Tag Archives: aging successfully

It’s the Right Thing to Do

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.comChix Soup 4 Soul-Think Possible Cover

NEWS:  My short story, “A New Stage in Life,” will be published by Chicken Soup for the Soul.  It will be available in bookstores on October 6, 2015 in their book to be called: Chicken Soup for the Soul: Think Possible.

Now, on to my blog:

IMG_1148(1)Why am I making an effort to conserve water when it’s being wasted, squandered or stolen by others? Why am I still seeing so many very green lawns around Los Angeles?

Within a one week period while driving, I came upon two broken water pipes, this one in Beverly Hills and another one in Sherman Oaks. The precious water was rushing down the street into the gutters.

There was a news item a few months ago about someone filling up a water tank truck from a municipal water faucet and driving it to a large property outside of that municipality which was owned by a famous person. I was so incensed that I wrote a letter to the Los Angeles Times which they printed on 7-12-15 in the Opinion section. Here is my letter:

Oh Magnum, How Could You?
All by yourself with just a few bad acts, you may have added a new verb to our lexicon: to selleck. To anyone else thinking of “sellecking,” don’t you dare steal my water in this drought. It’s bad enough that old pipes are breaking and flooding streets with the precious water I have been trying so hard to conserve, one toilet flush at a time.

The answer to my question at the beginning of this post: Because, for me, it’s the right thing to do. Don’t let your actions be dictated by the behavior of others. When you feel something is wrong, don’t opt for that choice just because someone else does.

Live your life on the moral path that’s right for you. Don’t live it always trying to get away with something, trying to screw the next guy before he screws you, always worrying about being caught. You will feel better about yourself and glide more smoothly as you go. Play nice on the playground even when others don’t.

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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Battling the Inevitability of Aging

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. Book Website: http://AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com

CHITCHAT:  I’m playing Grandma (wearing yellow, straight skirt and jacket) doing the do-si-do with Grandpa in this music video titled “Bisquits” by country music singer Kacey Musgraves. Click this link to view it:  http://uproxx.com/music/2015/06/kacey-musgraves-biscuits-video/
There is an article about me in the June 19, 2015 “Beverly Hills Courier” newspaper.  Scroll down to page 16 at this link:  http://bhcourier.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/061915Fissue1.pdf

Now, on to my blog:

IMG_1443“Nothing is certain but death and taxes.” We’ve all heard that quote or a variation of it.  Usually, the path to that certainty of death is aging. So, how do we deal with it?

Like most things in life, we have choices. We can rail against aging, try to defeat it, or accept it. No matter which method we chose, however, we can’t avoid it.

Today, with so many tricks of medicine and technology at our disposal, people try to pretend that they are not aging. There is makeup to allow us to hide blemishes, enhance dull features, or just sparkle; hair dye to avoid revealing that telltale gray; hair implants to reverse balding; plastic surgery to do away with sagging skin; contact lenses to make the correction of poor sight invisible; hearing aids of various kinds including implants, the most invisible; clothing to make us look like teenyboppers; shoes with too-high heels pathetically worn by women with foot problems and fragile bones teetering to keep their balance. The list goes on and on.  For years, I missed much of what was being said because I refused to consider even exploring hearing aids; the idea made me feel old.

Many turn themselves into caricatures: the fake looking face which is now so common it’s almost a norm; the old guy with the too-young girlfriend, another almost norm; the Baby Boomer with the too tight pants and tee shirt.  So, do we keep chasing after that elusive youth, do we just throw up our hands and let whatever happens happen, do we choose some middle path? Each person must make that decision for him/herself, of course.

Let’s consider one additional factor: happiness. Are we happy with ever escalating procedures, devices, fashions, etc? Some will insist they are. However, under that facade still lurks failing hips and knees, pain from arthritis, waning strength and vigor, etc.

Is there a way to age gracefully and be okay with who you are? Some thoughts are: we can strive to be as healthy and fit as possible; we can dress nicely but age-appropriately; we can accept that we need glasses or hearing aids to enhance the quality of life, or a cane, or a walker, or whatever.

Let’s at least try to avoid health endangering procedures such as invasive elective surgery done only to chase that hyped youth. There was a case a few years ago of the mother of a famous entertainer being rejected for a cosmetic face lift by one plastic surgeon after another due to her diabetes until she finally found a willing one. He did the surgery she so hungered for, and she died.

Must we put our lives or health at risk only to pretend we’re something that we’re not? Let’s battle to be okay with who we are rather than battling against nature.

