Category Archives: health and wellness

Boredom

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

Now, on to my blog:

Cat yawningWe come into this world yawning with boredom, and go downhill from there.  Recently, in my philosophy class, we were having a discussion about whether we would want to live an extra hundred years. One class member commented that he would not want to do so, because by that time, he probably would have done or learned everything interesting, and life would be just too boring.

We all laughed while nodding in agreement. Yes, we scurry from boredom the moment we encounter it. Humans seem to need constant engagement, constant entertainment, constant stimulation.

We don’t just sit around and do nothing. When we are not actively involved in a goal oriented pursuit, we will grab a book or magazine, turn on the television, check our iPhones, surf the web, go shopping, and on and on. We flee boredom like it’s a disease. The idea of nothing new to learn, nothing new to experience, only eternal boredom is horrifying.

I am always weighing the amount of stress I put myself under against the boredom that I can’t tolerate. I’m trying hard not to cram too much into my life, but it an ongoing challenge. Every time I hear about something that sounds exciting, I want to get involved. Like usual, I’m involved in too much stuff. It’s so difficult to pick and choose, because it’s all interesting.  Everyone lives with the dichotomy of that struggle between boredom and stress.

A few years ago, a friend visited me with her daughter and two young grandchildren.  We chatted for a short time whereupon the oldest child announced, “I’m bored.”  My friend’s daughter quickly wrapped up our conversation, telling the child, “Okay, okay, we’re going.” I’m not passing judgment one way or another on her parenting skills.  However, the child could have been encouraged to walk around my house observing all the interesting things I have displayed on shelves and walls.

So, how do we grownups combat boredom?  We can whine to anyone who will listen, pandering to be entertained.  Or, we can adopt the old adage about making lemonade out of lemons.  We can walk around wherever we happen to be, observing all the interesting things there.  We might actually learn a thing or two or ten, or at least have a pleasant experience. We can, also, accept the stress and learn to flourish under it, remembering that we can back away whenever we desire.

 

 ***

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: Amanda Braz via Visualhunt /  CC BY
 
Advertisements

6 Comments

Filed under active seniors, Baby boomers, gerontology, health and wellness, longevity, reinvention, retirement, second acts, seniors, successful aging, Uncategorized, wellness

Rest and Regenerate

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

Now, on to my blog:

hummingbird-resting-2

Rest is mandatory for all animals to renew their energy and vitality including those living helicopters: hummingbirds.  I spotted this little guy hovering near a bush outside my window. Then, much to my surprise, he landed on a branch. I had never seen a hummingbird before that wasn’t humming.  I stopped what I was doing and just hung out with him.  Mr. H. stayed there for about ten minutes, resting, regenerating, and allowing his heart rate to slow down before continuing his frenetic activities.  Such a smart bird.

Hummingbirds’ wings flutter 80 times per second and their hearts can beat as much as 1,263 times per minute or as little as 50 times per minute when conserving energy.  Compare that to the human heart which beats as low as 60 and as high as 200 times per minute depending on age and activity level.

Do you remember to rest and regenerate?  We must learn to pace ourselves—land on a branch—and allow plenty of downtime in order to be able to function well when we are active. Rest and especially sleep have an unexplained yet proven impact on our health and productivity.  A very rare hereditary disease called fatal familial insomnia manifests itself in midlife to its victims and eventually renders them unable to sleep.  At that stage, death comes within months.  We cannot live without sleep.

Have you noticed that when you are not rested, your responses become dull and sloppy?  We make many more errors and bad decisions when not rested. It’s tempting to overdo. There are so many interesting and compelling projects and activities.  Sometimes, it seems there is never enough time to do everything we want to do. However, over-scheduling and cramming in too much becomes counterproductive.

