Tag Archives: generations

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 such actions as taking a class, volunteering, or going somewhere to make new friends? 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 purpose 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

Disconnect from Your 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 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:

March 26, 2015, 2:00pm:  Author Talk & Book Signing, Los Angeles Public Library – Fairfax Branch, 161 S. Gardner St., Los Angeles, CA 90036
April 1, 2015, 1:00pm:  Author Talk & Book Signing, Canoga Park Women’s Club, 7401 Jordan Ave, Canoga Park, CA 91305
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 Senior Years,” Joslyn Adult Center, “Health and Fitness Expo” 210 N. Chapel Ave, Alhambra, CA 91801

Now, onto my blog:

Finger Pointing to Car RadioDo you need more quiet time in your life and can’t figure out how to get it? We live in an age of too many distractions, and we are constantly multi-tasking and anxious. Everyone and everything seems to be vying for our attention. We don’t even have time to think, contemplate, or wind down.

To preserve our health, both physical and mental, we must disengage periodically, preferably a few times per day (I’ve blogged here on similar subjects before: September 9, 2014: “Scheduling Downtime,” and February 28, 2014: “Decompressing in a Compression Age.”) This time, I’m going to focus on our technology devices.

Many people have their cell phones hanging around their necks in phone slings so they are close to them at all times. Some of those necklace-like pouches are decorative and also serve as a fashion statement. And, how about the even trendier Bluetooth earpiece, seemingly a permanent feature protruding from an ear of some perpetually-connected types? They can’t even wait the few seconds to retrieve their cell phone and push the talk button.

One long-time, close friend puts her cell phone on the table when we meet for lunch at a restaurant. The moment the phone rings, she looks at the monitor to see if it’s a call she must answer. The reality is that she answers almost all calls “just in case it’s something important.” My reaction to that is: What am I, chopped liver?  Obviously, that “just in case” phone call is more important than our quality time together for the hour or so we’ve allotted in our busy schedules.

This happened to me once on a first (and last) date. We met at a restaurant whereupon Mr. Wonderful plunked his phone next to his plate for easy access. He didn’t like it one bit when I suggested that we turn off our cell phones during dinner.

I have a former friend whose motherly role to her husband and grown children included serving as the family information hub. All day, every day, her husband and children would check in with her several times on the phone, and she would convey the family news and plans from one to another. As you might guess, when I was with her, I spent a lot of time just sitting there like a lox while she waxed on via phone technology. When I once suggested that she not answer the phone during our short time together, she became distraught and defensive. As you might guess, that’s why she’s a former friend.

Another addiction is listening to the car radio or a CD while driving. Have you ever considered turning off those gadgets from time to time? Just ride in silence and bask in the quiet; it’s rejuvenating. To help you with that task, I’ve found this amazing method to disconnect, which is quick, easy, and free. What more could you ask for? I’ve used this method for awhile now and found that it works, so there’s no need to check Urban Legends to see if it’s a myth. With some extrapolation, it can be applied to most electronic devices.  Just follow the simple instructions. With a little practice and patience, I’m sure you’ll be able to grasp it. If I could, you can.

Fool proof instructions for turning off car radio
1. Hold index finger out in pointing position.
2. Aim finger toward on/off radio knob.
3. Slowly propel arm forward until tip of finger makes contact with aforementioned knob.
4. Apply additional arm muscle pressure to compel finger to push knob.
5. Listen to determine if sound still emanating from radio. If so, start again from Step 1.

Once you’ve mastered your car radio, try that method on your other technology paraphernalia. They may work a bit differently, but with a little tweaking, you’ll get the hang of it.  Some will have to withdraw from their devices like an addict. I know it’s hard, but it’s also calming, liberating, and gratifying. Take charge of yourself, people!  No one else will.

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 aging successfully, Baby boomers, gerontology, healthy aging, longevity, retirement, seniors, wellness

On Death

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 retiring 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 (Website: AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com)

NEWS: I will be giving an author talk/book signing at the Los Angeles Public Library – Fairfax Branch, on March 26, 2015, 2:00pm, address: 161 S. Gardner St., Los Angeles, CA 90036

COMMENTS: I received this comment from a follower regarding my last blog post, “The Health Obsession Spiral.” She got it in a fortune cookie many years ago and never forgot it: “Do not tell your friends about your problems: 80% don’t care and the other 20% are glad you have them.”

