The Olden Days

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 & BuggyI was going through my credit card statement from a few months ago and matching my receipts against the entries. Many were from restaurants I frequented, stores I depended upon, and movies and theaters I attended.  How long ago that life seems now.

I took those things for granted. I never thought twice or thrice about making plans with friends to dine out. We all had our favs, and it was fun to organize a get-together in one of them.

I love theater and often attend, but usually it doesn’t average more than once a month or longer. My credit card statement reminded me that because of conflicting dates, I ended up attending plays at two different theaters with the same friend just one week apart. Oh well, we had decided to go for it as we were hot to see both performances.

That was before anyone suspected that our collective lives would change abruptly from free ranging spirits to inmates of our abodes with an indeterminate sentence. Yes, restaurants, theater and movie attendance, and shopping except for food and medicine have become the olden days. We usually think of such times with affection and nostalgia as a memory of long ago when life was better. With the speed that things are changing in the eye of the Covid 19 hurricane, even yesterday was the olden days.

Will we ever get back to those times we reminisce about so fondly? Maybe, but they will probably look different. Restaurants, theaters, ride-sharing services and the like that were our staples may have gone out of business for lack of customers to sustain the thin margins they depended upon to survive.

Virtual services and contacts have increased in popularity since our quarantine way of life began. Websites such as Zoom at least allow us to meet online and interact to a degree. Missing from such electronic interfaces are hugs, kisses, pats on the back, and handshakes. Such human contact is vital for our well-being. Our sense of touch needs stimulation to help keep us healthy. I’ve written before in this forum about the importance of touch.  Click here (and scroll down) to read my blog: “The Power of Touch,” dated February 4, 2016; and here to read “Hugs,” dated February 17, 2018.

We must do our part to vanquish this coronavirus. The faster we slay it as a group, the sooner we’ll be back to the gratifying, real contact, not the virtual kind.

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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: Christian Collins on Visual hunt / CC BY-SA

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Irises and Viruses

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:

IrisMother Nature has powers that people can only dream about. She may create exquisite beauty in the form of an iris or rain down havoc as the world’s creatures huddle in fear of the viruses she slings.

With all our war weapons, economic manipulations, and every other form of control that mankind has developed to hobble enemies, it pails by orders of magnitude to the sorcery Mother Nature can work. At times such as these as we face a threat to millions, we are humbled in the face of such dominion.

MN has currently unleashed the coronavirus to thin the herd. There are simply too many of us to be sustained by the earth’s resources. We humans are befouling nature, contributing to global warming, causing extinction of other species, blowing each other up, and generally striving to realize our collective demise.

Will we forget today’s lessons as soon as things are back to “normal”? Will we resume squabbling with each other? Or, can our current crisis teach us anything? If history is an example, the answer is likely “no.” If we look back on the great global tragedies of the centuries: wars, famine, natural disasters, and pandemics, we see that subsequent generations do forget, deny, or ignore.

Why are humans like that? Must the most twisted of us always rise to the top to lead us over the edge of the cliff? Is it in our nature to always devolve into a “Lord of the Flies” mentality?

Virus

Of course, today’s Covid 19 crisis could have been lessened to a significant degree by advanced planning, early action, and quick response. None of those things have happened to a sufficient enough degree to forestall the severity which is only increasing.

What can we do? Each of us is only one tiny cog in a sea of over seven billion of our kind. Are we completely powerless? No. We must do our part. Don’t go out and about other than for essential services. Partying with friends is not in that category. Stay at home even if you are bored, feel fine, figure it can’t happen to you, or are sure you won’t pass the virus along to others. You are not special, privileged or entitled to ignore the recommendation of experts on how we should proceed as a herd to defeat or at least lesson this viral infliction.

Think as the hunters and gatherers did when they lived off the land and made do with what they had. A few weeks ago, I read a story about a young mother who was panicky because her store had sold out of disposable diapers. Now is the time for adaptation and problem solving, folks, not whining. To that puzzled mother: rip up old sheets or towels and use them as diapers fastened with safety pins rather than peel and stick tabs. Then, rewash them just as your grandmother did before the invention of the disposable type–amazing!

Count yourself lucky to live in a first world country with resources to attack this crisis, and do your part to assist.

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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 1 credit: Visualhunt – Public Domain
Photo 2 credit: Photo credit: NIAID on VisualHunt / CC BY

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Out and About in the Time of Covid 19

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:

We’re in the midst of a mandate to shelter in place issued by our California governor. It’s an attempt to cripple the spread of the coronavirus gripping the world and increasing rapidly in my state. I’m trying to do my part, especially since I’m in a highly vulnerable category, age wise. I don’t feel vulnerable; I’m energetic and in good physical condition. However, Gov and my son don’t agree with me.

