Tag Archives: health and wellness

We All Have “Something”

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:

All Gender Bathroom sign

I saw this sign at an airport terminal recently.  I have no idea who was enlightened enough to create a bathroom for everyone no matter their persuasion.  However, that person simply posted the sign, and the thousands of humans passing by in that busy location didn’t seem to suffer any harm from it.

All of us have something about ourselves or our lives that is viewed as less than ideal in our current culture, or we have a friend or relative who does.  We think that our something merits special consideration, tender handling, understanding, tolerance.

Maybe you or they are handicapped in some fashion. Maybe you or they respond slower than others, are of a particular physical build, intellectual level, sexual orientation, hue on the color spectrum, or whatever which is not so  highly prized by our society just now.     

So what do we do with you or them?  Well, everyone hopes that others will be kind and forgiving of their particular affliction or situation. However, let’s take a good look at ourselves. Are we as kind and forgiving of others’ oddities, needs, differences as we hope they will be of ours? 

Why does a group of boys attack another boy who is homosexual?  Why does a person insist his religion is the only way to believe, and then kills non-believers to that end?  Why does someone with so much money go out of his/her way to disadvantage others merely to make more?

Our country and much of the world is divided by prejudice against race, sex, gender identity, religion, politics, and all manner of things. However, I’m sure you have heard the aphorism: let he who is without sin cast the first stone. Are you so perfect that you can judge others and find them wanting?

Remember to treat everyone with love, care, consideration, and compassion no matter how different they seem to be.  We all share humanness; we are far more alike than different.  There’s another old saying that has been termed “The Golden Rule”:  Do onto others as you would have them do onto you.

Why do so many forget that?  It’s often the one screaming the loudest to denigrate another who is hiding the most in his/her own life.

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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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The Time We Have Left

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:

SunriseI was having an email discussion with my friend, a cancer survivor, about an article we both read listing predictions for our future world.  One involved longevity.

According to the article, our current average life span increases three months per year.  Within the past four years, life expectancy has increased from 79 to 80 years. By 2036, it will increase by over one year per year.  Therefore, many more people will live to be over 100.

We had this email back-and-forth:

Her:  “I went to see my new primary care dr., a geriatrician, and got quite a shock.  I asked her at what age I can stop getting colonoscopies.  She said that the average for female death is 84, so there is no point in trying to prevent diseases such as colon cancer that take time to develop, unless I plan to live a lot longer than that.  It’s not as though there is any of that that I didn’t already know, but it hit me like a punch in the stomach.  I feel the same way I would feel if I were 30 and got the news that I had a life expectancy of 9 years. I now evaluate everything I do to make sure I’m not wasting any time.”

Me:  “As for your punch in the stomach, don’t assume that you only have a life expectancy of 9 years.  That email said that longevity is predicted to increase. Therefore, assume you’re going to live to 100, which means you have 25 more years.  So, get that colonoscopy and go ahead and waste some time:-)”

Her:  “The average for women now is 84, 82 for men.  I’m pretty healthy so far as I know, and my parents both lived longer than 84.  Still, I am confronting a short life.”

Me:  “We are all confronting a short life.  Stop focusing on that and focus on enjoying it.  Try the AA mantra: one day at a time.”

Her:  “…my short life isn’t because of cancer, it’s because of my age.  I do focus on enjoying life–I certainly don’t want to piss away whatever time I have left.”

If you are in satisfactory health, I’m not sure which is more destructive to your enjoyment of life: excessive worry that you might get or have a recurrence of a serious disease such as cancer, or apprehension over statistics predicting at  what age you might die. Dwelling on such considerations spoils embracing the time you do have left.

Among the more inspiring people I have known was Rose Freedman, a classmate in a community Spanish class I attended many years ago. She was the last living survivor of the terrible fire in 1911 at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in New York City where 146 young, immigrant garment workers died.  That tragedy led to significant changes in labor laws.

Rose was full of life, dynamic and always well-dressed with her hair nicely coifed. She consistently arrived at class with her  homework completed, spending the opening moments before the teacher arrived socializing with everyone. She was, also, an artist and an avid, Lakers basketball fan.

One day, the teacher announced, “Rosa (we used the Spanish version of our names during class) has invited everyone to go to the bakery down the street after class for cake and coffee to celebrate her 100th birthday.”  I was blown away!  Given her exuberance and youthfulness, I always thought Rose was in her eighties.

I continued going to that class for many years with Rose until she was hospitalized  and died a few months later in 2001 at the age of 107.  Yes, good genes and healthy living had a lot to do with Rose’s longevity.  However, a positive attitude and a love of life contributed significantly.

Let’s let Rose serve as our role model. It’s our choice how to embrace our final years.  If we live our lives in agitated worry about our waning life, can we really enjoy that precious time to its fullest?  Yes, we want to be productive–leave a legacy.  However, the pressure to do so caused by fear we might die sooner rather than later spoils our journey.

In your final years, be productive for the joy of it, not in a race against some elusive calculation about the amount of time you have left.