Now, onto my blog:

TearsOur own death is a subject that is the proverbial elephant in the room. So many people are in denial and don’t want to talk about it. But, most of us in the baby boomer and senior age ranges think about it a lot. Maybe we have our own health issues, or maybe our peers and loved ones have died or are dying. We can’t help thinking that we’re next.

I recently talked with a friend, Dr. Janet Maker, about this subject. Janet battled breast cancer a few years ago, which had a permanent impact on her. Now in remission, she is writing a book: The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Breast Cancer: Take Charge of Your Own Recovery and Remission, about her difficult experiences navigating the medical world. Janet feels strongly about preparing and thinking about her own death.

“I want to do it right. I don’t just want to go out kicking, screaming and afraid.”

Janet suspects that people avoid thinking and talking about their own death because they fear the unknown, feel sadness about losing everything they love, and have regrets about things they did or did not do.

“If you knew you were going to die tomorrow, what would you regret not having done?” she asked me.

I had never thought about it. Identifying those things might motivate people to do them. Do you feel like you have done what you came to do?

I realized that one of my needs is to help others–to give back to the community. I use my blog and my public talks as a vehicle to do so. I hadn’t really identified it that way before.

Janet’s pending book is toward that same end. She wants to pass along the information she learned the hard way to make it easier for women who find themselves on a similar journey with breast cancer. She also wants to bring as much joy as possible into her life. That includes being kinder to herself and others. With that goal, she plans to start an online newsletter, “Janet’s Good News,” where each month she will feature a person and charity that is doing something to make the world better.

What do you need to do? How might you go about doing it? When?

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, successful aging, wellness

The Health Obsession Spiral

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

Obsessing about IllnessAre you obsessed about your health or that of someone else such as your child, spouse, or parent? Do you always manage to work it into the conversation?  People spend so much time focusing on health issues: thinking about them, reading about them, discussing them, going to doctors, taking medicine, getting treatments, and on and on.

I’m not saying people don’t have legitimate conditions and concerns. Sometimes health issues totally interrupt our lives. I’m talking about becoming obsessive about it—making it into your whole life.

I don’t want to use the H word (that’s hypochondriac to you), but some people are or come pretty close. Maybe they learned that behavior as children from some influential adult in their lives who behaved that way.  Or, maybe they found that they got a lot of sympathy and attention when they had ailments, and now it has just become a lifestyle without their realizing it. Those who obsess about the health of another may get attention onto themselves that way, too (shades of Munchausen by Proxy).

People who engage in this obsessive behavior seem to think that subject is also fascinating to others. One day, as she waxed on about her husband’s latest health issue, a friend started discussing his bowel movements.

“Okay, stop right there,” I screamed.

That snapped her back to the moment. She hadn’t even realized how inappropriate her discussion had become, and that most people are simply not interested in hearing about other people’s elimination patterns.

It always amazes me how often sickly people rally when there’s something fun or interesting to do. They manage to get themselves dressed and to an event, and they don’t seem to think about their health issues until the event is over.

The constant discussion of health issues weighs on me, whether my own or the health of others. Does it on you? Or, are you the one who discusses it ad nauseam, totally ignoring those raised eyebrows or glazed looks in the eyes of anyone within the sound of your voice?

When I was a young mother, much of my conversation centered around my children including their health issues. I’d discuss with other mothers things like pediatricians, shots, and typical childhood illnesses. It often got to be a subtle pissing contest of “my pediatrician is better than your pediatrician.” I learned then that those types of discussions become tiresome, to me anyway. As people get older, many focus more on their own health and play a version of “my health problems are worse than your health problems.” Another popular game is “my therapist said” as I get often from a relative who uses it as her weapon of choice to beat any opponent into submission.  Therapy can be very beneficial.  However, used in that manner, it is counterproductive.

