Aging Gracefully and Authentically

Lots of candles are great!

Aging is inevitable. I loved turning fifty, I didn’t even mind sixty but seventy has to be the best of all.  I even check my driver’s license to make sure that I am 70.  This has nothing to do with any external process I’ve had done to keep me looking fewer years than I am. Unless you count cataract surgery… and that really only helped me see clearly how old I am.

What are the keys to aging gracefully and authentically?

One key is attitude.  One key is fitness and perspective.  One key is continuing to learn and to be interested in the world outside your abode, your small universe.

I don’t have these issues nailed but I do aspire to have them core to my existence.  That’s what we are talking about here.

It’s odd now to read a book and come across the phrase, “an elderly lady of sixty.”  That doesn’t seem elderly to me anymore!  Everyone I know and hang with considers elderly to be about 15 years older than their current age.  Whatever that age happens to be.

Again, attitude is everything . . .

The information above also applies to men.  Fortunately, I get to relate and share in lives of many retired women and men in similar age groups.  That is one of the benefits of living in an active retirement community.  My husband plays tennis and is on a men’s team here.  While I didn’t begin tennis in earnest until my sixties he has played for a long time.

He recently returned to the tennis court with other guys at his level both older and younger than he is.  He was out for a couple of months following shoulder surgery.  One of the octogenarians he plays with asked him how he was doing.  My husband responded that his serving shoulder was a little stiff. The response:  “Is that all you got?”   “I got one lung and had a quadruple bypass last year!”

There is no room for complaining or kvetching about “stuff” when surrounded by others who are living positively with similar experiences.  We are all busy playing and learning or helping and visiting or bicycling and travelling.  Certainly, if someone experiences an illness or injury, a dozen friends will be there to give assistance but overall the outlook is positive and the expectation is to be positive.  Those that are the most positive are the ones who affirm life for everyone else and in turn they reap the benefit themselves.

We’re living longer . . .

Lydia Bronte, author of The Longevity Factor, points out how our lives are growing longer.  Longevity increased during the 1900s more dramatically than at any other time in recorded human history.  In less than 100 years, the length of adult life has doubled. We’ve gone from an average life expectancy of 47 to one of 76, and still climbing.  From 1900 to 1994, we added 29 years – almost three decades to life expectancy.

The extra time starts to click in around the age of 50.  And to make it even better, even though we live to an older chronological age, for reasons scientists don’t yet understand, that extra time for most is not spent in old age.

“If you ask, ‘what is the single most important key to longevity?’ I would have to say it is avoiding worry, stress and tension. And if you didn’t ask me, I’d still have to say it.”

American actor and humorist George Burns, who lived to age 100. 

And we’re living better . . .

It is actually a second “middle age.”  The first middle age is from 35 to 50; the second follows that before reaching old age somewhere above 70.  In other words, it is not unusual to have more than one peak with multiple opportunities to peak throughout our longer lives.  I found this very exciting and encouraging. At 73, I may still make the senior tennis pro-tour.

According to Bronte, here are some well know examples of those later in life achievements.

  • Dr. Linus Pauling made a discovery in his early 30’s for which he subsequently won a Nobel Prize.  Pauling went on to make other scientific discoveries and then in his late 40’s took ten years to go around the world speaking on behalf of world peace for which he won a second Nobel Prize.
  • Science fiction writer Isaac Asimov started shaping his career in his early 30’s then continued at his craft producing until he died at 72
  • Julia Child is an example of peaking again after 50.  She discovered French cooking and trained as a chef, founded her own cooking school and worked on a cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking published when she was 50.  She then began her TV series.  Her career lasted into her 80’s.
  • John W. Gardner was president of Carnegie Corporation of New York.  In his late 40’s he wrote Excellence:  Can We be Excellent and Equal Too?  He went on to become the Secretary of HEW in Washington.  At 79 he accepted a professorship at Stanford University Business School.

There are countless stories about the joys of reinvention after “retirement age.”  So I’m hoping to keep on reinventing myself forever.  How about you?

Dixie and Pam

Writers@richlyaged.com

 

 

 

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

$70 increase: Senior Lifetime National Parks Pass

 

Seniors! Shop now for your Lifetime National Park pass before the increase.

