Decide what Spirituality means to You

 

Spirituality: picturesque found in Rome

Sound easy?

The spirituality topic has been debated, questioned, studied, taunted, scorned and heralded throughout the ages.

We’re not going to join that debate.

What does spirituality mean to you personally?

As a point of information, the question here is not “what is spirituality” but what does “spirituality mean to you personally.”

Much of the retirement suggestion material in richlyaged.com posts deals with the new you and who you will be in retirement.  Our entire focus is to promote positive aging.

How does spirituality impact positive aging?

Spirituality: found in the ethereal in Spain

Is there a connection between positive aging and spirituality?

Two viewpoints are shared below. Click the link to University of Minnesota  spirituality study.

Spirituality may help you live longer.

An exhaustive review that compared spirituality and religiousness to other health interventions found that people with a strong spiritual life had an 18% reduction in mortality

Spiritual people make healthier choices.

Adhering to a particular spiritual tradition may bring an indirect health benefit because many traditions have rules about treating the body with kindness and avoiding unhealthy behaviors.

So in the discussion of what spirituality means to us, on an individual level, we find important components in our spiritual aging process:

  1. developing wisdom
  2. letting go gracefully
  3. unconditional love

How you define your own spirituality doesn’t necessarily need to have a label. You just need to be able to recognize it.

pompei
Spirituality: found in the ornate in Pompei

What determines your spirituality?

Many times we are too hurried and busy in our careers. We are consumed with parenthood and other relationships and we want to scream STOP! Time seems too tight to develop wisdom, compassion and unconditional love.

As mentioned in an earlier post,”hurry is the enemy of love.”  Love requires time; time to listen, to understand to support. In our later life, the retired one, we have more time to look for and listen to our spirituality.

My Spirituality Story

On a personal level, I grew up in a household that didn’t practice religion.  My mother and I attended church occasionally in a Midwestern legalistic religious setting. My dad and brother stayed home.

I thought hymns were difficult to sing and sermons were an opportunity to get to draw pictures on the church bulletin. Finding the hymnal page was hard but not as hard as understanding the words.  No one near me could follow those hymns either, especially the second and third verses.

Most of all, I wanted to be able to raise my hand on Monday mornings at elementary school. My third grade teacher asked for a show of hands for how many kids attended Sunday school.  Those who attended got a gold star on the Attendance Bulletin Board.   Those who didn’t attend felt crummy. But I knew that I had a spirituality inside me.

Spirituality: found in the majestic at the Tetons

For years I was a seeker. I visited churches wherever I went.

Sometimes, when you have a “can do attitude” and are a “survivor”, (whatever that means) you develop a tenacity that feels you can do it all “on your own”. You don’t need any help.  You’ve succeeded by your own abilities. I think I fell into that category. Finally, I reached a point in my adult life when I could no longer do it all “on my own.”

What I tell friends now is that my adult children prayed me into church.  It’s true.  I was ready.

  • This time, the simple heartfelt contemporary songs really were prayers.
  • The sermons really were written especially for me.
  • I left this all accepting sanctuary with a fullness that helped me come closer to my Father with a peace and calm I hadn’t experienced before.
  • I no longer have to take care of things to “on my own”.  I don’t need to.

I’m embracing my spirituality, my new found peace and gratitude.  Though, even at this age, I’m still a daily work in progress.

So what?

Spirituality: found in simplicity at Ground Zero NYC

This is my experience. Doesn’t need to be anyone else’s. There are lots of studies about being a believer and the impact on positive aging.  There are probably an equal number that champion the opposite viewpoint.

Everyone gets to make that determination on their own.  Just sayin’.

Dixie

  Retire from work, but not from life.
— M.K. Soni

Share Your Talents – Reach out to others

Share your gardening talents with others. Brighten their day.

Reaching out to others is important to your happiness.  Sharing your talents and skills will benefit both the receiver of your talents and you as the giver. Volunteer gigs were covered in our February post. Taking care of the elderly (however old elderly is?) is one way to share our good fortune with others.

But I am not necessarily talking about structured volunteer opportunities or about monetary sharing.  I’m talking about the sharing you can do from your own home. More like sharing plants, cookies, books, magazines, laughter, game playing and most importantly time.

Share your sweetness with neighbors and friends.

