Category Archives: successful aging

Coming Out of Your Shell

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 they retire. 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 on Amazon.com. Click here for her website: LeeGaleGruen.com

CHITCHAT: My new book on the topic of senior reinvention will be published soon. The title is the same as this blog and my public lecture: Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement Years: Find Joy, Excitement, and Purpose after You Retire. The book will contain all the material from my public talk 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:

Shells are not just for turtles, mollusks, and their brethren to inhabit. Conversely, not only birds, reptiles, and their kin break out of shells. Humans do both, although not with the tangible kind as in the aforementioned examples.

Many people plaster on a false face to conceal their feelings or absence of them. That’s right, we hide in our invisible shells. Fortunately, we can alight from them, too.

When life becomes too much to bear, we find solace in retreating behind a barrier to protect ourselves from further onslaught, pressure, and the other stresses we experience. However, if we continue in that mode for too long, it becomes a lifestyle. In so many cases, we drag such behavior along from childhood when we hadn’t developed the ability to cope with rejection, humiliation, disappointment, distress, and the other pain caused by life’s hardships or fellow humans.

The problem is that once we enter the protective housing created in our minds, it can take years to emerge. Shy, inhibited individuals dream of being able to be forthcoming and take on all challengers rather than slinking away as has been their modus operandi for years. Those who go along to get along struggle to find their voice. Even those who seem so confident and in control strive to let go of that facade and be themselves, if they can figure out what that is.

Shells are neither good nor bad, but they can be constructive or destructive. Make your shell work for you. Be aware of it, and use it in a manner to your benefit. Retreat when you need protection and a breather. Cast it off when you feel stronger and can face what life throws your way. The trick is to store your shell in a safe place to pick up or lay down as the need arises.

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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 James St. John on Visualhunt.com CC BY

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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 focus. 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.)

Caring for anything has that effect. The chosen object of attention 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 attention.  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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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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Too Many Decisions

This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help baby boomers, seniors, retirees, and those soon to retire find joy, excitement, and purpose during 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 on 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:

head in hands 2Our lives have become constrained by too many decisions we are called upon to make every day just to get through it. It encompasses everything from what to eat for breakfast to what to put on for bed. That, of course, spills over outside of the home.

Life didn’t used to be this complicated. When you wanted to buy something, there were usually one or two choices, maybe three. Now, there are dozens, each with its own features.

When we want to buy a car, we need to consider so many bells and whistles that come or do not come with it.  It seems that these days we must decide whether to have our air conditioned just so; our derriere warmed by the seat; our music delivered by various means; our roof able to admit fresh air, sunlight, or none of these; our…

When I last went grocery shopping, product labels demanded constant adjudications from me: low-fat, low sugar, no artificial sweetener, yes artificial sweetener, low sodium, organic, and on and on. The meat, produce, dairy, bakery, and household sections were just as bad.

“I don’t care,” I screamed back.  “Just give me a jar of mayonnaise!”

I was wasted by the time I arrived at the checkout stand. I perked up when I saw my favorite box boy, a sweet, young man who had been working there for years.

“Hi Chad,” I greeted him.

He smiled and responded, “paper or plastic.” That was the last straw! I considered jumping ten feet in the air and landing on his throat but was constrained by my decades of socially acceptable behavior training. After all, those three words made up the bulk of his on-the-job conversation. Who was I to interfere with his brief moment of importance? So, I gave Chad a pass.

I need a fairy god-decider in my life. However, I know such a wish is fraught with potential problems; my official decider could become an authoritarian and morph into my fairy god-dictator. No, I don’t want that. What I want is a decider who will decide for me when I decide I want him to decide, and who will melt into the background when I decide that, also. If such a being or spirit exists, I’m unaware of it. Looks like I’ll just have to do it myself, like usual. But, right now, I need a nap–groan.

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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: nick farnhill on Visualhunt / CC BY-SA

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A Reason to Be Alive

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 they retire. 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 on Amazon.com. Click here for her website: LeeGaleGruen.com

CHITCHAT:  I have slightly altered the name of this blog. It is now “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement Years.” It will still be the same blog, but it now matches the title of 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 lectures on senior reinvention as well as my blog posts of more than six years. I will post a notification on this blog when it is published and available for purchase.

