Get outside your comfort zone!

I must be honest:  I’m a physical chicken.

I’m pretty brave emotionally – love

Pam and Bob anticipating a retirement life of sailing.

new jobs, adore new cities, even new countries.  But a roller coaster leaves me weak in the knees.  Don’t even mention going up in hot air balloon.  Not so my buddy Dixie.  She barrels down the mountain on her skis, goes para-sailing at the drop of a hat, slalom skis in the Mediterranean, and once even considered hang-gliding off a mountain in Switzerland.  The only thing that kept her grounded was her lack of the language.  Thank goodness she couldn’t speak German because I couldn’t even bear to watch!

So when we first retired, I decided to use Dixie as an inspiration and get out of my comfort zone by facing my fear of sailing – something my husband dearly wanted to do.

You can't control the wind but you can adjust your sails
Dixie: In yellow shorts with toes in the water on a friend’s sailboat on the Columbia River.

Bob longed to become a proficient sailor and enjoy the open water and the mastery of the winds.  I loved the idea of learning something new with my husband and envisioned the times we would spend enjoying the experience and sharing long hours with friends unfettered by the constraints of land.  But I was scared.

Facing my fears, we signed up for a water safety class believing this would quell any anxiety about sailing.

Good idea, wrong outcome!  I tried this sailing stuff earlier in our life but felt like circumstances were different enough now in retirement that this time would be positive.

Stay within your comfort zone.

In the middle of the water safety class that listed all the things that could go wrong – ending with fire – I stood up and announced to the class that I took this class to calm my fears but now knew at least ten more ways we could die in a sailboat.

We eventually made it onto the water, learned to tack and how to get ourselves off when we ran aground, but I was always more comfortable with the boat sitting straight up and going slow.  None of that heeling over for me!

During my final sailing experience, our small motor fell off the transom and into the water.  We had to sail into the nearest gas dock.   Need I say more?  I literally jumped off the boat!  That day I decided that I’d faced my fears and gone to the very edge of my comfort zone.  And that was enough of that.

Remember what I told you about Dixie wanting to hang-glide off the mountain in Switzerland?  Well, there’s more to the story.

Alps language barrier prevented jump.

We rode up to the top of the world that morning on a ski-lift.  In the summer, ski-lifts are very, very high up in the air – especially in the Alps.  I just closed my eyes and concentrated on breathing deeply till we made it to the top.  But there’s no way I could ride that thing back down.  So Dixie and Rick took the lift down at the end of the day, and Bob and I took several hours to walk down.  Even walking, I felt like I was going to fall off the mountain.  I told you I was a chicken!

Still there’s something satisfying about looking something you fear squarely in the eye and doing it anyway.  I’m glad I did.  But if you’ve done it, and it’s still scary, it’s okay to give it up.  I’ll be happy to ride in your sailboat.  I just don’t want to sail my own.  And keep it upright, please.  None of that heeling over!

What fears have you overcome?  Send us a photo, and we’ll post it.

Pam

Writers@richlyaged.com

 

 

 

 

 

Learning New Things – Okay like What?

 

In our last post, Dixie talked about learning new things.  But what?  Glad you asked!

Most of our friends started tennis AFTER retirement.

Below are a few suggestions that come to mind.

  • Study Art History
  • Play the Piano or any instrument
  • Take up Tennis, Golf or Tai Chi
  • Understand classical music or any other type of music
  • Become a master Yogi
  • Take up painting, watercolor, acrylics, and oils. No? Paint the house?
  • Knit, Crochet, Sew
  • Learn to make magnificent sauces.
  • Horseback ride
  • Make jewelry.
  • Woodwork, build a boat and on and on

Explore your options

Don’t second guess yourself.  Incubate your idea of who you are and let it live. You may have formed restricting opinions about your abilities throughout your work years that aren’t actually true. Discard those opinions and test it yourself.  You are different now than you were when you approached the idea in the past and the idea may be associated with a negative situation that no longer is relevant.  Give it a chance.  Learn new things.  You’ve got time!

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right!” Henry Ford

Maybe your adventure list includes wishing you could play the piano whether to dazzle your friends at gatherings or simply to entertain yourself with the music you’ve enjoyed throughout your life. Make a plan. Start by selecting a nearby instructor who is affordable or a friend who plays and begin at the very beginning or take up where you left off in childhood.

