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Trumpet Yourself

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 lecture on this subject is titled, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement.” Her memoir, available by clicking here 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

Now, on to my blog:

book-signing-ross-fall-bazaarHere is the dictionary definition of the transitive verb, to trumpet:  to talk about something publicly in a proud or enthusiastic way  such as to trumpet somebody’s achievements.

Yes, it’s always been considered acceptable to trumpet someone else’s achievements. But, what about when you do so for your own achievements?

I’ve always found it hard to tell people about my accomplishments. It makes me feel like I’m bragging, and that’s an uncomfortable position for me. After I wrote a book, I learned that I would have to market it. That meant going against my grain and inserting it into the conversation whenever I had a chance.

I’m still timid about it. I do it in an almost apologetic manner. However, when you must promote and market, you simply can’t wait and hope for someone else to trumpet it for you. You must blow your own trumpet.

This photo is of me at a recent book sale and signing which was part of a large event offering numerous items for sale. As attendees made their way to my book club’s long table and over to me, I would have to quickly start my spiel about my book, giving my brief elevator speech to grab their attention. I was competing not only with the other authors at my table, but also with the scores of other tables in the hall, each with hawkers of the wares they and their fellow group members had made: jewelry, ceramics, wooden objects, sewing items, bakery goods, etc. All this tumult was noisy, confusing, and distracting. I felt like a circus barker having to yell louder, be flashier, spin a more interesting and compelling yarn than my competitors.

Participation in fierce competition can be exhausting and off-putting. How does one function in a situation like that, especially when it is against your nature? You can start by accepting that it is okay to trumpet yourself from time to time. Of course, it would be nice if you can avoid becoming obnoxious about it. View it as a challenge to learn a new skill. See it as a growth experience to broaden yourself. Do it sparingly to avoid wearing out your audience.

As grownups, we sometimes must be involved in disquieting situations which are against our normal inclination. Changing your mental attitude can help you get through it.

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I Am Not an Aquarian!

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 lecture on this subject is 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 her website: http://AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com

Now, on to my blog:

my-shoesI was on my way from my car to a store last week when I noticed a woman walking next to me in the parking lot. She pointed to my shoes and said, “Oh, you have those new arch support tennis shoes. I saw them on television.”

“Oh no, these are quite old. They’re nothing special.”

“Yeah, those are the ones. They’ve got arches built into them.”

I went on to explain, “Well, I wear orthotics, so I don’t depend on arches in the shoes even if there are any.”

“Yeah, they have great arch supports, and they have those little springs in them,” she insisted.

“No, I don’t think they have any springs in them.”

That’s when she torpedoed me with, “Geez, you must be an Aquarian. You argue about everything.”

I could feel my temper rising. I wanted her to know that I am not an Aquarian. I wanted to argue about the fact that I do not argue about everything.

The whole thing suddenly became silly. Was I going to get into a cat fight over my old tennis shoes? This was a total stranger who obviously had her own agenda. I did not start talking to her; she started talking to me. She was convinced that she was right about her assessment of my shoes, and nothing was going to change her mind. She, also, knew she was right about my being an argumentative type, apparently like those born between January 20 and February 18, who, she was certain, argue about everything. She failed to see her own role in our escalating discussion. I’m guessing that this was not a new situation for her.

I know very little about the Signs of the Zodiac including my own which happens to be Capricorn if anyone is interested. I don’t believe that what month, day, time, moon phase, etc. during which you were born has anything to do with your personality. I, also, don’t believe that all those of the Aquarian persuasion argue about everything. I’m sure there are nice, pleasant Aquarians and not so nice ones as there are for every other Zodiac sign.

The point here is: What do you do when you find yourself in a situation where a stranger manages to insult you within five minutes of meeting them?  There is not an easy answer. You feel your face flush and you want to defend yourself.

Try to step back and realize how ridiculous the whole thing is. You’re not going to dissuade your attacker from their conviction. Why waste your time and energy trying to do so? The best course of action is to concede the point graciously and get away ASAP. You know you’re right, and it doesn’t matter whether they know it or not, especially if you’re an Aquarian.

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

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When Strangers Behave Offensively

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.” 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

Now, on to my blog:

Offensive StrangerWhat happens when a stranger you encounter in public says something or behaves in a certain way toward you that you find uncomfortable or disagreeable? The stranger’s behavior may be so sudden and unexpected that it catches you off guard. That, along with knowing that your reaction will be on display for everyone nearby to observe, can be disconcerting and cause you to fumble and stumble in your response. The whole matter becomes embarrassing with the stranger seeming to win the day.

