Tag Archives: aging gracefully

Being at the Whim of Marketeers

This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, and those soon to retire find joy, excitement, and satisfaction in life after retirement. Her public lectures on this subject are titled, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement Years.” Her memoir, available at Amazon.com, is: Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class. Click here for her website: http://AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com

NEWS: I am the “Featured Reader” for the month of May in an online newsletter: Janet’s Good News. Click here to read the article (in the left column): janetsgoodnews.com

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Fat in Jar

Marketeers spend a lot of time, energy, and money defining what is desirable and attractive—what we absolutely must have. They hawk it to the masses via advertising and the media. Then, they sell it to us.

I have been a victim of this all my life with my skills, my possessions, my appearance, etc. My insecurity, carefully nurtured from childhood, has always convinced me that if I look a certain way, possess a particular skill, own a specific object, etc., it’s not a big deal—anyone can do it, have it or whatever. Of course, if I don’t have the latest thing trending at the moment, it’s the most coveted state imaginable, and I yearn for it.

That type of thinking is found in groups of all ages, sexes, socio-economic strata, and every other classification into which we divide human beings.  It’s sad the lengths to which people will go to attain that artificially created, can’t-live-without lifestyle.

I read awhile ago about the growing number of Asian women having plastic surgery on their eyelids to make them look more American or European. Of course, it’s easy for me to pass judgment on such an act as ridiculous, sitting on my perch with my Caucasian eyelids. But, I’m the same person who dyed my hair blond for decades because “blonds have more fun.” If you don’t believe me, just ask Miss Clairol.

Look at the success of Botox because it has been fed to us for decades that youth is in and wrinkles, those town criers of aging, are out. What other animal in the world deliberately ingests poison into its body?

The popularity of liposuction is fueled by the current ideal of concentration-camp thin bodies, making zaftig thighs, hips, whatevers so unattractive. By the way, save that fat they suck out of you, people. Kim Kardashian (never thought I’d print her name in my blog) is changing that fashion, and big hips are coming back into vogue. I’ll bet your liposuction guy will give you a deal on reinjecting that fat he removed from your (fill in the blank) a few years ago and you saved in the bottle in your closet, way in the back hidden out of sight behind your luggage.

Of course, you could cut your lipo guy (or dermatologist, or plastic surgeon, or whomever) loose and start being okay with yourself and making your own decisions about how you’ll live your life—what an idea! Think about it. Someone is creating our insecurities and making a fortune off of them. And, it only works because we cooperate so willingly.

Please forward my blog to anyone who might be interested and post it on your Facebook, Twitter and other social media. To reprint any material, contact me for permission at:  gowergulch@yahoo.com.  If you want to be automatically notified when I post a new blog, click on the “Follow” button in the upper right corner of this page and fill in the information. To read my other blog posts, scroll down on this page or click on “Recent Posts” or “Archives” under the Follow button. To opt out of receiving this blog, just contact me at the aforementioned email address, let me know, and I’ll remove you from the list.

 

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Rekindling Toxic Relationships

This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, and those contemplating 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:

Two dogs fighting 1Have you ever had a friendship or relationship end because it was too toxic, so often anxiety provoking, the cons greatly outweighed the pros; you know the drill? It has probably happened to all of us. It might involve a relative, a friend, a spouse, a significant other, a parent, a child, etc. When you look back, you realize that you’re better off out of that relationship. Some time may pass, years even, and without him or her in your life, you become aware that you’ve grown–you’re healthier.

But, when life gets boring or you feel lonely, you may think about reaching out to that person.  After all, there was something about the relationship that was magnetic, that brought experiences or qualities into your life that you craved.  Conversely, one day the other party might reach out to you, trying to rekindle the relationship? They, too, probably miss what they gained from their involvement with you.

Perhaps you’ll get a phone message, a Facebook friend request, a letter, or some other means of communication. Maybe you’ll have mixed feelings, remembering the good times as well as the painful times. If it happens when you’re in a vulnerable place in your life, however, you might start focusing on how nice it would feel to bask in the warmth of those good times again. The temptation is great to click that “accept” button on the friend request.  After all, what harm can a little social media communication do?

Before you jump back in, take a breath or two or ten or a thousand. Assess why the relationship fell apart in the first place. Remember how the bad times began to dominate. Do you really think the other individual has changed enough to no longer behave as they once did? Have you changed enough to no longer let it bother you? What benefit is it to you to rekindle the relationship? Might it soon devolve into the toxicity that characterized it the last time? There are all kinds of expressions describing this scenario: “let sleeping dogs lie,” “you can’t go home again,” to name a few.

