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First World Problems

This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, and those facing retirement find joy, excitement, and satisfaction in life after they retire. 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 on this link: Amazon.com.  Click here for her website: AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com.

Now, on to my blog:

Washing MachineI was complaining to my son about my washing machine conking out and needing to buy a new one.  I bemoaned  having to search for a replacement online, having to call different appliance stores to check their stock, having to stay home to get the delivery, and figuring out how to use it.  He listened patiently and then put it all in perspective.

“Mom, this is a first world problem.”

That shut me up immediately. How petty and ungrateful we can become with the minor inconveniences in our otherwise privileged lives. We’re not being bombed like some people in the world. We’re not starving like some people in the world. We’re not being exposed to horrendous diseases, being mauled by animals, being beheaded or having a relative who is. You get the idea.

It’s easy to get caught up in the minutiae of our lives, stressing about having to buy a new washing machine and the like. I’m certainly guilty of it. But, it illustrates how any situation can be looked at in a different light. How lucky I am that I have the money, availability, and ease to buy a new washing machine. Not everyone does.

Yes, our problems are significant to us, but we must keep some perspective. Practice looking at problems from a different angle and see if their importance doesn’t diminish. Too many people complain too often about too many things. Stop complaining folks and make it work for you. If you go shopping for something and they are out of it, get something else and move on. If you’ve made plans with someone and they are late, stop grumbling and read a book or magazine until they arrive. When you can’t get what you want, choose something else at that moment. When things aren’t going like you had in mind, “go with the flow” as they say.

Complaining is easy. Dissatisfaction is rampant. Why can’t we take the opportunity to improve our swimming when the water gets choppy? There are so many positive, interesting things going on all around us constantly. Choose to get into that mind frame. It makes life gratifying and so much easier.

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, either scroll down or look on the right side of this page and click on specific titles under “Recent Posts” or on specific dates under “Archives.” To opt out of receiving this blog, just let me know at the aforementioned email address, and I’ll remove you from the list.

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Beer and Diapers

This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, and those facing retirement find joy, excitement, and satisfaction in life after they retire. 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 on this link: Amazon.com. Click here for her website: AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com

Now, on to my blog:

Beer & DiapersAn article in the newspaper a few months ago mentioned that companies like Walmart track purchasing patterns. One thing they found was that beer and diapers are often purchased together. Yes, it brings a laugh. However, in analyzing it a bit further, it’s not so funny.

Having a baby is a significant stressor. Resorting to alcohol, drugs, over-eating, and worse on a regular and maybe excessive basis to handle that tension can be counterproductive and dangerous. Substance abuse to cope with stress doesn’t just happen to new parents, it occurs across the spectrum of age, sex, race, and every other classification. We are bombarded with it all the time. Sometimes it’s externally driven and sometimes internally. However, it creates anxiety, nervousness, and a search for a solution, too often in the form of ever-encroaching, addictive behaviors.

We can’t eliminate all pressure from our lives. But, we can try to lower it. Look carefully at what causes you stress. Are you babysitting too often and too long for grandchildren who wear you out? Do you have too many activities and obligations scheduled and just yearn for some relaxation time? Do you (fill in the blank)? Learn to assess your personality and abilities. Admit if you can no longer keep up the pace you did when you were younger. Maybe things that didn’t used to bother you do now.

Practice prioritizing. Learn to tell others “no.” Learn to tell yourself the same. When life becomes overwhelming and you find yourself sinking into substance abuse or other self-destructive behaviors just to function, find another, less harmful “drug of choice”—an alternative, more beneficial means of managing it.

Exercise is one example. Join a gym, attend it, and work out on a regular basis. Take long, brisk walks. Climb stairs whenever possible. Writing is another way to deal with stress. We used to write in our diaries; today it’s called journaling. It’s therapeutic and calming. Use the old-fashioned, paper and pen method or do it on your computer.

Think of other non-self-destructive means of attacking the aggrevators that life throws at you. Be your own advocate. Handle life rather than the other way around.

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, either scroll down or look on the right side of this page and click on specific titles under “Recent Posts” or on specific dates under “Archives.” To opt out of receiving this blog, just let me know at the aforementioned email address, and I’ll remove you from the list.

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