Retirement Truth or Dare

Beware of these Retirement Lies:

I am too old to…

No one needs me.

The best is behind me.

I can’t learn anything new.

Ok, it may be too late for medical school.  And your marathon days are likely over.

But here’s the truth about this season of life —

  • You CAN learn new things.  Your brain will thank you. Ballroom dancing?   Spanish?  Cooking?  Painting? Writing?
  • We tend to romanticize the past.  (Oh, when the kids were young…)  THIS could be the best time of all.  It’s all about our attitude.  Jane Fonda, age 80, touts the opportunities of this Third Act. Check out her TED talk.
  • As long as you are breathing, you CAN serve others. Find them in soup kitchens, schools, nursing homes, pet shelters, horse barns.  Check out the RR post, Making a Difference
  • Granted, a 4 hour marathon is gone, but keep your butt moving.  Walking, stretching, dancing, doing jumping jacks. Check out this RR post, Keep Moving!

CNN has reported that older brains are able to “see the big picture”  We are like fine wine. But we cannot just sit on the wine rack.  According to CNN we must, “Nudge our neurons and keep doing different things.”

Have you seen the documentary, RBG, about Ruth Bader Ginsburg?  At age 84, she’s giving her neurons a run for their money – working out with a trainer (we’re talking push-ups and planks), studying and writing until 4AM, going to operas, granting speeches and interviews, and serving on the highest court in the land.  She’s a two-time cancer survivor, a widow, a grandma, and an icon with rock star status.

So let’s live an RBG life.

We don’t have to stay up until 4AM and no one is asking for our dissent opinion – but each day we can say along with the psalmist, “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

And in the face of those outright lies about this season – let’s shout with RBG enthusiasm,  “I DISSENT”.

I dare you.

Today’s Takeaway –

-RBG and Jane Fonda are modeling how to leave a legacy.  Let’s try to do likewise.  Millennials are watching us.

-Today is the day.  Choose to rejoice in it.  Sip coffee from an RBG mug. And be notorious!

Enjoy the ride!

xox Barclay and Joy

This RBG trailer should whet your appetite for more.

And Jane is equally notorious!

As the leaves turn…

The end of Summer and the beginning of fall bring mood changes for me.  They always have.  I think about the butterflies I had in my stomach every year at this time.  (1st grade through high school) As soon as the fall issue of TV Guide (which I looked forward to, so I could plan my after homework watching of the new shows) hit the newsstands, it was a signal the carefree days were coming to the end.  The Miss America Pageant (pre-Trump) was always a fixture on tv Labor Day weekend as was Jerry Lewis’ Muscular Dystrophy Telethon.  What kid doesn’t love summer?!  It is a time of long days, long nights, few demands, no hard core schedules, anxiety free and just plain wonderful. September is back to business, like clockwork bringing  with it a quick drop in temperatures (please may that happen this fall!  Sick of humidity and heat!), a more serious air, a determination to make things happen, to accomplish goals, objectives, and stop procrastinating.  (my tax extension that seemed months and months away is almost upon me and reality hits that the IRS is calling!)

When you are retired the end of summer has a different meaning. Other people are preparing to get back to business and you’re left out!  Even though I have a regimen and my days are filled, I am on perpetual time off mode.  I have no one to answer to, but me.  Since I worked part time last fall at my old company, this will be my first fall without a return to the work world.  I know that I must keep my pace, stay busy, continue to fill my days with an itinerary, a plan. If I don’t I will lose momentum, sink into a feeling of despondency, and make my family miserable!  So with a little CBD oil  (a topic for another post!) the right attitude, a positive upbeat me, I am ready for my favorite season.  I married in the fall, my two daughters were born in the fall, apple picking, gorgeous color changes, a need for a light jacket or sweater, sleeping with the windows open, the Jewish Holidays, a time of rebirth and renewal.  I see the fall as that time far more than the new year on the calendar.  So with the right attitude, I will move forward, I will find my new pace, and be mindful that no one can make me feel better, but me.  If I feel a little nostalgic or melancholy, it’s okay, but I won’t allow myself to wallow. Make plans, schedule get togethers with friends who were at the beach all summer, and know that every season brings with it an opportunity to make things happen!

Today’s Takeaway-

. Seasonal change means many things depending on what phase of life you are in.  Make new memories, new plans, try not to get swept up in the way life was pre-retirement.

. Remember people are looking at you as though you’ve got it made! You planned, you saved, you picked your exit!  Make the most of it this fall.  Go bake that cobbler that you never had time to make!

