Monthly Archives: March 2019

Economics of Condolences

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:

Pet CemeteryA friend recently wrote me that her beloved cat of almost twenty years had died.  She commented that more than 125 people wrote her condolences on her Facebook page, a significantly greater number than when her parents died. 

Why is it that people can give sympathy so much more easily at the loss of a pet in someone’s life rather than a human?  Is it too personal when the loss is perceived to be so enormous–too close to home?  Does the potential offerer fear getting into a long, emotional discussion with the aggrieved which might delay the former from a busy schedule?  Pets are considered lower on the scale of importance, and perhaps that allows us to spend less time at the task of offering our regrets.

How many times have we uttered that casual opener, “Hi, how are you?” expecting the answer to be the standard, “Fine”?  However, when the answer is something like, “Awful, my (fill in the blank) just died,” we’re stuck.  If it’s an in-person encounter, how can you just respond, “Oh, sorry about that.  Ah, I have to go now”?  If it’s a telephone conversation, is it okay to say, “Hold on, I have another call coming in”?  Such behavior would cast you as uncaring, insensitive, selfish, etc.  So, to be socially acceptable, we must immediately stop everything to offer comforting words, mentally calculating how long before we can slither away.

I wonder if my friend would have gotten such an abundance of responses by the same people in person.  With internet platforms, we can be quick and go on our way while still getting brownie points for our thoughtfulness.  It’s that old economic principle:  seek the maximum amount of gain for the minimum amount of effort, or stated more succinctly courtesy of the all pervasive internet (study.com):  “a buyer is rational if she/he makes logical decisions that are based on gaining the highest benefits at the lowest costs and the results of those decisions are in his/her best self-interest.”

The operative words are “results of those decisions are in his/her best self-interest.”  Are we only going through the motions of caring with thoughts of “what’s best for me” playing in the background?  Human nature dictates self-interest responses to stimuli.  However, can we stop for an instant and truly feel for another human being?  Can we be genuine in our outpouring of concern for another human being?  Can we put our busy lives on pause for just a bit to sincerely comfort another human being?

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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: eliduke on Visualhunt / CC BY-SA

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Filed under active seniors, Baby boomers, gerontology, healthy aging, longevity, reinvention, retirement, senior citizens, seniors, successful aging, wellness

Forgiving Yourself

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:

Baggage CarouselWe all screw up sometimes.  No matter how hard we try, plan, manipulate, etc., circumstances may alter “the best laid plans of mice and men.”  There’s another wonderful saying in that vein:  “Man plans and God laughs.”

Awhile ago, my son was entrusted with an artistic piece made by a family member who expended many hours of labor in its creation.  My son was to bring the object back home to be a centerpiece in his family’s household.  He carefully carried and stowed the coveted, bulky item in the airplane overhead compartment.  Upon landing and disembarking, he then hand-carried it to the baggage claim area where he set it down briefly so he could retrieve his suitcase from the carousel.  That’s when God let out a full belly laugh.

Upon returning, the wrapped object was nowhere to be found.  Panicky, my son searched and searched to no avail.  He filed a claim with lost and found, but it never turned up.  He was devastated and felt he had betrayed a confidence.

This is just a small example of when forgiveness should enter the equation.  Sometimes, the hardest form of forgiveness is to forgive yourself.  Why do we hold ourselves to such high standards, fearing to admit that we’re only human?  I’m sure you can contribute such a war story of your own.   We’ve all been there-done that, and it’s usually painful and racks us with guilt.

If an offender committed an act against you which caused you pain, discomfort, inconvenience, upset, etc., look at the motive of the offender.  Was the act done without guile?  If so, and he/she is contrite and usually trustworthy, you must forgive him.  If the act was done deliberately, and that is his usual modus operandi, then he must live with such a flawed character trait and suffer the ramifications: frequent loss of friendships and relationships, ongoing conflict and tumult, others always on guard around him, and eventual disappointment and loneliness as all close contacts distance themselves or bail out altogether

If you are an example of the deliberate, conniving, the-end -justifies-the-means type, then be prepared to live with the consequences and stop being so surprised when they finally happen.  If your act was committed without such duplicity, you must forgive yourself.  One final saying to make the point: “To err is human, to forgive divine,” and that includes forgiving yourself.

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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: bradleygee on Visual Hunt / CC BY

2 Comments

Filed under active seniors, Baby boomers, gerontology, healthy aging, longevity, reinvention, retirement, senior citizens, seniors, successful aging, wellness