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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Unstressing at the Airport, One Dog at a Time

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 website: http://AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com)

LEE GALE GRUEN’S UPCOMING APPEARANCES:
May 30, 2015, 11:30am: Lecture: “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement Years,” Joslyn Adult Center, “Health and Fitness Expo,” 210 N. Chapel Ave, Alhambra, CA 91801
June 13, 2015, 2:00pm, Author Talk & Book Signing, Crown Books, 6100 Topanga Canyon Blvd, Woodland Hills, CA 91367
September 18, 2015, 2:30pm: Lecture: “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement Years,” Mira Costa College LIFE Program (Learning is for Everyone), 1 Barnard Dr., Oceanside, CA 92056

Now, on to my blog:

Sofie & Me at LAX 5-1-15I love dogs of all stripes, colors and persuasions. Tell me off, and if you’re a human, I’ll be right back at ya. Tell me off, and if you’re a dog, I’ll beg for more.

Whenever I see a dog anywhere, I’m drawn involuntarily as if beckoned while in a trance, powerless to resist. Just to be able to look at them, pet them, hang out with them is a privilege and calms me immediately. So, imagine my surprise a few weeks ago when I was part of the craziness that is Los Angeles International Airport.

I was waiting to board an airplane for a flight to visit my family. I had already navigated parking, walking to the terminal, checking in, and making my way to the gate.

I found a place to sit in a crowded area and with great difficulty was trying to relax and read. I glanced up for a moment and saw a big, curly dog walking toward me followed by a few humans. Naturally, I sprung out of my seat to investigate.

I was greeted by Sofie, a Golden Doodle (Golden Retriever and Poodle mix) resplendent in a red cape, who was next to her owner. I was all over Sofie–calm, patient Sofie. Other passengers sidled up to make her acquaintance. Sofie nonchalantly tolerated her admirers— just another day’s work.

Heidi Huebner, who was part of Sofie’s entourage, explained that the PUP (Pets Unstressing Passengers) Program at LAX has been operating since April, 2013.  For years, dogs have been used elsewhere in such duty providing stress relief and comfort to people at hospitals, homes for seniors, schools, and other similar facilities (I used to be a pet therapy team with my dog at a local hospital.)  Now, dogs are doing it at airports, those high stress generators.

The dog/owner volunteer teams are trained and then registered with Therapy Dogs, Inc. Heidi added that similar programs are now at 26 airports throughout the nation. To volunteer at the PUP Program and other VIP (Volunteer Information Professionals) Programs at Los Angeles International Airport, visit their website at: www.lawa.org/vip.

Now, I’m just wondering where the human Sofies are trained and registered?  I need a few of those in my life.

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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Filed under active seniors, aging successfully, Baby boomers, healthy aging, longevity, older adults, reinvention, therapy dogs

Irritants Can Be Advantages

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 their retirement. Her public lectures on this subject are titled, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement Years.” Her memoir, available on 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)

LEE GALE GRUEN’S UPCOMING APPEARANCES:
May 30, 2015, 11:30am: Lecture: “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement Years,” Joslyn Adult Center, “Health and Fitness Expo,” 210 N. Chapel Ave, Alhambra, CA 91801
June 13, 2015, 2:00pm, Author Talk & Book Signing, Crown Books, 6100 Topanga Canyon Blvd, Woodland Hills, CA 91367
September 18, 2015, 2:30pm: Lecture: “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement Years,” Mira Costa College LIFE Program (Learning is for Everyone), 1 Barnard Dr., Oceanside, CA 92056

CHITCHAT:  A few weeks ago I gave a talk in front of 100 people at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute’s “Lori and Don Brault Lecture” at California State University Long Beach.  It was very well received, and I had a great time.  I love to help and inspire people to reinvent themselves in their later years.  It’s definitely possible, and people just need to be encouraged and informed how to do so.

Now, onto my blog:

Hand Reaching for PencilLast week I was sitting at my computer, busy, busy, busy. I went to grab for my pencil, missed, and knocked it off the computer desk.

Oh, I don’t need this now! I muttered to myself.

I bent over and groped for it on the floor. No luck. After a few choice expletives, I turned on the flashlight on my cell phone (a nice feature BTW) and bent over even further, shining the light around.

I finally spotted the blasted pencil. Of course, it had rolled completely under my desk to the far end, tightly jammed up against the wall molding behind the computer cord, like a kitten hiding under the bed.  I had to bend over to the point where my head was at the same level as my feet and reach to my arm’s length to grab it. As I was doing so, I realized how good it felt to stretch my spine. My errant pencil had offered me a little free exercise.

Why can’t we extrapolate those kinds of experiences to larger ones in our lives? How many times are we inconvenienced by unforeseen circumstances which annoy, irritate, or anger us? We’re less able to tolerate them when we’re on a deadline, tired, running late to an appointment, and on and on. That’s when each of our own versions of “expletives deleted” kicks in.