“Stay inside, Mom,” –my son’s constant refrain.

Mushrooms

“But, I’ll just visit some friends, and I promise we’ll stay outside and stand six feet apart.”

“Gawd, you’re killing me, Mom.”

So, in the spirit of not wanting to add to my son’s stress over concern for himself and his wife and children (my adorable grandchildren), I’m sheltering in place. Today, after four days inside of my walls which I’m crawling by now, I decided to go for a solo hike in a patch of wilderness that borders my retirement community.

I meandered an isolated route to my destination, careful to avoid other signs of animal life, human or otherwise. Soon, I happened upon some marvelous bits of nature I’m usually too busy to pay much attention to. A cluster of large mushrooms was growing out of an old root which had broken the surface of the ground. How strange and fascinating they were.

Lil Purple Flowers

As I traversed a dirt path, I looked down at my feet and discovered a sprinkling of that ubiquitous genus: little purple flower. How perky they looked against the hardscrabble ground.

Something moved. What was it? I stared and was stared at in return. Two deer were hunkered down in the shade under a majestic oak tree, ears perked up, on guard lest I proved to be an enemy and they had to make a quick get-away.

“Hey guys, I’m harmless.”

That didn’t seem to cut it. They remained steadfast, eyeing me carefully as I continued my ascent. I don’t blame them. In these trying times, who knows whom to trust.

Deer under an Oak 1More climbing, and I was getting winded. Never mind, it felt great to be outside in a pristine, undeveloped chunk of the world, no one else around, no sounds to distract me.

Poppies 3-20-20

I crested the hill and came upon another shock of color–orange this time. Spring is here a riot of wild poppies insisted.

I dawdled, not wanting to return to the real world with its surreal dysfunction. Will we ever get through this? I must remember what a famous man once said: “This, too, shall pass.” One final mantra to keep in mind which has served so many to cope with the demons that drive and control them: “One day at a time.”

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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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Living in a World on Lockdown

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:

dandelionThese are stressful times; we are all sheltering in place to one degree or another. So many businesses have closed down that there’s no place to go, even if we wanted to. People are frightened of the unknown and don’t know what to do. Some are hoarding supplies “just in case.” Others are thinking about how to “get out of Dodge,” but there’s no place to run.

We top-of-the-heap humans are being bested by a microscopic, biological agent which has knocked us to our knees: a coronavirus labeled Covid 19. Viruses, those little devils, consist of molecules including proteins, nucleic acids, lipids, and carbohydrates, and are not considered to be alive as they can’t survive on their own. They must enter a living cell of a host in order to be able to multiply. Once inside, they go on to rapidly produce thousands of identical copies of themselves, causing various significant diseases in living things: humans, animals, and plants.

So, what can we do to cope with something as amorphous and seemingly beyond our control as a virus? Can we still find some joy, excitement, and purpose in the current, distressing epoch? Of course we can.

The first thing is to follow the sensible advice of the major health organizations such as frequent hand washing, avoidance of large gatherings of people, and covering our coughs and sneezes to protect others. Then, we must continue with our lives instead of stressing about the “what ifs” we can’t control.

Keep the current situation in perspective. Circumstances are unpredictable in the future, but that usually doesn’t stop us from moving forward. We could fixate on potential events such as taking a fall; being in an automobile accident; and on and on which would turn us all into agoraphobics if we let them. Instead, most of us walk carefully and maybe use an assistive device such as a cane or walker to lessen the chance of falling; we still drive or ride in cars, but with caution.

Grappling with the Covid 19 virus should be no different. Exercise the recommended precautions and continue with your life with a few adjustments. For example, you might spend more time outside in nature instead of inside as part of a large crowd. If you don’t have access to sprawling, wilderness areas, go outdoors and look around. Marvel at the living dinosaurs still among us called birds. How often have you really studied the trees, bushes, and flowers in your own neighborhood? Even a simple dandelion is beautiful poking out of a crack in the concrete or sprouting from a lawn.

Take this time of isolation to enjoy the books and videos that are piling up, clean out the closets, repair clothing and other possessions, make important phone calls, and tackle the myriad other things you can add to the list. Make this and any time productive and uplifting, and follow the old adage: “turn a lemon into lemonade.”