Important Information:  Senior Lifetime Pass for National Parks increases from $10 to $80 August 27, 2017.  If you are 62 or older, buy your pass before August 27, 2017.  The lifetime pass increases from $10 to $80 in one month.

If you have a current lifetime Senior Pass, you may continue to use. If you lose it, you will need to replace it at the new fee.

Best way now to get the Senior Pass

The increase announcement has caused a backlog of mail and online purchases.  The ideal way to obtain the pass before the increase is to visit your nearest Federal park facility.  Follow this link to find your nearest National parks by states.  You will need to provide a photo ID, driver’s license or passport.

 Question:   How much does a National Park pass for seniors usually cost?

National Parks offer Majestic Adventures

The Senior Pass is available either by mail or in person at many federal recreational sites. The mail-in application requires an extra $10 document-processing fee. To find site locations or mailing information, Web users can click Buy Recreation Passes at USGS.gov. 

At vehicle-fee sites, Senior Pass holders and their passengers in non-commercial vehicle can enter for free. At sites that charge per person, the Senior Pass allows up to three other people in the pass holder’s vehicle to enter the site for free.

U.S. citizens or permanent residents of age 62 or older are eligible for a senior pass. The pass provides access to over 2,000 sites. Pass holders are eligible for discounts on other amenities, including guided tours and campsite fees. The pass comes in the form of a hang tag, which can be displayed on the dashboard or rear-view mirror of a closed vehicle or as a decal for use in open-top vehicles.

To repeat; If you have a current lifetime Senior Pass, you may continue to use. If you lose it, you will need to replace it at the new fee. So hang on to it!

Question:  How do you get a senior discount pass for state parks?

National Park Babbling Brook

Policies on senior discounts for state parks vary by state. In most states, a discount pass is available to those age 62 or older. Usually these passes can be purchased by mail or through the state’s Parks and Recreation website.  Check this link to ensure that the quoted amounts are still valid.

As an example, in California, seniors can get discounts at state parks simply by showing their valid photo ID. The “Golden Bear Pass” is available to seniors receiving SSI or CalWorks aid. This pass costs only five dollars for each calendar year and allows the bearer and their spouse entry to most state parks without having to pay a vehicle usage fee.

Vermont’s “Green Mountain Passport” is available to seniors who are Vermont residents for only two dollars. This pass provides free day use for life to seniors aged 62 or older and to honorably discharged military veterans.

Seniors aged 65 or older in Missouri only need to show their valid photo ID at campsites to get a discount of two dollars per night.

Find additional questions and answers about the increased fee.

For more questions and answers on the new fee increase follow this link, USGS Update

Questions about why the fee jumped and information about other benefits included with the Senior Pass are discussed.

My recent story about National Park passes

J.N. “Ding Darling” National Wildlife Refuge
Sanibel, Florida

We are visiting Rocky Mountain National Park at the end of the summer.   I checked back to my previous National Park article, went to USGS and was surprised to find the increase.

I visited the National listing for parks in each state (link above) and found the nearest location to me in Florida. Called the number to confirm that Senior passes were available, what they required for identification and their hours.

We drove to J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge and purchased our passes in the Nature Gift Store. They looked at our photo drivers licenses took our $10 per pass and issued us our cards.

In Summary

The transaction took five minutes.  While there, we used our passes to do the driving tour through the beautiful refuge.  Everyone was pleasant and helpful.

Get your pass as soon as possible.  Remember, If you lose it, you will need to replace it at the new fee. So hang on to it!

Dixie

writers@richlyaged.com

richlyaged.com

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

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

 

 

 

 

Discover your Exercise Style and Stick With It!

First find something that you love to do . . .

Find something you love to do. It’s fun and it’s good for you!

In our last post you took a quiz to discover your ideal diet.  Here are a couple of quizzes to help you discover your exercise style and stick with it!  All it takes is finding something you love.

When I was 30, my husband and I moved to New Hampshire.  I did no exercise at all.  In fact, I got a side ache when I tried to walk only a short mile home after dropping my car off for service.  The whole thing was made worse by living through my first New Hampshire winter after living in Texas.   I mostly stayed under the covers reading books and eating peanut butter sandwiches.  I gained over 20 pounds that winter!  As the weather began to warm, my fit next-door neighbor took pity on me and invited me to take a walk.