Some opt for the “F” word, the “S” word, the “D” word, the “H” word, or whatever.  Others downplay it such as what a childhood friend’s father used to say: “Oh, feathers and moose meat!” I always liked that. I wish I had found out the origin, but I was just a kid and not so fascinated by words and phrases as I am now. Anyway, that was just as powerful for him as the current popularity of the “alphabet” words.

There’s that old expression, “When life hands you a lemon, make lemonade.” Well, that’s not just for the big, oppressive stuff of life. It can also be for the little things, too.

When something interferes with your plans for a minute, an hour, a day, see if you can turn it into an advantage or opportunity. Don’t let the small irritants you encounter take a few more seconds off your life span.  Those seconds are valuable and finite.  Save them for the rewarding things.  If you must, throw that pencil on the floor deliberately to open new possibilities.

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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Filed under active seniors, aging successfully, Baby boomers, gerontology, healthy aging, longevity, older adults, reinvention, retirement, second acts, seniors, successful aging, wellness

If You Don’t Age Gracefully, Think of the Alternative–Yikes!

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

LEE GALE GRUEN’S UPCOMING APPEARANCES:
May 30, 2015, 11:30am: Lecture: “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement Years,” Joslyn Adult Center, “Health and Fitness Expo,” 210 N. Chapel Ave, Alhambra, CA 91801
September 18, 2015, 2:30pm:  Lecture: “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement Years,” Mira Costa College LIFE Program (Learning is for Everyone), 1 Barnard Dr., Oceanside, CA 92056

Now, onto my blog:

old_chimpAging gracefully is hard work. We have to motivate ourselves to eat healthy, exercise, be positive, seek interesting activities, and on and on. When I begin to falter, I think of the alternative: if I eat too much junk food, I feel bad physically; if I skip exercising, my body hurts; if I get into negativity, I feel sluggish and non-productive. So, although it seems easier to just vegetate and withdraw, it’s much harder in the long run.

There are many paths to aging gracefully. Some people think it’s in their physical appearance alone and spend huge chunks of time and money running to hairdressers, makeup artists, plastic surgeons, clothes shopping, etc. Yes, our physical appearance is important to a degree. However, our attitude, behavior and pursuits are just as important if not more so.

A young looking, well dressed, well-coiffed outer shell is barren when matched with an angry, negative, judgmental mind set. That mind set spills out and colors everything else in our lives.

Have you ever had the experience of meeting a physically attractive man or woman only to discover they had a very off-putting way of acting? You suddenly begin to notice their physical attributes that are not so attractive which you hadn’t seen at first. Conversely, have you ever met someone whom you found physically unattractive, but who had a warm or charismatic personality? You soon forget about their physical appearance and are drawn to them.  Remember the phenomenal success and influence of Eleanor Roosevelt, a woman who truly reinvented herself as she aged.

So, remember how fortunate you are to be alive and have the opportunity to age gracefully.  Do it by working from the inside out.

Please pass my blog along to anyone else who might be interested and post it on your Facebook, Twitter and other social media. 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.

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Oh, I Can’t Do That!

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

LEE GALE GRUEN’S UPCOMING APPEARANCES:
April 29, 2015, 5:00pm: Lecture: “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement Years,” Osher Lifelong Learning Institute “Brault Successful Aging Lecture” (Keynote Speaker), California State University Long Beach, 1250 Bellflower Blvd, Long Beach, CA 90840, (free, but pre-registration advised)
May 30, 2015, 11:30am: Lecture: “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement Years,” Joslyn Adult Center, “Health and Fitness Expo,” 210 N. Chapel Ave, Alhambra, CA 91801
September 18, 2015, 2:30pm:  Lecture: “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement Years,” Mira Costa College LIFE Program (Learning is for Everyone), 1 Barnard Dr., Oceanside, CA 92056

Now, onto my blog:

Sheila Ross doing The Plow 1-22-15_editedMany people encounter something new or different and say, “Oh, I can’t do that.” Then, there are others who say, “Oh, I can do that.”

This is a photo of Sheila Ross who is seventy-nine years old and in the latter category. She is doing a yoga exercise called “the plow.” Sheila has never taken a yoga class. She simply saw someone a few months ago doing this maneuver at her gym and decided to try it. Yes, Sheila has been exercising for a long time, and yes, she’s naturally limber. However, she had never done the plow, but she was willing to give it a try.

Not everyone will be able to do the plow. However, maybe we can at least take a lesson from Sheila and try things that seem difficult rather than backing off immediately with an “Oh, I can’t do that” attitude.

