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

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.

 

 

Value your Siblings and the Old People in your Life

Hurry is the enemy of love.

It’s been noted that ‘hurry’ is the enemy of love.  Sometimes we are so busy, even in retirement, that we don’t have time for what is most important – like our siblings and the old people in our lives.   When our elderly friends or family need our help, we’re conflicted over our priorities. This can be difficult because we already have so much to do.  It’s essential, however, to value your siblings and the old people in your life.

I haven’t known anyone who regretted the time spent with the old people in their lives.  My father and my in-laws both died before I retired.  My father died as a young man, but my in-laws both lived into their late 80s, and my husband and I were actively involved in caring for them at the end of their lives.  Dixie, too, cared for both of her parents in their final years, even moving them to live closer to her and her husband.   Anyone who has done this knows that it’s not easy, and there are times when you wish it would just all go away.  Still, there is great comfort in helping the people we love at the end of their lives.  To make them feel cared-for and safe, and above all, loved.

It’s easier, of course, if they live close, but what do we do when they live far away.  Forbes Magazine shares these seven tips for helping your aging parents beat their loneliness.

Tips for helping out when you live far away.

  1. Maintain frequent contact.  If you only call once a month, call more often.  Call for no reason – just to talk.  When I lived outside the country, I wrote my mother a long letter every week.  I couldn’t call her, but I wanted to maintain regular contact.  When we returned to the United States after five years, she had saved every letter.  She’s gone now, but I’m glad I wrote the letters.
  2. Visit in person at regular intervals. A hug is even better than a call!  Even if you have a difficult parent, you can keep it brief, but make it regular.
  3. During your visit take your aging parent to concerts or plays or movies or anything that he or she especially enjoys and might not go to alone.
  4. Check out the community services available where your parent lives. You can find out so much on the internet.  You may be able to lead them to a great senior center that they don’t even know about.
  5. Ask your parent questions about things like lottery entries and contests. When my mother began to get dementia, she started to enter contests where she was sure she’d win lots of money that she could leave to us.  It wasn’t long until she was scammed.  This is an increasingly worrisome problem, and there are plenty of unscrupulous people out there to take advantage of trusting seniors.
  6. Consider hiring a geriatric care manager. This is particularly helpful if you can only visit your parent once or twice a year.  These professionals can find activities and help your parent when you are far away.
  7. Consider teaching your parent to use technology. My mother-in-law learned to use the computer in her 80s.  She was proud to master e-mail and absolutely delighted with Skype!  Along with the advantages to communication comes a profound sense of pride for the senior who conquers technology.

Treasure your siblings, too!

Value your siblings.

It’s not just our parents and our in-laws who need the gift of attention:  it’s also our siblings.

These are the people who share our past, who co-star in our memories, who understand in the most profound way the very foundations of our lives.  They were there long before our spouse, our children and our grandchildren and they are worth celebrating.  No matter what the relationship with our siblings is at the moment, research shows that strengthening that bond makes us healthier and happier!

Just like with our aging parents, the key to the relationship with our siblings lies in communication and a willing heart.  Familyshare offers nine ways to stay connected to your adult siblings in an article of the same name.

  1. Learn what your siblings are involved in and make efforts to support them.
  2. Forgive and forget. Avoid all those bad things from the past.  Just don’t bring them up.
  3. Treat your siblings as you would a friend. We’re always quick to give our friends a break, but sometimes we don’t offer that same compassion to our sister or brother.
  4. Keep trying – even when it seems like family dinners are always awkward and uncomfortable. You’ll never regret trying.
  5. Keep your siblings in the loop.   Let them know what’s going on in your life.  I’ve always had good feelings about my brother, but we didn’t communicate regularly because our mother kept us both informed, but when we no longer had her, we began to pick up the phone and call each other.  I treasure those calls now.
  6. Have fun together. Do something that everybody likes.  If you live far apart, have a family reunion.  We rented a house with my husband’s family last year and siblings from New York, California, Florida, and Maine had a ball together for four days!  It was worth every penny.
  7. Connect with technology.
  8. Don’t talk about politics. Or religion!  I’m begging you!
  9. Let your siblings grow up. That sister who is 18 years younger than you are is not a little kid anymore.  Treat her with respect!