Enjoy the ride

xox Barclay and Joy

Laughing at Ourselves

It was my first day of work at John Nuveen and I was quite impressed with myself.  Granted, I was a mere secretary (or administrative assistant as I preferred to call it) but hey it was a foot in the door. I was a clueless 22-year-old envisioning myself as Mary Tyler Moore tossing her hat high into the Minneapolis air.  You’re gonna make it after all.

As I walked toward my wee little desk in the research department I noticed a lovely spread of fruit and breads.  What a wonderful company I thought as I took a large bite out of a particularly moist lemon cake. My horrified tongue immediately informed me that I had just ingested a quarter of a stick of butter.  Looking around, my mouth bulging, I saw only fancy offices and boardrooms; no ladies room in sight.  I briskly walked past the executive suites, not making eye contact, until at last I found a bathroom.  My tongue still hasn’t forgiven me.

Then there was the time I went through an entire day of teaching, complete with IEP meetings sitting beside the principal — oh so professional – except for the fact that my dress was on backwards. There was a pocket on the back, butt level.  I became aware of this when 3rd grader Isabelle asked, “Mrs. Marcell, why is there a pocket on the back of your dress?”  I didn’t miss a beat; I turned around and placed a pencil in the backside pocket.  “I keep pencils there.”  Isabelle chuckled.  3rd graders can be quite mean.

I have signed my name, “Barclay Marclay”.  In front of people at a bank.  In pen.

I have driven our car into the garage with great conviction only to remember that there was a Christmas tree tied on the roof of the car.

And one day, late for school, I plowed the car backwards into the the sitting garbage cans at the end of the driveway; and following that, in the presence of my 8 and 10 year old, I emitted a loud utterance that starts with F and rhymes with luck.

And there’s more.  My advice  —

  • Do not talk to inanimate objects like a column, especially during a job interview.
  • It is not advisable to take your 2-year-old to a high-church liturgical service. When he starts grabbing bills from the offering plate, do not get flustered.  And do not yell.  Sound travels in those old sanctuaries.
  • Mascara does not serve as lipstick.

The longer we live, the larger our list of faux pas’s — times we’ve tripped, forgotten names, mistaken sour cream for cream cheese.

The Huffington Post says,

“Being able to laugh at yourself may be a sign of an optimistic personality and a sense of humor, and it might even improve your mood. Humor has also been identified as a possible factor in the development of personal resilience.

And Susan Sparks, the author of Laugh Your Way to Grace says, “If you can laugh at yourself, you can forgive yourself; and if you can forgive yourself, you can forgive others.”

So share your embarrassing moments and laugh out loud.   Think of the personal resilience you’ll develop!

And you may just find joy therein.

 

Today’s Takeaway –

-Our mouths turn downward as we age making us appear grumpy.  Laughing exercises facial muscles and will make us look younger.  How’s that for a win-win?! (Check out this RR post, Exercising your Face! It’s a Thing!)

-Share your stories here!   What’s your most embarrassing moment?  Let’s laugh together!

 

Enjoy the ride!

xox Barclay and Joy

 

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Music, Dance, Theatre, Art are in my Soul

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I was exposed to the arts at a very early age.  My mother was a culture hound, a theatre maven, dance snob, museum lover.   She adored it all and she prided herself on knowing what was playing on Broadway, the prima ballerinas of The American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, art exhibits at The Met, The MOMA (when it was built!) and The Museum of The City of New York.  She was a classy lady, refined, polished and she exposed me at a very early age to the beauty of it all.  How lucky I was to be a child growing up in a major city, with the opportunity to savor it all, sense it, see it through my own childlike wonder.

I saw my first Broadway musical at six years old.  It was Flower Drum Song (funny to think of now that “Crazy Rich Asians” is a smash hit!) I saw many more to come through the years, The Music Man”, “Carnival”, “The Unsinkable Molly Brown”, “Camelot”, and “Bye Bye Birdie.”  I loved every one of them and knew the music by heart!  I danced in the living room to the music that I listened to over and over on our hi fi set.  (now, I’m really dating myself, if I haven’t already!)

I was taken to see The Nutcracker every Christmas and later modern dance as well as Alvin Ailey (much later on)  My appreciation grew and grew.  How lucky a kid I was to have experienced all this at such an early age!!  My husband grew up in Norfolk, Virginia as a boy and while he had the Confederate Museum and battlefields of The Civil War, he didn’t have much else.