The key is START.  Give it a fair amount of time and if becoming a pianist is a fit for you, then keep on. Remember though, new ventures take time for mastery and can be frustrating, but it takes a grain of irritating sand to make a pearl.  In retirement, you have time.  That fact is as beautiful as the pearl!

Take up a sport, or go back to school!

This scenario applies to tennis, art history, sign language, jewelry making, flower arranging, golf, ice skating, kayaking etc.  Your list could go on and on.   Learn a new language or audit a college course where you don’t have to write the papers or worry about the grades.  Your choices are infinite.

Try a new sport or resume one from yesteryear.  There are benefits from an active, competitive sport combined with exercise.  It’s good for you; it’s fun and you meet other retired people with like interests.

If it’s not tennis, then play golf, bocce ball, softball, bowling, shuffleboard, or swimming. Take up archery, ballroom dancing, or bicycling. There are so many opportunities to exercise and play with others.  Have fun and keep active.   If you still have an unmet need to compete and advance since you retired, this could be the answer to that void.

Learn a language; it’s good for you!

How about learning a new language?  This one is great for your brain!  Well, actually, every single one of these ideas help us to age positively and live the kind of vibrant lives we seek.  There’s all kinds of evidence that learning new things is good for us – both physically and emotionally.  Check out this article.

What are we learning?

Here are some of the things Dixie and I have done over the past couple of years to keep on learning.  We both learned to play tennis and now play on a couple of teams.

Music makes you happy and builds brain power!

We took ballroom dancing lessons with our husbands last winter.  I never thought my husband would do it, and I could barely drag him off the floor.  I’m studying Spanish and learning to play the Ukulele – with varying results on both!  Dixie took a painting course and produced some really great stuff.  And we’ve learned how to blog – a never-ending learning curve!

I agree with our old friend Henry Ford who had something else to say about learning.

“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.”  Henry Ford

We’d love to hear what you’ve been learning over the past few years.

Pam

Writers@richlyaged.com

Learning New Things!

 

Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?? 

Dixie and Pam blogging their book.

I’m pretty sure that was a rumor started by young dogs.  But Boomers don’t buy into that idea.  We never have.  Just look at the changes in our lifetimes! Amazing!  We’re used to learning new things.

I took typing in high school and learned to attain the coveted goal of 60 words per minute on a manual typewriter. The reason that was good, other than an ‘A’ in typing class, is that Personnel offices, (aka Human Resources) always administered typing tests to aspiring Clerk Typists.  The going speed for Clerk Typists B, (the “B” team) was 40 wpm, Clerk typists ‘A’s,  the stars,  earned 50 cents more per hour for their additional 20 wpm.

Try to keep in mind that there were no fancy features like cut and paste or spell check etc.  If you made an error, it was out with the ink eraser trying deftly not to rub a hole in your document paper which was still in the typewriter.  We completed the job  by tapping the correct spelling key over the roughed-up paper.  Duplicate copies were a whole new ballgame.

Second copies were made with a piece of carbon paper between two sheets of paper because this was a world before copy machine availability.  “Start over” was an often-heard response when handing in the company’s proposal to bid for an outside job.

This was followed by an electric typewriter with variable spacing so if you put an ‘o’ where an “m” needed to go, the roughly erased spot wasn’t big enough for the wider “m”.

Remember how we made copies?

Of course, improvements followed for typists’ errors as well.  The carbon had to be corrected by erasing the second sheet, then cutting a small piece of fresh carbon paper and applying it to the second sheet for the keystroke to strike the unused carbon paper.

Brilliant smiles on typists with a collective sigh of relief could be heard when

Wite Out to the rescue, crisis averted!

Bette Nesmith Graham invented liquid correction fluid in 1951!   She was working as a typist and invented the fluid in her kitchen before founding her very successful company, Liquid Paper.

The second paradigm in the lowly but valuable typists’ evolution was, of course, the copy machine.  No more battles with the carbon paper.  All you needed was permission to stand in line at the specially trained “Copy Girl’s” station to have your document, covered in correction fluid, reproduced with a push of a button.  Hail the Copy Machine.

That scenario pretty much held up till the late 1980’s when the first personal desktop computers became readily available in some forward thinking businesses.  Of course by then you were entrusted to take your documents to the copier and make your own copies and correction tools for typists became a thing of the past.

Old dog—new tricks!!

Are you kidding?  The learning curve was well worth the aggravation and time saved by the features offered by Word Processors and Personal computers.

We’re still like that.  Who wants to go back to drying clothes on a clothesline?