This pertains to all types of behavior, not just a yoga exercise. Do you shy away from taking a class, volunteering, going somewhere to make new friends, etc? That’s typical behavior. It’s uncomfortable to venture into the unknown. However, we miss so many opportunities and life enhancing possibilities by retreating into our comfortable cocoons.

It’s so easy to automatically say, “that’s too hard for me,” or “I’ve never been good at that kind of thing,” or whatever your excuse is. What about doing what Sheila did? What about seeing or hearing about something interesting and saying “I think I’ll try that?” Let’s work toward overcoming that little voice inside our heads that always tells us we can’t do things. Remember the mantra which I’ve discussed before: if you think it’s too hard, do it anyway!

You won’t be proficient the first time you try something new. But, you can certainly work up to it.  The secret is: small, manageable portions.

So, the program is:
1.  Think of something that intrigued you, but that you resisted trying with all your reasons and good excuses.
2.  Approach that something with baby steps and keep at it slowly and consistently.
3.  Give it a try for a given period of time, say two weeks.
4.  Check your progress at the beginning and at the end. Have you gotten a little better? Is it a bit easier?
5.  Keep going and give yourself another couple of weeks to reassess.

Remember, it’s not a contest and you don’t have to become an expert. The goal is to find more joy, excitement, and satisfaction in your life.  You might not be successful in all your new endeavors, but at least you tried which puts you a lot closer to success than not making an attempt in the first place. I  promise that if you don’t like it, you can always go back into your cocoon.

Please pass my blog along to anyone else who might be interested and post it on your Facebook, Twitter and other social media. 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.

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Filed under Baby boomers, gerontology, healthy aging, longevity, retirement, seniors, wellness

Hanging Out via Technology

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

LEE GALE GRUEN’S UPCOMING APPEARANCES:

April 29, 2015, 5:00pm: Lecture: “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement Years,” Osher Lifelong Learning Institute “Brault Successful Aging Lecture” (Keynote Speaker), California State University Long Beach, 1250 Bellflower Blvd, Long Beach, CA 90840, (free, but pre-registration advised)
May 30, 2015, 11:30am: Lecture: “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement Years,” Joslyn Adult Center, “Health and Fitness Expo” 210 N. Chapel Ave, Alhambra, CA 91801

FYI:  I recently changed the name of my blog slightly to appeal to a wider audience.

Now, onto my blog:

LG on telephone IIn my last post, I wrote about taking a break from your technology.  This time I’m going to focus on a wonderful,  underused way to use your technology.

Hanging-out time with a cherished person in your life is precious. Hanging out is just being together doing nothing in particular. Just the closeness, even if the conversation is minimal, unimportant, or non-existent, is nourishing.

Several years ago, I visited my aunt who lived in Las Vegas at the same time her two sons, my cousins, were visiting.  Her third child, a daughter, was living in Thailand.

When we sat down to dinner, one cousin opened his laptop computer.  With the click of a few buttons and the magic of Skype, he connected with his sister in Thailand.  He placed his laptop on the table in front of an empty chair, and my aunt, my three cousins, and I all had dinner together. We talked, laughed, and just engaged in typical dinner patter like most families sharing a meal together.  It was an amazing experience!  I watched my cousin in Thailand on the computer screen as she participated in the conversation just like the rest of us.

I talk often on the phone to my son, Richard, who lives hundreds of miles away. He calls me when he has free time which can be while walking to the subway, driving to the store, or whatever.

A few days ago, I went with Richard to Home Depot. He needed some wood and hardware for a cabinet he was building. I was on the Bluetooth stuck into his ear, and I could hear him talking to the salesman as well as the sound of the wood being cut on the skill saw in the background.

When Richard walked to another department, we spoke briefly about the type of cabinet handles he was looking for–nothing of great importance. I’d hear him laughing with a sales clerk about some consideration or another dealing with the proposed cabinet. Just listening to his laughter buoyed me up.

I remember hanging out with Richard years ago when he was distributing flyers door-to-door for some neighborhood project he supported. I was in Los Angeles on my cell phone as he was knocking on doors and talking to neighbors hours away from me. I still remember listening to the flapping of his sandals as he walked the streets while we chatted. I was right there with him.

Hanging out with my son is a privilege, doing nothing special but just being together. Hang out with your special people whenever you get the chance. Don’t terminate the telephone conversation because it doesn’t seem important enough; it’s valuable!  Spend more time with those who buoy you up. Use the power of today’s technology to help you do it.

Please pass my blog along to anyone else who might be interested and post it on your Facebook, Twitter and other social media. 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.

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