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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 Visual Hunt:  Public Domain

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Widgets for Sale

This 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: LeeGaleGruen.com

Now, on to my blog:

Sale SignsCommerce has one goal–to sell its product. That is what advertising is all about. Unfortunately, it will use any means to make that goal a reality, including propaganda and appeals to our insecurities. The latter sends the message: be dissatisfied with what you are so you will buy my widget to fix it.

Let’s take for example the pathological focus on being young. There are huge amounts of advertising and products devoted to that end.

Someone sitting in a back room thinking about how to maximize profits figured out that aging is as inevitable as those old standbys: death and taxes, and it provides a steady, growing market. So, if youth is peddled to older folks as a must-have, then those in the “youth-business” can hawk their products to drive that dream. First they must create the idea that being young is the ideal and being old is bad: we are not attractive, desirable, or worthy unless we look young, dress young, and act young, emulating the models in the ads that they bombard us with all our waking hours. Their subliminal message: my widget will set you on the road to the Fountain of Youth which is the key to happiness, and it only costs $$$.

It’s our own fault that we buy into this scam and blindly accept an artificially created  reverence to youth which we feel we must chase at all costs. Do we even question such a postulate which is constantly being crammed down our collective gullets? Do we even ask ourselves, What’s so wonderful about being young? When is it okay to be okay about myself?

In a recent interview, 82-year-old actress Jane Fonda discussed her insecurities and admitted that self-acceptance has been difficult for her to this day. She claims that she has now sworn off cosmetic surgery which has been a part of her life for many years. How can a beautiful, successful, accomplished actress have such negative feelings about herself?

I remember my youth and especially my teenage years as a time of my life that was fraught with self-doubt, insecurity, and discontentment. True happiness and gratification have slowly crept up and grabbed me as I’ve aged. I can now look back at my “youth” and wave a fond farewell to a difficult chunk of time.

One of my blog readers emailed me some lines from a poem by the 14th century, Persian poet Hafez which should be savored like a cozy robe: “The way-station of old age is one to pass cleanly. Don’t let the urgencies of youth stain the whiteness of your hair.”

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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: timparkinson on Visualhunt / CC BY

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Tribal Elders

This 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:

senior citizen signWhat does it mean to be a tribal elder? Today, we call them senior citizens.  However, they are the same block of people–the long-lived inhabitants of a society.  If we examine primitive tribes from civilizations past, and even those still existing, we see that it was the older members who were revered and sought after for advice and words of wisdom as to how to comport oneself and thrive. Why is that?

The answer is simple yet complex. As we age, we amass more and more life experiences. Human beings use their resultant skills to inform future behavior. Insight and judgment are part of the stew: if we burn our hand on the stove, we learn not to put it there again.

Once folks have accumulated enough general proficiency, most become wise. Wisdom, of course, takes many forms and passes through the filter of the individual and their unique life experiences. Nevertheless, on certain basic issues, those paths often lead to similar endings.

Seniors are all tribal elders. We are cast into that role by the passage of time, whether we like it or not. We have a responsibility to generations that come after us to hold our role sacred and fulfill it to the best of our ability. Petty things like personal interest or bias may blemish the advice of some tribal elders, and their consensus may skew in the direction of one extreme or another at any given time.  However, the group dynamic in most cases functions to hold those members at bay, discouraging their views from being adopted as the long-term norm.

It is the group function that seems to be the most successful at arriving at the best decision.  We see this concept in court trials, corporate board meetings, the U.S. Congress, and throughout all walks of life, big and small.  The group process is the best hope for how to proceed wisely, and tribal elders are the repository of experience to direct that process.  So, if you are a senescent society member, tread carefully.  Your words and actions are not just for your benefit, but also for those who follow.

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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: Ethan Prater on Visual hunt / CC BY

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The Menu

This 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 Classis available by clicking here Amazon.com. Click here for her website:  http://AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com

Now, on to my blog:

Dinner TableIt was only supposed to be a fun gathering at my place. I had recently moved to a new condo four hundred miles from my longtime home to live closer to family members. I decided to have them over for dinner to show off my new digs.

I sent out the email invitation to about a dozen recipients. Without a thought, I added a line at the last minute: let me know if you have any food issues. Wrong! Close to half had considerations of one type or another dealing with what they were or were not willing to ingest.

I kept thinking up dish after dish, only to discard it when I realized that my son, granddaughter, cousin, cousin’s husband, and a few more wouldn’t eat it. I was trolling recipes on the Internet, pondering the matter in the middle of sleepless nights, and generally experiencing a rise in my stress level.