We began slowly, just walking around the neighborhood, but soon we were walking five-miles-an-hour through the lovely New Hampshire countryside.  The walking made me feel good.  It gave me energy and a sense of control.  The conversation that I shared with my new friend as we walked made it even more fun. That simple invitation to walk led me to fall in love with exercise.

Soon, I joined a gym and added classes and working with weights to the mix.  Over the next 38 years, I’ve engaged in many kinds of exercise, but all of it has been fun.  I only do things that are fun for me. That’s the point.  We need to find things we love to do.  That way, we’re in it for the long haul.  I still do some kind of exercise six days a week.

Exercise is the best medicine . . .

Here’s another success story.  Dixie and I have a friend named Jim who retired and wanted to learn a new sport.  So he took up tennis, playing several times a week.  At his prior yearly physical, he had been told that he had high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and high blood sugar.

After six months of playing tennis, but doing nothing else different, Jim went back to the doctor where he discovered that his blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar were all within the normal range.  When he told his physician that the only thing he’d done differently was to play tennis, the doctor said maybe he should get a racket and take up the game too!  It turned out that playing tennis was the best medicine.

“TAKE CARE OF YOUR BODY. IT’S THE ONLY PLACE YOU HAVE TO LIVE.”  Jim Rohn

This isn’t about holding your nose and doing something awful that is good for you.  It’s about finding something you love to do and enjoying it most days of the week.  Here are some suggestions:

  • Dance by yourself or in a class (line dancing, ballroom dancing, tap dancing, ballet, aerobics, Zumba).
  • Walk briskly with a friend or with your spouse or by yourself.  Walk around your house during commercials.
  • Jog or run.
  • Take an aerobics class.
  • Explore Yoga or Pilates.
  • Swim or just walk or run in the pool.  It’s great for your joints.
  • Take a hike.  Enjoying nature makes this all even better.
  • Go for a bike ride.
  • Hire a personal trainer and develop a personal workout.
  • Begin lifting some weights.  Even cans out of your pantry will work.
  • Buy an exercise video and do it in the privacy of your own home.
  • Find an exercise program on television and do it three or four times a week.
  • Join a running group and begin to train.
  • Consider kayaking or canoeing.

    Learn to Tango! Dancing is great exercise.
  • And here are a few more . . .

  • Learn a new sport.   Golf?  Bocce?  Shuffleboard?  Pickle Ball?
  • Play tennis.
  • Walk the golf course.
  • Do something again that you used to enjoy.  Racquetball.  Volleyball.  Softball.
  • Train for a race.
  • Walk your dog.
  • Take a spin class.  You can go at your own pace and it gives great fitness results.
  • Find a new winter sport – skiing, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing.
  • Try out rock or wall climbing.
  • Join a fitness challenge.  It’s a great way to stay motivated for a set period of time.
  • Take a Boot Camp class.  Some people love them!
  • Subscribe to a fitness magazine.  It will inspire you.
  • Keep a fitness journal.  How far did you walk, run, ski, and swim?  How did you feel?
  • Set some measurable fitness goals.
  • Reward yourself – not with food – but perhaps with a new workout outfit or some particularly nice golf balls.

Then stick with exercise for the long term . . .

 Once you’ve found something – or many things – you like to do, keep doing them.  You’ll see benefits within a very few weeks.  Amazingly enough, older people who begin exercising gain more benefits than those who are younger.  Aside from the obvious health benefits, you’ll gain a sense of pride and accomplishment from taking charge of your health.  Here are some things to help you stick with it.

  • Bring a friend along.  It’s always fun to do something together.
  • Make it competitive.  Some people enjoy exercise more when it’s part of a competition.
  • Join a team.  Once you’ve made that commitment, you’re required to show up.
  • Use music or podcasts to inspire your workouts.  Studies show that listening to music while running, for instance, makes exercise seem easier.
  • Join a gym or your local YMCA.  You’ll have some skin in the game, and you’ll make friends in the classes, as well.
  • Create a fitness journal to chart your progress.
  • Reward yourself with something big if you do something big.  When we finally stopped smoking, we went on a cruise!

Let us know about your own journey toward fitness!  We’d love to share it.

Pam

writers@richlyaged.com