Then, there’s the crowd that focuses on the health of their pets.  I was at a luncheon recently, and some of the women there lapsed into discussing the size and consistency of their dogs’ poop. Although I love dogs and all animals for that matter, there are some issues about them I’m not interested in discussing.

In her final years, my mother’s only focus became her declining health. It was all she wanted to talk about, and she’d get angry if we didn’t want to discuss it constantly. On the other hand, there was my friend, Priscilla. She refused to give in to her cancer; she rarely discussed it. Four months before she died, I went on a trip to Alaska with her and another friend. Yes, Priscilla had to rest more than we did. Yes, she was sometimes quiet. However, she participated in activities to the best of her ability and got real joy from the beauty around her. I have another friend with serious Parkinson’s disease. She calls me to give me book recommendations. When I ask her how she is, her answer is usually, “fine.”

When my dog and I were a pet therapy team visiting patients at a local hospital, the patients usually perked up when we came in and forgot about their health issues for the five or ten minutes we were there. The diversion took their minds off their conditions.

If you have health issues, you don’t have to moan and dump on others as a regular practice. You can create your own diversionary activities and make yourself into someone people want to visit and be with rather than avoid.

I’m not implying that health issues aren’t important nor advocating ignoring them. What I’m saying is that there must be something else of value in life than just that. Certainly talk about your health briefly from time to time, but be sensitive to whether others want to hear long, detailed discussions about it. Consider the reverse: are you really interested in a constant diet of hearing that type of information from them?

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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Having a Bad Day

This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers and seniors find joy, excitement, and satisfaction in their lives after retirement from a job, career, parenting, etc.  Her public lectures on this subject are entitled, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Senior 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 link:  http://AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com)

NEWS:  I will be interviewed on Blog Talk Radio “Giving Voice to Your Story,” with Dorit Sasson on Feb 5, 2015, 7:30am (PST), link: blogtalkradio.com

Now, on to my blog:

Lion Roaring

Have you ever had a bad day? I can almost guarantee the answer is, “yes.” I don’t think anyone can get through this life without having one. Well, last week I had a doozy. I set my alarm for 7:30am to allow plenty of time to get dressed, have breakfast, and drive carefully over a one-lane, winding, canyon road to pick up my friend for a writers’ club meeting.

She answered the door dressed in an old sweat suit.

“It’s tomorrow, Lee Gale.”

“What?” I responded without comprehension.

After she repeated it a few more times knocking me out of my denial, I fished out my calendar book. Yup, she was right. I had arrived at her house a full twenty-four hours before our date.

I couldn’t believe it; I was really bummed out. I didn’t have anything to do until 11:30am. I could have slept another few hours; I could have avoided a twelve-mile drive via a treacherous route; I could have done a million other things with my life.

I did some shopping to kill the time and made my way back over that horrible canyon road, fighting a traffic snag which made me late.  When I got to the restaurant for my real first appointment that day, all the parking spaces in the lot were taken. I found one on the next block and had to pick my way with my sore toe through an unevenly paved alley. When I walked in to join the senior center “dining out” class as an invited guest of some friends, there were about thirty people seated at a very long table made from several placed railroad car fashion. My friends had been unable to save me a seat next to them.

I had been to the same restaurant once before, and I wasn’t too crazy about the food. Because this was a large group, the restaurant had set a fixed price menu costing almost twice what I paid previously. That would mean I’d have to sit at the far end from my friends and eat a mediocre, expensive meal with strangers.

Right at that moment, I went on overload. I had to have a time-out from my so far bad day. I whispered in one friend’s ear that I was going to leave, and I did. I drove home and had lunch, some quiet time, and a rest.

That’s one of the few times in my life I’ve been able to do something like that. Of course, the circumstances allowed for it: I was alone with my own car, I was close to my house, and I didn’t know anyone at the event except for a few people. Nevertheless, the lesson was that I assessed my needs and acted to meet them.

