S is for Spontaneity

A few weeks back my husband and I were faced with spontaneity. Should we put a rushed weekend together to see our daughter for her birthday or find excuses to not go. Last minute, too expensive, who takes care of the dog, etc. We weren’t sure until the week before if she would be coming home to celebrate or we would miss it altogether.

The day before, truly the eleventh hour, we decided to go which meant booking a flight with very little advance planning, a hotel, and figuring out who would take care of our dog all at the same time.

I’m not usually a spontaneous person. I’m a planner. I plan a week out, a month out, six months out. I like to know what’s going on and when. My old fashioned wall calendar is filled with reminders, dates, get togethers, doctors appointments. My younger daughter is the same way, whereas her sister is not sure where she’ll be six months from now. Just the way her life has taken her.

That all being said, my husband and I flew down to Richmond, Va to celebrate our daughter’s birthday. It was simply perfect in that rare way that life sometimes delivers. The weather was beautiful, she was happy to see us, we were happy to see her, and everything about that weekend was in sync and harmony.

We don’t get redos often so, sometimes, you just have to bite the bullet, dive into the pool, go with the flow. You get the picture. In this case, what was holding us back? We are retired. We didn’t have to be at work on Monday. We could always shuffle around whatever pencilled in task was on my calendar. Spontaneity can be a good thing. If you can’t do spur of the moment things, like an unplanned weekend getaway then when can you?

Break out of your mold and be spontaneous. I promise you’ll be happy you did and you might brighten someone’s day in the process.

Takeaway

Spontaneity can be a good thing. There’s a time and a place for regimentation and structure, but plans are made to be changed and the outcome may make for a new memory.

As always, enjoy the ride

Xox Barclay&Joy

The H Word

We want to be thought of as humble, but none of us actually wants to be humbled. Meaning, we do NOT want to “goof”, as my granddaughter would say, particularly in public.

The other day our family was gathered in our living room and my neighbor stopped by to see the grand babies. In the course of her visit, she handed me her cell phone to share her own grandchildren pics. Then she left, forgetting her phone.

I jumped into action, thinking, and unfortunately saying out loud, the following…”Oh no. Jean forgot her phone! I’ll call her.” I proceeded to dial my friend’s number on my phone which prompted her phone to ring with my name on its screen. My brain was slow to process this mystery. And yes, I then picked up her phone and spoke to myself.

Grandma Mimi realized her goof and scanned the room to see who witnessed this self to self conversation on two phones. I caught sight of my daughter chuckling in the adjacent room, which was not a good sign.

Such incidents are humbling. (Humiliating is more accurate.) And as we age, they can happen with annoying frequency. We have become the gray haired ladies on those Hallmark cards, the ones who sit together in the front seat of a car and one says, “Where are we going?” And the other responds, “I thought YOU were driving!”

Joy and I believe it is healthy to laugh at ourselves and by doing so, to practice humility. Turning into those Hallmark ladies can be embarrassing, but it is preferable to being self-righteous and ego driven, traits which we try, often unsuccessfully, to keep in check.

I struggle, however, with finding the balance between proper humility and self condemnation, between having a healthy view of self, and self-aggrandizement. Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life, defines humility as, “Not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.” This definition butts heads with our social media obsession luring us to check and then double check likes and comments; or to scroll through our photos and enlarge our own image…vowing next time to raise our chins so as not to see that loose skin succumbing to time and gravity. We (I) do need to think of ourselves less, while maintaining a proper self image.

But how?

In the book of Philippians, we find a Do This/Not That. Paul says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.” And in Proverbs, Solomon says, “Fools delight in airing their own opinions.”

It turns out I can be a fool AND a goof! But each day of my retirement life, I am going to TRY to remember to put others first and to ask questions more than insert opinions. That is the anecdote to pride and arrogance — and the desire to check a mirror to see how your lipstick is faring. (I have become my mother in this practice; she would not hesitate to pull out her compact and reapply her lipstick, whether in the grocery store or at a dinner party.)

But now I need to end this post and go see how my chin is looking this morning.

Today’s Takeaways

-When you do goof in public, and you will, celebrate that you are human, prone to failure, and LAUGH at yourself. That said, do try to think before opening your goofball mouth!

-Try to listen, really listen; curb the temptation to interrupt, and try not to be distracted by your self-oriented mindset, which is wondering what you will eat for dinner. And do not under any circumstance, call your friend’s phone when that same phone is in your hand!