Now, on to my blog:

AngelWhat is your reason to be alive? We all need one. It’s what motivates us to keep going, even when we’re down, depressed, and life is just a bummer.

Think about the reasons that are significant in your life to make you want to keep going. Are you a member of a family to which you contribute emotionally, psychologically, financially, or in a myriad of other ways? Are you part of a community to which you offer your time and effort? Do you create in some manner that benefits society as a whole such as art or  writing to name a few from a long list?

Some years ago, a friend became suicidal, convinced that she was worthless. Her family, concerned for her welfare, arranged a psychological intervention facilitated by a therapist. With their loved one present, each gave a speech as to how she had impacted and enhanced their life. It was a very positive and powerful event and was successful in its goal. The beneficiary is functioning today as a respected member of her town.

“It’s a Wonderful Life,” a movie made in 1946, is traditionally shown on television every year around the winter holiday season. The plotline follows a man who feels overwhelmed with his responsibilities and obligations. After working for many years at a job he dislikes and which caused him to give up his dreams for the sake of his family and community, he has become discouraged and is contemplating suicide. An angel shows him how the town and its people would have turned out if he’d never been born, and he comes to realize that he has meant a lot to so many.

We probably won’t have an angel to point out our meaningful acts. Be your own angel and give some careful thought to that consideration. Almost everyone has someone or many ones who would mourn us if we died or would be lacking if we hadn’t been born. Each of us does make an impact.

Take an accounting of what you’ve contributed. Are there friends, family members, peers and such who value you? Can you allow yourself to accept that you have merit?

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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 on Visualhunt   License: CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) Public Domain Dedication

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Minis and Me

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.” 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

Now, on to my blog:

horse 4About eight years ago, I decided I needed more horses in my life, although I’d never had much to do with them. I remember a few times as a girl going to a stable and riding a horse, hanging onto the saddle horn for dear life. When I reached seniorhood, I realized so many members of the equine persuasion are calm, gentle, and take life as it comes. I definitely wanted more involvement with that description and philosophy.

I began going with a like-minded friend to a local stable where we rented horses and rode on wilderness trails led by a guide. My brand of horseback riding was a lot closer to horseback walking, but hey, I was sitting on top with no mishaps requiring stitches or splints and moving forward on a magnificent beast in pristine nature. What more could I want?

Since my revelation, I have vacationed twice at dude ranches, the first in Montana and then in Wyoming, where horseback riding was one of the main activities. (See my blog post about that experience: “Meandering” https://https://leegalegruen.wordpress.com/2015/09//2015/09/.) At the latter, I ventured out on my assigned steed, Bacon, twice a day for seven days in a row, about three hours each stint. I couldn’t seem to get enough.

In the last several years, my access to horses has dropped way off. Recently, I heard about a volunteer opportunity to help feed two mini-horses. Wow, would someone really let me do that? I grabbed my phone and dialed the magic number.

“Oh, thanks for calling. Yes, we definitely need help. I’ll meet you at the paddock this afternoon at 4:00 pm and show you the routine,” said the respondent on the other end of the line.

Chow Time

I set three alarms to remind me of the appointment lest I become engrossed in something and forget, which I’ve been known to do these days. I arrived at the agreed upon location at 3:45 pm.

I met the horsewoman who introduced me to Buzz and Spot, ages 15 and 16 years respectively, each weighing in at around 160 pounds. They were too cute! Buzz was brown, and Spot was–well, spotted, of course. Each stood about as high as my waist. They were as curious about me as I was about them. Both approached to check me out, and Spot was gracious enough to sniff my hand and give me his approval. Yes, he would allow me to minister to him.

Google provided me with a primer about miniature horses: they are no taller than 38 inches and have a variety of coat colors and patterns. They are gentle (my kind of horse), easily trained, and can pull up to four times their own weight. Minis are descended from Shetland ponies, a breed originating in the Shetland Isles off northern Scotland. They were first developed in Europe in the 1600s and are the result of selective breeding over the centuries. They were often the pets of royalty and were used in coal mines in both Europe and the United States until the mid 1900s.

