Tag Archives: longevity

G’day Mate

This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, retirees, and those soon to retire find joy, excitement, and purpose in life after retirement. Her public lecture on this subject is titled: “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement.” Her memoir, Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class, is available by clicking here Amazon.com. Click here for her website: http://AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com

Now, on to my blog:

Koala.jpgWe all strive to survive and thrive. We depend on others to help us toward that end; we cannot do it alone. So, we too, must help others, and “others” includes the animals of the world.

Many years ago, I read about a penguin named “Pierre” that was part of a living exhibit at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, California.  For an unknown reason, Pierre lost all of his feathers.  He was ostracized by the other penguins, and he couldn’t swim because it was too cold for him.  A staff member made Pierre a neoprene suit to protect him, and his feathers eventually grew back.  Pierre may not have weathered that trauma without his human benefactor.

Recently, the continent of Australia has been hit with massive wildfires.  Believed to be exacerbated by climate change, they are destroying everything in their path. This has included an estimated one billion animals, many unique to Australia. I recently heard about the Australia based “Animal Rescue Craft Guild” that is organizing sewers, knitters, crocheters, and other crafters from around the world to help with this tragedy by making mittens for animals with burnt paws and joey pouches for marsupial baby orphans including kangaroos, possums, koalas and wombats that cannot survive outside of their mother’s pouch. These simple, artificial pouches are crafted from material and protect the life of the undeveloped joey, the marsupial baby, enabling it to flourish until it can live on its own.

Joey in pouchHere’s a short primer on the kangaroo joey: when born at about 33 days, it is like an embryo: blind, hairless, and a few centimeters long–the size of a jelly bean.  It makes it way from the birth canal to the mother’s pouch by wiggling through her fur.  It remains inside the pouch suckling one of four teats which becomes enlarged to hold the joey in place. In about six months, the baby roo starts to make forays outside for short periods of time.  It leaves Mom’s comfy digs permanently between eight and eleven months.

If you have needlecrafting skills, how exciting and gratifying it might be to spend a little of your time making an item to enhance the welfare of Australia’s distinctive animals which have been injured and rendered homeless by the relentless fires of 2020. This could also be a fun project to do with your grandchildren, or for them to do on their own.  Google “instructions for marsupial pouches” or “instructions for mittens for koalas” to access YouTube videos to teach you how to make these items correctly. When you’re finished, google topics like “how to donate pouches and mittens for fire animal victims in Australia” or go to the Facebook page of “Animal Rescue Craft Guild” for information on where to send them.

If you’re not needlecraft talented yourself, do as I’m doing with this post and pass along the message to those in your sphere who are.  No matter your abilities or lack thereof, you too can be a link in the chain to make this happen

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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 1 credit : Janus Serendipity on Visualhunt / CC BY
Photo 2 credit: Aidan Jones on Visual hunt / CC BY-SA

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Noise Pollution

This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, retirees, and those soon to retire find joy, excitement, and purpose in life after retirement. Her public lecture on this subject is titled: “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement.” Her memoir, Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class, is available by clicking here Amazon.com. Click here for her website: http://AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com

Now, on to my blog:

Lighthouse & foghornsIs it me, or has the noise level in our environment risen sharply? To my mind, noise has reached pollution levels, like being enveloped in a constant foghorn. I can’t seem to walk into any establishment these days where I’m not hit broadside by the noise level inside.

To add to what might be a normal degree in a building filled with humans, the proprietors of many locations seem to feel that adding to the racket will help their business. So, they pipe in music which just increases the pollution. Then, to add insult to injury, they ramp up said chords to ridiculous decibels.

This first just occurred in restaurants and bars. Today when you frequent them, screaming to your tablemates just to be able to hear each other is now the norm.

This ambiance has segued to places like food markets, clothing stores, and other commercial businesses open to the public. I don’t know about most folks, but when I enter such a place, I’ll usually do a U-turn and exit from whence I came.

I’ve been known to ask employees to turn down the music. My request usually goes something like: “The music is too loud.  My first choice would be for you to turn it off;  my second choice to turn it down.”  This is usually met with strange stares and some form of resistance.  I’m sure that the owners regularly read their “Running a Successful (add any brick and mortar business category)” which tells them that piped in music helps bump up sales. But, putting your customers at the mercy of some radio station playing rap music turned up to assault their eardrums is not what it means, guys.