Share your talents.  You have a wonderful set of skills.  Different from anyone else’s. Share those skills whenever you want to. What would that look like?

  1. Are you a good cook?
  2. Do you like to bake?
  3. Is gardening a gift you have?
  4. Can you sing?
  5. Do you have the knack of remembering and delivering a good joke?
  6. Are you always crocheting something?
  7. Do you like to work jigsaw puzzles?
  8. Are you a talented woodworker? Birdhouses?
  9. Do you have computer skills?
  10. Do you have a green thumb?
  11. Can you handle a screwdriver?
  12. Are you a thrift store guru?

What’s your special talent?

Sometimes we get great pleasure from creating something.  Anything.  But the four dozen cookies we just baked are too many to sync with our Fitness goals defined previously in one of our fitness posts Share them.  Wrap them up along with the recipe and deliver them to folks who live alone or those that have small children and working parents.

An example of sharing tips

Love to crochet, knit or sew? Let’s look at crocheting afghans.

  • There are only so many Afghans you can make in so many color combinations to go with your home’s interior.
  • Create a list of friends and families whose homes you’ve visited
  • Make some notes on their color combinations and make that a long term goal for your favorite everyday past time.
  • Once your yarn construction is finished you can visit them for a little chat and “spin a little more yarn.”  They will be thrilled and you feel great.
  • Still have Afghans left? Donate to the blanket drives for the homeless.
Share the warmth of friendship.

Gardening from seed requires patience but the product you receive is good quality and abundant. Cuttings from existing plants are also nice for sharing.  Repot those little treasures and share them with neighbors and friends along with a small card that describes the plant and the care needed.  Every time they tend their little gift, they will think of you and how you care for them.

Making a roast or a large casserole sometimes exceeds our personal needs.  Share the rest with those that have only themselves to cook for. Same goes for baking pies and cakes. It will be a wonderful change and so well received.  Or if you don’t cook or bake, exchange handy man jobs with friends for their cooking excesses.  Everyone gains and a little camaraderie is thrown in for good measure.

What about your beautiful singing voice?  Other than Christmas caroling, it’s a little harder to bust into song on someone’s front porch.  Sharing your singing talent may be better utilized in an organized singing group that goes from place to place.  You may be able to work in a few jokes while performing.

Sharing equals Win/Win

The act of sharing,  gifts both you and the receiver.  This too is a win-win situation.   Wouldn’t life be great if all our interactions worked out like that?

 Make a list, however short, of your special talents.  Then make a list of friends, neighbors and acquaintenances that you would like to gift. Follow through on the example above. They will be appreciative and you will feel happy for them.

Let that be your win-win goals.  Would you like some cookies?

Dixie

writers@richlyaged.com

Believe in Something Bigger than Yourself

Peace, a Florida sunset

Believe in something bigger than yourself.  Look outside yourself and your immediate surroundings.  We’ve been on a long journey in our work life and we’ve come to an ending only to begin anew.

Practice Optimism!   You’ve had a productive career.  You are finally reaching the “golden years.”  Sure, there are some things we wished we still had.  Like, maybe a waist!!  But for the most part, we are reaping what we sowed.

Let’s take stock

  • Did we exercise enough along the way?
  • Did we eat healthily?
  • Did we put away enough money (whatever that elusive amount equates to?)
  • Have we developed interests outside of “work life?”
  • Do we have healthy relationships with friends and family?

Whether it’s a result of life style or genetics, little things that crop up start to bother us. Subtle reminders that aging is an inevitable process that has inevitable results. As a result of physical, mental or external events, balance may seem just a little out of reach.

Realizing and accepting the reality of change enables you to “keep on keeping on” while choosing the best perspective to maintain that balance and peace.  This is the point where you choose to see the glass as half full…not half empty.

Let’s do a little recap:

In prior Richly Aged…and Loving Life blogposts, we’ve offered common sense suggestions for playing nice with others…in other words, keeping healthy relationships with our “tribe” of friends, associates and family.

In nature; Symmetry and balance

We’ve given a variety of ideas that dealt with ways to keep physically fit and by association, mentally fit. And, we’ve nourished a host of suggestions with diet tips and easily accessible resources.

Blend those tips together and apply to your new beginning and the future is nothing but bright for the real you. Again, a matter of perspective. Now let’s look outward.