The most important thing is for you to remain healthy. The pain following the termination of a close relationship lasts quite a while and regurgitates regularly as experiences spark memories. If you have finally reached a point of well-being, why would you want to put yourself back in that stressful position?

“Well, people can change,” you might say. Yes, that’s true. However, there is a limit to how much anyone can change. Consider if that particular person could have changed enough to become a positive rather than a negative influence in your life? Think about how many people you know or know about who keep reconciling only to split up again and again.  Be careful before you grab at hopes and wishes which are not now and never were reality.

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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Be Careful What You Wish for

This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, and those contemplating 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:

DICE 8-BWYes, ‘tis the season for wishes. We wished for presents on Christmas, Hanukkah, and at other sacred and secular ways of celebrating this holiday time. Perhaps you blew out candles at your birthday and made a wish as I did.  New Year is approaching, and we’re now making New Year’s resolutions which are also wishes: I want to lose ten pounds, start writing that novel, get a new car, hairdo, nose, etc. Often, attaining that wish or desire only makes us want something else. When are we ever satisfied? When are we okay with what we already have–with what we already are?

There is nothing wrong with setting goals and working toward them. The problem comes when you are never fulfilled, always striving for the next thing–the not yet attained. The basis of those seemingly unattainable aspirations is not being okay with yourself.

Awhile ago, I was complaining to a friend about who knows what, and she responded, “be careful what you wish for.” I’ve thought about that many times. Yes, you might get that coveted thing you yearn for or envy in others: an object, attention, recognition, fame, money, power, etc. However, follow its logical progression. What also comes with that gain? There might be responsibilities, expectations, requirements, additional baggage, and on and on.

People with lots of toys must maintain them, warehouse them, upgrade them–all time and money consuming. People with lots of attention often burn out and yearn for privacy and a spare moment to themselves. People with a certain status are objects of constant expectations by others: attend our affair, donate to our cause, do this, do that. People with a lot of money must expend tremendous effort handling and manipulating their wealth; maintain vigilance so others don’t take it away; keep current with new changes and advances to be sure the money does not dribble away unknowingly, lost in a technology void somewhere, etc.

If you’re dissatisfied with your current life, envy another, or pine for something else, think about what goes along with it.  Or, perhaps you have thoughts such as, When can I get off this speeding highway and just rest? If so, consider how important it really is to keep up with the proverbial Joneses or the currently trendy Kardashians? Are you really inferior or deprived if you don’t? Who decides this? How about if it’s you?

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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Renovations

This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, and those contemplating 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:

Clifton's Cafeteria 12-12-15

Our lives are filled with good times and bad times, ups and downs, positives and negatives. Way too often, we focus on the negatives and forget that we ever had any positives.

Some years ago, my high school graduating class had its fiftieth anniversary reunion. I wasn’t going to miss that! Five decades after graduating high school, I was a completely different person. No longer the withdrawn, scared, worried-about-what-everyone-is-thinking-of-me teenager I had been, I was confident and comfortable with myself. I wanted to attend the event to expose myself to peers who had intimidated me so long ago—to test myself. I wanted to see how others had turned out and whether they had been as frightened and bewildered as I had at that vulnerable age.

What happened unexpectedly was that I connected with fellow students I had not been friends with back then and reconnected with some I had. In this late stage of our lives, we have formed adult friendships—senior friendships, as though fifty years had not even passed.

We get together periodically, share old times, and laugh about current times. Here I am at Clifton’s cafeteria, an old standard in downtown Los Angeles where so many of us had eaten as children and teenagers. It had been closed for renovations for some years and recently reopened. Of course, a few of my high school classmates and I had to check it out. We each shared our remembrances of the old Clifton’s and marveled at how the renovations have been true to the original while adding modern, updated features.

Can we renovate ourselves? Can we add new, modern, updated features to our own mix while remaining true to the original? I’m not advocating a quick fix such as a vacation, elective surgery, a new house, a new car, a new whatever. I’m suggesting behavior changes, confidence building changes, connecting and reconnecting changes.

Think about the good times in your life. Think about the positive things that have happened to you. See if you can reconnect with them and bask in them. Save them and build on them to enhance yourself. Be the same but even better. Too hard, you say? I say, all you have to do is want it, and then let yourself do it.