I’m stimulated by my new volunteer job as a mini-horse wrangler, and I consider it a privilege to be around such special animals. Even during COVID-19, we can find things that delight us. Check out opportunities as you stumble upon them. Better yet, figure out an enticing pastime for yourself, seek it out, and get involved. Grab something fulfilling and wrangle it into your life.

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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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How to Look at a Tree

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.” 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

Now, on to my blog:

Leaves

Random Tree Leaves

Recipes give us instructions: do this or do that. They are most often thought of as dealing with food preparation: measure, add, mix, beat, pour, bake, etc. When you’re done, you have a creation that nourishes the body. I’ve printed such an offering in this forum before. (See my blog post of December 22, 2014: What Do You Do When the Happy Holidays Aren’t So Happy?) However, today’s entry is to nourish the soul.

During COVID-19 where our activities have been significantly curtailed, we should spend more time surveying nature to pump up our emotional well-being. So, I’m going to give you a recipe on how to really look at a tree. Although recipes use the command form of verbs, my commands are merely suggestions. Try them out if you wish or ignore them at your loss.

Pick any tree wherever you are. Slowly scan it up and down. Notice the symmetry, the irregularities, the trunk and branches, the leaves or lack of them. What are the characteristics that makes this tree different from any other tree? Is it healthy and vibrant or sickly and withering? Watch the effect of the wind on your tree. Are the branches still or bobbing up and down; are the leaves rustling gently or thrashing wildly?

What color is the trunk: brown, tan, green, gray or alabaster? Is the surface flat, knobby, ridged, striated or dappled? Does it have galls: abnormal growths from its reaction to parasites? What does the bark look like? Is it straight and even or twisted and gnarly, tight or peeling off? 

Do the branches begin closer to the ground or higher up on the tree? How far out do they extend? Does the tree have flowers? What size, shape, pigmentation, and scent describe them?  What kind of fruit does it produce–something edible for humans or animals, a complex cone, or a puny pod only suitable to house seeds for future generations?

Examine the leaves carefully–notice their form, texture and hue. They might be long needles, wide plates, or all sorts in-between. Are they uniform or rough? Are their edges continuous or undulating with peaks and valleys? Are they large, small, rounded, pointed, a single configuration, or complex and fern-like? Are the colors the green of spring; the reds, yellows, and oranges of autumn; or the brown of decay?

Move your eyes to the top. Bore deeply into the canopy. What is hiding in the tree? Are airborne dwellers flying to and fro or landing on branches or nests? Some dress up in colorful costumes that delight. Are squirrels working the trunk and its extensions? Is a neighbor’s cat peering at you from on high? Is the kid from across the street nestled in a fork, legs dangling on either side?

It’s okay to get up close and personal with your tree. Touching is allowed and even hugging if you’re so disposed. What is the sensation on your fingertips or cheek–rough, smooth, or somewhere in-between? Feel the leaves; do they prick you or are they friendly?

Use your other senses. Listen for a moment. Do you hear the birds you spotted? What do they sound like? Pay attention to their different colors, sizes, beaks, and calls. Maybe you can only experience them auditorily; they can be elusive, hiding from all creatures including the human kind. What is the smell you’re experiencing? Trees such as pine let you know you’re near through their spirited scent even before you see them.

Trees are your friends. Get lost in your new friends. Marvel at the wonder of them. During coronavirus days, trees can provide you with hours of free entertainment not to mention shade. Study them carefully as you stroll around your community or from your window while huddling inside staying safe and alive. 

To help you start practicing, here are some trees I photographed on a walk around my own ‘hood:

Tree 4Tree 3Tree 8Tree 9

Tree 1Tree 7Tree 5Oak Tree 1

Tree 2Dappled tree trunkTree cTree d

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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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Bargaining during a Pandemic

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.” 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

Now, on to my blog:

toilet paperAt the beginning of the current shelter-in-place lifestyle, some coveted items became inordinately expensive and hard to find. Who would’ve thought that the dilemma of how to wipe one’s (fill in the blank) would become a major focus during lockdown time? A few months ago, my son saw a sign in a window on the block where he lives:

“Toilet Paper for Sale”
single ply: $10 per roll
double ply: $20 per roll

I heard about a store that had been enticing shoppers with the promise of a free roll of toilet paper with every purchase over $50. However, they failed to specify if it was single or double ply—an important tidbit to know for the potential resale market. Regardless of the TP issue, good deals are still to be had during this twilight zone in which we find ourselves.