Choose your Perspective 

Someone wise, but evidently not with a very memorable name, said “Youth is wasted on the young.”  I think that maybe what they really meant was that youth should last for an entire lifetime. And maybe, to a degree, with good planning, it can.  That choice is up to you with the approach you take in this next life phase.

A lot of success in our lives is about choices.  Choice was a luxury you didn’t necessarily get to use at work.  Whether you chose to perform a task or not wasn’t a choice.  Your attitude was always a choice.

In retirement whether you perform a task or not is your choice just as your attitude is a choice.  I may hate cleaning the bathrooms at home but love the idea that I get to be at home instead of at work and I can do this when I want to. For many, the tradeoff is worth it.  Easy attitude choice.

In previous posts, we discussed surrounding ourselves with people who have positive attitudes and life affirming outlooks.  As much as we want to be around that kind of person…the reverse is also true.

Remember the song “Don’t Worry, Be Happy?”  It was a #1 hit in 1988 and was by Bobby McFerrin.  Choosing a “Be Happy” attitude rather than Winnie the Pooh’s friend, Eeyore’s, “Poor Me” attitude will be like a magnet to others and a boost to yourself.  Another choice that’s win-win.

Believe in something bigger than yourself

It’s time to look around you. In retirement you have more “looking around” time.  There’s more to life than your “busyness.”  Difficult to shift those gears after the rigid schedule of day to day work life, the commute and the responsibilities at home. But certainly, the difficult in this case is attainable.

Taking the time to look outward and upward and realize that you are not alone is a calming and peaceful gift.  Considering spiritualty and humankind and the “why”of it all reminds me of lines from one of my favorite poems.

Renascence by Edna St, Vincent Millay

“All I could see from where I stood

Was three long mountains and a wood;

I turned and looked another way,

And saw three islands in a bay.

So with my eyes I traced the line

Of the horizon, thin and fine,

Straight around till I was come

Back to where I’d started from;

And all I saw from where I stood

Was three long mountains and a wood.”  

This is only the first ten lines out of 200 plus lines in her beautiful poem.  Click on the link above or here and enjoy the rest of Renascence.

What do you believe in that is bigger than yourself?

Leave a comment in the comment box or send an email,  writers@richlyaged.com, about your experiences  moving into the next phase of your life.

Dixie

Richlyaged.com

Fourth of July. Independence Day. So What???

Fireworks. Fourth of July Independence Day Celebration!

What does Fourth of July and freedom mean to us Americans in this 21st century?

Celebration of Independence Day!

Fourth of July is more than watermelon, homemade ice cream and fireworks. But not to a ten-year-old girl growing up in Southern Indiana.  It was all those things and more.

My Aunt and Uncle owned a farm, where they grew chickens, dairy cows, and nurtured a garden where they grew vegetables including corn. It was a great farm and always a treat to visit them and hangout with our family.

My brother and I would spend the day playing croquette in the front yard with our cousins, playing in the hayloft and then taking turns cranking the arm on the old

Home made ice cream!YUM!

wooden ice cream mixer.  That ice cream resulted from milking the cows which we got to help with. Their garden supplied lots of corn on the cob. Crispy fried chicken accounted for a couple less chickens in the chicken yard.  My parents brought the fireworks and the watermelon.

Just to put this in context, this was the age before air conditioning.  Also the age of very few television programs, certainly no cell phones or video games.  Our movie experiences were going to the Drive In and taking our own popcorn then playing on the playground during intermission. Our cooling-off treat was running through the hose and catching fireflies at night in a mason jar. This was just plain fun as we celebrated our lives and the independence of our nation.

Independence from what?

4th Of July. Independence Day.  So what?  We Americans, as far as we can remember in today’s generation have always been free.  Haven’t we?

The original freedom problem was in 1776 when we fought the British for the colonies’ independence from England and the control of the King.  Wasn’t it???  So what does freedom really mean to us??

I remember my grandmother telling me the reasons we celebrate Independence Day.  What will you tell your grandkids?

The Fourth of July is our country’s birthday. When grandchildren ask why? Tell them what happened on July 4, 1776. That was the day our country’s founders declared independence from Great Britain, the King and all that entails.

Click the link for this really good web site for these answers and others that our grandchildren or nieces and nephews may ask.

http://www.grandparents.com/grandkids/holiday-activities-and-crafts/7-ways-to-teach-patriotism-to-your. Grandparents.com

Wasn’t the Revolutionary War, where we defeated the British? That war was the backlash for America’s Declaration of Independence.   What about that Declaration of Independence?  What did that document mean to the fledgling United States?