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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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Let It Go

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:

Releasing Bird from CageWe all get upset, pissed off, angry, enraged, and worse at circumstances, the behavior of others, life. Yes, we need to vent; it releases tension. But, be careful who you choose as your ventee. Is he/she the right choice–the one who done ya wrong?

Are you dumping your situation on whomever you stumble upon? Are you taking any and every opportunity to steer the conversation around to your hurt or bad luck? That gets very old very fast, and others don’t want to constantly be at the receiving end of such conduct. After all, they have their own issues for which they’d like to vent, and it’s so easy for your interaction to devolve into a mutual ventfest.

Whatever it is that is bumming you out, there comes a point where you just have to let it go and get on with your life. Easy to say; hard to do, but, what is the alternative?

You can continue to stew for days, weeks, months, even years. While you’re doing so, what else is happening? Have opportunities passed you by because you were too angry and distracted to grab them? Have you missed out on jobs, relationships, etc. because others picked up on your rage and backed off? Who is the loser with your attitude? The way I see it, it’s you!

I’m still carrying around pain as the result of being hurt or let down by others whom I trusted. I’m probably pretty typical of most people. Very few get through this life without those types of experiences. Yes, I’m still a work in progress, but I try. I think about it and work at moving on. Sometimes I do a better job than at other times.

Letting it go doesn’t have to be done all at once. It can be done in stages–baby steps. I have been estranged from a family member for several years. I thought a lot about letting it go, mainly to heal myself. Recently, I sent her a birthday card. It was very difficult to do and took a lot of mental back-and-forth while buying the card, addressing it, putting on the stamp, and releasing it from my fingertips into the mailbox. I lived with that small act for awhile until I was able to digest it. The next step I took was some very light, superficial email correspondence. I’m currently in the process of living with that and trying to digest it. The next step may be a telephone call.

Keep working at letting it go even if you’re not always successful. View yourself as a wounded child, and take care of yourself with tenderness, support, and encouragement as you would any troubled youngster. Help that child heal. Strive to make yourself the winner, not the loser.

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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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Rest and Regenerate

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:

hummingbird-resting-2

Rest is mandatory for all animals to renew their energy and vitality including those living helicopters: hummingbirds.  I spotted this little guy hovering near a bush outside my window. Then, much to my surprise, he landed on a branch. I had never seen a hummingbird before that wasn’t humming.  I stopped what I was doing and just hung out with him.  Mr. H. stayed there for about ten minutes, resting, regenerating, and allowing his heart rate to slow down before continuing his frenetic activities.  Such a smart bird.

Hummingbirds’ wings flutter 80 times per second and their hearts can beat as much as 1,263 times per minute or as little as 50 times per minute when conserving energy.  Compare that to the human heart which beats as low as 60 and as high as 200 times per minute depending on age and activity level.

Do you remember to rest and regenerate?  We must learn to pace ourselves—land on a branch—and allow plenty of downtime in order to be able to function well when we are active. Rest and especially sleep have an unexplained yet proven impact on our health and productivity.  A very rare hereditary disease called fatal familial insomnia manifests itself in midlife to its victims and eventually renders them unable to sleep.  At that stage, death comes within months.  We cannot live without sleep.

Have you noticed that when you are not rested, your responses become dull and sloppy?  We make many more errors and bad decisions when not rested. It’s tempting to overdo. There are so many interesting and compelling projects and activities.  Sometimes, it seems there is never enough time to do everything we want to do. However, over-scheduling and cramming in too much becomes counterproductive.

Catching some ZzzsRemember to do your resting in a location conductive to that end.  Choosing a roomful of people, noise, and stimulation does not yield good quality relaxation to most.  If out and about, try to find a quiet, isolated place.  If one is not available, you might decamp to your car.  No car?  Try a stall in the bathroom.  It’s a one-holer, people are banging on the door, and you’ve run out of options?  Then find any seat and use the earplugs and eye mask you always carry with you in your purse, pocket, back pack, whatever (you do carry them, right, along with a granola bar for quick energy when needed?).  If all else fails, take a tip from this gal catching some Z’s on a commuter train instead of grabbing her cell phone to read her emails, navigate the net, or play mindless computer games.  Make it work for you!

Remember to schedule plenty of rest time into your life. It takes discipline but is an art that you must master.  Then, the things that you do participate in will be so much more fruitful and rewarding.

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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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Playing Well with Others

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:

Children playing gameAre you a person who has trouble playing well with others?  Or, perhaps you know someone like that.  Getting along with other humans is a talent gained from part nature and part nurture.

It almost doesn’t matter what you say or convey to others.  If done in the right way, almost anything is acceptable.  For example, if someone is wearing clothing that you think looks terrible, you can say, “You look awful in that dress,” or you can say, “I think red looks so much better on you than blue.”  If someone is doing something you don’t think is correct, you can say, “Don’t do that!” or you can say, “I don’t think they want us doing that.”

If you’re not a natural at warm-cozy techniques of communication and are tired of people drawing away from you or completely ostracizing you, consider practicing some basic requirements.  Here’s a list of “musts” that I came up with.  Perhaps you can add a few of your own.