Enjoy the ride!

xox Barclay and Joy, your fellow goofballs

High Holy Days and Reconnection

The last few months have been an utter whirlwind. That’s a major understatement! Any of my friends or family reading this post know, it was a topsy turvy year for me, starting with an expired passport.

My husband and I missed the winter in our beloved village of Ajijic and spent two and a half months on the Jersey Shore through the gracious generosity of one of my dearest friends. Finally getting to Mexico at the end of March, staying until mid August to witness the most beautiful of seasons, the rainy season, and then to Northern California for a family function and reconnection. I’m setting the stage here so bear with me! Northern California was followed by a short stay at another dear friend’s apartment in Jersey City, then back to the Shore to pick up our car, and then a week at Hunter Mountain until we could get back into our rented-out house at the end of August! It makes me laugh just to type this! My husband called this “a Joy trip!” A bit convoluted, over stretched, circuitous. but in my mind, oh so logical!

The beauty of the last several months, both in Mexico and the U.S. has been reconnecting with people, whom I had not seen in a year and a half to two years. Like many of us, Covid left me afraid, cautious, super aware of our potential to infect. It was only after being double vaccinated that I felt liberated, free. The opportunity to hug, wrap one’s arms around another human being, kiss on the cheek, double kiss, embrace was wonderful. You don’t realize how much you miss it until you are deprived of it.

I always knew that family and friends were important to me and I try very hard to maintain relationships. I know who is good at calling, initiating, texting, Facetime, What’s App. I know who is not, but that they are thinking of me and they just didn’t get around to reaching out.

This brings me to Yom Kippur, the day of atonement, just celebrated by observant Jews around the world. Yom Kippur is a day of reflection, a day of prayer, heavy duty prayer, much standing, chanting, singing, repenting. We ask God for forgiveness on this one day with an open heart, keen focus, and humility. I have celebrated what are called the high holy days all my life, from childhood to now. Many of us fast from sundown the previous evening to sundown the next day, a period of 24 hours, no drink, no food, no marital relations no bathing, no work, nothing but prayer and thought. I light candles in memory of my parents, my grandparents, my great grandparents, as my mother did before me. I say Yizkor, a service in remembrance of those who have died. With tears in my eyes, I recite Kaddish, an ancient Jewish prayer for the dead. It is a one day solemn holiday, but also a time for hope, joy, and optimism, as we are given a chance to start anew. We ask God to inscribe us in the book of life, to be granted a year of good health and happiness.

I think about the power of reconnecting with people who are dear to me and the holiday I have just observed. I feel hopeful that life with all its ups and downs, will deliver whatever is meant for me, for my family.

And so this topsy turvy year that started with an expired passport, a missed winter in sunny Mexico, and a wealth of riches in seeing people I love comes to an end , at least on the Jewish calendar. We celebrate 5782 and look forward to the world’s new year 2022 in January. We pray for more hugs, more visits in person, more celebration, peace and good health.

Today’s Takeaways

-Know how fortunate you are to reconnect with friends and family. A global pandemic might take that away at any time.

-It is not a given the people you love will be there tomorrow.

-Reflect, ponder, think, be grateful for what you have on this earth.

And as always, enjoy the ride.

xox Barclay & Joy

My Husband and I have Matching Compression Socks!!

There’s togetherness as a couple matures into their sunset years, like a well worn and broken in pair of shoes. Compression hose and the need for them was never something I thought we’d share. Varicose veins do not discriminate. They appear when you least expect them and men get them as well as women. Women are at a higher risk (naturally!) because of pregnancy and other factors, but heredity plays a big part. Thanks mom and dad, grandma, great grand ma. My husband’s mother had them as well as her mother before her so our adult children are doomed!!

What really pisses me off is that I had sclerotherapy years ago and that very same varicose vein that was removed came back in the same exact spot two years later. Lets face it, varicose veins are ugly as are spider veins. The difference is varicose can be dangerous. They can lead to far more serious health issues, i.e. thrombosis, ulcers or sores on your legs, chronic inflammation. So, this is no longer a question of vanity or cosmetics. I was never going to be a swim suit model at this age anyway! Sports Illustrated never called!!!