Let’s review our 7th grade U.S. History class. This link will take you to the Declaration of Independence of 1776. http://www.ushistory.org/Declaration/document/

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, —

These United States. Symbols

And while we’re waving our flags at the town parade. What about the flag?

When you talk to your grandkids about Independence Day, explain that each part of the flag stands for something. The 50 stars stand for the 50 states. The 13 stripes stand for the 13 original colonies, which declared their independence on July 4, 1776. Tell them that the flag is a symbol — a way to show respect and a united front.  It’s also a way to show the world what we stand for.

What about Lady Liberty?

Lady Liberty. What does she stand for?

Guarding the entrance to New York Harbor on Liberty Island, the 305-foot (93-meter) Statue of Liberty came to the United States as a gift from France to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Lady Liberty has been a symbol of democracy and hope for the United States since 1886.

Happy Independence Day!

Sixty three years have passed since that ten-year-old girl played croquet and churned the ice cream mixer.

Thank you founding fathers for the foresight and perseverence, against many odds and for creating the cornerstone of our great nation.

Now that we’ve covered all that stuff, could someone please pass the homemade ice cream??  The Fireworks are about to start.

Dixie

 

writers@richlyaged.com

 

 

 

 

Handle Stress in Retirement

Okay, if you’ve been following along, you are now immersed in healthy exercise, life sustaining food programs, great relationships with husbands, wives, children, siblings, in-laws friends and neighbors.

We’ve identified hundreds of opportunities to learn and explore and volunteer and travel, and best of all….we’re retired.

Why stress? You’ve’ reached Nirvana. Retirement.  Right?

stress?
Stressed? Need a break? It happens to all of us.

Every life has stress.  It can’t be avoided.  Sometimes it comes from big events like job changes, moving, or the death of someone we love.  Sometimes, though, it comes from small, but chronic, events like a neighborhood dog who barks continually or a colleague who just drives us crazy.

Let me give you my most recent nemesis and causer of great stress.

Water flowing through my laundry room and over my bare feet, inside the house.  The water heater sprung a geyser and surprise, no spill pan under it.   Nothing $600 won’t cure.

Stress isn’t all bad, of course.  It’s the thing that compels us to action when we need to do something about a bad situation – like getting away from an angry dog, for instance.  But when stress becomes chronic, we can be overwhelmed.

According to Dr. Oz, in his book You: The Owner’s Manual, too much stress can affect our health negatively.  It can even cause us to age earlier than we should.  But stress can be managed, and it’s not terribly difficult to do.  It doesn’t take a whole lot of time or any special equipment.  Here are some other suggestions for managing stress.

Life is good! How you view it is a choice.
Take a deep breath and try these tips.
  • Identify your stressors. If you’re feeling overwhelmed you may not even know what is making your feel so anxious.  Keeping a stress log will help you identify what is bothering you and enable you to come up with strategies to modify or eliminate those things.

 

  • Enjoy your friends.  Sometimes we’re so busy we put our friends on the back burner.  It’s good for you to spend face-to-face time with people you trust and like.  Take the time to interact.  Call a friend for coffee or meet for dinner.

 

  • Laugh.  Laughing is really good for you.  It reduces your anxiety and tension.  Watch some funny movies or read a funny book.  Go for at least five big belly laughs a day.

 

  • Take a walk or engage in some other form of exercise.  There’s nothing like a walk to take your mind off your troubles.

 

  • Breathe deeply.  When we’re stressed, we tend to breath in a shallow way.  Simply slowing down our breathing and concentrating on our own breath for as little as five minutes can be a great stress reducer.

 

  • Learn to meditate.  Dr. Oz suggests that all we need for meditation is a quiet room and about fifteen or twenty minutes.  He tells us to partially close our eyes, concentrate on our breathing, and repeat the same word – one or um or ohm or whatever word you want.  The word helps to keep us focused, but don’t worry if other thoughts intrude, just acknowledge them and go back to your breath.

 

  • Take a relaxing bath.

    In the long run,  “this too shall pass.”

Make sure to get enough sleep.  It’s difficult to feel calm when you are exhausted.