Of course, I’m aware that these many food challenges are spread across the population, not just in my family. However, I don’t remember all this stuff when I was younger. Maybe it has to do with bounty and plenty. When food is scarce, you eat what’s put in front of you, and you’re grateful for it.

My crowd runs the gamut: vegan, vegetarian, lactose intolerant, gluten free, on a diet, red meat averse, Kosher, low salt, low fat, high protein, organic, nut allergies, shellfish issues, pescatarian, heart healthy oils, and the list goes on ad nauseam. There’s also the “wine with dinner” matter. I have never acquired a taste for alcohol, so I don’t drink any. Truth be told, I don’t understand the big fuss about it all: which wine goes with which dish, how to choose it, sniff the cork, the year, the bouquet, the color, the right glass, yadda, yadda, yadda. However, I seem to be a minority of one. So, I just tell my guests to bring whatever wine they want as I’m not serving any, and that I can probably scare up some small glasses and maybe a corkscrew.

As you’ve probably deduced by now, cooking is not my strong point. To reduce my anxiety, my new motto is to disclose the menu in advance right down to the water I’m serving (tap, filtered, spring, purified, distilled, sparkling, infused–I have a headache).

Although I don’t have any food allergies, I do have dislikes. So, don’t serve me: lamb, shrimp, sushi, cilantro… Oh, and sorry about my lack of aptitude and flair in the kitchen. However, I really do have other talents.

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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: futureshape on VisualHunt.com / CC BY

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G’day Mate

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: http://AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com

Now, on to my blog:

Koala.jpgWe all strive to survive and thrive. We depend on others to help us toward that end; we cannot do it alone. So, we too, must help others, and “others” includes the animals of the world.

Many years ago, I read about a penguin named “Pierre” that was part of a living exhibit at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, California.  For an unknown reason, Pierre lost all of his feathers.  He was ostracized by the other penguins, and he couldn’t swim because it was too cold for him.  A staff member made Pierre a neoprene suit to protect him, and his feathers eventually grew back.  Pierre may not have weathered that trauma without his human benefactor.

Recently, the continent of Australia has been hit with massive wildfires.  Believed to be exacerbated by climate change, they are destroying everything in their path. This has included an estimated one billion animals, many unique to Australia. I recently heard about the Australia based “Animal Rescue Craft Guild” that is organizing sewers, knitters, crocheters, and other crafters from around the world to help with this tragedy by making mittens for animals with burnt paws and joey pouches for marsupial baby orphans including kangaroos, possums, koalas and wombats that cannot survive outside of their mother’s pouch. These simple, artificial pouches are crafted from material and protect the life of the undeveloped joey, the marsupial baby, enabling it to flourish until it can live on its own.

Joey in pouchHere’s a short primer on the kangaroo joey: when born at about 33 days, it is like an embryo: blind, hairless, and a few centimeters long–the size of a jelly bean.  It makes it way from the birth canal to the mother’s pouch by wiggling through her fur.  It remains inside the pouch suckling one of four teats which becomes enlarged to hold the joey in place. In about six months, the baby roo starts to make forays outside for short periods of time.  It leaves Mom’s comfy digs permanently between eight and eleven months.

If you have needlecrafting skills, how exciting and gratifying it might be to spend a little of your time making an item to enhance the welfare of Australia’s distinctive animals which have been injured and rendered homeless by the relentless fires of 2020. This could also be a fun project to do with your grandchildren, or for them to do on their own.  Google “instructions for marsupial pouches” or “instructions for mittens for koalas” to access YouTube videos to teach you how to make these items correctly. When you’re finished, google topics like “how to donate pouches and mittens for fire animal victims in Australia” or go to the Facebook page of “Animal Rescue Craft Guild” for information on where to send them.

If you’re not needlecraft talented yourself, do as I’m doing with this post and pass along the message to those in your sphere who are.  No matter your abilities or lack thereof, you too can be a link in the chain to make this happen

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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 1 credit : Janus Serendipity on Visualhunt / CC BY
Photo 2 credit: Aidan Jones on Visual hunt / CC BY-SA

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Noise Pollution

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: http://AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com

Now, on to my blog:

Lighthouse & foghornsIs it me, or has the noise level in our environment risen sharply? To my mind, noise has reached pollution levels, like being enveloped in a constant foghorn. I can’t seem to walk into any establishment these days where I’m not hit broadside by the noise level inside.

To add to what might be a normal degree in a building filled with humans, the proprietors of many locations seem to feel that adding to the racket will help their business. So, they pipe in music which just increases the pollution. Then, to add insult to injury, they ramp up said chords to ridiculous decibels.

