Eight Ways to Get Connected in the Neighborhood

Front porches make good neighbors!

Oddly enough, the front porch is making a comeback. Folks still have the back patio for cook- outs and relaxing but newer houses are incorporating front porches that at least accommodate a couple of chairs.  There’s a reason for that.

People want to feel connected . . .

Dixie witnessed the new phenomenon while spending a few years near her daughter’s Fort Worth suburban neighborhood.  A number of young married families used their front entry garages with the garage doors open to sit in lawn chairs, have a cocktail, visit with neighbors and watch the young kids ride their bikes or skateboards.  This invited personal contact with other neighbors returning home from work. Something similar to the front porch.  It’s a great idea.

This has got me thinking about my own “connectedness.”  How accessible am I, really, to my neighbors?  Not very.  Oh, I wave if we’re going to the mailbox at the same time, but out of the ten homes in our cul-de-sac, I only know a couple of people very well.  I’d like to change that, but I don’t want to seem weird.  So, I’ve been doing some research, and here are some of the good ideas I’ve found.

How to get connected . . .

  1. Be a friendly neighbor.  Say hello to everyone and give them a grin.  People forget how much a simple smile can mean.  A smile shows that you’re interested in connecting.
  2. Use your dog. I’m not kidding.  When I think about it, I know the names of the dogs who live in this cul-de-sac better than I do the people!  Almost everyone likes to talk about their pooch.
  3. Be complimentary. There’s always something good to compliment.  That cute dog we were just talking about?  That beautiful vine on the front porch?  That adorable baby?  Even that pretty scarf. It’s hard to dislike someone who has nice things to say.
  4. Join a team or a group in the neighborhood. We play tennis, and soon we met everyone in the community with an interest in tennis.  But it could also work with golf or bridge or painting or quilting or yoga or lots of other things.  It’s easier to make friends with someone who shares your interests, so this is a great way to increase your accessibility.

And a few more . . .

5.  Go to the same places and become a regular. If you like to go to the pool, go at about the same time of the day and sit in the same place.  Soon you’ll become “a regular” and people will miss you if you’re not in your spot.  This can also work at the coffee shop or the pub or the nail salon or any place else you go on a regular basis.

6.  Consider starting a group. Do you love to run?  Maybe there are neighbors who would like to run with you.  I’ve almost always had a walking partner over the years, and I’ve made really good friends while walking and talking.  Do you like to garden?  Want to share cuttings?  Do you love reading?  How about a book club?

7.  Be on the look-out for new people moving in and befriend them.  They’ll be grateful, and you’ll have a new friend.

8.  Never turn someone down. If someone invites you to do something, and you’re free, just go for it.  You never know.  It could turn into something great!

Here’s to feeling more connected!  Let us know how it goes.

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

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.

 

 

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 11: Outline Your Ideal Retirement Life – Embrace Happiness

Know what you want and go and get it!

Before you begin to plan the nuts and bolts of your ideal retirement, make the life-changing decision to embrace happiness.   This may not be as simple as it sounds, but it can be done.  So much of how we feel is a decision.  Consider the example of Abraham Lincoln.

President Lincoln said that we’re just about as happy as we make up our minds to be.  That’s truly amazing when you consider that he suffered from melancholia (clinical depression) and that he had recently lost a beloved son and was responsible for steering the nation through a brutal Civil War.

If Lincoln could decide to be happy, surely we could give it a try!  Here are some proven ways to raise our level of happiness.

Proven Happy-Makers

1.  Be non-judgmental. This doesn’t mean you don’t have standards.  It just means that you’re willing to take people as they are.  We can never change the other person; all we can change is our reaction to that person. Continue reading Retirement 11: Outline Your Ideal Retirement Life – Embrace Happiness