I don’t know if folks are aware that prolonged exposure to intense noise causes irreversible hearing damage. Those young store clerks and restaurant workers are being harmed permanently! Also, if one goal is to cater to Baby Boomers and seniors (and it should be as we form a huge demographic which spends lots of money), businesspeople ought to be aware that there are more hearing issues and hearing aid use among us, and that the hearing challenged are quite sensitive to intense noise.

We need more quiet in our lives. So, in line with my philosophy that you can’t change other people, you can only change yourself, carry earplugs or earmuffs with you at all times and use them when you are overwhelmed by the ambient clatter.  Picture an influx of seniors in earmuffs.  That should send the message.

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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: Citizen 4474 on Visual hunt / CC BY

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Holiday Letters

This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, retirees, 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, Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Classis available by clicking here Amazon.com. Click here for her website:  http://AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com

Now, on to my blog:

SnowmanThis time of year, I usually receive a plethora of holiday letters via email or snail mail from various family members, friends, or even acquaintances.  The contents usually follow a formula: recapping the sender’s year with snippets of what they and their loved ones have done during that time.  I don’t know how or when this practice started, but I don’t remember it in the first half of my life.

I usually hate those missives because, more often than not, they’re filled with fairy-tale wonderfulness making my life pale in comparison.   Everything seems to have a positive spin.  It might read: “Hyacinth is loving her new college.”  Of course, I know that Hyacinth was expelled from her old college for having drugs in her dorm room, and that she did a short stint in the local jail with some follow-up community service as a result.  Maybe it informs us:  “Maxwell finally fulfilled his longtime dream of leaving his old firm of Smith, Jones, and McGillicuddy and starting his own company.”  Unwritten is that Maxwell was booted out from SJ&M for shoddy work, and his new company headquarters  is located behind the house in a 6×8 metal shed furnished with a card table and cinder block bookcase.

We all have our ups and downs–our positives and negatives.  A full dose launched in our direction of just one or the other is a turnoff, no matter in what form it is delivered.  We all compare ourselves to each other, and when one constantly presents as wonderful, blessed, and fortunate, it becomes tiresome and boring.  Conversely, when one bemoans and whines about most things, it becomes tiresome and boring.

Those two extremes, everything is wonderful or everything is terrible, are usually performed with a hidden motive.  The former is a type of one-upmanship.  At its essence, it is bragging–mine is better than yours.  The latter is a form of victimhood to suck more than the practitioner’s share from the attention pool.

If you must send or email a holiday letter, tell us what really happened, not just the Pollyanna version, but be careful not to overload it with poor-me isms.  We can see through it all, and we may repay you in kind.

Remember to enjoy your holiday season like a guileless child without an agenda, and not use it as a tool to manipulate.  With that, I leave you with my holiday letter:

****LEE GALE’S  2019  HOLIDAY  LETTER****

Happy and Merry Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Posadas Navidenas, Solstice, or (fill in the holiday of your choice.)  Just want to bring you up-to-speed on how wonderful, terrific, amazing, incredible, and (fill in any positive adjective) my life has been this past year. 

In January, I completed blah, blah, blah!

In February, my son was elected blah, blah, blah!

In March, my oldest grandchild started blah, blah, blah!

In April, my dog learned blah, blah, blah!

In May, I was awarded blah, blah, blah!

In June, my youngest grandchild was chosen blah, blah, blah!

In July, my daughter finished blah, blah, blah!

In August, I traveled to blah, blah, blah!

In September, my middle grandchild mastered blah, blah, blah!

In October, my friends threw me a blah, blah, blah!

In November, I bought a blah, blah, blah!

And this month, December, I’m finally able to tell you all about it and make you drool.

Have a stupendous holiday season, but not as good as mine, of course!

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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.

Lisa Zins on VisualHunt / CC BY

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The Day I Became Ma’am

This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, retirees, 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, Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class, is available by clicking here Amazon.com. Click here for her website: http://AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com

CHITCHAT:  I have changed my banner photo on this blog website as I’m sure my regular followers have noticed.  For those of you who receive my blog in other forms, click here to see the new banner photo: LeeGaleGruen.wordpress.com.  It is now a picture of me at a book fair selling my memoir, Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class.  However, that is the only thing that has changed.  The blog and its theme are the same.