Go seek out medical attention. Don’t blow it off. A good vascular surgeon will diagnose the blood flow. I was super impressed here in Mexico with one such doctor, recommended by a friend who suffers from the same issue. An ultrasound of my leg was taken on an I Pad. It showed the valves not working properly, kind of like a door that doesn’t open and close the way it should anymore. Since the blood flow goes from your legs to your heart, this is pretty important. The doctor drew me a picture of what normal veins in your leg do and what mine were doing. He labelled this a disease, Chronic Venous Disease. (CVD, not to be confused with CVS!) WOW! I had not expected this. I also am passed the sclerotherapy route and now need surgery. He said it so cavalierly, but in my book, surgery is surgery!! It means anesthesia, a recovery period, leg wrapped in ACE bandages, ugh! My husband’s legs are worse than mine, but being a man who never wears shorts and rarely a bathing suit, he didn’t think anything of it. Now, I will make him see a vascular surgeon as well when we return to the U.S. We are leaving our Mexico home in a couple of days and so are out of time.

I immediately ordered 6 pairs of compression socks. Not the fuddy duddy ones that are beige and look like Orthodox women wear, but cool funky ones that even a young person might don. My very smart Millennial daughter wears them religiously on flights. She knows that early care of her legs is important with a DNA profile that will surely result in these varicosities at some point in her life. Thank goodness someone had the foresight to improve upon the look of these things!

Bottom line is, as we age, all kinds of new issues will crop up, ones we never thought about at a younger age. Who had the time?!! We will sag, we will crease, fine line, deep line, creak, ache, have joint pain, veiny hands, etc.

Who said these were the “Golden Years”?!!!

Listen to your body, as we said in an earlier post, I mean really listen! You know it the best. Advocate for yourself and get annuals, even if you think it’s a waste of time because you feel great.

Aging is one of those things that until you go through it yourself, you don’t know what to expect. It’s kind of like parenting in that way.

So, togetherness can mean many different things to a couple that has been married for 43 years. Right now, it’s matching compression socks!

Today’s Takeaway:

Good health truly is everything. Never ever take it for granted! Without it, nothing else matters. Ask anyone who has suffered with disease.

Every day you wake up to a new day is a gift. Cherish it.

As always, enjoy the ride.

x0x Barclay& Joy

P.S. Barclay and I will take a break from writing for the remainder of August. We have hit our mark of 175 posts! Amazing! Like our role model, Maria Shriver, who takes off every August to recharge and reset, we will be contemplating new musings as we aim for a new goal of 200 posts!

Thank you one and all for reading and following www.revisionistretirement.com

Choosing Forgiveness

In my younger years I was a grudge-holding expert and prone to my own brand of tantrums. On one occasion, as a twenty-something, I remember getting ready for a Christmas party, slipping into a blue suede strapless dress that I had ordered from Victoria’s Secret. I gazed at the bedroom mirror with indulgent admiration. But when I proceeded down the stairs trying not to trip in my stiletto heals, I did not hear the expected response from my husband (Wow, you look amazing!!) Instead, he looked at his watch and said we needed to leave right away. I was fuming. He asked if I was okay and naturally I could not appear vain and admit that I had been expecting a compliment. (How shallow would that be??) So of course, I said flatly, “Nothing!” – leaving him clueless and unsettled. Well, a few glasses of wine later, my righteous indignation peaked and I picked an argument with him on the way home — and when our car stopped at an intersection, I opened the passenger door and stormed onto Racine Avenue. At midnight. In a blue strapless dress. Wearing heels. In snow.

It was much like Reese Witherspoon in Legally Blonde indignantly marching home while her boyfriend tries to cajole her back in the car, lest her designer shoes be ruined.

Of course, like Reese, I did get back into our car, rather sheepishly, having realized that I could freeze to death.

Now that I am older and one hopes a tad wiser, I have no time for such theatrics. Holding onto a grudge causes wrinkles, chest pain, indigestion, and a host of other unwelcome ailments to my delicate constitution! I love how realistic and low-bar-ish the Bible is on this subject, “If possible, as far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”

At this juncture, who has time for spitefulness or a lack of forgiveness? We need to move forward, creating boundaries if necessary, but striving for peace with everyone. If our mother wronged us, perhaps she did the best she could with what she was dealing with at the time. If a teacher shamed us, or a friend betrayed us, retirement is the time to unpack our bag and travel lighter.

The Wall Street Journal has this to say in a 2016 piece written by Diane Cole.

