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

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

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

 

 

 

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.

 

 

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