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 or click titles below “Recent Posts” or “Archives” on the right side of this page. To opt out of receiving this blog, just reply to sender, let me know, and I’ll remove you from the list.

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Trees Afire

This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, and those contemplating 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

CHITCHAT: I will be one of several speakers and will present a lecture on “Finding New Opportunities” at the Senior Congress XI hosted by Conejo/Las Virgenes Future Foundation – Lifelong Learning: “Explore Your Opportunities,” on January 27, 2016, 8:45am to 2:30pm (free, lunch provided, reservations required), location: St Maximilian Kolbe Catholic Church, 5801 Kanan Rd, Westlake Village, CA 91362

Now, on to my blog:

Rossmoor Trees III 11-25-15Oranges and reds, pale greens, golds, pinks, and yellows. These are the shades of nature in November in the beautiful retirement community where I have been staying. They are the trees changing their colors in the fall season. Not natives, not wild, but breathtaking, cultivated imports that calm the mind, distract the thoughts, share their peace.

Those magnificent, arboreal giants dressed in their autumn costumes stand in line like belles at a ball waiting to be claimed by the next partner on their dance cards. Their falling leaves rain down like snowflakes, surrounding me gently as I walk, treading on the ones that have already made it to the ground.

It is my first experience living with this particular free gift of nature. I’m a Southern California girl, not used to such a display. Some of you have probably grown up with this magnificence. Even so, I can’t believe it ever gets old. As I drive down the streets, I’m constantly pulling over to snap another photograph.  One is not enough; certainly ten is not enough.  Snap, snap, snap as my cell phone battery runs lower and lower.

I’ve tried to visit such places in years past. However, I’ve never hit it dead on, always arriving when just a few branches show a bit of color, or the trees are already bare.

I like it; I love it! I must have more of this in my life.

Fall TreeHere’s what I saw when I looked out of the window of my rented condo: a tree afire—a metaphor of what we must do for ourselves. I came upon a wonderful saying a few years ago: Success is not the result of spontaneous combustion; you must set yourself on fire. So true and so profound. These days, it goes by a less dramatic term: self-motivation.

How do we do that; how do we motivate ourselves to press on, to keep going when we’re down, discouraged, times are hard, etc? Yes, it’s so difficult, but think of the alternative. That’s even harder. Pulling inward, ducking down–burying your head in the sand, your hands, the pillow, a bottle. No, don’t do that; be kind to yourself. Give yourself permission to move ahead, to try for what you’ve always wanted.

We’re so afraid to take that step. We’re frightened of the possibility of failure and even more frightened of the possibility of success. What would you say to your son, your daughter, your grandchildren, the kid next door? Why is it always for others, but not for yourself? You deserve a shot just like everyone else.

Please forward my blog to anyone who might be interested and post it on your Facebook, Twitter and other social media. To reprint any material, contact me for permission at: gowergulch@yahoo.com. If you want to be automatically notified when I post a new blog, click on the “Follow” button in the upper right corner of this page and fill in the information. To read my other blog posts, scroll down on this page or click on “Recent Posts” or “Archives” under the Follow button. To opt out of receiving this blog, just reply to sender, let me know, and I’ll remove you from the list.

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The Power of Clothing

This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, and those contemplating retirement find joy, excitement, and satisfaction in life after they retire. Her public lectures on this subject are 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:

Formal Dress Painting“Clothes make the man.” It’s true; dressing in a specific manner affects how we feel. We wear different clothes for different occasions.

When we put on a pair of jeans, we’re of a casual, getting-ready-for-physical-work mindset. When we dress in formal wear, we get into the spirit of a party or special occasion. A bathing suit prepares us mentally to go swimming or to the beach. All of those articles, of course, can be worn for other things, but we’ve associated a particular behavior with each, and our thoughts go to that place. Some people have their favorite dress, glove, hat, etc. to relax them, stimulate them, get them ready for some specific undertaking.

Buddhist monks wear soft-colored, lightweight, non-binding garb–so much easier for prayer and deep contemplation. Business people arrive at work in suits and ties to affect a persona. Many jobs require employees to wear uniforms often with accompanying badges or insignias to establish expectations on the part of both the wearer and the observer.  When I come home from a taxing day with no plans to go out again, I usually change into my old, comfy robe and slippers.  Instant calm and tranquility!