To forgive, or not to forgive? It is a question that we ask ourselves more, and that becomes more salient, as years pass. As we grow older, it is “very, very common to review your life,” says Berit Ingersoll-Dayton, professor and director of the joint doctoral program in social work and social science at the University of Michigan School of Social Work. It’s a process that inevitably will bring up “things that we feel good about—and that we don’t.”

In the absence of forgiveness, an offense that was committed against us, or some pain that we caused others, can replay in our minds, causing continuing anger or remorse that is often a recipe for bitterness and bad health. A wealth of research has linked the isolation and loneliness that can result to increased health problems and higher mortality. Forgiveness, by contrast, allows one to focus on more positive thoughts and relationships. “It allows you to free up the real estate in your brain” taken up by negative thinking, Dr. Sood says.

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So, as far as it depends on us, if possible, let’s choose to forgive, and resist the urge to jump out of cars in self-righteous indignation. We could break a hip!!

Enjoy the ride!

xox Barclay and Joy

Love More and Shop for Hearing Aids

We are at that age where our hands have become our mother’s hands. We are raising the volume of the TV, and we are struggling to find the simplest of words. We might address our daughter by the dog’s name, and we are for sure eating dinner no later than six, in order to watch Wheel of Fortune which begins promptly at six-thirty followed by Jeopardy at seven. (Good for your brain..well, Jeopardy at least!)

When you hit your mid-sixties, the aging process seems to accelerate. It has been likened to the unrolling of toilet paper and we are heading faster and faster toward the last strip. Last week our next door neighbor, a single man in his early 60s, came to his last strip. He was found unresponsive, apparently the result of unchecked heart disease. His passing came without warning – leaving his family and friends overwhelmed by grief and if-only’s. If only he had gone to the doctor sooner, if only he had had his cholesterol tested regularly, if only he had known his roll was growing smaller.

But then, even if he had been more proactive with his health, something totally outside his control could have claimed his life. The fact remains that we all irrationally believe that death will never come to us. We look at our thinning and wrinkled skin with amazement, and think, how on earth did that happen??? (see our earlier post on bat wings!)

As Joy and I grow older, we are reflecting on choices we can make now that will support our mental, spiritual, and physical health. The bottom line is that when our own rolls diminish, we will have led lives characterized by love and humility. We don’t want to have regrets.

CNBC published an article in 2019 citing regrets shared by those in their 90s. Let’s listen and take heed. (Click here for the article, written by Lydia Sohn)

  • They regretted not cultivating closer relationships with their children.
  • They regretted not putting their children on the right path in life.
  • They regretted not taking risks to be more loving, such as being more open about their feelings for new people or more affectionate with those already in their lives.
  • They regretted not being better listeners; they wish they had been more empathetic and considerate.
  • They regretted not spending enough time with the people they loved.

One man was asked if he wished he had accomplished more. “No,” he responded. “I wish I had loved more.”

That’s it, isn’t it? To love more. To choose to love even when we have been wronged. Yes, it’s a high bar and perhaps a naive one. But each morning we have choices. We can smile at someone, write an encouraging email, overlook a harsh word, or marvel at the architecture of a spider web, a nest, an anthill even.

And yes, at the same time, we can and should address our cholesterol, our cataracts, and our clumsiness. And start shopping for hearing aids.

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Joy here. I always knew cataracts were going to be an issue for me. Everyone in my family has had them so they are a rite of passage into old age. I was told I had them in both eyes about 15 years ago but thankfully they have taken their sweet time to develop. (You kind of think that day is never going to come. It seems so far away when you are younger.) Recently, however, they have re-announced themselves and darkness is not my friend when driving. My night vision issues were quite apparent last summer when I very calmly told my passenger daughter that I couldn’t see that well and that the oncoming headlights were super bright (very calming for this passenger who probably thought I was about to drive into these bright headlights!)

So, now at long last I am seeking opinions on whether I can wait another month or two or do I rush to get them removed. After a very thorough ophthalmologic exam here in Mexico, I was relieved to find out I don’t have glaucoma or macular degeneration or need to rush to remove my two cataracts. It does need to happen, but it can wait until I get home. My wonderful cousin, Fran Lisa, has offered to do all the night driving on an upcoming trip to San Francisco (phew!) so I don’t jeopardize anybody’s life with my driving! Not a small matter. I didn’t like driving in the dark with better vision, so I certainly don’t feel comfortable now. One of my many idiosyncrasies!