It made up for the fact that the week earlier I had done just the opposite at a social gathering and brooded over it for the next few days because I hadn’t been able to take care of myself. It’s so difficult to learn how to take care of ourselves yet so worth 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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Every Time I Drop a Spouse, I Blossom

Blossoming FlowersThis is a blog written by Lee Gale Gruen aimed at helping Baby Boomers and seniors find more joy, excitement, and satisfaction in their lives after retirement from a job, career, parenting, etc. Her memoir, available on Amazon.com, is: Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class (click on this link for the book website: AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com)

Someone emailed me recently suggesting I write a blog about suddenly finding yourself single in your senior years. She is in her late sixties and getting a divorce.

Loss of a partner be it a spouse, live-in relationship, or significant other, whether by death, divorce, or mutual agreement, is a blow at any age but maybe even more so in your later years when your resiliency has decreased. Such a shift is a major passage of life; we face the unknown future alone, scared, naked and shaking. I’ve experienced it, and what I’ve found is that no matter how hard it seemed at the time, my life eventually became better than before.

I’m certainly not advocating termination of a relationship if each party is enhanced by it. However, in my case, I blossomed after my two divorces. I found myself freed from a constraining existence which only served to restrict and diminish me. After the initial shock, fear, and devastation, I gathered my resources, struck out on my own, and flourished. The first time, I became much more independent, made new friends, and learned to ski. The second time, many years later and as a senior, I became an actress, author, motivational speaker and blogger—whew!

Although I make it sound easy, it was anything but. Each blossoming happened slowly over some years, and there were a lot of periods of self-doubt, misgivings, and lack of motivation. However, I finally did it, and I can honestly say that those new, wonderful things in my life would not have occurred within those marriages.

Divorce or a breakup of any type of relationship usually happens when it changes from one of nourishment and support to one of toxicity and isolation. If the deterioration comes gradually, we at least have time to get used to it. If the termination was sudden such as in the case of an unexpected death, the devastation can seem much worse. Nevertheless, in both instances, even if the relationship was positive, there might be an element of relief if it made you feel oppressed and stifled or forced you into the role of submissive underling (laborer to his/her CEO), full-time caretaker, etc.

Regardless of the reason you find yourself single, the healing process is the same. After grieving the loss, you must look inside yourself at your strengths (yes, you have them) and move forward with the goal of becoming healthy. You may have to alter your lifestyle: lower your standard of living, move to other quarters, or find a job. However, in the process, you might find those strengths you never knew you had.

Go check out that local senior center you’ve heard about. Sign up for a class others have mentioned or sounded intriguing. Take a trip with a friend or group. Follow up on a hobby, pastime, or something you always thought you might try some day but never had the time.

As I’ve emphasized so many times in my blogs, you have choices. You can become mired in your grief and turn it into a life-style, constantly discussing it with everyone you encounter until they start avoiding you. Or, you can proceed to carve out that new identity for yourself and blossom. This is your chance!

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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What Do You Do When the Happy Holidays Aren’t So Happy?

This is a blog written by Lee Gale Gruen aimed at helping Baby Boomers and seniors find more joy, excitement, and satisfaction in their lives after retirement from a job, career, parenting, etc. Her memoir, available on Amazon.com, is: Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class (click on this link for the book website: AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com)

NEWS:  I gave a talk titled “Reinventing Yourself in Your Senior Years” last week at the SCAN Senior Wellness Center in Ventura, CA.  Click on this link to see a short video clip from that talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_cen-dN6SUU&feature=youtu.be

Now, on to my blog:

Jingle BellSo, what do you do when the “happy holidays” aren’t so happy? Well, you bake cookies, of course (further discussion below).

Yes, it often looks like what the other guy has is so wonderful compared to what you have. This is the season where that’s especially true with seemingly everyone discussing all the wonderful things they’re going to do over the holidays. Maybe your plans or lack of them look pretty paltry next to theirs. How can we be happy with what we have and embrace it?

I had an experience a few years ago where I was feeling envious of a friend. It doesn’t matter what it was about–just fill in the blank. The point is: what she had seemed better, more desirable, and more appealing than what I had, and I was jealous.

I was telling my sad story to another friend who commented, “be careful what you wish for.” Ah yes, it’s so true and so easy to forget. When I took a good look at my coveted friend’s whole life, I realized I was cherry-picking. Yes, I was envious of “Thing A” that she had, but I certainly didn’t want “Thing B” in her life.