Children know all about this.  I love to watch my young granddaughters playing dress-up as they dive into a basket of well-worn, “fancy” clothes which they use to concoct outfits for themselves.  Princess and fairy are the favorites this week.  They are transformed into the role, staying in character while wearing their costumes.

Clothing tells a story.  It conveys profession, attitude, pursuit, leaning, wealth, poverty, and on and on.  People are judged by their clothing.  It is often the first thing noticed by others.

Manufacturers and the advertising industry are very aware of the power of clothing, and it has made them rich. For example, as each new sport catches on, clothing companies create a line of wear which they tout as essential for that activity. Remember when you could just climb on a bicycle and ride off? My preferred dress to cruise down the bike path at Santa Monica beach as a teenager was a tee-shirt and jeans with a cord tied around each ankle to keep the bottoms from getting caught in the bicycle chain. Now, the sporting goods stores sell form-fitting Spandex pants, matching shirts, bicycle helmets, special gloves, and more. First, you have to buy the bicycle for hundreds of dollars. Next, you have to fork out hundreds more just to get on the thing.

It’s unsure whether special clothing for the task at hand justifies the cost or whether it’s just an image we’ve succumbed to perpetrated by Madison Avenue types. The point, however, is that clothing does put us in a particular mental mode and affects how we feel about ourselves as we perform the designated behavior. That’s not necessarily good or bad. It’s just something to be aware of.

Help yourself reach a desired state of mind.  Wear clothing that assists you in getting there.

Please forward my blog to anyone who might be interested and post it on your Facebook, Twitter and other social media. To reprint any material, contact me for permission at: gowergulch@yahoo.com. If you want to be automatically notified when I post a new blog, click on the “Follow” button in the upper right corner of this page and fill in the information. To read my other blog posts, scroll down on this page or click on “Recent Posts” or “Archives” under the Follow button. To opt out of receiving this blog, just reply to sender, let me know, and I’ll remove you from the list.

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People Whisperer

This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, and those contemplating retirement find joy, excitement, and satisfaction in life after they retire. Her public lectures on this subject are titled, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement.” Her memoir, available at Amazon.com, is: Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class. Click here for book website: http://AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com

Now, on to my blog:

Cuddling She's a CharmerBuck Brannaman was the model for the 1998 movie “The Horse Whisperer” starring Robert Redford. He was a man with a sensitive way who could “talk” to horses, calm them down, gentle them.

Can a horse be a People Whisperer? I think so, because I met one. We were a group from the Horse Enthusiast’s Club who took a behind-the-scenes tour at a race track.

We saw the trainers trotting the young horses around the track, accompanying them astride an older, more experienced horse. We watched the horses being bathed, swaddled in blankets, and hooked to a huge, circular device called a hot walker reminiscent of old-fashioned clotheslines.  This allowed them to walk slowly around in a circle to relax and cool down their muscles after a demanding workout on the track.

Training on the TrackWe then went into the stable area where some horses were in their individual stalls with their heads and necks poking out over the half doors. That’s where we met the “people whisper,” a three-year-old, thoroughbred filly aptly named She’s a Charmer, and she was.

This sweet equine refused the horse treats offered to her, instead placing her head against the chest of any of us who approached her. In this photograph, I’m relaxed, calm, and in the moment as I cuddle with She’s a Charmer.

We were so enamored with our new, hoofed friend that we hatched a free-Willy-type plan. We would each contribute a like amount of money and buy her, freeing her from her life as a racehorse and bringing her into our fold. Although abandoning our plan as completely unrealistic for an almost thousand pound, high maintenance animal, we continue to think about her, talk about her, and check up on her. These endeavors alone perpetuate the contentment and good feelings she brought to each of us.

Bathtime at Race Track 10-25-15Horses are used as therapy animals for the disabled, children with emotional or behavioral problems, veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, etc. There have been wonderful stories of bonding between autistic people and horses. Yes, their size might seem intimidating. However, just being in their presence is a privilege and can be soul-cleansing.

Try hanging around with horses. See if their magic works on you.

FullSizeRenderPlease forward my blog to anyone who might be interested and post it on your Facebook, Twitter and other social media. To reprint any material, contact me for permission at: gowergulch@yahoo.com. If you want to be automatically notified when I post a new blog, click on the “Follow” button in the upper right corner of this page and fill in the information. To read my other blog posts, scroll down on this page or click on “Recent Posts” or “Archives” under the Follow button. To opt out of receiving this blog, just reply to sender, let me know, and I’ll remove you from the list.

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