Happy Anniversary!

Joy —

The end of July marks the 6 month anniversary of www.revisionistretirement.com, by Barclay and Joy.  We thought seeing as this is a special milestone (well, it’s not a year or a 5 year, but it is indeed special to us), it was time to celebrate!

We started out with an idea that two lifelong friends adapting to retirement had a lot to say!  We needed an outlet, a cathartic way of getting our thoughts out of our heads and into print.

It’s been great to get to know someone that I’ve known for 37 years even better. We now have a personal call once a week to catch up and a business call to discuss our blog.

Barclay —

“So what do you do?”

When you’re retired, people ask you this all the time.

The voice of my mother echoes,  “Seriously, Barclay, what DO you do all day?  And at day’s end what exactly have you DONE?” 

My life used to be structured (and identified) by raising kids, performing at a job, managing a home.  I was ruled by the alarm clock and the family calendar.

Then, bam… Jared and Alex embarked on their own journeys.  My work life ended. The alarm clock was bored.  The word, retirement, sounded like an abrupt end.  I was grateful but uneasy.

Then came Joy.

Joy and I go back some 40 years.  Joy is one of those people who treasures friendships —  you can pick up right where you left off even if you haven’t spoken in months.  She’ll make you laugh until it hurts.

Now Joy and I speak every week.  We are among the throngs of Baby Boomers – retiring at a rate of 10,000 per day – some of whom have fallen prey to depression, anxiety, over-rumination.  For Joy and me, talking and writing about these pitfalls has been vital – hence the blog idea.  Retirement being revised.  A time of opportunity and growth.  Yes, you CAN teach old dogs new tricks!

Joy’s daughters, Morgan and Dana, have been key to the birth of this blog.  Morgan came up with the name and occasionally acts as editor;  Dana has helped with many an IT issue.  Both have been sounding boards – ever so patient – which must be a tad challenging.  Old dogs can learn but not at a millennial rate!

So far, RR has addressed everything from crepe skin to death.  Overarching themes include –

Aging – Those lovely surprises your mirror announces.  And the mental jolt you get each birthday or when the movie cashier doesn’t even blink when you request a “senior discount”.

The Past – We all have baggage and Jane Fonda suggests that the Third Act is high time for forgiveness and peace.

Passion and Purpose – Finding your sweet spot of service.  Making a difference even if it’s just smiling more, over-tipping, giving someone a sincere, over the top compliment.

Plus…

Loneliness, Marriage, Volunteering, Friendship, Learning, Travel, Mindfulness, Staying Active, Forgetfulness, Parenting adult children.

And lest we forget, Muriel and Peggy have snuck into many a post.

So here’s a new blog post title – You Never Know!

Neither Joy nor I could EVER have anticipated this blogging adventure. We invite you to join us and discover your own revisionist retirement!

Together we’ll find a cure for crepe skin and arm flab — or at least be able to laugh at all things jiggly!

Joy —

Don’t underestimate us!  We both think (maybe in our own delusional minds!) that a Lifetime movie can’t be far behind!  You want to be able to say, I read their blog from the beginning and knew it was special!!!  Don’t miss out on this opportunity!  I will be  played by Julia Roberts (my mouth is the same size as hers and she has large teeth!)  Barclay will be played by Diane Lane.  Sexy at any age!

Above all else keep reading our blog-http://www.revisionistretirement.com

Enjoy the Ride and Raise a Glass!

xox

Barclay and Joy

FAMILY

Whether you call it mishpachah, famiglia, familia, famille, or my peeps, these are the folks you are bound to by blood.  There are memories, secrets, feuds, warmth, feelings, as well as DNA that binds one family member to another.  They are not people we choose, but who by marriage, birth, remarriage, or adoption are part of our life on happy occasions and sad.

Yesterday, was such a day in my family. We all came together to say goodbye to my uncle Morton, my mother’s only sibling.  Muriel  (if you have been reading our blog http://www.revisionistretirement.com you know she was my mother) passed away almost 28 years ago, far too soon, at only 71 yrs old.  (looks super young to me now!) Her brother outlived her to a ripe old age of 94 1/2.  He lived longer than anyone in our family by far and he lived a good life, a happy one.

His daughter FranLisa, my cousin handled his funeral calmly, with composure, and grace.  She read a few paragraphs she had prepared to the small gathering of family and smiled through tears about the man she knew and loved.  The word “kindness” was repeated many times.  He said good morning to people he met at his assisted living facility, folks in the hospital  or  people that needed a smile in the dining room.  He was married to my aunt for 57 years and he worked until he was 74.  He died peacefully truly from old age not from disease or accident , though he had fallen recently and just wasn’t interested in going through physical therapy for the 3rd time.  (I get it)

As I looked around the group gathered in front of our family mausoleum (room for 3    more!) I felt a sense of belonging and connection.  My own daughter stood next to me as well as my husband. I stood next to my cousin and put my arm around her feeling close and touched by her strength in putting her dad to rest.