The advent of cataracts hits you in the face with a splash of cold water – you are old! The good news is that the technology is fantastic. This is not the cataract surgery our parents had. Your vision can actually be restored to near perfect with no need for glasses.The basic fix is an IOL (intra-ocular lens). A host of options are possible and your ophthalmologist will advise as to what is best for your needs. It’s an amazing surgery which allows you to return to seeing again within a short period of recuperation.

Nevertheless, with vision and hearing loss, and flapping bat wings, we are aging before our very eyes. That person staring back at you in the mirror is the same one she was at eight years old, but carrying wisdom, experience, battle scars, wonderful memories, and the desire to stay healthy as long as possible.

Today’s Takeaways:

-Take each new reminder of the aging process little by little. What we can prevent through good diet, exercise, mental attitude, we should go for and be diligent in doing so.

-You don’t have to look old. That’s what injectables are for! There are also mini face lifts, neck lifts, threading, LED wands, creams and moisturizers. Do your research and do what you can afford that makes you feel good about your appearance. Some women and men don’t care about wrinkles and grey hair. Each of us is an individual and makes these choices.

At the end of the day, it’s all about enjoying the ride!

And befriending the bat wings… which are here to stay!

xox Barclay & Joy

Been a While-Two Birthdays Around The Corner

Barclay and I have been discussing the many topics we could share with you, our loyal fans. We have so much we want to say, but the immediacy of birthdays nudged us both to put our thoughts on aging back on the table. My birthday is in a day and Barclay’s next month. We are one year apart. We both struggle with the advancing numbers that we see in print and find it hard to believe we could be this old! How did we get here?!

People sometimes tell me I look good “for my age”. Some nice folks may even remark, “I just can’t believe you’re blank-years old!” (purposely left for you to guess!) — but admittedly these comments are coming less frequently. These days no one blinks an eye when I request my senior discount!

I’ve said before I come from a family where age was never discussed. My mother hated the fact that she was getting older. She was a type one diabetic in the days before high tech blood sugar management, and sadly, she didn’t make it past 71. My dad made it to 87, pretty impressive for a man who had a quadruple bypass operation twenty years earlier.

So even if I am blessed to take after my father, the fact is, along the way my face will succumb to gravity. As I approach my upcoming blankety-blank birthday, I can no longer look in the mirror and see the image I want to see. The lines around my mouth are more pronounced. My eyes have more than fine lines and I’m waiting for my neck to get that floppy, loose skin – fondly called a turkey neck. (I’m overdue! Maybe, it will come as a birthday present!) And here’s another lovely rite of passage…I have cataracts! This layer of cloudiness on my eyes needs to be removed; it is not like a banana which you can throw away when it’s overripe! Surely, hearing aids are around the corner! (We will save the topic of cataracts, colonoscopies, and clumsiness for another cheery post!)

Yes, there are treatments that can make you look younger and I have tried some of them (pandemic got in the way last year), but the truth is that I have lived the majority of my life already. That’s a scary statement to come to terms with. The adage “Age is just a number” was probably said by a twenty-something millennial! Easy for you to say when you have your whole life ahead of you!

As each birthday comes and goes, however many I am blessed with, I vow to keep active, both mentally and physically. I say, stretch those muscles, work that brain, do puzzles, play Scrabble, un-jumble words. We are not our parent’s generation who retired to a lounge chair and early bird specials. We are the generation that forged new paths, blazed new trails that our daughters and sons could reap the rewards from.

We won’t go quietly! We never did. So, get that treatment buy that lip gloss, do that down dog, and be happy you get to see another year go by!

Happy early birthday to Barclay and happy birthday to me!

Takeaways

-Every morning when you open your eyes, be happy you did! It’s not a given.

-You don’t have to tell anybody how old you are! You could always adopt Ben’s tactic – my dad inflated his age by ten years to prompt a response of, “Wow!! You look GREAT!”

As always, enjoy the ride!

xox Barclay and Joy

photo courtesy of https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/birthday-cake-candles-bright-lights-bokeh-418556503

Spring Forward!

The entire elementary school was to participate in a play called, The Season of Happiness. My fourth grade class was assigned the part a “jury” of forest animals who one by one had to stand and vote for a season. I was decked out as a squirrel and had one line. “Spring!” Being shy to the point of selective mutism, I was quite nervous anticipating my big moment. Would I trip on my bushy tail? Would I forget my one syllable line? Well, I guess I nailed it because I remember thinking, Ah, this is my future! I had heard that shy kids come alive when they adopt another identity on stage. My squirrel self would obviously lead to Shakespeare. Or maybe an appearance on one of my favorite TV shows like Get Smart (Agent 99’s young assistant?) or Little House on the Prairie (Laura Ingall’s best friend?)