Don’t let your bargaining chops become extinct just because you’re stuck in the house for months on end. Several weeks ago, my old dryer died (FYI not from the COVID-19 virus, in case you were wondering), and I had to buy a new one. I jumped on Google to search for dryers in various stories, honing in on a selection that would best suit my needs. I finally decided on an appropriate candidate from Best Buy.

New DryerI called and spoke to a staff member who told me that particular model was out of stock. The next model up was an additional $150.

“But Friedman’s Appliances is selling that same deluxe model for only $499,” I informed him from my extensive research.

“OK, we can match that,” he acquiesced without a moment’s delay.

With a groan, the sluggish gears in my mind started rotating.

“You know, usually when a customer finds a better price at another store, the first store will not only meet that price but will also take an additional ten percent off.”

My adversary laughed.

“I’ll tell you what. We’ll include hauling your old dryer away for free, and we’ll throw in the auxiliary kit (connection hose and a few other necessaries) for free, too.”

Well, I grabbed that deal. I mean, even Friedman’s wasn’t offering those perks.

Yes, your old talents may seem rusty from lack of use. However, it’s like riding a bicycle or (fill in the blank) when you haven’t done it in years. The skill is only lying dormant waiting for you to pick it right back up.

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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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Zoom Nightmares

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.” 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

Now, on to my blog:

Zoom screenI’ve been having Zoom nightmares.  They’re not the waking up screaming kind.  They’re the waking up wrung out kind.  I’m right back to the type of anxiety dreams I had in college. A recurring one was having to take a final exam only to find I couldn’t locate the place where it was being held.  Running between rows of buildings, up and down staircases, and in and out of rooms with time ticking away, I’d wake up agitated and distraught.  Of course, I was unable to fall back to sleep

Today, during our Covid 19, shelter-in-place way of life, many of us have discovered online conferencing sites such as Zoom.  We’re using them as a way to connect socially while we are sequestered in our homes.  I wrote about it recently (see my blog dated May 13, 2020, “Lockdown Fatigue,” https://leegalegruen.wordpress.com/2020/05/.)  At that time, I was thick into Zoom, attending some meetings by invitation and hosting others after studying tutorials on how to do so.  Some attendees to my meetings gave me labels:  Zoom Czar, Zoom Zombie, or Boomer Zoomer.

It got to the point where I had to keep a detailed calendar of my Zoom meetings along with notes pertaining to each one.  Every morning, I perused the appropriate page, preparing myself for my upcoming Zoom day.

Then it happened: I forgot to attend a meeting I was hosting.  It just slipped my mind.  I apologized to the other group members when I finally realized it and logged on a half hour late.  Everyone was very forgiving, but I still beat myself up.

So, I started leaving notes around the house in the morning to remind me of the Zoom meetings I had scheduled for that day.  There were post-its stuck to my computer screen, a scratch paper note on the table where I eat meals, and missives in other places I might stroll by during the intervening time.

One day, I logged into a Zoom meeting I had set up, and no one else joined me.  I started getting emails and phone calls from members who couldn’t access the meeting with the information I had sent them. As the clock was running down on our allotted time and I was getting more and more stressed out, I deleted the scheduled meeting, created a new one, and emailed the invitation to the participants.  Twenty minutes into the session, we all finally appeared in Zoom’s little screen boxes ready to boogie. Again I was contrite and again was forgiven.

It seems I’m not the only one who is struggling with Zoom commitments and responsibilities.  I heard about another stumbler who was supposed to teach a class on Zoom, for pay, and forgot to show up.  My lapses paled in comparison.

The sad truth is that Zoom is failing me.  Its attendant anxiety is affecting my sleep quality.  I can’t seem to handle the emotional pressure this virtual taskmaster is putting on me.  I need a vacation from Zoom!  I’ll have to seek another go-to activity to occupy my hours and hours of quarantine time–sigh.