  1. It’s not all about you. Don’t spend the interaction talking only about your stuff or sucking the focus onto yourself whenever possible.
  2. Do show interest in the others present. Everyone wants a chance to be the center of attention for awhile.  Aid in that goal by asking questions of them, and really listen to their answers.  You show that you’re listening by maintaining consistent eye contact and asking meaningful, follow-up questions.
  3. Check your attitude. Don’t come across as irritated, impatient, hostile, pissy, etc. People don’t like that and will begin to avoid you.
  4. Don’t be the resident expert-in-everything even if you are. It gets old very fast.  As my father used to say, “Nobody likes a smart ass.”
  5. Be gracious. Say things like “thank you” or “that was really interesting” or “nice to see you again,” etc.  People love compliments and acknowledgement.
  6. Be aware of the tone and volume of your voice. Dial both down a notch or ten.  Practice exchanging verbal coldness for warmth.  Record yourself and listen to how you come across when you speak.
  7. Body language speaks volumes. Chill out and relax.
  8. Facial expressions are huge. Everyone is always reading people by the expressions on their faces.  Do yours come across as: sourpuss, angry, negative, critical, bored, disinterested, etc?  If so, practice in front of a mirror making facial expressions which are positive, accepting, warm, upbeat, supportive, interested, etc.  Experience how your face muscles feel with those positive expressions, and repeat them in public.

If you can’t figure out how to put into practice some of the aforementioned suggestions, study others who seem to do so effortlessly.  Then, wiggle into your actor robes and perform, using them as role models.  It may seem strange at first, but you’ll get used to it. Remember, the content is far less important than the delivery.

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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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Lighten Your Load

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:

Heavy load 1We all carry heavy, emotional loads around with us.  Some call it “baggage.” Whatever you call it, it exhausts you and depletes your energy.  This angst you create for yourself is manifested in: worrying, ruminating, stressing, fixating, obsessing, etc. over what has happened or what might happen.

The current, trendy advice is: live in the now. It sounds wonderful, but it’s so hard to do. We all suffer from mind drift.  So, how do you turn off your thoughts from remembering your upsetting, negative experiences? How do you control your reflections from worrying about life’s possible, future land mines?

Like acquiring any new skill, it takes practice—constant practice. It also takes awareness of when your mind is drifting to those types of deliberation. So, it’s up to you to work at lightening your own load. And, it will only be successful if you want it badly enough. Here’s an idea to get you started:

Develop the habit of checking in with your mind on a regular basis to see if and where it has drifted. When that drift is to a negative place, stay vigilant and replace those thoughts with something positive or at least neutral.  Use your environment as an aid.

In my new home, I have a variety of animal life that passes by. I’ve made it a point of stopping whatever I’m doing when I hear or spot a candidate from my window. I watch the free performance nature provides which puts my mind in a positive place.

That exercise can be done with all types of external stimuli found everywhere. For example, have you ever really looked at a flower growing outside? Don’t just glance at it; approach it and stare deeply at its structure. Notice each petal; notice the stamen and pistil in the center. Assess the color as it varies in shade from one part of the flower to another. Smell it. Does it have a strong scent, a mild scent, no scent?  While you are doing this, your mind is focused totally on the flower.

It seems like a constant struggle to take control of our thought patterns. However, like learning any new skill, it becomes a bit easier each time you are successful. The aggregate of many successful experiences makes you more proficient at the task. Keep at it and see if the outcome leads to more contentment in your life.  If not, you can always go back to wallowing in the turmoil your mind creates.

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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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Help: a Noun and a Verb

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:

BART special seatingI had just exited the airport after flying in from out of town and was waiting for the metro to take me home. When it arrived and the doors opened, I realized I had hit it at rush hour. The car was crammed with humanity—standing room only.  That was fine with me; I liked the idea of remaining upright as I had been sitting on an airplane for two hours.

I positioned myself between a post and the back of a seat, holding on to the former. At the next stop, a boy of about nine years of age walked toward me gesturing to a seat. A woman, obviously his mother, was standing nearby and nodding at me. They had been occupying a place designated for the handicapped, pregnant women, and the elderly. To my consternation, I fell into the last category.  Even so, I am in good physical condition and was quite capable of standing.  However, the young boy looked so eager charged with his important mission that I simply couldn’t tell him I had no need of the proffered prime location. So I thanked him very much, walked over, and took my seat for the elderly.  The boy was beaming and looked at his mother who gave the requisite approval.

Sometimes, even if we don’t need assistance, it is a kind gesture toward the giver to accept an offer of help. People feel good when they assist others, and we can get some good feelings for ourselves by being gracious toward their sacrifice in our behalf—a definite win-win situation.

I think the same applies if we really do need help. What’s the matter with that? Some find it so difficult to request and/or accept assistance.  They feel it demeans them or indicates they are lacking in some way.  They might feel a burden that they must reciprocate. No, you don’t need to give like-for-like. Sometimes, there is no way to repay a good deed done for you. The only payback is to pay it forward and perform a kindness for another.

Offer help generously and don’t be ashamed to accept it either. We all need help from time to time no matter our age or physical condition.  Participate willingly on either side of this caring human interaction and reap the emotional rewards that it bestows.

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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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