But alas, my one and only line remained just that. The following year my class was the choir and the music teacher took me aside and asked that I mouth the words and refrain from belting out what was apparently not exactly on key. (I never sang aloud again, thanks to Mrs. Thayer.)

But one thing did emerge from my brief but stellar theatric career. Spring still gets my vote for the happiest season! And that’s not just the squirrel in me talking. I love March in Chicago where snow makes valiant attempts to demand shoveling, but then is rained out two slushy days later. I love April when robins debate whether to rehab an old nest or try a new build. And I love May when flowers blast their color combinations and our wintry, nightmare-ish forest preserve is transformed into full green glory.

Spring IS the season of happiness and there is science to back that up.

According to The Massachusetts Daily Collegian: An increase in exposure to sunlight in Spring and Summer is able to produce an increase in feelings of positivity on two counts: our bodies’ natural and chemical reaction to getting more vitamin D and the consequences of getting to spend more time outside. Exposure to sunlight also increases the production of serotonin in the body.  Psychology Today calls serotonin “The Confidence Molecule” because higher serotonin levels are associated with increased self-esteem and happiness.

Spring of 2021 brings light that goes beyond the normal burst of serotonin – we are emerging from the tunnel of Covid and catching a glimpse of brighter days – when vaccinated Grandmas can hold their arms wide to receive running hugs from toddlers or finally get to hold their four month old grand baby for the first time.

When we move our clocks forward this Spring of 2021, let’s celebrate that tunnel giving way to light. Let’s raise our glass in remembrance of those who succumbed to the virus, let’s toast the nurses and doctors who held phones to their ears as they lay dying; let’s thank God for the companionship of dogs who never left our side, and let’s hail the robins as they show us what rebirth looks like.

This Spring I may just have to dress up as a squirrel and relive my glory days on the stage!

Today’s Takeaways

-Hey Mrs. Thayer, you can’t dismiss me from singing to myself, joining a choir of angels thanking God for reminders of rebirth.

– Not everyone can pull off that bushy tail look. It takes practice. 🙂

Enjoy the ride!

xox

Barclay and Joy

Apricity-it’s a real thing! Who knew?

I read an article last week on the change in lighting at this time of the year, more daylight hours, sunset coming just that much later, Spring is finally in the air!

The word “Apricity” according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, means ‘the warmth of the sun in winter.” The word appears to have entered the English language in 1623 when a man named Henry Cockeram coined it and added it to his dictionary. Who knows? This could be a question on Jeopardy, should you be a contestant at some time in your life

It got me to thinking how important weather is to me, light, sun, the warmth of the sun. It is definitely something that I inherited from my mother before me, who would raise the shades in my room every morning to let the sunshine in, sometimes waking me up when I wasn’t ready to emerge from my very comfortable childhood bed! My mother gave me a weather report every morning, whether I asked for one or not. Weather clearly was important to her too. Perhaps, I should have been a meteorologist and given Ginger Zee some competition or Al Roker. A career for another lifetime!

The change in air, lighting, amount of sunshine, even when it’s still cold outside, gives one hope. The long winter of the Northeast and for my dear friend Barclay, the Midwest, is nearing its end. It’s been a cold one and a very snowy one-think of our readers in Texas where they were pummeled with snowy conditions that they just aren’t used to or equipped to handle. Power grids being effected, car pile ups, lack of warmth and basics for everyday living.

We are close to Spring on the calendar with the equinox March 20th and daylight savings time March 14th. Spring forward. That is indeed what we should strive to do, especially this year. Coming out of our long hibernation, we ponder what life will be like in the next few months. Many of us have lived cautious existences, being afraid to be too close to anyone for fear of spreading a virus that is lurking out there waiting to get us. Now, many of us in the appropriate age groups are getting double vaccinated and, perhaps, we can breathe a little easier, get a little closer, prudently, of course.

Studies have shown the effects of weather for years with cities like Seattle, Portland, London, New Orleans, etc being difficult places to live for lack of sunshine for long periods or heavy rainfalls during the winter months. SAD is a real thing. Seasonal Affective Disorder. When my daughter moved to London for graduate school, I was so concerned about her moods and personality being effected, that I bought her a sun lamp to help her get through the dreary winter months. It does help! Not a magic bullet , but helpful for sure and cheaper than a trip to the Caribbean, which we can’t do yet anyway!