Boomers embrace change.  In fact, today’s changes are so rapid fire that very few, young or old, can keep up with the latest.  Check out these inventions from the past 50 years.

At the leading edge of the Baby Boomers, I still remember going to the Ice House in town to buy a block of ice, bring it home and put in the top tray of the “icebox.”  There’s a welcome change!

I’m sure there are things that you have learned in the last 10-20 years that you never imagined you would try.

We’d love to hear about the new tricks you’ve learned in the past few years.

Dixie

Writers@richlyaged.com

Retirement 14: Create your personal Adventure List

 

Before you create your personal adventure list- Let’s define adventure.

There are as many definitions of adventure as there are types of adventures to be experienced.

Majestic Adventures

Define adventure.  

Adventure is getting out and being bold. It’s trying new foods or new activities to say you’ve done it. It’s anything that pushes your routine and comfort zone…but most of all it’s fun and thrilling.

For our purposes, adventures for Baby Boomers and retirement generally means something outside your day to day routine, Not necessarily risky but risky in that it pushes your experience level and maybe your comfort zone but is still something you’d like to try.

Adventures can be broken down into all types of new activities:

  • Boating
  • Culinary
  • Tourism
  • Sports activities
  • Mountain climbing
  • Skating, Skiing
  • Outdoor recreation
  • Educational pursuits
  • Games
  • Languages
  • Glass fusing, art
  • Travel
  • Musical instruments
  • Dance
  • Exploring all National parks
  • Visiting Natural wonders of the world
  • Deep sea Diving
  • Writing, blogging
  • Photography
  • Gardening, painting, ceramics, wood working, etc.

In summary, an adventure may include learning or trying something new to you.  Something that you are curious about and excited to experience.

You’re much more likely to make your wishes come true if you write down exactly what it is you want. This list is limitless.  If there are limitations, they are individual to your own restrictions.  Maybe these are physical restrictions, maybe financial, maybe health restrictions but for the most part…it’s all wide open

How do you start? Here’s an ‘adventure example’

Continue reading Retirement 14: Create your personal Adventure List

Retirement 13: Explore, Dream New Adventures

                                                     

 Time to explore new adventures.

So far in this, Baby Boomer’s Guide to a Happy Retirement, you’ve been encouraged to replace old “work think” with new “retirement think.”

Fill your own bucket with your Dreams and Goals.

You’ve also been encouraged to “drill deep down inside” and release those forgotten seeds of your visions for the grown up you. Now you are being asked to push the edge of your experience and knowledge levels and try new opportunities.

This chapter is designed to plant those very seeds that will take you from spectator to participant.    Let’s see if we can pique your interest in some long forgotten adventures.

A “bucket list” is about dreams or goals.

Sometimes, when we steal a few moments to reflect, we might have a tiny tinge of remorse – for the undone or the unaccomplished during our determined mission of always paying the bills and caring for the family.  These regrets might be about the things you once imagined in your life or hoped for in your future but learned to live without.

Can you conjure up those passed-over thoughts now that you are in this wonderful new phase of your life?  Are they, or a version of them, now obtainable?  Is it possible or even probable that you can realize those filed-away dreams?

The recent movie “The Bucket List” capitalized on the idea of the dreamed for and not yet attained.  Its popularity has been nurtured with the current Baby Boomers coming of age and exploding  demographically.

Two of my husband and my dreams and goals were:

  1. Buy a floating home (not a houseboat- they have motors) and live on a river in the Northwest.

    Dream of living in a floating home. Ours on the Columbia River.
  2. Full time in a motor home for a couple of years while travelling our nation.

    Our full time motor home for 18 months dream

 Define Dreams and Goals?

Continue reading Retirement 13: Explore, Dream New Adventures

Five Fabulous Ways to Improve Your Memory and Have Fun Doing It!

In my last post about healthy aging, we explored some basic ways to protect the brain.  I promised in that post to provide some additional fun and effective ideas to improve memory for now and in the future.  Here’s a list that can easily be incorporated into daily life.  Choose one or two or go for all of them.

How to Improve Your Memory

You’ll love video games, and so will your brain!
  1. Challenge your brain.  You can read or do crosswords or watch football or play cards or brain games.  Any or all of these are good.  Make it even more effective by doing something new.  If you’ve done crosswords forever, try learning to play video games.  They’re not just for kids. Lots of research shows that the brain loves learning something novel.

Continue reading Five Fabulous Ways to Improve Your Memory and Have Fun Doing It!