Category Archives: second acts

Wrangling Seniors

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

CHITCHAT:  I will be giving my lecture, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement,” on May 12, 2017, 1 – 3 pm, at Diablo Valley College Emeritus Program (Pleasant Hill Campus), 321 Golf Club Rd, Pleasant Hill, CA 94523.  Cost: $16 – pre-registration required.

Now, on to my blog:

WalkerA dear friend and her husband from out of state visited me last weekend. I have known them for over forty-five years and hadn’t seen them for quite awhile. We were young and healthy when we met, and we have aged together over the decades.

They are older than I am and have become quite frail. Still, they managed to board a plane with the help of airport wheelchair attendants and arrive at my place by taxi with the aid of the driver. A good tip helped, I guess.

I opened my door to two seniors, both upright with the assistance of their respective walkers. Although a senior myself, I am in good physical condition, and I was pained by their deterioration since I had last seen them. Nevertheless, I was excited by their visit and anxious to show them around my new ‘hood.

It quickly became evident that for each excursion, I would be the pack animal, collapsing and loading two walkers into my car trunk and unloading them upon arrival at our destination not to mention securing seat belts and the like. Ditto on the return ride. All progress was excruciatingly slow. All plans had to be made with time buffers to allow for the lengthy preparation both before and after the event.

I, also, fell into the role of fetch person as their ability to stand up and make their way to get the sugar, a Kleenex, a shawl for warmth, etc. was so much more quickly accomplished by swift me. It reminded me of what my son and daughter-in-law go through with their young children (my adorable grandchildren): strollers, snacks, bathroom breaks, all events planned around rest time, etc.

At the end of each day, I was exhausted, impatient, and irritable. It’s tiring being a wrangler whether your charges are horses or seniors. I tried hard to keep in perspective what I was getting out of the experience. It was such a gift that my dear friends who had been there to nurture and care for me through the years had made the extreme effort to visit me. It was a privilege to help them experience a trip away from their now confined living quarters in an assisted living home. It was a way to pay them back for the love they had always shown me.

Modify your viewpoint toward the elders in your life. Yes, they have become childlike in their needs and even in their behavior. Have patience; be loving, kind, and giving. Don’t forget what they did for you in earlier years which probably caused them to become exhausted, impatient, and irritable.

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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: Anne Worner via Visualhunt.com /  CC BY-SA

			

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Nature’s Floor Show

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:

Bird in tree outside my window 3-16-17I was doing my morning back exercises when I glanced through my window and spied this guy hanging out on a nearby tree branch. What could be more inspiring? I am regaled lately with a variety of birds hovering, preaching, pecking, warbling, chirping, soaring, and all of the other things birds do. I have never been a “birder,” but I am rejoicing in their exaltation. They tell me that spring is here, and that I, too, can exalt in it.

Do you look out the window of your house, car, office, or any other structure in which you find yourself with glass interruptions in its solidity? I don’t mean a glance while you’re doing much more important business. I mean really look!

Tree outside my window 3-15-17

There’s so much to see. Here’s another photo from my window of a glorious flowering tree. The plants, bushes and trees dress up in springtime for our pleasure. Nature offers us a free floor show.  Don’t forget to attend.

We all have interesting things to observe around us wherever we live. Here are some we might spy looking out of windows: hills or mountains, children playing, passersby strolling, dogs running, cars of all shapes and colors, and on and on.

Let the visual panoply engulf you. Feel yourself drawn into the details of a leaf, a bird searching the grass for food, a ball bouncing away from its thrower. These sights and sounds are cleansing. Be mindful; notice as you are being swept into the experience; allow it to overtake you. Don’t worry, you can always go back to that important business you left, refreshed and invigorated.  And, this psychic infusion doesn’t require dipping into your wallet.

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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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Secrets

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:

Whispering photoKeeping secrets is something we all do for various reasons.  It usually starts with worrying about negative blowback we might experience if others knew the truth.  This can be fear of being judged and found wanting, fear of being pitied, fear of reprisals, etc. The reality is that whatever our oh-so-important secret, others usually spend only moments on our situation and then revert back to ruminating about their own lives.

There’s a saying: “A secret is something you tell one person at a time.” Most of us have a need to unburden by sharing our secret with someone whom we think we can trust with it.  Although we swear our trusted agent to secrecy, we worry he/she might deliberately or by accident tell another.  Sometimes, we instruct our agent not to share our secret only with select persons.

