Category Archives: successful aging

I Signed Up to Be an Uber Driver

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:

Cell Phone in Dash HolderI was trying to download the Uber app onto my cell phone.  It was a new learning curve for me, but I wanted to be hip like everyone else and try out the popular ride sharing concept.

I followed all the correct prompts on the Uber website, or so I thought.  After completing my efforts, I received an immediate email from Uber welcoming me to their pool of drivers.  They wanted all sorts of personal information such as my driver’s license number, insurance, and the like.

I have no idea what I did to become part of the Uber Drivers Club.  Truth be told, I’d probably be the worst sort of Uber driver.  My driving skills are okay, but nothing to brag about.  My patience with the full range of personalities an Uber driver might encounter is limited.  And, my sense of direction stinks.

After I was enrolled as an Uber driver, the problem became:  how to unenroll.  Apparently, Uber doesn’t want their drivers to drop out, especially before they even begin.  No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t quit my new job.  I finally gave up and figured I’d just remain on their roster.

Well, Uber didn’t like that either.  They were not about to brook a driver who didn’t provide her driving information, and certainly not one who didn’t drive.  I continued receiving emails from Uber insisting upon the sacred data.  I ignored them, but they persisted–Uber can be very persistent.

They finally got the idea and stopped pestering me.  However, I don’t know if I’m still buried somewhere in their data bank of drivers.  I can’t help wondering if this type of snafu befalls others, too?  Does it happen to younger people, or is it just us older folk?  What did Uber say on its end after I bailed?  Oh, another ditzy senior.

Nevermind, I do know that I went on to become a successful Uber passenger after a few upsetting mishaps (click this link and scroll down for my blog of March 4, 2018 “Uber et al” https://leegalegruen.wordpress.com/2018/03/.)  I have even learned a couple of things from my Uber rider experiences.  For example, I bought one of those handy dandy devices that holds a cell phone near the dashboard at close viewing range used by all Uber drivers while their phone’s GPS navigates the route.  Now, if I ever do decide to activate my Uber driver status, I’m all set!

Always be willing to learn from your experiences.  When you encounter a good idea, borrow it, steal it, claim it for yourself.  Good ideas are good ideas, no matter where they come from, even Uber.

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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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Feeling Out of Place

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:

flamingosSometimes we find ourselves in situations where we feel out of place; you know, that awkward, uncomfortable sensation because we don’t quite fit in. We try to adapt, but all we can think of is, how do I get out of here?  It’s particularly hard in a situation where everyone else seems to know each other, to interact comfortably, and we are the odd man out.

I think everyone has found themselves in such a predicament at some time in their lives. We dread it, and often avoid participating in a potentially interesting activity because we fear we may experience that distasteful feeling yet again.  The one thing we forget is that everyone was in the same dilemma in some  venue somewhere when they first attended, and they were the odd man out.  They felt uneasy and thought of bolting.

As I’ve previously discussed in this blog, I moved to a large, active retirement community three years ago knowing no one.  I was intimidated and uncomfortable everywhere I went.  The community offers a plethora of clubs, events, sports, and activities of all kinds.

Each thing I attended, I had to go alone.  Of course, it seemed like everyone else there was with lots of friends.  It was hard, and I often debated whether to even make the effort.  However, the thought of isolating myself inside my four walls was worse.  Slowly, I found my own friends, became comfortable, and now I’m very happy.

You must push yourself and bear up under the discomfort in order to reap the rewards, just like you’ve had to do all your life at school, in your job, dating, raising children, and so on.  Just like all skills, the more you do it, the more adept you become.

It seems we must wade through the sludge to get to the gold.  So, hang in there, keep going back, keep starting conversations with other participants.  It will slowly get better.  It makes it easier realizing that it doesn’t just happen to you, it happens to everyone, no matter how rich, attractive, successful, or accomplished.

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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: gcalsa on Visual Hunt / CC BY-ND

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Monet and Me

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

CHITCHAT:  I am a guest blogger this week on Honey Good, a website for women 50+ with a philosophy of “celebrating a woman’s life after 50.”   Click here to read my guest blog:  https://www.honeygood.com/my-second-act-of-life1/

Now, on to my blog:

Monet & MeAh, Monet.  We hung out together recently.  That is, Monet did the hanging–on a wall at the de Young Museum in San Francisco, California, with me in attendance and in awe.  As you can see in this photo, I failed to dress for the occasion–a faux pas as Monet would say in the French of his origin.  Yes, I stressed primary colors that day forgetting that my pal Monet is definitely a secondary colors kind of guy.

No matter; we were both gobsmacked (I’ve been dying to use that trendy word) by the beauty of his garden and his ability to render it on a flat surface.  Yes, two of totally different interests and viewpoints can come together over a shared commonality.