Now, on to my blog:

Policeman IISome events make an immediate and abrupt change in our lives.  When you have a baby, one moment you’re not the parent of (insert the long pondered name you gave your adorable offspring), and the next moment you are, and your life is never the same. When you’re involved in a major accident, one moment you don’t have four broken limbs and a fractured skull, and the next moment you do, and your life is never the same.

Most changes to our lives, however, come on minutely with the aging process. We don’t notice it as the progression is so gradual.  It’s only over months or more likely years that we clock the transformations.

Of course, you evolve from instant to instant.  But, what is the exact moment that you morphed from one major phase of your life to the next? I remember the day someone first called me ma’am. I was in my late teens and still felt like a kid. I was crossing a busy intersection directed by a police officer who was hurrying people along.

“Move it, ma’am,” he yelled in an irritated voice.

I didn’t even know who he was talking to, but I was sure it wasn’t me.  After all, I wasn’t old enough to be a ma’am. I glanced at him and saw that he was glaring at me impatiently as he waved his arms directing the traffic.  It shocked me; I’d never been called ma’am before. When did I go from being a miss to a ma’am?

I’m now asking that question in my senior years. When was the day, the hour, the minute, the second that I actually became a senior? I’m not sure? I look in the mirror and wonder who that is gazing back at me pondering the same question.

It’s hard passing through the stages of our lives.  However, we have no choice.  If we’re alive, we can only move forward toward the inescapable, like it or not.  The takeaway here is that our mental thoughts and emotional identity often lag behind our physical strength and appearance. What we think of ourselves is not necessarily how the world views us. We must be aware of the difference between the two.  That leaves the only consideration: how we deal with it.

Some rail against aging, trying as hard as they can to avoid it, reject it, disguise it.  You may convince yourself that you’ve done so, but it’s not true.  Others can see through your little guise even if you can’t or choose not to.

Being a ma’am didn’t make me any different than I was the day before.  It’s just a word, not a description of my character, personality, lifestyle, and beliefs.  I’m no longer the immature young woman I was then having transformed ever so slowly into the mature senior I am now.  That process was going to happen no matter my machinations along the journey.

So, one alternative is to accept and embrace your age whatever it might be at any moment.  Stop fighting the process and go with the flow as the kids say.  It will make your life easier, richer, and more enjoyable as you amble along that inevitable path.

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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: Björn Söderqvist via VisualHunt.com /  CC BY-SA

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Up High

This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, retirees, 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, Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class, is available by clicking here Amazon.com. Click here for her website: http://AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com

Now, on to my blog:

airplane shadow on freeway

We all want to be up high. As young children at a parade, we tell our parents to lift us up high. As adults, we strive to climb the social or corporate ladder to raise ourselves up high.

What’s the big deal with being so high? Does it make us happier or more content? The race to the top is fraught with victims trying and failing to claw and scratch their way to the apex of the mountain.  We are competitive beings.  We grow up with emphasis on besting another no matter who that other might be: friend, acquaintance, co-worker, parent, sibling, even our own offspring.  And, the besting portion comes in any form that stratifies folks–someone always higher by some arbitrary measurement than someone else.

Everyone seems to want to surround themselves with the good life which so many identify as material possessions.  However, according to the Hedonic Treadmill, it never satisfies, it only makes its practitioners crave ever more of that same stuff.

Is it possible to just be satisfied?  Can we be okay with where we are in life, even though that guy over there has more money, a bigger house, more successful children, or a later model car?  It’s hard because that’s not what we were taught in our families, at school, and in our society.  However, that constant dissatisfaction and competition grows tiresome.  Manifesting in the form of jealousy, anxiety, nervousness, sleeplessness and similar outcomes, it takes a huge toll on our physical and mental well-being.

How do you walk away from always wanting to be up high, up higher, up highest?  First, you have to recognize you have that affliction.  It may be so ingrained that it’s hard to spot.  Then, you have to want to cut it free–really, really want to.  You will have to formulate a plan of action on how to go about it–steps to take.  This is different for everyone, but with some honest thought, you can arrive at your own customized list.

It could involve minor changes such as volunteering to help those less fortunate or giving away certain possessions.  It could be as drastic as quitting a job, moving away from a neighborhood, or even cutting certain family members and friends loose.

Finally, you must work at it daily as you must for any change of long-term habits.  It may take the same length of time to defeat as it took to become entrenched–years probably.  Yet, if you want it badly enough…

Buddha was thought to have been born into a privileged life which he renounced to become an ascetic and pauper.  Hey, if Buddha can give it all up in pursuit of enlightenment, maybe there’s a chance for us.