 

  • Be kind to yourself.  Limit your self-judgment.  Be at least as nice to yourself as you’d be to a friend.
  • Ask for help if you need it.  You don’t have to do everything all by yourself.
  • Stop trying to multi-task and do one thing at a time.  That’s all you can really do anyway.
  • Hang out with positive people.  Avoid people who make you crazy!
  • Unplug as often as you can.  You don’t need to be attached to your phone 24/7.
  • Know and accept your limits.  It’s OK to say no.
  • Start a gratitude journal.  Focusing on the good in your life helps to reduce stress.

Stress free zone

There you have it.  These are just some ideas for getting started with the journey toward optimum health. There is a great deal of wonderful information out there to help you with your commitment to fitness.  On RichlyAged.com , we’ve tried to do some of the research for you.  Let’s not forget.  You are retired and you now have time to be good to you!

As with all journeys, this one begins with a single step and that’s the acceptance of the idea that obtaining optimum health is within your control. You make the decisions about your diet, your fitness and your stress levels.  You don’t have to do it all at once.

In fact, it’s much wiser to make a few small changes and then a few more.  A few changes practiced consistently toward a better diet and a more active lifestyle will give you big benefits in a short time and lead you to the vibrant and healthy life.  Oh and by the way, chill out!

Dixie

richlyaged.com

writers @richlyaged.com.

 

 

Enjoy your Children and Grandchildren

 

 Blessed with children and blessed again with grandchildren.

Children and then grandchildren…both relationships uniquely special.

In retirement, in an ideal world, we’re finally finished with the anxiety of launching our children into the world of adulthood.  Hopefully, they are grown up, finished with school, working, and married with children, but they are still our children and will always be part of our “primary family.”

They, however, have spouses and children of their own, and we now have a different status.  Even though we revel in the freedom from responsibility that adult children embody, some retirees can feel abandoned by their grown children.  Some others have difficult relationships with their adult children for any number of reasons.

In “Mothers and Their Adult Daughters:  Mixed Emotions, Enduring Bonds,”  Karen L. Fingerman, Ph.D. argues, “The parent-offspring relationship in modern America is based more on emotional affection than on economic or cultural imperatives.”

In other words, adult children who stay in close touch with their parents do it because they like them and like to spend time with them.  That’s the secret. We want them to want to be with us. It’s a choice.

Here are some suggestions to make that happen.

  • Don’t talk about how long it’s been since you’ve seen/ had a text from/ or talked on the phone with them. You’re trying to tell them that you love them, but what they’re hearing is a whole heap of guilt.  It’s better to say (when they finally do call), “Hi!  I’m so glad to talk to you.”
  • “How can you live like this?” is not a good way to start a conversation. Have you forgotten what it was like to try to work, do kids’ sports, teach Sunday school, and get Christmas ready?  Something’s got to give, and in my house back in the day, it was the housework. Here’s a good place to employ the 50-year-rule.  What difference is a clean bathroom when compared to a happy kid?
  • Don’t make your kids take sides in your own marital problems. The prevalence of divorce in our generation has made some big family occasions more awkward than they were in an earlier time.

Try to get along when everyone is together, and make it easy for   them if that’s  impossible.

I have one friend who does Christmas with her adult children early in December so that they can spend the actual day of Christmas with her ex-husband and his  present wife. The appreciation she receives from the children is worth the sacrifice.

A few more tips for “children and grandchildren” happiness.

  • Make sure that your adult children know how much you love them. Embrace them and tell them so.  It’s not all about the grandchildren.
  • Have fun with your adult children. Take them out to dinner without the grandchildren.  Meet as adults.
  • Be a cheerleader for your children. Share their good news with them with genuine joy.
  • Treat your grown children with respect. It’s hard to give up the role of advice-giver.  Just listen and act as a sounding board.  This is difficult!  Sometimes I have to bite my tongue.
  • Accept your family relationships the way they are and not the way you would like them to be. It’s not “over the river and through the woods” anymore!

“Making the decision to have a child is momentous.  It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”              Elizabeth Stone

I have two children happily married and four teen-aged grandchildren.  This is a wonderful phase in our “richly aged” retirement lives.  Enjoy it everyday! It adds to our richness.

Homework:  Give hugs to all of them, even if they are cyber hugs.

Dixie

richlyaged.com

writers@richlyaged.com