Catching some ZzzsRemember to do your resting in a location conductive to that end.  Choosing a roomful of people, noise, and stimulation does not yield good quality relaxation to most.  If out and about, try to find a quiet, isolated place.  If one is not available, you might decamp to your car.  No car?  Try a stall in the bathroom.  It’s a one-holer, people are banging on the door, and you’ve run out of options?  Then find any seat and use the earplugs and eye mask you always carry with you in your purse, pocket, back pack, whatever (you do carry them, right, along with a granola bar for quick energy when needed?).  If all else fails, take a tip from this gal catching some Z’s on a commuter train instead of grabbing her cell phone to read her emails, navigate the net, or play mindless computer games.  Make it work for you!

Remember to schedule plenty of rest time into your life. It takes discipline but is an art that you must master.  Then, the things that you do participate in will be so much more fruitful and rewarding.

 ***

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.

2 Comments

Filed under active seniors, Baby boomers, gerontology, health and wellness, healthy aging, longevity, reinvention, retirement, seniors, successful aging, wellness

Playing Well with Others

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

Now, on to my blog:

Children playing gameAre you a person who has trouble playing well with others?  Or, perhaps you know someone like that.  Getting along with other humans is a talent gained from part nature and part nurture.

It almost doesn’t matter what you say or convey to others.  If done in the right way, almost anything is acceptable.  For example, if someone is wearing clothing that you think looks terrible, you can say, “You look awful in that dress,” or you can say, “I think red looks so much better on you than blue.”  If someone is doing something you don’t think is correct, you can say, “Don’t do that!” or you can say, “I don’t think they want us doing that.”

If you’re not a natural at warm-cozy techniques of communication and are tired of people drawing away from you or completely ostracizing you, consider practicing some basic requirements.  Here’s a list of “musts” that I came up with.  Perhaps you can add a few of your own.

  1. It’s not all about you. Don’t spend the interaction talking only about your stuff or sucking the focus onto yourself whenever possible.
  2. Do show interest in the others present. Everyone wants a chance to be the center of attention for awhile.  Aid in that goal by asking questions of them, and really listen to their answers.  You show that you’re listening by maintaining consistent eye contact and asking meaningful, follow-up questions.
  3. Check your attitude. Don’t come across as irritated, impatient, hostile, pissy, etc. People don’t like that and will begin to avoid you.
  4. Don’t be the resident expert-in-everything even if you are. It gets old very fast.  As my father used to say, “Nobody likes a smart ass.”
  5. Be gracious. Say things like “thank you” or “that was really interesting” or “nice to see you again,” etc.  People love compliments and acknowledgement.
  6. Be aware of the tone and volume of your voice. Dial both down a notch or ten.  Practice exchanging verbal coldness for warmth.  Record yourself and listen to how you come across when you speak.
  7. Body language speaks volumes. Chill out and relax.
  8. Facial expressions are huge. Everyone is always reading people by the expressions on their faces.  Do yours come across as: sourpuss, angry, negative, critical, bored, disinterested, etc?  If so, practice in front of a mirror making facial expressions which are positive, accepting, warm, upbeat, supportive, interested, etc.  Experience how your face muscles feel with those positive expressions, and repeat them in public.

If you can’t figure out how to put into practice some of the aforementioned suggestions, study others who seem to do so effortlessly.  Then, wiggle into your actor robes and perform, using them as role models.  It may seem strange at first, but you’ll get used to it. Remember, the content is far less important than the delivery.

***

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: Wootang01 via VisualHunt.com /  CC BY-ND

4 Comments

Filed under active seniors, Baby boomers, gerontology, health and wellness, healthy aging, longevity, reinvention, retirement, seniors, successful aging, wellness

Lighten Your Load

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

Now, on to my blog:

Heavy load 1We all carry heavy, emotional loads around with us.  Some call it “baggage.” Whatever you call it, it exhausts you and depletes your energy.  This angst you create for yourself is manifested in: worrying, ruminating, stressing, fixating, obsessing, etc. over what has happened or what might happen.

The current, trendy advice is: live in the now. It sounds wonderful, but it’s so hard to do. We all suffer from mind drift.  So, how do you turn off your thoughts from remembering your upsetting, negative experiences? How do you control your reflections from worrying about life’s possible, future land mines?

