Monthly Archives: April 2019

Hiding

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:

Turkeys HidingWe all hide in one way or another.  It can be deliberately or subconsciously.  We hide the traits, aspects, details of ourselves that we think are undesirable or a turnoff to others.

Hiding can take the form of outright lying or simply omission.  Hiding can involve deception from small, socially acceptable behavior to a major ruse.

Commerce encourages us to hide our appearance and age by hawking products such as hair dye, wigs, cosmetics, plastic surgery, etc.  They couple that with propaganda which convinces us that our altered presentation to the world is okay, appropriate, no big deal, “everyone does it.”  Entertainment idols help sell that lie by partaking and flaunting it to the public.  Seventy-something actresses look forty, parading their deception and bragging about it.  Ordinary folks seeing this in the media comment on “how wonderful she looked on TV the other night.”

There was a time when women who wore makeup were considered “painted ladies,” and scorned by polite society.  Now, it’s just the opposite.  Both sexes spend multi-billions of dollars worldwide on cosmetics, procedures, and the like to alter their appearances to something they think will be more pleasing to others.  They put their health and even their life in danger with elective surgical procedures, again to try to present a different self to the world than what they consider the ugly one they wear naturally.

Behaviors such as anorexia and bulimia have to do with poor body image.  Where does that come from?  Why are we telling people that “you can never be too rich or too thin.” Why don’t fashion models look like the majority of people?

We teach this self-assessment to our children who want to emulate what they consider “grown-up” behavior.  They quickly learn by their teenage years which of their bodily attributes are unattractive: nose, hair, height, weight, voice, skin color, and on and on.  Too many obsess about it.  Commerce, always on the lookout for new grist for their ever churning mills, panders to this market, too.

There’s nothing wrong with trying to look nice.  However, when it impacts your view of yourself and the world, and tends toward the pathological, dangerous, or even life threatening, it is a major problem.

Fred Rogers of “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” fame used to make his young TV listeners feel special by telling them, “I like you just the way you are.”  Where are the Mr. Rogerses of today?  Who is telling our children now?  Who is telling our grandchildren?  Who is telling us?

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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

Outfoxed by a Plant

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:

DieffenbachiaAh, the things we do for our loved ones.  We go to great lengths and expend enormous amounts of time, energy, and money when the motivation is right.  What greater impetus than when the object is someone/something we love.  Wouldn’t you do just about anything for your children, parents, spouse, significant other, pet, etc.?

How about our plants?  Well, maybe they don’t have quite the impact on us as the aforementioned categories.  However, I have a plant that is holding me hostage.  It’s my Dieffenbachia, also called in plant tomes: dumb cane.  Believe me, mine is not dumb.

I bought the plant when it was a wee sprout, under a foot tall.  I knew it would grow to have large, glorious leaves to brag about, just like its kith and kin.  When I moved to my current digs almost three years ago, Dieff accompanied me in the back seat, drop-dead gorgeous leaves swaying with the movement of the car.  I’d glance at him/her from time to time in my rear view mirror, feeling his calming influence.

Dieff has grown since he came to live with me, and now stands proudly about four feet tall.  He loves his new location, bright light but not too sunny.

I’ve always watered Dieff and my other plants regularly and carefully, using a water meter to check the soil moisture so as to give them just enough nourishment.  When I travel, a neighbor takes over that chore, dutifully following my detailed, written instructions.  Yes, I nurture my green darlings.

About three months ago, Dieff had an attack of some terrible ailment.  His leaves started curling under like he had been punched in the stomach.  (Do plants have stomachs?)  I called garden stores seeking advice.  I took to Google, reading everything I could.  It seems that the fertilizer-laced water I’d been giving Dieff for five years had become too toxic for him in his dotage, and salts were building up in his soil.  Actually, that doesn’t sound too different from some symptoms I’ve experienced as I’ve aged.

According to Google, I must flush Dieff with a gallon of distilled water.  I rolled Dieff outside on his wheeled platform, struggling to keep the heavy pot upright.  I almost blew out my back, but this was an emergency.

The flushing worked!  Within two days, Dieff was back to his old self.  Things went well for the next few months as I eliminated all fertilizer and fed him only tap water.  His rebellion happened yesterday.  He screamed at me, “I don’t want that tap crap!  I ONLY WANT DISTILLED.”  He emphasized his point by curling his leaves under as only he can.  I may have heard a few coughs, too, but I’m not sure.

I ran to the store and stocked up on ten dollar’s worth of distilled water (I don’t even buy bottled water for myself.)  After another flushing, Dieff perked up and has stopped harassing me, but he definitely has me twisted around his little finger–ah, stem.

Yes, we go through all sorts of machinations for those we love, no matter what their DNA.  (Do plants have DN–oh never mind?)

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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

Put-Down Humor

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:

Comedy HouseWhy are so many jokes based on putting someone else down?  A roast (ceremonious public ridiculing) is filled with anecdotes, jabs, stabs, and emphasis on the failings and negative aspects of the roastee.  He/she must suffer through the ordeal with a smile-plastered-on-face look to prove that he can take it.

If someone has a weight problem, no matter how accomplished he might be, there is always a fat joke lurking.  There are the jokes about ethnicity, sexual orientation, intellectual challenges, country of origin, frugality, and on and on. What does the joke teller or the passer-along of the denigrating email get out of his act?  What do the bystanders who laugh thereby encouraging this behavior get out of it?  Why is this type of “humor” so pervasive starting from childhood?

Maybe it makes the offender feel superior.  That, of course, means that he/she must feel inferior.  Yes, we all have feelings of inferiority no matter how attractive, skillful, intelligent, wealthy, etc. we are.  We have a tendency to focus on the parts of us that aren’t as desirable as those of some arbitrary standard that has been set by others: parents, peers, authority figures, media, big business, etc., and to feel inferior as a result.  Oh, we may be very good at hiding those feelings from the world and even from ourselves, but we sure love a good joke at the expense of another.

A put-down comedian who rose in the ranks in the 1960s and persisted into the 2000s, commanded a high salary, and booked lots of appearances was Don Rickles (now deceased).  He was lauded as “one of the best insult comics of all time,” and was sarcastically dubbed “Mr. Warmth,” due to his being the polar opposite.

As a young woman, I somehow found myself at a night club attending a live performance of Don Rickles.  His whole delivery consisted of finding people in the audience and ridiculing some aspect of them–brutally IMHO.  I was a nervous wreck during his entire act fearing that he’d pick on me.  Although I never found his brand of humor appealing, so many did.  You should have heard the laughter in that night club.

Don Rickles himself was a small, unattractive man with a loud mouth that spewed venom.  One can only wonder what he endured growing up as a child.  To me, he is a spot-on example of “the best defense is a good offense.”

Must we boost ourselves up at the expense of others?  Do we really go home feeling better having put someone else down?  Is there another way to improve our own self-esteem?

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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: awsheffield on Visual Hunt / CC BY

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