So, folks, when envy strikes, and it will, think about whether you’d really be willing to switch places with another person if you had to take the whole package and not just cherry-pick.

To cheer you up a bit if you’re feeling down at holiday time, and lots of people are, here’s a guilt-free cookie recipe that’s super healthy and yummy. You can also freeze them and, with a 20-second zap in the microwave, they’re ready to serve last-minute guests or pack in sack lunches.

“NO SUGAR, SALT, BUTTER, EGGS, FLOUR, BAKING SODA” COOKIES

3 average, over-ripe bananas
2 cups regular rolled oats
1 cup golden raisins
1/3 cup oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Mash bananas in large bowl; add rest of ingredients; mix well; let sit for 15 minutes; place large, teaspoonfuls onto cookie sheet (mold into desired shape as they don’t change during baking); bake 20 minutes (NOTE: Cookies can be frozen and defrosted in microwave.)

Happy Holidays, your style!

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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Do You Have Something to Say?

This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help baby boomers and seniors find more joy, excitement, and satisfaction in their lives after retirement from a job, career, parenting, etc. Her memoir, available on Amazon.com, is: Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class (website: AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com)

NEWS:  I will be giving a free talk titled “Reinventing Yourself in Your Senior Years” at the SCAN Senior Resource Center, on December 9, 2014, 10:00am, 6633 Telephone Rd, Suite 100 – Room 108, Ventura, CA 93003

Now, on to my blog:

PelicansA few months ago, a woman bought my memoir.  I ran into her recently, and she told me she had really enjoyed it.  “I knew you had something to say when I first met you,” she commented. 

There’s a trendy term for that:  “finding your voice.”  It means getting in touch with and revealing your innermost feelings—expressing your real self.  It’s a hard thing to do.  After all, we keep so many things private fearing that if others learned about them they’d misuse the information, and we’d be harmed in some manner: rejected, ostracized, manipulated, criticized, lose control…   

Have you found your voice?  When is it finally your turn to do so?  In my case, I was too inhibited by social constraints: this isn’t acceptable, I might hurt someone’s feelings, someone might get angry at me, I might be judged, someone might find fault with me.  So, I went for years without saying what I had to say.  I was so good at keeping my true feelings hidden that I even did it from myself. 

I finally decided to write a memoir.  It was just supposed to be a lightweight, father/daughter bonding book about when my father and I attended a senior acting class together when I was sixty and he was eighty-five. However, as I wrote, things appeared on the page almost involuntarily.  Sometimes, I would sit back and ponder what I had just written:  I didn’t realize I felt that way.  I haven’t thought about that incident in decades.  I was finding my voice through the process of writing about a small piece of my life.  My sweet, little memoir became much more than that; it became a catharsis.  The hidden feelings I was writing about are universal feelings, I’m sure, filtered through my own unique experiences.

How do you feel about things, about life, about your own life in particular?  When is it time for you to start saying it? You don’t have to write a book like I did.  There are many ways to say what you have to say. If you like writing, then keep a journal or diary, write a letter to a friend (remember letters?), write a letter to the editor, write an article for a publication.  If your preference is verbal, then tell it to a friend, acquaintance, group, therapist, the world. 

We all have something to say.  It’s gratifying to finally say what you feel inside without having to mask it for society’s approval.  Try it.  It may take baby steps, but with some practice, it will become easier.

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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It’s Not All about You

This is a blog written by Lee Gale Gruen aimed at helping baby boomers and seniors find more joy, excitement, and satisfaction in their lives after retirement whether it be from a job, career, parenting, etc. Her memoir, available on Amazon.com, is: Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class (Click here for the book website: http://AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com)

NEWS:  Click here to read the article I wrote: “The Secret World of Showbiz Seniors” which was published October, 2014 on Narratively.com http://narrative.ly/hidden-hollywood/the-secret-world-of-showbiz-seniors

Now, on to my blog:

talking horseEveryone craves attention, even the quiet ones among us. In each encounter between people, there’s only a finite amount of it, and everyone deserves some. Human interaction is a competition with attention being the prize.

