive personality? Yes, these and other painful labels have been thrust upon many, but they are also communication tools to help ferret out and find those who are similar and supportive.

Networking with others helps you learn about opportunities. The library can be a great resource as can the Internet.  Use those labels you’ve always hated to your advantage and find your clan.

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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: izzie_whizzie on Foter.com / CC BY-SA

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Default Position

Final Book CoverThis blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, retirees, 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, Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class, is available by clicking here Amazon.com. Click here for her website: http://AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com

Now, on to my blog:

Default positionA friend recently told me that my default position is positive. I’d never thought of it like that.  Yes, our natural inclination as well as our life experiences do give us a default position.  It’s that mode we always return to no matter what happens to us.

Default positions range on a scale from positive to negative, and there are infinite degrees in between.  What is your default position?  Is it satisfying to you?

In my case, when something upsetting or unsettling happens in my life, I may get bummed out.  However, I don’t seem to be able to stay down for very long.  It doesn’t mean I don’t feel bad or never get depressed.  However, I automatically boomerang back toward the positive end of the spectrum.  It comes naturally, and I don’t think about it.  I don’t know why I’m like that.

Those whose default position tends toward the ill-natured extreme may long to move their needle closer to the other end.  When such a tendency doesn’t come naturally, can you do anything to change it, or are you forever stuck defaulting toward that negative boundary?  My take is that you can change a long ingrained tendency, but only if you want it enough and are willing to work long and hard to achieve it.

I have had experiences in my life where my natural inclination was toward a position I hated.  I’m thinking of my decades-long worry of incurring the disapproval of others.  In my younger years, it was always so hard for me to stand up to people–to rock the boat.  If called upon to do something I didn’t want to, I’d often go along with it (nothing ever destructive) so people wouldn’t dislike me.  It took years and a lot of internal struggle to reach a more satisfying position.  Probably the seeds of my original tendencies will always exist within me.  However, I’m in control now, and I no longer put up with bossy, bullying, or over-bearing humans.

So, yes, it is possible to change.  Figure out how badly you want to do so, the steps you need to take, and go to it.  It may be daunting, scary, intimidating, overwhelming, and on and on.  Nevertheless, DO IT ANYWAY!  It could change your life.

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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, healthy aging, longevity, reinvention, retirement, senior citizens, seniors, successful aging, wellness