I have passed this on to my children who have an appreciation for the arts, for museums, for beauty that is created by one’s imagination.  It is a special bond between us.  I also have shared some amazing moments with dear friends who cherish the theatre as much as I do.  To see Vanessa Redgrave in person with Philip Seymour Hoffman, Robert Sean Leonard, and Brian Dennehy is a once in a lifetime experience.  Who knew Seymour would die so young?!  “A Long Day’s Journey Into Night”, directed by Robert Falls (2003)  My friend and I witnessed greatness on the stage never to be duplicated and we knew it!  The standing ovations were like none I have ever seen.

This past weekend in the heart of The Berkshires (where I am only an hour away-how lucky am I!) my two college friends and I (another post is coming on friendship and the power of long lasting bonds) and I attended the Bernstein Centennial Finale at Tanglewood.  Audra McDonald was the Mistress of Ceremonies and no less than five guest conductors  took up the baton.  John Williams, Michael Tilson Thomas, Andris Nelsons, Keith Lockhart to name a few, in addition to world class violinist Midori and cellist Yo- Yo Ma graced the stage paying homage to the legendary Lenny.  If that wasn’t enough, nature set the atmospheric sky with a full moon and a lawn scattered with music lovers numbering 15,000!  What a night! We looked at each other when it was over and knew we had witnessed magic!  If you can, see it when it is broadcast on PBS in the near  future.

Arts fill the soul, they give us meaning and bring beauty to what would otherwise be lifeless and dull.

“The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.” Pablo Picasso

‘If music be the food of love, play on”  Shakespeare- Twelfth Night

Today’s Takeaway…

.Stop and enjoy what is around you.  If you are fortunate enough to be near museums, theatre, dance, experiment.  Find what resonates in your heart.

We need our Arts to teach us how to breathe”  Ray Bradbury, Zen in the Art of Writing Tags

Thank you Muriel for this gift you gave me.

 

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Chocolate, the Elixir for Long Life

I  have just returned from seeing family in North Carolina.  My aunt is 88 years old and living in an assisted living facility, where my cousin tells me her diet consists of chocolate every day.

I got to thinking about this because I had an aunt many years ago who also subsisted on a box of assorted creams and caramels every day.  She lived to almost 90!  Maybe, this aging stuff wasn’t that bad!  After all the years of watching my intake of sweets, particularly chocolate, which I so love, there was indeed a light at the end of the tunnel!  (literally the end of the tunnel!)

At a certain age, does it really matter if you eat your veggies, fruits, grains?  Maybe chocolate is the new  food group for the geriatric set!  Death by Chocolate? Not so terrible! I think the idea here is,

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if it gives you pleasure, it makes you happy, and it isn’t doing anything harmful to your body, then why not?

We live our lives constantly watching what we eat, having to lose an inch or two, a few pounds to get into those favorite jeans, depriving ourselves of something we love.  I get it.  At a certain age (and I’m not sure what that age is!) it just doesn’t matter.  If it feels good, do it, if it tastes good, eat it, if it looks pretty, buy it!  It’s a simple theory for that later chapter in life!

I’m a firm believer that if you are lucky enough (blessed) to have good genes, then you can do things that other people can’t with little or no consequences.  I’m not suggesting you light up that cigarette at 85 or eat fried chicken every day, but hey what’s holding you back from doing what makes you happy?

Did you know that the smell of chocolate increases theta brain waves which triggers relaxation.

M&M’s were created in 1914 as a means for soldiers to enjoy chocolate without it melting.

Eating dark chocolate every day reduces the risk of heart disease by 1/3

When it comes to coughs, chocolate is more effective than codeine!

Every second, Americans collectively eat 100 lbs of chocolate

The world’s largest chocolate bar weighed 5.792 kg (12,770 lbs)

So now that we know these very important facts, open up that box or bag of chocolates, cream filled, caramel, or whatever pleases your palate and think what a good thing you are doing to increase your longevity!

Today’s Takeaway…

. Eat, Drink, and be happy!  If a simple pleasure like eating chocolates every day makes you smile and your palate say thank you, then go for it!

. While your at it, have that glass of red wine too!  They pair so well!

Here’s to aunt Jerri and aunt Gussie before her!  My other aunt Rose drank sauerkraut juice and lived to 100!  Another post for another day! Personally, I’d go with chocolate!

