Rejoice: This Is Your Time

Our life includes many phases.

Dixie used to have a plaque outside her front door that simply said:

“To everything there is a season.”  Here is the entire quote:

2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted

3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up

4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance

5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 King James Version (KJV)

There is a time for everything . . . Now is the time to rejoice!

 It’s true:  There is a time for everything.  We’ve reached the time for retirement and deserve to enjoy every moment.

Frances Weaver in her wonderful 1996 book, The Girls with the Grandmother Faces captures aging in a benign and loving way.   She writes about a time when her granddaughter Sara was helping her straighten up the house.  When her granddaughter asked why she was cleaning, she said it was because “the girls” were coming over that afternoon to play bridge.  When Sara wanted to know  what girls were going to be there, Frances explained that they were her friends, the women her age.  Sara said, “Oh you mean the girls with the grandmother faces.”  Here’s a link to the book.

Our own grandmother faces . . .

Dixie tells a story about a time two of her granddaughters came to visit in Florida in our 55+ retirement community.  In addition to getting to drive our golf cart around the community, they were fawned over by our friends and other grandparents and included in dances, activities and our everyday fun life.  I’ve known Dixie’s  granddaughters since their birth and her children since they were toddlers.

After spending lunch and a shopping outing with us, 13 year-old Morgan commented that Dixie and I talked just like she did with her friends. When asked what she meant she said, “Like how things fit, how a lipstick looks and if certain pants made your butt look big.”   We started laughing.  She was right!  Since we’d never been 70 before and observed by a teenager, we realized that we really were “girls with grandmother faces.”

Pam Mangene and Dixie Shaw, Grandmother faces!

We are truly blessed . . . Practice gratitude.

Well, yes, we are, and we rejoice in this time.   Women our age have more buying power, better health, better housing, more freedom, and more opportunities than any single group in history.  We are truly blessed by the world in which we live.  And we know it.

Thank-you.

Pam

Writers@richlyaged.com

Western Caribbean: Cruising Near or Far

Fun Time on Norwegian Cruise Lines.

Western Caribbean: Cruising Near or Far is a sequel to Travel Near or Far, posted on  richlyaged.com on April23,2017.

The April post described our 2015 twenty-day relocation cruise to Rome. 

Today’s post concerns a week cruise in the Western Caribbean on Norwegian Cruise Lines.

Both trips were great fun and easily accessible for active adults.

Our most recent trip was just before summer 2017. We travelled with our  good friends and neighbors for an easy-going kind of camaderie. Check out this link below.

Norwegian’s seven-day Western Caribbean cruise.

This trip includes the following ports:

  • Depart Tampa, Florida (only a 1.5 hour drive north of our homes.) Smaller ships can travel out of Tampa, as opposed to the Florida east coast ports.  The Tampa “Sky Bridge” prohibits ships that are as large as the MSC ship we travelled on to Rome.  They are too tall to pass under the bridge.  Plus, it’s so easy to find the port in Tampa, park and board the ship.
  • Day at sea, with adjoining balconies.  Great food, accommodations, entertainment, swimming  and balcony views.
  • Port:  Cozumel, Mexico where we snorkeled off shore and partied on our snorkeling boat.  Yes, we saw colorful fish,
    Beautiful friends and beautiful area of our world.

    and lots of sand and reef.  Yes, the margaritas tasted great when we returned to our boat, were hosed down and dried off.

  • Port:  Costa Maya where we swam with the dolphins in the lagoon, shopped and visited the Fish Spa.  The
    Introduction to the Dolphins before swimming together

    dolphins were amazing, gentle and so smart. The trainer showed everyone the hand commands and had them try the commands with the dolphins.

    In addition, they demonstrated letting the dolphin push you by your foot while you lay on your stomach on a “boogie board.”   The second round was grabbing the dolphin’s dorsal fin as they swam by at surprising speed. They are amazing!

    Yes we did. ‘Fish food’for the fish spa.
  • Secondly, in Costa Maya, we visited the Fish Spa and provided the “foot fish food” for the tiny Turkish Groupers. After having our feet scoured and sterilized, these little fish were both tickly and attentive.
  • Port: Roatan, Honduras, zip lining.  We arrived after an entertaining and
    Ziplining in the jungle. Woo Hoo

    perilously fun bus trip up into the jungle. We were outfitted by a great crew with all our zip line garb. Then we were instructed for our three-mile, twelve separate zip-line runs.  Really beautiful, fun and exhilarating.

  • Harvest Caye, private island in Belize. Norwegian has
    Harvest Caye, one of Norwegian’s beautiful private Islands.

    another private island in the Caribbean but this one is new. It’s equipped nicely and laid out well.

    It included a beautiful beach, balmy breezes, white sand and fun blow-up water sides.  There was also a huge pool with floating bar, fancy umbrella drinks, lots of colorful shops, restaurant buffets. Outdoor showers and misters were randomly placed to keep you cooled off.

    Happy, rested and on the way home. Happy Cruisers.
  • Day at Sea, heading North to Tampa. We were able to try some dancing and entertainment throughout the ship.
  • Disembark Tampa.  What  a great time! Can we go again?