That puts an additional burden on our designee not only to live his/her own life with all its attendant stresses, and yes, even secrets, but to remember not to share our secret and with whom not to share it.  That’s called “dumping,” people.

It’s not easy being the dumpee.  The one placed in that role now has a new stressor:  keeping your secret.  It’s hard enough keeping their own, but now they have the worry of yours they might accidentally spill, potentially incurring your wrath and/or damaging the relationship.  Sometimes, the dumpee may deliberately spill your secret for their own gain—remember Linda Tripp?  Google her if you don’t.

Secrets range from tiny ones to great big ones. The degree of weight of the secret is usually decided by the owner.  However, it’s often not given the same level of importance by those learning it.

The keeping and managing of secrets is a wearisome process.  We must remember who we told and didn’t tell, why it was so important to keep the secret, what to do if others learn the secret, what we must do if we want to divulge the secret to all and get on with our lives, and on and on.

Will we ever reach the time where the matter kept secret loses it power over us?  How about now?  In my memoir, I shared my secret of feeling self-conscious and inadequate in my younger years, and of having crippling stage-fright for so much of my life.  When I had the nerve to tell the world, those bonds lost their power over me.  Revealing our secrets can be so liberating.

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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: See-ming Lee 李思明 SML via Visual hunt /  CC BY-SA

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Strutting Your Stuff

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:

turkey-on-my-patio-3-4-17This guy knows how to strut his stuff. He appeared on my patio a few days ago, staying about fifteen minutes as he fluffed out his feathers, fanned his tail, and walked from one end to the other and back again, periodically stopping to turn around slowly so he could be seen from all sides by potential, admiring onlookers. I grabbed my camera to memorialize his display. How could any female resist him? I know I couldn’t.

Another euphemism for strutting your stuff is “tooting your own horn.” Some humans are good at it, like Tom here. Successful practitioners know how to display their talents and attributes. Others are too shy or embarrassed while wishing they could and envying those able to do so with such seeming ease. Some withdraw from even considering such behavior, finding it too prideful and self-indulgent. However, let’s consider if occasional strutting or tooting can aid in our fulfillment.

We all need attention; we all want to attract others. That is neither positive nor negative; it is simply a human trait. With over seven billion of us on this earth and counting, the competition is fierce. So, how do we get some of that elusive, oh-so-valuable attention?  We must do something to make others notice us in some way.

Yes, many overdo it, like Tom. It gets old when someone seems to be constantly bragging or promoting him/herself. Not everyone has mastered the art of subtlety or sophistication in  seeking attention. We really don’t need to puff up our bearing and prance around in the best finery we can afford, folks. But, we can do other things to bring attention, accolades, and praise to ourselves. We can shine in areas where we seem to have talent. Even introverted people can find quieter, less conspicuous ways to shine.

Think of something you can do well. Seek out opportunities to display or utilize that ability  where others will notice. Allow yourself to experience the rewards of a compliment, praise, or kudos.

Attention from others is nourishing. Remember to be generous and not hog it all if you’re the aggressive type. If you’re the timid type, remember that you deserve attention, too. And, let’s remember to practice tolerance toward those who seem so needy of attention. We are all on that scale somewhere.

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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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Irritants Can Be Advantages

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 their retirement. Her public lectures on this subject are titled, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement Years.” Her memoir, available on Amazon.com, is: Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class (Click here for book website: http://AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com)

LEE GALE GRUEN’S UPCOMING APPEARANCES:
May 30, 2015, 11:30am: Lecture: “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement Years,” Joslyn Adult Center, “Health and Fitness Expo,” 210 N. Chapel Ave, Alhambra, CA 91801
June 13, 2015, 2:00pm, Author Talk & Book Signing, Crown Books, 6100 Topanga Canyon Blvd, Woodland Hills, CA 91367
September 18, 2015, 2:30pm: Lecture: “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement Years,” Mira Costa College LIFE Program (Learning is for Everyone), 1 Barnard Dr., Oceanside, CA 92056

CHITCHAT:  A few weeks ago I gave a talk in front of 100 people at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute’s “Lori and Don Brault Lecture” at California State University Long Beach.  It was very well received, and I had a great time.  I love to help and inspire people to reinvent themselves in their later years.  It’s definitely possible, and people just need to be encouraged and informed how to do so.