Death by Chocolate Cake – Baker by Nature
https://bakerbynature.com/death-by-chocolate-cake/

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Photo by Abhinav Goswami on Pexels.com

Enjoy the Ride

xox Barclay and Joy

 

The Dog Dance

A few weeks ago my husband and I took our beloved Winston to Jacobs Pillow for some serious boogeying!  Winston is our Mexican refugee dog who came back with us from Ajijic a year and a half ago.  We adopted him quite unexpectedly after falling in love with him at an adoption day in our little village of Ajijic.  This is the place we winter, escaping the severe cold of upstate New York.

My daughter had seen an ad for dog dancing at the world renowned Jacobs Pillow, a mecca in The Berkshires for serious dancing since the 1930’s. It is the oldest internationally acclaimed Summer dance festival in the United States.  220 acres in size and gorgeous, The Pillow, for those of us in the know, was listed as a National Historic Landmark District in 2003.

Apparently, The Pillow hosts a canine dancing event every Summer to celebrate National Dog Day.  The dance is choreographed by resident dancers and the caregivers accompanying their canine friends.  (the dance belongs to the dogs though, not the people!  We just serve as props!)

“Partnering is fundamental to many dance genres and the partnership between dogs and their companions is unlike any other,” says Jacob’s Pillow Director Pamela Tatge. How right she is!  We do not think we look silly jumping around and pirouetting with our four legged friends on the great lawn in the Berkshires.  It is pure silliness, fun, and downright love for the one living thing that gives it’s owner unconditional love.

This event will now become a part of my cultural summers in the Berkshires, weather permitting.  I will look forward to dancing barefoot in the grass with my agile Winston and paying homage to my senior citizen Colby.  If only life could remain this simple!

A short post today before Barclay and I take a much needed rest from our blog publishing.  We have published 60 posts since the end of January when we began.  We are so proud of what we have accomplished and the response from our family and friends.  We will be writing our little hearts out so that we have posts in the queue with no interruptions.  We figured if Maria Shriver (our heroine and role model) could take off the whole month of August, we were entitled to at least two weeks!

Today’s Takeaway…

Don’t be afraid to act silly, laugh, run through the grass with your dog!  Who cares who’s watching?!! Don’t be afraid to let loose.  If not now, when?

. Our 4 legged friends are special.  Love them with all your heart.  Talk to them, cry on their backs, tell them secrets. They are on this earth for one reason only, to give pleasure. Never forget that DOG is GOD spelled backwards.

 

Enjoy the Ride!

xox

Barclay and Joy

 

 

 

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Bravo Winston!!

Self-Care – Putting your oxygen mask on first

It’s an unsettling direction given by the flight attendant.  What kind of parent does not first try to help her child?   It goes against our natural inclinations to prioritize our own well being.

Yet that’s what Jesus meant when he said to love our neighbor as ourself.   We must first take care of our body, soul, mind, and spirit in order to be a conduit of love toward others.  Jesus himself came away from the crowds in order to reconnect with God.

Self-care is actually a spiritual discipline – one we tend to ignore or take to an extreme.  The Huffington Post offers some suggestions for practicing self-care intentionally but not obsessively.  (Check out all 20 practices  here.)

“Do something that energizes your body.  Stretch, swim, run, do yoga, whatever physical activity you enjoy.

Create a Gratitude List. Write down all the things you’re thankful for.

Unplug for a day. Go on a media fast.

Do something new. Have you been considering learning a new skill or trying a new hobby? Go for it.

Practice mini-meditation.  Begin or end your day with a minute of deep breathing, and focused awareness of your body, thoughts, and feelings.

Dance it out.  Put on your favorite dance music, and shake your body.

Get quality time with a quality person. Hang out with someone you love. If they’re far away, give them a phone call.

Be still.  Find a quiet place outside, and embrace the stillness.

De-clutter.  Choose a place — your email inbox, your desk, a closet — and get rid of the excess and junk.

Do an activity mindfully and slowly.  Savor the moment, and experience your activity with attentiveness.

Take a walk. Explore your area at a leisurely pace.

Enjoy a piece of chocolate and/or a glass of wine.  Better yet, enjoy both together.”

—————————

For sure, I’ll do the chocolate/wine suggestion; not so sure about “dancing it out”.

Right now Codie (who enjoys life as only a Golden Retriever can) is giving me a look that says,  Would you forget the damn laptop already?! It’s time for a walk!!

She’s right.  As usual.

Today’s Takeaway –

-Take it from Codie.  She adores all neighbors as herself.  And she knows how to dance it out.  Talk about joie de vivre!

Enjoy the ride!

xox Barclay and Joy

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These are Codie lookalikes.  Same joie!

Calling all Baby Boomers, please leave a comment about YOUR go-to self-care practice. Codie wants to hear from you!