In Summary

We live in America, a beautiful country with several beautiful seas surrounding us.; Pacific, Atlantic, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean.  Enjoy these ports rich with

Make new friends after swinging through the trees.

history, tradition and natural beauty.

Consider traveling near and far.

Consider trying new things and making new friends.

We’ve cruised with Norwegian many times and several other cruise lines as well.  As I mentioned in my previous post in April, it’s really convenient, easy and economical when you live in southern Florida.

All of these adventures add to being Richly Aged in retirement…and Loving Life.

Leave a comment and tell us about your experiences.   Meantime, take care and enjoy smooth sailing!

Dixie , RichlyAged…and Loving life

writers@richlyaged.com

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.

 

 

Create great relationships with friends and neighbors

 

It’s a healthy choice. Choose friendship for positive aging.

Creating great relationships is simple but not easy.  It requires taking the focus off of ourselves and putting it on the person opposite us.

Our last several posts have dealt with various types of relationships that include significant others;  in-laws, siblings, children and grandchildren.  Now its time for a few words about friends and neighbors.

Why all this attention to relationships?

More than just getting along with people, enjoying extraordinary relationships enriches life and retirement in the most wonderful way. Research shows that a positive social life with lots of friends make aging a happier phase.

Listed below are a few basic reminders that I know you are familiar with but bear repeating:

Listen.

Really listen.  Pay attention to what the other person is saying without formulating your own response.  Don’t start talking about yourself until you have responded to the speaker’s interests.  This is much easier to say than do.

Think before you speak.

Is what you say going to hurt someone?  It’s better to return the soft word rather than the sharp jab.  I can remember shopping with a friend when a clerk was downright rude.  I started to make a sharp retort to her when my friend said, “It’s really busy in here.  I’ll bet it’s hard to work today.”  The clerk made an immediate about face, apologizing for her rudeness and what could have been an unpleasant, negative situation was completely turned around by the soft word.

Be respectful.

Good manners are not out of style.  Simple phrases like “please” and “thank-you” show people that we care enough about them to show respect.  Treat everyone as if they are equally important – because they are!

When you remember that happiness is a choice, you are in the driver’s seat.
Be life-affirming to those around you.

Pam’s mother used to come and visit in the summer when her children were young.  She stayed a month, and by the time she left, Pam felt better about everything and saw her whole life in a more positive light – marriage, children,  home – everything.  Her mother was a person who made all those around her feel better about themselves. Decide to be that kind of person.

Build people up.

Offer encouragement and support, kindness and praise. You don’t need to be insincere or phony but there’s something about most everyone that is worth complimenting.  It’s just as easy as criticism and much more effective.

Accept yourself & those around you as they are.

Be who you are and take responsibility for the choices that you make.  I can reach out, or I can be selfish.  I can be kind, or I can be mean.  I can be accepting, or I can be critical.  Those are choices I make, and I will have to live with the consequences of those choices.  The only person I can really change is me.

Agree to disagree with those who have different opinions.

Our closest friends hold completely different political opinions than we do, and we’re both pretty passionate about them. That hasn’t been a problem for us because we know that disliking an opinion is not the same thing as disliking a person.  I know that our friends love America and want only what is best for this country, just as we do.  We just see different ways of getting there.  Respect and compromise are essential to extraordinary relationships.

 Stop comparing yourself to others.

We’re all different. Those differences contribute to our uniqueness.  Jealousy and envy are corrosive elements that bring only damage. Would you really want to be one in a batch of clones?

Reach out to others.

Almost everyone has felt shy, nervous, and insecure at some point or another.  Be alert to your surroundings, and if you see someone looking that way, rescue him or her with an open-ended question.  You never know; you might develop a wonderful new relationship.

Disengage from toxic and negative relationships.

If you have done everything you can to create an extraordinary relationship, and it is still sucking the life out of you, give it up and reclaim your life. Interactions with people who bring only negative energy are harmful and should be avoided as much as possible.  If you must see that person, do it as infrequently as possible.

 Be positive.

Welcome others with a smile.  It makes you more approachable.  Focus on happy things that make you feel good.  After all, that’s what retirement is all about!

 

Retirement is wonderful. It’s doing nothing without worrying about getting caught at it—Gene Perret

Dixie

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

Retirement Plan Needed: Ask retired people

Direct research through our recent Focus Group discussion provided first-hand information for retirement preparation.  Not the financial part; the what will I do all day part.

Focus group, discussing how to stay positive in retirement.
Shirley, Maura and Jacquie at Focus Group Discussion.

Research includes our own experiences working with seniors in our careers.

However, direct research adds immediate validity to the importance of planning the “daily living” part of retirement.

The participants, all over 55,  live in an active adult community.

  • Some are single, divorced or widowed; some are married.
  • Several participants actively volunteer.
  • A couple of participants work part time.
  • Many are involved in golf, tennis, chorus, book club and church.
  • Most traveled extensively
  • Two boated from “up North” to Florida and one continued to live on their boat.

What would they suggest to incoming retirees?

Continue reading Retirement Plan Needed: Ask retired people