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

Retirement 5: Mentor a Young Person

Mentor a young person and change two lives at once!

If you read Dixie’s last blog about volunteering, you’re probably full of ideas.  One of the best ways to fulfill your desire to volunteer in retirement is to mentor a young person.  You’d be surprised at the number of younger people who would benefit from your insights and your attention.

You might be able to mentor even before you retire.  You’ve probably noticed in your workplace that there are fresh employees who seem a little like “deer in the headlights” when they first join your employer.

Instead of being a spectator to their discomfort and floundering, make yourself available as a “big brother or sister,” a mentor to gently relay information that will make their transition into the seduction of work a little easier.

Mentors Make a Difference

A good friend of mine, recently retired, became involved in her church women’s group.  She had reached the pinnacle of her career by working hard and then working harder and harder still.  The big recognition reward in her company in addition to salary was earning the coveted pink Cadillac.  She notched 11 of them on her company belt while taking care of her husband and two children.

After retirement she attended a Bible study for herself which allowed her, in retrospect, to examine her life, to look closely at herself and to begin to understand “Sisterhood.”  The “volunteer gig” part of her church relationship in retirement was to spend her time in the “Mom’s Session” with the young mothers to partner with them and validate the importance of the time they were spending with their children while sometimes yearning for the postponed professional life.

My friend’s greatest contribution to these young moms was to remind them how valuable was this time spent with their children and to remind them that this too would pass.  There was ample time left for them to meet their career goals.

Another Story from the Real World

Continue reading Retirement 5: Mentor a Young Person

Retirement 3: 20 Terrific Part Time Jobs

You might be counting down the days to retirement.  I know I was, but I always knew that I’d want to do some kind of work when my “career” came to an end.

Work part time in retirement?

You don’t have to rush into it.  Take some time to bask in the joy of ignoring the alarm clock.  Remember when you were a kid and the early days of June heralded the long and wonderful summer ahead?  That’s how the start of retirement is.  The world opens up before you with endless possibilities.

But if you decide you want to work, how do you get started?  You might want to make a list of all the things you’ve been interested in doing over the years.  Maybe you want to remain in the field where you’ve worked, or maybe you’d like to branch out and try something completely new.

Getting Started!

You may be able to turn your current skill-set into a consulting job or a part-time teaching position, either on-line or in a classroom.  If that’s what you want to do, then finding part time work in those field might be easier while you still have your career position and contacts.  Dixie worked for several years as a marketing consultant when she retired, and I’m still teaching online.  It’s wonderful to get up and work in your pajamas.

If that isn’t feasible and you want to try something you’ve never done like flower arranging or working at the golf course, then a time lapse after retirement shouldn’t hurt your choices.  Go for it. It should be fun.

“According to US News, 60% of workers over sixty look for a job in retirement.”

Run these ideas through your brain!

Continue reading Retirement 3: 20 Terrific Part Time Jobs

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!

Age Positively in spite of “outdated stereotypes”

60's or 70's wrinkles and all. Pam and Dixie aging positively
60’s or 70’s wrinkles and all. Pam and Dixie aging positively

The December 27 post written by Pam, talked about her reaction to the “at your age” comment made by her doctor aged 36.  Her observation basically is that “at your age” is a comment made to seniors that fall into the “over the hill.” group.  As she said, there is a new paradigm for today’s seniors.

How to say Senior Citizens in a nice way.

Years ago, my company created a Celebration  Club 55 group of customers who merited special products, special presentations and special pricing.  While deciding on the group’s name intended for those 55 plus, various names like “Gold Group”, Silver Rewards, and, heaven forbid, “Senior Citizens” were all tossed out as too negative and offensive.

I was in my forties when this process took place and that was in the eighties last century.  Now, I’m 73 and have found there are a host of  euphemisms in use now to spare our “old age” feelings. Read on… Continue reading Age Positively in spite of “outdated stereotypes”