This first just occurred in restaurants and bars. Today when you frequent them, screaming to your tablemates just to be able to hear each other is now the norm.

This ambiance has segued to places like food markets, clothing stores, and other commercial businesses open to the public. I don’t know about most folks, but when I enter such a place, I’ll usually do a U-turn and exit from whence I came.

I’ve been known to ask employees to turn down the music. My request usually goes something like: “The music is too loud.  My first choice would be for you to turn it off;  my second choice to turn it down.”  This is usually met with strange stares and some form of resistance.  I’m sure that the owners regularly read their “Running a Successful (add any brick and mortar business category)” which tells them that piped in music helps bump up sales. But, putting your customers at the mercy of some radio station playing rap music turned up to assault their eardrums is not what it means, guys.

I don’t know if folks are aware that prolonged exposure to intense noise causes irreversible hearing damage. Those young store clerks and restaurant workers are being harmed permanently! Also, if one goal is to cater to Baby Boomers and seniors (and it should be as we form a huge demographic which spends lots of money), businesspeople ought to be aware that there are more hearing issues and hearing aid use among us, and that the hearing challenged are quite sensitive to intense noise.

We need more quiet in our lives. So, in line with my philosophy that you can’t change other people, you can only change yourself, carry earplugs or earmuffs with you at all times and use them when you are overwhelmed by the ambient clatter.  Picture an influx of seniors in earmuffs.  That should send the message.

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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: Citizen 4474 on Visual hunt / CC BY

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Holiday Letters

This 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 Classis available by clicking here Amazon.com. Click here for her website:  http://AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com

Now, on to my blog:

SnowmanThis time of year, I usually receive a plethora of holiday letters via email or snail mail from various family members, friends, or even acquaintances.  The contents usually follow a formula: recapping the sender’s year with snippets of what they and their loved ones have done during that time.  I don’t know how or when this practice started, but I don’t remember it in the first half of my life.

I usually hate those missives because, more often than not, they’re filled with fairy-tale wonderfulness making my life pale in comparison.   Everything seems to have a positive spin.  It might read: “Hyacinth is loving her new college.”  Of course, I know that Hyacinth was expelled from her old college for having drugs in her dorm room, and that she did a short stint in the local jail with some follow-up community service as a result.  Maybe it informs us:  “Maxwell finally fulfilled his longtime dream of leaving his old firm of Smith, Jones, and McGillicuddy and starting his own company.”  Unwritten is that Maxwell was booted out from SJ&M for shoddy work, and his new company headquarters  is located behind the house in a 6×8 metal shed furnished with a card table and cinder block bookcase.

We all have our ups and downs–our positives and negatives.  A full dose launched in our direction of just one or the other is a turnoff, no matter in what form it is delivered.  We all compare ourselves to each other, and when one constantly presents as wonderful, blessed, and fortunate, it becomes tiresome and boring.  Conversely, when one bemoans and whines about most things, it becomes tiresome and boring.

Those two extremes, everything is wonderful or everything is terrible, are usually performed with a hidden motive.  The former is a type of one-upmanship.  At its essence, it is bragging–mine is better than yours.  The latter is a form of victimhood to suck more than the practitioner’s share from the attention pool.

If you must send or email a holiday letter, tell us what really happened, not just the Pollyanna version, but be careful not to overload it with poor-me isms.  We can see through it all, and we may repay you in kind.

Remember to enjoy your holiday season like a guileless child without an agenda and not use it as a tool to manipulate.  With that, I leave you with my holiday letter:

****LEE GALE GRUEN’S  2019  HOLIDAY  LETTER****

Happy and Merry Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Posadas Navidenas, Solstice, or (fill in the holiday of your choice.)  Just want to bring you up-to-speed on how wonderful, terrific, amazing, incredible, and (fill in any positive adjective) my life has been this past year. 

In January, I completed blah, blah, blah!

In February, my son was elected blah, blah, blah!

In March, my oldest grandchild started blah, blah, blah!

In April, my dog learned blah, blah, blah!

In May, I was awarded blah, blah, blah!

In June, my youngest grandchild was chosen blah, blah, blah!

In July, my daughter finished blah, blah, blah!

In August, I traveled to blah, blah, blah!

In September, my middle grandchild mastered blah, blah, blah!

In October, my friends threw me a blah, blah, blah!

In November, I bought a blah, blah, blah!

And this month, December, I’m finally able to tell you all about it and make you drool.

Have a stupendous holiday season, but not as good as mine, of course!

***

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.

Lisa Zins on VisualHunt / CC BY

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