Just Me and My Bonsai

This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help baby boomers, seniors, retirees, and those soon to retire find joy, excitement, and purpose in life after retirement. Her public lecture on this subject is titled: “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement Years.” 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: LeeGaleGruen.com

CHITCHAT:  I have slightly altered the name of this blog to “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement Years.” It will be the same blog, but it will  match the title of my public lecture on the topic of senior reinvention as well as my pending book: Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement Years: Find Joy, Excitement, and Purpose after You Retire. The book will contain all the material from my public lecture as well as my blog posts of more than six years. I will announce in this forum when it is published and available for purchase.

Now, on to my blog:

BonzaiMy cousins, Gail and her husband Paul, visited me some months ago and brought me a lovely bonsai plant as a house gift. You can see my reflection in the window as I’m taking a picture of my new darling after having just given it a haircut. Yes, miscellaneous shoots were breaking out of its manicured silhouette and upsetting the continuity of the design.

Learning to care for this newest edition to my plant housemates has centered my attention. Nothing else can occupy my mind while I’m at my bonsai tasks. (See my blog of April 15, 2019, “Outfoxed by a Plant,” about another of my green, earthbound friends.)

Focusing on anything has that effect. The chosen object of intense immersion can be a pet, another human, a hobby, writing a book, painting a picture, or anything else that occupies you completely.  It forces you to concentrate for that block of time on only one thing, holding back all the other stimuli of the world vying for your time.  Multi-tasking can be kept at bay for a little longer.

In the case the flora of the earth, the study and care of them is a therapeutic endeavor. Many people find gardening to be calming and healing. If you have the space for it, you might try planting a variety of vegetables, flowers, and other plants that you enjoy. The act of tilling the soil, mixing in the fertilizer, laying down the seeds or saplings, weeding, watering, harvesting, and all the rest can be consuming yet enjoyable.

When small sprouts start to shoot up, there’s a sense of fulfillment in having contributed to the birth of a living thing.  Consuming your own veggie efforts or serving them to friends makes you a fertility god or goddess, partaking in and offering nature’s bounty.  My friend, Jane, often shares the yield from her garden plot with those she encounters including service personnel in the retirement community where we both live.  The trunk of her car contains numerous bags for the offerings along with her gardening tools–always ready just in case.

Getting involved with plants can be as simple and inexpensive as a small pot on your table or window sill containing a cutting from a friend’s plant. You can graduate to more complex dealings if you wish–maybe even planting, training, and caring for a bonsai.

Try developing your own “green thumb.” It can be a gratifying pursuit, which will bring you satisfaction and offer a periodic respite from more demanding concerns.


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

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