Tag Archives: healthy aging

Mackinac

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:

Mackinac Island 1 - June 2017Clop, clop, clop—the sound of the horses’ hooves as they pulled the wagon taxi  carrying me around Mackinac Island, Michigan last week.  It was the time of the Lilac Festival during which all of the lilac bushes covering the island in their various colors and hues perform for the tourists. It seemed that every hotel, restaurant, park, private home and anywhere else something could be planted had its own lilac bushes for passersby to admire, sniff, and use as a backdrop to pose for photos.

The island is supported by tourism. However, despite the thousands who descend each year, it has been kept pristine and is a little step back in history.Mackinac Island 2 - June 2017 No cars are allowed. All transportation is accomplished by horse drawn carriages and drays, bicycles, and good old-fashioned walking. Humans with pooper scoopers as well as machines pulled by draft horses, Belgians and Percherons mostly, ply the roads gathering the equine droppings. They are then composted and spread throughout the island to assist in the growth of those magnificent lilacs as well as other flora.

Here’s another fact that grabbed my interest. The three-mile-long body of water to the closest mainland freezes shortly after Christmas forming what the locals call the “ice bridge.” The full-time residents have created a folk remedy of sorts to delineate the path as they traverse it atop their snowmobiles. People simply save their Christmas trees which are then set up on the ice to mark the route.

Yes, the five-hundred full-time islanders certainly do enjoy modern lifestyles that technology has brought to all of us.  However, they seem to have found some simple solutions to their unique challenges.  My little peek through their keyhole tells me that they have a less stressful, less emotionally demanding cadence to their lives than we in the big cities experience.

My auditory sense relaxed in the replacement of engine noises with the resonance of the horses’ hooves as they went about their duties. I like that their emissions help the life cycle unlike that of automobiles that only contribute their noxious gases to the destruction of our planet. Is progress really all it’s touted to be? Can we learn from Mackinac Island residents?  Might a return to simpler times and simpler ways be the answer to our angst?

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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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Generational Differences

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:

Earlobe spacer 1It is often so hard for distant generations to understand and accept each other and to even communicate.  Differences are greater as the years between generations increase. Behavioral and linguistic disparities between parents and children are hard enough, but it becomes more extreme between age spans separating grandparents and grandchildren or great grandchildren.  This, of course, can be extrapolated to anyone, not just family members.  However, if we are going to live together and benefit from each other, we must adapt and cope, as hard and confusing as it may be.

A few weeks ago, I had a young workman approximately age twenty fixing some damage to my wall.  He arrived with tools in his hands which were attached to fully tattooed arms.  This contrasted sharply with my tattooless ones.  In his earlobes were hole stretch earrings (also called gauges as Google informed me) which expanded those lobe holes to about a three quarter inch diameter.  My own lobe holes are pinhead width, my norm for voluntary body mutilations.

Click on this link for a how-to primer on ear lobe stretching for those so inclined:  http://www.wikihow.com/Stretch-an-Ear-Lobe-Piercing  As you can see, it’s not an easy thing to become a practitioner.  If, despite that, you are determined to stretch your lobes, here are Amazon’s offers of do-it-yourself kits: https://tinyurl.com/y8vupuq9

Despite our stylistic differences, the young workman was a sweetheart.  He set to his task with diligence.  About an hour later, YW appeared at my office door and announced that he was finished.

“I’m sorry it took me so long,” he said.  “I had a brain fart and cut the wood too short, so I had to do it again.”

“What?”

“I had a brain fart and cut the wood too short.  The reason I didn’t finish earlier is because I had to do it over.”

Yes, I had heard him correctly.  A brain fart.

I swallowed and just responded, “Oh.”

He had used that compound noun twice in his explanation with no sign of jest, sarcasm, or a goal to shock.  It was simply part of his natural speech, and he never even thought that it might be offensive to someone else.

Stretched ear lobes

I was not exactly offended—more surprised and amazed.  In my lifetime, I’ve experienced confusion, distraction, misunderstanding, mistakes, but never a brain fart.  Or, maybe I had but just didn’t know it. “A word is a word is a word,” as I’ve heard it said.

We should be grateful if the younger generation beings in our lives are loving, giving, goal oriented, etc.  Mild rebellions such as tattoos, shaved heads, trendy words and phrases, bodily piercings of various types, rainbow colored hair, etc. are tolerable and non-destructive—so much better than drug experimentation, criminal acts and the like which some use to rebel.  So, get in sync with the young people in your life; go ahead and stretch your earlobes.

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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.

Bottom Photo: Photo credit: Rod Waddington via VisualHunt.com / CC BY-SA


			

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Don’t Be a Crappee

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:

Statue & SeagullWhile on a trip to Scotland last month, I was taking a tour of Edinburgh, the capital.  As the guide was waxing on about all the attractions, I noticed this duo: a statue of Dr. David Livingstone, the nineteenth century Scottish medical missionary and African explorer of “Dr. Livingstone, I presume” fame, topped by an uninvited seagull. The statue graces a park in the center of the city.  As you can see, the foul fowl has assumed the role of crappor with poor Livingstone as the crappee.  I wonder how the renown doctor would have felt about that scenario if he were still alive.