Have you ever been on a first-time encounter (date, business meeting, etc.) with someone who spends the whole time talking about him/herself? That can get old very fast. A friend told me about a man she met recently who spent the whole date yapping about himself and never asked anything about her. I’m sure when he called for another date and she turned him down, he didn’t have a clue as to why.

Everyone is vying for the floor, and the stronger ones usually prevail. When one person grabs that coveted platform too often, others can become resentful.

Although not a hard and fast rule, we tend to choose our friends, partners, spouses, or significant others based on our needs. Introverts often seek extroverts to be the entertainment committee or shield them from the world. Extroverts, conversely, find calm and relaxation with introverts. Needy types seek caretaker types, and vice versa. I’m sure you can think of many more examples. It’s subtle, but it exists. In this arrangement, there’s an unspoken agreement that one person gets more of the attention than the other. After a while, though, the pauper of the duo can get tired of the protocol and want to break that old treaty.

If you’re usually the main attraction, try to let the other guy have some attention. Ask, “How’s it going?” or “What have you been up to?” Then, watch his face light up as he starts talking about himself. And, remember not to jump in and dominate the conversation again which usually goes something like this: “Oh yeah, when that happened to me I…” Just be a good listener for once.

If you’re the guy who usually ends up with a dearth of attention, be proactive and get some of it; it’s valuable stuff—makes you feel important. You might have to be bold and even rude by saying something as blatant as, “I’d like a turn to speak” or “I wasn’t finished yet.” Remember children, play fair on that playground of life. Everybody deserves a turn on the swing.

Please pass this 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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Taking Advantage

This is a blog written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers and seniors find more joy, excitement, and satisfaction in their lives after retirement whether it be from a job, career, parenting, etc. Her memoir, available on Amazon.com, is: Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class.  Click here for the book website:  http://AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com

NEWS:  I was interviewed recently by two lovely ladies, Rebecca Forstadt-Olkowski and Dr. Sharone Rosen, D.C., for their Podcast:  2 Boomer Broads. Click on this link and scroll down to read the interview or click the “play” button at the top of that page to hear it:  http://www.2boomerbroads.com/lee-gale-gruen/

Now, onto my blog:

Two peopleI’ve become more and more aware of how valuable and precious my time is.  I have to pick and choose what’s important to me. That brings me to today’s topic. There’s usually nothing wrong with taking advantage of an opportunity within reason.  We all try to do that.  However, that’s not the kind of “taking advantage” I’m talking about.

Some people take advantage of the precious time of others. These are a few synonyms for that behavior: impose upon, exploit, use for one’s own sake, milk.  Of course, friendships and relationships require some giving of time and energy to each other.  However, the problem is when it’s taken to an extreme.

Do others take too much advantage of your precious time, or do you take too much advantage of the precious time of others? Taking advantage excessively can come in so many forms: unrealistic expectations of you, asking you to do too much and too often, dumping their problems on you, and so on.  It doesn’t matter that they might do so very sweetly, maybe with apologies. They are still draining your valuable time and energy.

There reaches a point where we have to be assertive no matter how difficult it is. I know someone who has a literary skill which earns her money.  A friend of hers often asks for help with writing projects but doesn’t pay what the work is worth under the guise of “we’re friends.” That might fly once or even twice, but when is it time to put a stop to being taken advantage of, even by a close associate? It’s our own responsibility to set boundaries. We must be the one to “call a halt.” If you don’t do it, you send the message that the status quo is okay with you.

How can we be assertive without damaging or ending the friendship or relationship? First, be honest with yourself. Are you tired of being taken advantage of and are starting to harbor resentment? Then, be honest with the other person. To use the aforementioned example: tell her that your time is valuable and limited, that you choose to use it on other things such as your own jobs that pay you a fair wage, and that you can’t accept her projects anymore.

Adapt that template to your own situation. Write out your speech so you’ll remember what you want to say. Practice it so you’ll hit your key points. It’s difficult telling others what they don’t want to hear. It’s even more difficult living with the consequences of not doing so.

Please pass this 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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