Now, onto my blog:

Hand Reaching for PencilLast week I was sitting at my computer, busy, busy, busy. I went to grab for my pencil, missed, and knocked it off the computer desk.

Oh, I don’t need this now! I muttered to myself.

I bent over and groped for it on the floor. No luck. After a few choice expletives, I turned on the flashlight on my cell phone (a nice feature BTW) and bent over even further, shining the light around.

I finally spotted the blasted pencil. Of course, it had rolled completely under my desk to the far end, tightly jammed up against the wall molding behind the computer cord, like a kitten hiding under the bed.  I had to bend over to the point where my head was at the same level as my feet and reach to my arm’s length to grab it. As I was doing so, I realized how good it felt to stretch my spine. My errant pencil had offered me a little free exercise.

Why can’t we extrapolate those kinds of experiences to larger ones in our lives? How many times are we inconvenienced by unforeseen circumstances which annoy, irritate, or anger us? We’re less able to tolerate them when we’re on a deadline, tired, running late to an appointment, etc. That’s when each of our own versions of “expletives deleted” kicks in.

Some opt for the “F” word, the “S” word, the “D” word, the “H” word, or whatever.  Others downplay it such as what a childhood friend’s father used to say: “Oh, feathers and moose meat!” I always liked that. I wish I had found out the origin, but I was just a kid and not so fascinated by words and phrases as I am now. Anyway, that was just as powerful for him as the current popularity of the “alphabet” words.

There’s that old expression, “When life hands you a lemon, make lemonade.” Well, that’s not just for the big, oppressive stuff of life. It can also be for the little things, too.

When something interferes with your plans for a minute, an hour, a day, see if you can turn it into an advantage or opportunity. Don’t let the small irritants you encounter take a few more seconds off your life span.  Those seconds are valuable and finite.  Save them for the rewarding things.  If you must, throw that pencil on the floor deliberately to open new possibilities.

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, just reply to sender, let me know, and I’ll remove you from the list.

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Being a Good Listener

This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers and seniors find joy, excitement, and satisfaction in their lives after retirement from a job, career, parenting, etc. Her public lectures on this subject are entitled, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Senior Years.” Her memoir, available on Amazon.com, is: Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class (Click here for website link: http://AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com)

NEWS: The interview I announced on my last blog has been temporarily postponed.  I’ll post it again when it’s rescheduled.

Now, on to my blog:

EarAre we all buzzing around on send-mode but rarely on receive-mode?  My forty-four-year-old son taught me this distinction. One time, when he was upset about something and was telling me about it, I immediately segued into my problem solving role. He became irritated and defensive.  “Mom, I don’t want you to fix it. I just want you to listen.”

I’m definitely a problem solver–the “fix-it” type.  Are you that type?  Do you find that when you’re just trying to help someone with your sage advice, worldly wisdom, or unsolicited opinion, they become defensive and suddenly dump all their anger on you?  Maybe they don’t want your advice, wisdom, or opinion.  Maybe they just need to rant.

Learning to be a good listener is an art.  That’s why counselors, therapists, life-coaches, etc. get paid the big bucks.  They have mastered the art of just listening with an occasional “oh,” or “uh-huh,” or “I see.”

Occasionally, we all need a sounding board.  There isn’t necessarily a solution to what we’re upset about.  We just want to verbalize it.  Somehow, doing so to the wall or a chair just doesn’t cut it.  Why an inert human being hearing our angry commentary seems so comforting is a mystery.  Maybe it just makes us feel valid that another sentient being, preferably a human one, cares enough to spend time with us and just listen.

Now, when my son discusses something that is bothering him and I slip into fix-it mode, I try hard to remember to ask, “do you want my input, or do you just want me to be a good listener?” I don’t always catch myself and am still a work-in-progress, but when I do, it has avoided so many arguments, misunderstandings, and hurt feelings. I show that I’m being supportive, that I respect him for being able to handle it himself, and that I’m not being intrusive.

Try it, even if you have to put a piece of tape over your mouth while you’re doing so.  It may save a lot of friction in your relationships.

Please pass my blog along to anyone else who might be interested and post it on your Facebook, Twitter and other social media. 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.

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