***

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: markus119 on Visual Hunt / CC BY

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Under the Covers

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.” 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

Now, on to my blog:

Pepe under Covers gIn this time of Covid 19, shelter in place, rising unemployment, and social unrest, it’s easy to get into the habit of staying indoors for long periods of time. However, such behavior becomes isolating. We humans are symbiotic creatures and need the stimulation of others. Real time connectivity with folks is gratifying.

Yes, we can chat and see one another via technology using websites such as Zoom, Skype, and more. However, they can’t replace close, personal contact. There is just something about being together in actual proximity which nourishes and nurtures.

Some devolve into escaping under the covers. A variation of that is delaying or even forgoing personal hygiene and opting to pad around the house all day in pajamas, nightgown, underwear, or whatever you wear or don’t wear to sleep in. Maybe you begin to let the dirty dishes and laundry pile up and generally start to neglect basic household chores.

That is not the best course of action for optimum, mental well-being. It can lead to depression. Maintaining our usual routine as much as possible such as getting dressed in street clothing alters our mindset. It enables us to segue seamlessly from rest mode to action mode.

I remember the adjustment I had to make decades ago when I began a special telecommuting program of working at home with a computer just at the threshold of what is now a way of life on a part-time or full time basis for almost half of American workers. Those first few weeks before I got my groove, I would open my computer prior to changing into daytime clothing only to find myself hours later with eyes glued to the screen still wearing a robe and pj’s. One telecommuting co-worker actually used to get dressed and walk out of the front door as though on his way to the office. He would stroll around the block and return to his home to commence his job, but his perspective had changed.

During this time of multiple crises with their resultant additional hours of within-four-walls, solitary time, we must try to maintain some semblance of normalcy. So, get up at a reasonable hour, make your bed, bathe/shave/brush, get dressed as though you are going out and about, and actually do so for exercise and a change of focus.  It will perk up your spirits and help you to weather this strange time we’re currently living in.

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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: Janet Maker

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

Missing the Little Things

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.” 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

Now, on to my blog:

market checkoutThere are so many things I miss in this time of lockdown over Covid 19 concerns. Being inside for hours and days at a time is getting old. Yes, we’re all getting crabby, irritable, and downright testy. We want to go out and about, further than permitted by walks or other means of bodily transportation (bicycles, skateboards, golf carts, or–yikes–cars) limited to minimal distances abutting our own abodes. We want to travel to distant lands, domestic or international, in the flesh, not as armchair adventurers. We want to connect with our loved ones in person, not virtually.

I miss hugging my son. Pre-coronavirus, he used to visit me each weekend for our alone time apart from his wife and children (my adorable grandchildren). Since the shelter-in-place order, we’d been limited to telephone and FaceTime connection. Interaction via technology is fine temporarily but doesn’t hack it in the long run. I miss hanging out with him in person.

“Maybe you could come over, and we’ll sit outside six feet or even ten feet apart and just chat.  We can wear masks, too.”

“Mom, I could be a carrier without even knowing it. I’d never forgive myself if I passed the virus onto you.”

Son finally hit upon an idea which we’ve tried out a few times with success. He sits outside on my patio next to my sliding glass doors. I sit in the house on the other side of said doors, and we’re able to look at each other. As the doors have to remain shut to act as a virus barrier, it cuts down on auditory communication. So, we talk to each other on our telephones in place of shouting. We press palms together with the glass in between, like an inmate and visitor in jail. Hey, at this stage, I’ll take whatever I can get. At least it’s great material for a blog.

I’ve been ordering my food from online delivery services, adhering to the entreaties of my son to stay home. Now, I salivate when I think of going to the market to purchase sustenance. What used to be a chore has turned into a coveted dream. I envy my friends who make forays to the grocery store.

I long to push a shopping cart down those interminable aisles; compare prices of different brands; and test the weight of two pieces of produce, one in each hand, pondering which is heaviest and the better deal if they are priced by the piece, bunch, package, carton…  I yearn to hunt for hidden dents in cans; inspect bananas for bruises; toss my own cloth bags onto the checkout conveyor belt to avoid bag charges and contribute to saving trees; and eye the cash register for inaccuracies.

Ah, the little things. How I miss them.

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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: brizzle born and bred on Visualhunt / CC BY-SA

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