Like acquiring any new skill, it takes practice—constant practice. It also takes awareness of when your mind is drifting to those types of deliberation. So, it’s up to you to work at lightening your own load. And, it will only be successful if you want it badly enough. Here’s an idea to get you started:

Develop the habit of checking in with your mind on a regular basis to see if and where it has drifted. When that drift is to a negative place, stay vigilant and replace those thoughts with something positive or at least neutral.  Use your environment as an aid.

In my new home, I have a variety of animal life that passes by. I’ve made it a point of stopping whatever I’m doing when I hear or spot a candidate from my window. I watch the free performance nature provides which puts my mind in a positive place.

That exercise can be done with all types of external stimuli found everywhere. For example, have you ever really looked at a flower growing outside? Don’t just glance at it; approach it and stare deeply at its structure. Notice each petal; notice the stamen and pistil in the center. Assess the color as it varies in shade from one part of the flower to another. Smell it. Does it have a strong scent, a mild scent, no scent?  While you are doing this, your mind is focused totally on the flower.

It seems like a constant struggle to take control of our thought patterns. However, like learning any new skill, it becomes a bit easier each time you are successful. The aggregate of many successful experiences makes you more proficient at the task. Keep at it and see if the outcome leads to more contentment in your life.  If not, you can always go back to wallowing in the turmoil your mind creates.

***

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: feserc via VisualHunt /  CC BY

6 Comments

Filed under active seniors, Baby boomers, gerontology, health and wellness, healthy aging, longevity, reinvention, retirement, seniors, successful aging, wellness

Help: a Noun and a Verb

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

Now, on to my blog:

BART special seatingI had just exited the airport after flying in from out of town and was waiting for the metro to take me home. When it arrived and the doors opened, I realized I had hit it at rush hour. The car was crammed with humanity—standing room only.  That was fine with me; I liked the idea of remaining upright as I had been sitting on an airplane for two hours.

I positioned myself between a post and the back of a seat, holding on to the former. At the next stop, a boy of about nine years of age walked toward me gesturing to a seat. A woman, obviously his mother, was standing nearby and nodding at me. They had been occupying a place designated for the handicapped, pregnant women, and the elderly. To my consternation, I fell into the last category.  Even so, I am in good physical condition and was quite capable of standing.  However, the young boy looked so eager charged with his important mission that I simply couldn’t tell him I had no need of the proffered prime location. So I thanked him very much, walked over, and took my seat for the elderly.  The boy was beaming and looked at his mother who gave the requisite approval.

Sometimes, even if we don’t need assistance, it is a kind gesture toward the giver to accept an offer of help. People feel good when they assist others, and we can get some good feelings for ourselves by being gracious toward their sacrifice in our behalf—a definite win-win situation.

I think the same applies if we really do need help. What’s the matter with that? Some find it so difficult to request and/or accept assistance.  They feel it demeans them or indicates they are lacking in some way.  They might feel a burden that they must reciprocate. No, you don’t need to give like-for-like. Sometimes, there is no way to repay a good deed done for you. The only payback is to pay it forward and perform a kindness for another.

Offer help generously and don’t be ashamed to accept it either. We all need help from time to time no matter our age or physical condition.  Participate willingly on either side of this caring human interaction and reap the emotional rewards that it bestows.

 ***

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.

4 Comments

Filed under active seniors, Baby boomers, gerontology, health and wellness, healthy aging, longevity, reinvention, retirement, seniors, successful aging, wellness

Feeling Invisible

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

Now, on to my blog:

Invisible 2Have you ever been in a situation where you’re surrounded by people much younger than yourself?  Have you ever felt invisible as they talk past you?  A similar experience might occur even when the others are closer to your age, but they all know each other or attend the same class or go to the same church/temple/mosque, etc., and you’re the odd man out.  This might happen when you’re seated at a table while attending an event, marking time in a waiting room, or at any other venue where you find yourself surrounded by strangers who are with others in a common grouping.