Monet and I were born 100 years and 4,000 miles apart.  What would we have talked about if we hadn’t had such distances between us?  We would certainly have discussed the beauty of nature.  We might have marveled at the intricacy of a leaf, the color of a flower, the soothing ripple of water.

It’s not always easy to find something in common with another.  But, more often than not, there will be a little nugget if you dig deep enough.

I attended a banquet dinner last year, and was sitting at a table with some folks I didn’t know.  One man tried to engage me in conversation, but each thing he mentioned didn’t hit a cord.  Finally, in response to yet another of his queries, I revealed that I had graduated college in 1964 from UCLA.  Voilà (to continue in a Francophile mode), my table mate began discussing Kareem Abdul Jabbar who was a student at UCLA around that time and became a top ranked player on the university basketball team.  I know very little about sports, but I was able to contribute that Kareem was known then by his birth name of Lew Alcinder.  That opened up a lengthy conversation which segued into different topics.

Find common interests with those you encounter.  Keep bringing up different subjects until you hit upon something that excites you both.  It’s there; you just have to keep searching for it.  Even the dullest, most withdrawn human will shine when you strike upon their passion.  That’s the way to make friends!

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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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Drumming

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:

DrumI spotted this guy on a subway train with this huge drum. I guess he subscribes to the old adage: you never know when you might need a drum.

Drums, those wonderful creations by humans, are of the percussion persuasion.  They can be played using sticks, palms, elbows, whatever. They can be professionally made, or cheaply crafted out of materials at hand.

I’ve seen street drummers banging out wonderful rhythms on an assemblage of pots, pans, plastic pails, and other assorted items that make a resonating noise when  struck. Some of those drummers have even turned to the curb of the sidewalk to continue tapping out their message. The wonderful steel drums played in the Caribbean were originally made from 55-gallon oil barrels.

Drums let us beat out the rhythms in our heads. Drums are cathartic, enabling us to pour out not only our joy, but our rage, anger, upset, disappointment, and all other sorts of negative emotions. The drumming member of the band is the guy/gal who gets to flail, gyrate, posture, and genuflect as he pounds those skins.  What a workout, and what a release, physical and emotional.

A popular pastime in recent years is the advent of drumming circles. They are a grass-roots endeavor, and promote community camaraderie among its members. Groups get together with each participant bringing his/her own drum. The particular type or style is unimportant. All that is required is a drum of some sort to receive the pounding of each player as they belt out their collective message to the world.

Drumming is a form of amplification of the body’s expression of rhythm: finger tapping/snapping, dancing, singing, scatting, body twisting, etc.  Humans today and down through the ages all the way from sophisticated societies to the simplest of tribal people have felt the need for bodily expression through sound and movement. Drums are enablers to that end. And best of all, they are portable and attract others in an upbeat (pun intended) gathering. So, acquire your own drum and get to it; bang away your woes.

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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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Bailing Out at the Last Minute

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

CHITCHAT:  My above memoir was just included in the Pretty Progressive website as part of a list under the title, “Women’s Book Club Made Awesome Thanks to These 28 Discussion-Worthy Books.”  To view mine, scroll down to #19 at this link:  https://prettyprogressive.com/womens-book-club-made-awesome-thanks-to-these-28-discussion-worthy-books/

Now, on to my blog:

handshake 2How important is it to stick to your word? I mean, what’s the big deal if you back out of a promise or commitment?  I’ve addressed this subject before (see blog of May 14, 2018: “Keep Your Promises”), but this is a different slant.

To most people, it can be irritating, upsetting, or even painful when someone reneges on plans with very little notice.  The one depending upon your acting toward a specific end may have staked a lot on that promise.  They may have switched around other obligations, refused new invitations, or generally rearranged things in their life with your agreement as the catalyst.

We all have to change our arrangements from time to time; we’re human. However, try to give lots of advance notice. Backing out of a commitment at the last minute is fraught with all types of fallout.

The practitioners of short notice bailing-out may do so for acceptable reasons.  Something seriously urgent may have come up, they may legitimately have been delayed, or they may have had an accident. But often, it’s something as simple as: they don’t feel like it, they expended their energy on other activities that day, or they got a better deal.  I’ve been at the receiving end of such behavior from time to time.  What I’d like to ask those actors is, “How do you feel when someone backs out on you late-term?”

I remember once a friend who was divorced telling me that her young son had waited for hours in front of the house for his father to pick him up for their planned excursion, but the father never arrived. The son was devastated. The father’s subsequent excuse was lame and selfish.

I have been involved in relationships where the other party became angry and spontaneously backed out of a promise or commitment as a means of control or to inflict hurt. Of course, I learned never to trust their promises, and I proceeded accordingly.