When we first started this discussion, we said that the only things that are really important in life are the people we love and the people who love us.  I know that’s true.  Don’t let all the hurry of life – even in a great retirement – keep you from concentrating on them.

Why not pick up the phone today and call your mom or your brother!

Pam

writers@richlyaged.com

 

 

 

 

 

Remember why you chose your Spouse?

When it’s the right match!

Choosing the ONE!

Let’s start with our primary relationship. That means your spouse or significant other…or maybe you are single again but anticipating someone filling that gap.

In the beginning of the relationship what was it that made you excited to spend time with him?  You had so many things to talk about, to discover about each other; music, movies, activities, perspectives on various subjects, unconditional attention for each other and unfettered hopes and dreams.

Now fast forward, 5, 10, 30, even 50 years.

Consider that we may have spent so much time together that sometimes we don’t even really see our partners.  We tend to take that person for granted.  Sure you’ve changed over your history together but it’s probable that your partner has changed also.

It’s time to get to know each other all over again.  Working in separate careers over a long period of time provides exclusive experiences and growth for each of you.  Once retired, it’s time to reacquaint.

Even if we have an indifferent relationship, almost strangers, there was a time when our mate brought us nothing but joy – even butterflies in the stomach!  Can you remember that?

Research shows that couples who do new or different things together are happier than those who fall into same-old routines.

In the beginning of a relationship, you’re going to new places, you may both have tentative feelings about how the other person feels, and all of that contributes to the above-mentioned butterflies you feelOver time, you relax around each other and can get complacent. You don’t need to go zip lining but keeping things fun, like singing songs in the car or trying pickle ball can help keep boredom from clouding your relationship.

Recount that joy here

 This exercise should remind you of why you chose this person in the first place.  It does for me.

 List five reasons why you committed yourself to this relationship.

Okay, I’ll start:

  1. He’s handsome.
  2. He makes me laugh several times a day and is really funny.
  3. He’s my best friend and soulmate.
  4. He’s who I think of first when I see something I want to share.
  5. He gives the “gift of attention” when discussing topics (caveat, not quite as much as 33 years ago.)
  6. He’s a great dancer, tennis player, cook, hugger, etc.
  7. He loves our kids and grand-kids.
  8. He’s “game” for new activities.
  9. We have history, and history validates your life. When you have inside jokes and stories you create a bond.

Okay, I’ll stop.  I know that’s more than five, but I couldn’t help myself.

Now it’s your turn.  List 5 “magnetic” reasons.

Create Your Retirement Relationship together

Now that you’re in a positive frame of mind, you need to spend some time exploring the idea of retirement life together.

According to a recent Fidelity study of 500 married couples ages 33 to 70, more than a third of them gave completely different answers when asked about when they would retire and what they wanted their lives to look like in retirement.

Now is the time!

Planning retirement together.

Here are some partner questions to help you get started.

  • When do you want to retire?  Will you do it at the same time?  If not, how will that work?
  • How much money will you have to live on?  This isn’t the primary question, really, but it does make a difference in what you’ll do.
  •  The secret is in matching the plan to the amount and living happily with what we do have.  There are countless ways to “live large” on a shoestring, but that’s a subject for another time.
  • Make separate lists of ten things that you’d like to do in the next ten years and then compare the lists.  You will probably be surprised and possibly delighted.  But no matter what, you’ll have a great conversation.
  • As a couple, free flow your thoughts as partners?  Don’t limit yourself to listing those things that need to be done around your home.  Dream big here!  The sky is the limit.

“It’s simple: Whether you’ve been together a short time or a lifetime: Be conscious and intentional about making your relationship a priority or run the risk of drifting apart and becoming strangers.”

Now put on your favorite song, pour a glass of healthy antioxidant-filled red wine and sit by each other while you get busy on your “retirement  relationship” lists.