I’ve had that type of scenario happen to me many times, and it always upsets me since I didn’t invite nor desire to be placed in that position. Recently, I found myself in yet another such situation and was proud of myself for handling it on the spot rather than mulling over it and coming up with a good response several hours laterway too late, beating myself up with “I-should-have-said” thoughts.

I was in a restaurant with a group of people I didn’t know after we had all attended the same lecture. I sat down in a seat with no one on either side of me. Suddenly, a swaggering, blustery type of man entered, looked around the room, and announced in a loud voice for everyone to hear, “I think I’ll sit right here next to this nice young lady” as he plunked himself in the empty chair directly to my right. His line was condescending and sexist, especially considering that he had no idea whether I am nice, and I am certainly not a young lady. Yes, given his age, he was probably old school. You know the type: women are just objects to be available for the enhancement of men. To be clear, men can be the victims of offensive behavior from strangers, too.

These situations are frequently foisted upon us without warning and with no time to prepare. I managed to blurt out, “Oh, I probably will be moving my seat soon as I want to sit near the speaker when she arrives.” It was both the truth and a good, take-charge response.

Mr. Swagger, still playing to his audience, continued in his booming baritone, “Oh no, you sit right here next to me.” Having a history of feeling intimidated when confronted by strong personality types, my normal reaction would have been to just laugh politely, try not to attract any more attention, and follow his orders to stay where I was not knowing what else to do.

Instead, picturing the entire meal with this controlling bore sitting next to me, I said, “I came to this lunch for one reason, and that is to be able to converse with the speaker. I will sit where I choose when the speaker arrives.” Mr. S. never said another word to me as I guess I made him look foolish after his great pronouncements.

I was proud of taking care of myself and my needs and not letting someone else dictate how the occasion was going to progress for me. If a stranger, or anyone else for that matter, chooses to behave in a manner that sets up how things are going to go for you, you have a right to be just as obtuse and set them straight. This is difficult for more reserved types, especially if public display or rocking the boat are not your thing. However, you must take care of yourself folks. No one else will.

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

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

Now, on to my blog:

Rossmoor Wild Turkeys 2It’s scary to try new things, especially when they are big things. Any major life change, even a positive one, creates anxiety. The more the change diverges from your usual routine, the more intimidating it is.

I’m on a new adventure right now. I’m trying out an active retirement community hundreds of miles from where I’ve lived since childhood. I’ve been here a few weeks, and I have another few months to go before I return to my comfort level back in my own home and neighborhood.

Everything about this experience is a challenge.  Nothing comes automatically; nothing is routine. I have to concentrate on each thing I do, each place I go. I’m constantly confronted with big learning curves: how to find my way around this community, where to buy food, how to work the convection oven (thank you Google for a convection converter), etc.

Why am I doing this? I’ve thought to myself more than once.

The answer: because I want to live near my son and his wife and children–my grandchildren; because if I’m ever going to do it, I must do it while I’m still healthy. I want to make this work if I possibly can. So, I stumble on, and each day it gets  just a bit easier.

Wild Turkeys at Rossmoor 1On the upside, I’m having experiences I’ve never had before. I’ve encountered wild turkeys wandering around the neighborhood. What a delight! Of course, I had to follow them and shoot these photos. Where I live in the heart of a large, metropolitan city, I’ve never even seen a wild turkey. I’ve also seen deer here. As far as I’m concerned, one can never see enough deer.

What was so strange just a few weeks ago has become less so.  I have attended a few club meetings, classes, and events which tap into things that interest me (acting, writing, horses, and more). I made a few acquaintances who have the potential of becoming friends. I bought a senior subway card. I have navigated my way around using the amazing GPS technology (thank you Siri.)  There were and continue to be lots of getting lost moments, lots of screw ups–typical trial and error when everything is unfamiliar or unknown.

Rossmoor DeerI can feel my progress; I’m moving forward. I’m beginning to enjoy where I am and seeing it as my possible future. I’m proud of myself for undertaking this journey.  Just the doing of it gives me strength and the confidence that I can succeed.

Start thinking whether it’s time for you to make new plans for the rest of your life. Make decisions rather than avoiding them. Take action and move forward. It’s hard, but with persistence, it does become easier.

Please forward my blog to anyone who might be interested and post it on your Facebook, Twitter and other social media. To reprint any material, contact me for permission at: gowergulch@yahoo.com. If you want to be automatically notified when I post a new blog, click on the “Follow” button in the upper right corner of this page and fill in the information. To read my other blog posts, 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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