Adding to my ponderings during this 2nd week in March, get out there and experience apricity! It’s there for the taking and it feels delicious. A lot better than frostbite!

Today’s Takeaway…

I just learned a cool new word that you can use for another week or so. Maybe, it will help you in Scrabble or impress your friends and family!

Go outside and look for crocus. They are peeking out from under the soil now waiting to welcome the Spring equinox and the time change.

Weather really does matter! Be happy when the sun is shining.

As always, enjoy the ride

x0x Barclay & Joy

If Only…

It happened again the other day. I heard about someone who had switched careers and was now working in early intervention, visiting families to provide services to newly diagnosed babies. She was doing this amid raising her own children and during a pandemic. Rather than being inquisitive, I began to chide myself — If only YOU had pursued this career. Why aren’t YOU visiting families? Too busy binge watching Bridgerton?? I became both victim and bully, a feat that one can perfect when one is retired and sitting on one’s bed watching a frigid snow globe out the window. (I am also practiced in the art of becoming my dear mother, whose approval was never quite attainable, just one tennis trophy away, one number on the scale too far.)

We all have our If Only’s – self-generated voices citing regrets. If only you had applied yourself in school, gone to a better school, gone to school, written a book, exercised more, eaten less, not said those words, said those words, forgiven someone, forgiven yourself, asked for forgiveness, taken more risks, loved more, compared less.

What is the anecdote to this If-Only cycle of regret – the epitome of unproductive thinking? This time of isolation offers us opportunity to take a step back and sift the practical from the impractical and identify what we CAN do in our baby boomer years. First, we are probably not going to embark on a medical career; we won’t be sharing our research with Dr. Fauci or stumble on the cure for cancer. In fact, we will not be embarking on ANY career. That time has passed. We should come to terms with the fact that we will not be on the next flight to Mars, or be seeded at the next Wimbledon.

Those If Only’s need to disperse and find younger folks in the dreaming stage of mid-stream. We are nearing the water’s edge, soon to be propelled to an ocean’s merging. We have to take inventory of the time we have left, the days fully in our purview. There is potential in the word NOW. It implies a second chance, a rising up with the energy of an espresso and a new morning brewing.

We can’t play on Wimbledon’s grassy stage, but we can dream about sitting in the stands. We won’t be visiting a family to provide therapy, but we can pray for babies and dream about holding them while their harried, young parents deal with untold stresses. We can’t work side by side with amazing Dr. Fauci, but we can help an elderly person secure an elusive vaccine appointment, or bring a fruit basket to those suffering the ravages of Covid. We likely won’t write a best selling children’s book, but we can buy one and volunteer at the local school, or if we are blessed to have them, read to our grand babies.

It is said that to whom much is given, much is expected. Many of us have been given much. So instead of saying, If only, we should be saying, “If only today…” In other words, let’s live life as if THIS is the only day we have.

All that said, if you were to accidentally refer to me as Dr. Marcell, I may not correct you. And as for Bridgerton, let’s be grateful we were not born into the British Regency era with its confining corsets and unyielding caste system, irrespective of that impossibly handsome duke. And don’t you dare think, If only… 🙂

Joy here with my two-cents contribution to today’s post, which was originally intended to be light and airy —

I watched Bridgerton in three sittings, definitely fitting the binge description. For three afternoons, breaking my no-tv-during-the-day retirement rule, I was swept away to a period of opulence, debauchery, elegance, ridiculous over the top social stratification and objectification of women (Gloria Steinem would be screaming!) I loved every morsel, every crumb, but in this bleak winter of snow, bitter cold, and smashing records of every kind, I was transported to a fairy tale land of gorgeous people, exquisite settings, and sumptuous costumes. So no profound thoughts. My wonderful writing partner has taken care of those earlier in this post, but just a pure unadulterated confession that sometimes, escaping to a magical place, whether in literature, film, or tv is okay.

Today’s Takeaways-

-NOW is telling you to take a walk, between those eight foot snow drifts and be grateful you have legs to support you.

-Make it a prayer walk. Covid is still raging.

-Your Duke may be the one you are currently sharing your life with.

Enjoy the ride!

xox

Joy and Barclay