 Dixie

Writer’s@richlyaged.com

Downsize, Snowbird or Stay Put?

Relocate? Stay where you are? Second Home? Snowbird?

Before choosing where to live in your new retirement, there are several important questions to consider.

Key questions for choosing where you want to retire.

  1. Are your kids going to move back home?  Do you want them to?
  2. Is your current residence manageable? By manageable, I mean; financially (taxes, mortgage, utilities), physical accessibility, friendly climate, repair and landscape upkeep.)
  3. Do you want to stay in the area you live in?  Or have you dreamed of moving closer to family, the mountains, the coast or a different country or living in an RV or boat?
  4. Are you situated where you can ‘age in place?’
  5. Can you afford to buy a second home to retreat to and fill those desires
  6. Have you thought about the thousands of “snow-birds” who live six months in their “home residence” and six months in their dream location?
  7. Have you thought about a “house swap” to try out those locations?

Evaluate your Answers

Answering these questions will narrow your choices and move you closer to your ultimate plan.

 

 Remember this:  nothing is concrete (except, of course, concrete).  If you make a choice and it doesn’t work for you, it can be changed.

My location certainly has changed during the years I’ve been retired.

Three out of 5 Americans want to spend their golden years in another city or state, according to a national Bankrate survey. A majority said they’d be interested in moving, regardless of gender, income and education, though wanderlust did seem to fade with age.  See this complete article at  bankrate.com/retirement/3-in-5-want-to-retire-somewhere-else/

Look at one couple’s experience:

Several friends of ours have moved into age restricted communities.  These come in all sizes shapes and costs.  Choose something that works with your retirement budget in an area that you are excited about and check it out.

One couple we know moved into a suburban neighborhood.  Being retired with their children grown, graduated from college, working in their careers, married with children, the couple thought that living in a nearby neighborhood would be just the ticket to get to see and be involved with their grand-kids lives.

This worked for a while but then the grand-kids grew and had their own interests and lives as did the other younger neighbors on the couple’s street.  Without the involvement of their own children’s school age kids in sports and activities, they found it difficult to nurture any active social life in this neighborhood so similar in age as their own adult children’s.

Ultimately, they moved to a retirement community where every day offers choices to participate in tennis, golf, dances, theater etc.  Very little effort is required to become involved in an age-restricted community and it’s easy to say yes or no.

The best advantage is that there are so many choices of activities with people who have a lot in common with you.  They felt like they had extended their family.

Downsize, Snowbird or Stay Put

Today the accomplishment of your goals is determined by you, not work constraints or others’ opinions. If you want to accomplish these goals, do so.  If you don’t want to, don’t. Just forget about it. But realize that at this time in your life,  what you do is your choice.

In all of this exploring and self discovery, please remember this: small changes can equal big results.  Eat less, spend less, sit less, stress less, watch TV less, worry less, be active more.  Get up and walk around the block or skip, skate, run or ride your bike.  Your choices equal your results. When you choose a job, neighborhood, location or partner, YOU choose a life.

Homework:  Grab a sheet of paper and brainstorm all your answers to the above questions.  Add a little research, mix it with desire and see what your retirement possibilities reveal.  There are good doctors and dentists, hairdressers and grocery stores most everywhere. So, get started!

Dixie

writers@richlyaged.com

 

 

Retirement 7: Embrace Change and Enrich Your Life

 

These chickens are afraid of change!

No matter how excited you are about retiring, it represents a major change. Prior to this departure, you knew what was expected and required of you, but here you are in a whole new role. Even though it’s a wonderful role, it’s still change, and that can be daunting.

It’s even more daunting if you don’t want to retire. Before we quit working , I can remember my husband saying that he feared retirement more that death.  Wow!  That’s an unpleasant comparison.

In either case, retirement demands a significant change to a significant portion of your days, week and years.  How will you adjust?  How will you maintain your equilibrium and your balance, so that you can make this transition smooth? Take a look at this interesting article about change.  Here are some additional suggestions.

Four ways to embrace change and enrich your life

Continue reading Retirement 7: Embrace Change and Enrich Your Life