How can we avoid being the crappee? I’ve written about this subject in previous blog posts, but it bears revisiting as it’s so important to our emotional well-being.  The answer is: it’s not always easy with the various roles we play in our lives.  We may be a spouse, a child, a parent, a sibling, an employee, a student, etc, or a combination of these at the same time.  Many of our roles are hierarchal in nature, and it’s particularly hard to avoid being dumped on by someone who has  power or authority over you.

So, what can you do?  There are several tactics you can employ when another is castigating you.  You can choose to verbally stand up for yourself and suffer the possible consequences.  Be aware that they can be serious such as being fired from a job; losing a spouse or significant other; becoming estranged from a parent or child; being expelled from a school, club, or organization, etc.  You must decide if such a  potential outcome is worth it.

You can mentally turn off your receptors, choosing not to receive what the crappor is sending.  To avoid extreme results, tune out but behave as though you are attendant.  It’s a hard art to master, but with some practice, you can become adept.

You might try deflection.  Interject something into the diatribe to turn your adversary’s attention in another direction. Example: “Oh, (insert crappor’s name), I heard that the (insert something significant to crappor) just got (insert negative outcome).”  That should send him/her in another direction mentally or physically, long enough for you to regroup and escape, at least for the moment.

You can physically remove yourself from the field of battle.  Create an emergency that requires you to exit immediately.  It can be something like a just-remembered appointment, a bathroom call, a pot on the stove ready to boil over, whatever.  You might even think of some excuses in advance to use when the situation requires it.

Don’t be a statue with bird droppings dripping down your face.  Plan and execute tactical moves to protect yourself from the onslaught of others.

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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 Perils of Communication

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

CHITCHAT:  My Upcoming Lecture: “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement,” is on May 12, 2017, 1-3pm, Diablo Valley College (Pleasant Hill Campus), 321 Golf Club Rd, Pleasant Hill, CA 94523, (925) 685-1230 (NOTE: advance reservation required)

Now, on to my blog:

Talking on Telephone 1

Being an effective communicator requires talent.  Engaging others with our message and receiving theirs is fraught with danger: misunderstandings, mixed signals, confusion, and all sorts of other roadblocks from differences in age, sex, culture, language, education, etc.  However, communicate we must if we’re going to interact with other humans and depend on each other to get along.  So, how do we do it effectively?

That is a massive task, but with practice, we can all master it. First, let’s discuss what communication is. Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary offers this definition:  “a process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs, or behavior.”

Communication methods can be verbal such as words, grunts, and other sounds; visual such as body language and facial expressions; tactile such as a hand brushing an arm or grabbing a shoulder, a handshake, etc. Babies make their needs known by communicating with cries, smiles, etc.  We become more sophisticated in our communication methods as we age.

There are many subtleties to communication.  It can be controlling, manipulative, friendly, warm, cold, straight forward, duplicitous, honest, conniving, and on and on.  Different styles and personalities dictate the tone of the communication.

Remember, communication is not all about you.  It is not just a one-sided “sending” of information significant to the sender.  It also involves “receiving” of information significant to the other person in the interaction.  Finally, a switching of roles occurs with the original sender becoming the receiver and the original receiver becoming the sender. This reversal occurs over and over throughout the exchange at a rapid speed.

Not only must the parties involved be able to switch from send mode to receive mode quickly, they must also be able to interpret meaning. We practice this as children and hopefully perfect it by adulthood.  However, not everyone masters the lessons so well.  If you fall into that category, watch how effective communicators do it and try out their techniques.  They may feel strange at first, but it will get easier with practice.

Effective communication requires an awareness of goals–what the parties want from the interchange. Do you strive to win favor; do you want an extension of good will; do you simply want to experience the good feelings you get from talking to a friend?  Be careful that your approach matches what you hope to gain.  If not, then you are wasting your time and effort.

An acquaintance and I recently discussed how valuable laughter is in communication.  Including humor and creating an opportunity for laughter usually yields much more than aggression does.  There’s an old proverb to the point: “You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.”  When attempting to communicate, lighten up and make the exchange pleasant and even fun, no matter the subject matter.  It can be done and is often significantly more effective.  Just give it a try.

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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.

Photo credit: Internet Archive Book Images via Visual Hunt /  No known copyright restrictions

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Wrangling Seniors

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

CHITCHAT:  I will be giving my lecture, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement,” on May 12, 2017, 1 – 3 pm, at Diablo Valley College Emeritus Program (Pleasant Hill Campus), 321 Golf Club Rd, Pleasant Hill, CA 94523.  Cost: $16 – pre-registration required.

Now, on to my blog:

WalkerA dear friend and her husband from out of state visited me last weekend. I have known them for over forty-five years and hadn’t seen them for quite awhile. We were young and healthy when we met, and we have aged together over the decades.

They are older than I am and have become quite frail. Still, they managed to board a plane with the help of airport wheelchair attendants and arrive at my place by taxi with the aid of the driver. A good tip helped, I guess.