Here’s a variation on a theme:  Years ago, I had a friend who, when I’d suggest a particular date to meet, would check her calendar and tell me, “I don’t have any plans for that day, yet.” I couldn’t figure out if that was a yes or a no. What exactly does “yet” mean in that context? It became clear that her pattern was to hold me off to see if she got a more exciting opportunity.  She probably practiced that technique with most in her sphere, placing herself in a position to wiggle out if she desired.  Needless to say, she is now a former friend.

When others rely on your word, and it soon becomes clear that said word is unreliable or of a waffling nature, the blow back to you will be a loss of trust and a rift in the relationship. Go ahead, take the plunge–commit. Then, do your utmost to follow through, even if you’re pissed off or get a better, last-minute offer.  If you can’t seem to do that, don’t be surprised as one friendship after another melts away

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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: chez_sugi on Visualhunt / CC BY-SA

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Fixations

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:

Roman noseI have written often on this subject, yet it keeps calling me back.  I hear chatter, see ads, discover new offerings in this field.  Yes, we humans fixate on our bodies. We find the parts that are not considered attractive in the time, age, and location in which we live, and we obsess about them. I’m too tall/short/scrawny/corpulent, my nose is too big, my hair is too limp, my eyelids are slanted, my ears stick out, my biceps aren’t muscular, my breasts are too small/large, and on and on.

Of course, styles in beauty and attractiveness change with the times.  Peter Paul Rubens, late 16th century artist, painted very full figured women as that was considered beautiful when he lived. Today we call them fat. Ancient statues from Rome sport large Roman noses as it was considered good-looking at that time. Today, we seek rhinoplasty for such a protuberance.

Even though I am of average height now, I matured very quickly, and was the second tallest kid in my sixth grade class. The tallest was also a girl. I hated it and wished I could be little, cute and popular like Bunnie. I remember that we had ballroom dancing classes in school every week, and they would line us up by height, the boys in one line and the girls in another side by side. I was always second to the last in the girl’s line, or last if the aforementioned tallest was absent. Chances are, I would get one particular boy as my partner who was wimpy and had an underbite.  I’m sure he wasn’t any happier drawing me to dance with during the “ordeal,” either.  I hated the whole thing.

We run to our idols: doctors, surgeons, hairstylists, personal trainers, fashionistas, anyone who can disguise or change that horrible feature about ourselves that we hate. Once we do away with one, we find another to fixate on.  Okay, the bump in my nose was removed, but how about my big hips? Okay, I got rid of my wrinkles, but I hate my receding hairline. Let me run to the gym and work out, let me get liposuction, let me stuff myself into girdles, slimming pants, A-shaped skirts, Hawaiian shirts, let me starve myself–anything to hide my awfulness from the eyes of others.

How sad we humans are. How funny we would seem to alien beings arriving on our planet. How strange we must seem to the animals of the world.

Does a horse fixate on its mane being shorter than another’s–darker, lighter, thicker, thinner?  Yes, certain traits in the animal world attract a mate: longer tusks, larger chests, more colorful feathers, etc. However, we humans have taken it to an extreme as we are wont to do. If it doesn’t come naturally, we spend our time, energy, and money scurrying to the fixers of our fixations.

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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: Son of Groucho on Visualhunt / CC BY

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Watson

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:

Watson 1Life can be such an adventure.  Simple day-to-day activities can yield gold–unexpected finds and excitement.

I went to Home Depot a few weeks ago for the usual reasons people go there; it was just one of my chores for the day.  I was ambling around pushing one of their larger-than-I-am shopping carts when I turned down a random aisle.  In front of me was Watson, this beautiful English Setter as his owner informed me.  I had never met an English Setter before.

Watson was as sweet and gentle as he was beautiful.  He was also like flypaper, attracting practically every shopper who was lucky enough to turn down that enchanted aisle where he was holding court.  Watson brought strangers together as they oohed and awed over him, petted him, asked questions about him, and interacted with each other over their shared experience.

Watson’s owner, or should I say the fortunate person allowed to accompany him on the other end of the leash, told the gathering crowd that Watson was a therapy dog, visiting inhabitants at places such as senior homes and hospitals to bestow his calm and magnificence upon them.

Watson 2Watson accepted the adoration of all of us gathered around him in the Home Depot aisle that day without changing his demeanor in the slightest. He inhabited his purpose in life: bringing joy to those he encountered. He didn’t become puffed up with his own importance, demanding of rewards or social position, manipulative, or any of the other things humans in such a position might have done. No, Watson simply remained Watson–a uniter, not a divider.

We need more human Watsons in the world who will bring people together and unite them. We need less division and derision.  We need more calm, gentleness—more Watson-ness. Are we humans fated to encounter that only in other animal forms?

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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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