In situations like that, it’s often hard to strike up a conversation. People near you seem only interested in talking to those of the same age, pursuit, social history, etc. You might try to steer the conversation around to something universal such as the current political situation, a recent news item, whatever. However, the conversation segues back to their niche interests.

The others might be polite to you if you do manage to interject something, but they quickly turn back to their peers. In the case of those much younger, you notice the chatter centers around subjects that don’t interest you: a certain type of music, jobs, children’s play dates, someone you don’t know, or things that you’ve outgrown.

You want to shout out your credentials: I’m bright; I’m well-educated; I’m well-traveled; I’m interesting, etc. But, of course, you don’t; that’s socially unacceptable. So, you sit there in silence feeling awkward and rejected.

I’ve heard some seniors say that they don’t like being around large groups their own age. They prefer to be with younger people as it makes them feel young. I’ve never understood that. I can’t imagine what they even talk about.

Yes, there are some situations where the meeting centers around a specific topic common to all present, and age differences don’t matter. There, also, might be specific individuals who easily bridge the age gap. But, those are the exception, not the norm. I find it much more comfortable to be with others in my same age group. We have a commonality of experiences and are no longer focused on the things done by age specific younger generations such as child rearing, careers, etc.

When you find yourself in situations like these, it’s time to look around the room for the senior folks. If you can’t find any or are stuck at a table with those half your age, you might whip out that book you always carry with you. You forgot to take the book? Your cell phone can entertain you for awhile. Or, you might simply relax and enjoy people watching. That’s always a fun sport.  And, when you hear such talk as diaper rash, pediatricians, and the like, you can rejoice that you’re in the “been there, done that” age group.

 ***

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: Odenosuke via Visual Hunt / CC BY-SA

4 Comments

Filed under active seniors, Baby boomers, gerontology, health and wellness, healthy aging, longevity, reinvention, retirement, seniors, successful aging, wellness

Mackinac

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

Now, on to my blog:

Mackinac Island 1 - June 2017Clop, clop, clop—the sound of the horses’ hooves as they pulled the wagon taxi  carrying me around Mackinac Island, Michigan last week.  It was the time of the Lilac Festival during which all of the lilac bushes covering the island in their various colors and hues perform for the tourists. It seemed that every hotel, restaurant, park, private home and anywhere else something could be planted had its own lilac bushes for passersby to admire, sniff, and use as a backdrop to pose for photos.

The island is supported by tourism. However, despite the thousands who descend each year, it has been kept pristine and is a little step back in history.Mackinac Island 2 - June 2017 No cars are allowed. All transportation is accomplished by horse drawn carriages and drays, bicycles, and good old-fashioned walking. Humans with pooper scoopers as well as machines pulled by draft horses, Belgians and Percherons mostly, ply the roads gathering the equine droppings. They are then composted and spread throughout the island to assist in the growth of those magnificent lilacs as well as other flora.

Here’s another fact that grabbed my interest. The three-mile-long body of water to the closest mainland freezes shortly after Christmas forming what the locals call the “ice bridge.” The full-time residents have created a folk remedy of sorts to delineate the path as they traverse it atop their snowmobiles. People simply save their Christmas trees which are then set up on the ice to mark the route.

Yes, the five-hundred full-time islanders certainly do enjoy modern lifestyles that technology has brought to all of us.  However, they seem to have found some simple solutions to their unique challenges.  My little peek through their keyhole tells me that they have a less stressful, less emotionally demanding cadence to their lives than we in the big cities experience.

My auditory sense relaxed in the replacement of engine noise with the resonance of the horses’ hooves as they went about their duties. I like that their emissions help the life cycle unlike that of automobiles that only contribute their noxious gases to the destruction of our planet. Is progress really all it’s touted to be? Can we learn from Mackinac Island residents?  Might a return to simpler times and simpler ways be the answer to our angst?

 ***

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.

2 Comments

Filed under active seniors, Baby boomers, gerontology, health and wellness, healthy aging, longevity, reinvention, retirement, seniors, successful aging, Uncategorized, wellness