I opened my door to two seniors, both upright with the assistance of their respective walkers. Although a senior myself, I am in good physical condition, and I was pained by their deterioration since I had last seen them. Nevertheless, I was excited by their visit and anxious to show them around my new ‘hood.

It quickly became evident that for each excursion, I would be the pack animal, collapsing and loading two walkers into my car trunk and unloading them upon arrival at our destination not to mention securing seat belts and the like. Ditto on the return ride. All progress was excruciatingly slow. All plans had to be made with time buffers to allow for the lengthy preparation both before and after the event.

I, also, fell into the role of fetch person as their ability to stand up and make their way to get the sugar, a Kleenex, a shawl for warmth, etc. was so much more quickly accomplished by swift me. It reminded me of what my son and daughter-in-law go through with their young children (my adorable grandchildren): strollers, snacks, bathroom breaks, all events planned around rest time, etc.

At the end of each day, I was exhausted, impatient, and irritable. It’s tiring being a wrangler whether your charges are horses or seniors. I tried hard to keep in perspective what I was getting out of the experience. It was such a gift that my dear friends who had been there to nurture and care for me through the years had made the extreme effort to visit me. It was a privilege to help them experience a trip away from their now confined living quarters in an assisted living home. It was a way to pay them back for the love they had always shown me.

Modify your viewpoint toward the elders in your life. Yes, they have become childlike in their needs and even in their behavior. Have patience; be loving, kind, and giving. Don’t forget what they did for you in earlier years which probably caused them to become exhausted, impatient, and irritable.

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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.

Photo credit: Anne Worner via Visualhunt.com /  CC BY-SA

			

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Nature’s Floor Show

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:

Bird in tree outside my window 3-16-17I was doing my morning back exercises when I glanced through my window and spied this guy hanging out on a nearby tree branch. What could be more inspiring? I am regaled lately with a variety of birds hovering, preaching, pecking, warbling, chirping, soaring, and all of the other things birds do. I have never been a “birder,” but I am rejoicing in their exaltation. They tell me that spring is here, and that I, too, can exalt in it.

Do you look out the window of your house, car, office, or any other structure in which you find yourself with glass interruptions in its solidity? I don’t mean a glance while you’re doing much more important business. I mean really look!

Tree outside my window 3-15-17

There’s so much to see. Here’s another photo from my window of a glorious flowering tree. The plants, bushes and trees dress up in springtime for our pleasure. Nature offers us a free floor show.  Don’t forget to attend.

We all have interesting things to observe around us wherever we live. Here are some we might spy looking out of windows: hills or mountains, children playing, passersby strolling, dogs running, cars of all shapes and colors, and on and on.

Let the visual panoply engulf you. Feel yourself drawn into the details of a leaf, a bird searching the grass for food, a ball bouncing away from its thrower. These sights and sounds are cleansing. Be mindful; notice as you are being swept into the experience; allow it to overtake you. Don’t worry, you can always go back to that important business you left, refreshed and invigorated.  And, this psychic infusion doesn’t require dipping into your wallet.

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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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Secrets

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:

Whispering photoKeeping secrets is something we all do for various reasons.  It usually starts with worrying about negative blowback we might experience if others knew the truth.  This can be fear of being judged and found wanting, fear of being pitied, fear of reprisals, etc. The reality is that whatever our oh-so-important secret, others usually spend only moments on our situation and then revert back to ruminating about their own lives.

There’s a saying: “A secret is something you tell one person at a time.” Most of us have a need to unburden by sharing our secret with someone whom we think we can trust with it.  Although we swear our trusted agent to secrecy, we worry he/she might deliberately or by accident tell another.  Sometimes, we instruct our agent not to share our secret only with select persons.

That puts an additional burden on our designee not only to live his/her own life with all its attendant stresses, and yes, even secrets, but to remember not to share our secret and with whom not to share it.  That’s called “dumping,” people.

It’s not easy being the dumpee.  The one placed in that role now has a new stressor:  keeping your secret.  It’s hard enough keeping their own, but now they have the worry of yours they might accidentally spill, potentially incurring your wrath and/or damaging the relationship.  Sometimes, the dumpee may deliberately spill your secret for their own gain—remember Linda Tripp?  Google her if you don’t.

Secrets range from tiny ones to great big ones. The degree of weight of the secret is usually decided by the owner.  However, it’s often not given the same level of importance by those learning it.

The keeping and managing of secrets is a wearisome process.  We must remember who we told and didn’t tell, why it was so important to keep the secret, what to do if others learn the secret, what we must do if we want to divulge the secret to all and get on with our lives, and on and on.

Will we ever reach the time where the matter kept secret loses it power over us?  How about now?  In my memoir, I shared my secret of feeling self-conscious and inadequate in my younger years, and of having crippling stage-fright for so much of my life.  When I had the nerve to tell the world, those bonds lost their power over me.  Revealing our secrets can be so liberating.

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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.

Photo credit: See-ming Lee 李思明 SML via Visual hunt /  CC BY-SA

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