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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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Our Gang

Final Book CoverThis blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, retirees, 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, Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class, is available by clicking here Amazon.com. Click here for her website: http://AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com

Now, on to my blog:

Birds on Telephone PoleWe all need good friends to hang out with. There’s a comfort level about being around people we like, we’ve known for a while, and with whom we share common interests. Humans are not solitary beings. We are social beings who enjoy the camaraderie of like-minded folks. They are our support system, our cheering squad, our comforters.

Some people, however, refuse to open themselves up to making new friends.  They stick to those they know to the exclusion of anyone who tries to break into their tight clique.  Sometimes, it’s to the point of being rude.

I remember a situation where I was sitting in a huge, noisy room at a large, round banquet table.  It was my first time attending that organization, and I didn’t know anyone there.  The person seated on my right physically turned her back in my direction as she chatted up the person on the other side of her.  There was a bookend effect from my left.  Together, they served to isolate me.  Perhaps you’ve had a similar experience.  Why do people behave like that?

Rather than thinking it is a fault in yourself, maybe it’s a fault in the back turner.  Perhaps they are so uncomfortable with new situations that they have to form a blockade to keep intruders out.  How sad for them.  They might miss an opportunity for a new point of view, of learning something they didn’t know, or of interacting with a charming personality.

I have a group of friends who are very open and agreeable with any in the group inviting newcomers to our outings.  We never give it a second thought.  So, I did the same thing with a different group of friends without asking if it was okay with everyone.  It just didn’t dawn on me that it would be a problem.  Wrong!

Another in that group became very huffy and cold to both me and my invited guest.  I noticed how visibly upset she seemed. I couldn’t figure out why she was acting that way, so I asked her when we were alone for a moment.

“I thought it was just going to be the four of us.  I didn’t know that there was going to be a stranger here, too.  It just changes the character of the get-together.”

In truth, she’s right; it does.   To me, it was just a few friends joining each other for lunch.  However, I had spoiled it for her. I should have asked permission of the others before inviting an outsider.

We are not all alike.  I enjoy meeting and getting to know new people.  I find it interesting and stimulating.  However, not everyone feels that way, and I must remember that.

Old relationships are precious. Treat them accordingly.  But, try to open yourself up to new ones.  It might just expand you.

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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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OMG I Just Got Younger

Final Book Cover

This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, retirees, 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, Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class, is available by clicking here Amazon.com. Click here for her website: http://AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com

Now, on to my blog:

candlesTake off one candle from the birthday cake.  I’m a year younger than I thought!

When the subject comes up, I’ve been telling people my age, or at least, what I thought was my age.  I’ve never shortchanged my years, trying to drop five or ten of them to represent myself as being younger.  I am what I am, and I have never bought into presenting myself otherwise.

Last week at my gym class, I got into a discussion with another member about how old we were going to be on our next birthday.  She thought she was the oldest person there and was so excited to find someone older–by one year.  As we continued talking, we discovered we had been born in the same year, she in March and I in December.

Wait a minute, something didn’t compute.  It seemed that either I was a year younger than I was claiming, or she was a year older.  I was sure I was right.  After all, I’m pretty sharp and don’t usually make significant mistakes like that.

I rushed home and grabbed my cheapo calculator.  It seemed to tell me that she was right.  Naw, it must be defective.  How long had it been since I changed the batteries?  I took to google and typed “age calculator” into the search box.  After inputting my date of birth, up came a number that agreed with cheapo and my gym mate.  But, how was that possible?  I had been claiming the wrong age, even on written forms where it was requested, upping it by a year.

The only thing I can figure out is that I went to my high school class reunion a few months ago, and many attendees were a year older as I had been among the youngest in that class having been born nearly at year’s end.  So, hearing them talk about their age, I guess I started saying the same thing.

The silver lining to my faulty memory is that I just got a year younger!  Now, how often do we get that, folks?

Funny, though; I don’t feel any different.  Yes, it’s the same old me.  Being a year younger doesn’t make any difference.  My takeaway:  calculations of ages and birth dates are just number’s games.  It’s what you do with those precious years, days, hours, minutes, and seconds that matter.

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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: gotbrimmed on Visual hunt / CC BY-ND

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