The service was followed by a lovely lunch at a waterfront restaurant in Westchester, surrounded by people that loved my uncle.  A cousin made the 3 hour drive with his daughter (aided by 2 canes) to recount stories of the old days.  They made me smile and they made him happy to tell them. (and tell them and tell them)

The ties that bind a family should be reinforced, cultivated, nurtured.  The Thanksgiving meal (that everyone in my family always complained about going to) is still the ritual we will remember for many years to come. Soak it in, relish it; for the family that we have in our presence today won’t be here forever, but the emotions we shared will.

Today’s Takeaway…

. Love your family, cherish them, even the crazy aunt that blurts out obscenities or the black sheep of the family that did too many drugs in the 70’s!  They are your flesh and blood and you share a unique history.

Enjoy the ride

xox Barclay and Joy

 

 

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Codie’s Self-Help Book: Lessons from a Golden Retriever

Look people in the eye.

Each person is special. Listen more.  Love always.

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When things go wrong, hang in there.

Try to see the positive in all circumstances.  You can choose gratitude. Dinner will come soon. Love always.

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Always try your best.

Just because you failed every class you took, keep giving it your best.   Love always.

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Love is patient.

When you come face to face with crankiness, bear with it.  Try not to get jealous. Love always.

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Lend a paw.

Check in with people.  Think of a gift to bring them. A sock will do just fine. Love always.

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Spread joy.

Find people who are lonely.  Visit them often. Bring a friend.  Love always.

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Laugh more.

When you’re in the car, be sure to look out the window.  You may see something that makes you laugh.   Love always.

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Sleep is VERY important.

Get your full compliment of 15 to 20 hours a day.  If you can sleep on someone’s head, that’s even better.  Dream about loving always.

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Accept love graciously.

When you’re cute, you’re cute.  What can I say?   Love always.

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Version 2

Live in the now.

All you have is the present moment.  Enjoy it!  Love always.

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Today’s Takeaway:

-Now that we’re retired, we can listen more to our doggie friends.

-Codie’s book will be on the shelves soon. Watch for it!

Enjoy the ride!

xox Barclay and Joy

and Codie, Winston, and Colby

Thar She Blows!!!

My husband and I had been in the city to celebrate a big birthday, I mean “BIG”!!  We had done it up right with tickets to a Broadway show and dinner with our daughters.  It was a lovely evening and night. Being 2 1/2 hours from home, we didn’t get to our house until 2:30 am.

Exhausted and bleary eyed, we approached our house in total darkness.  The lights that we had diligently left on for the dogs and us, were off.  Strange!  We thought perhaps the person who had stopped by to feed them and walk them had inadvertently turned them off.  As we make our way to the front door, we feel the sensation of brush and branches beneath our feet, so much so that we cannot make it through the front door without stumbling. On hands and knees we crawled inside (I’m not kidding!) to find the power out in a darkened house.

A very large branch had apparently broken off a massive tree and diagonally hit the house, just missing a large glass picture window!!  The power had been cut by the tree ripping the wires off the utility poll and the dish providing internet service had been smashed to smithereens leaving a basketball sized hole in our roof!!  With flashlights we surveyed the damage and were shocked to see what could have been death to our sleeping doggies and God Forbid major damage to the house or occupants had we been home!

Having lived through flooding in lower Westchester, a tree falling on one’s house is not so bad.  It scared the life out of me thinking about what could have been.  The damage to the roof is minimal, the power is back on and our internet outage has caused us to use the library in our community.  If all we lost was some landscaping and a tree, I consider myself very fortunate.

Today’s Takeaway…

. Never take anything for granted.  We are not guaranteed a copacetic life! Shit happens!  If it’s not life threatening and there is no blood, consider yourself lucky!

. At least the tree didn’t fall on my husband’s big birthday.  Technically, it fell in the wee hours of the morning  the next day.  However, if a tree falls and there’s no one to hear it, does it make a sound?!! 🙂 The great questions of life!

ALWAYS KEEP YOUR HOMEOWNER’S POLICY CURRENT!!!

Enjoy the Ride!

xox Barclay and Joy

 

 

 

Finding your Zen

We were the generation that was always looking for something else, a higher power, peace, contentment, Zen.

After all, it was the Beatles who introduced us to the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and Transcendental Meditation. I certainly can’t see parents of the 50’s questioning the here and  now, wondering if there was more to life, spirituality. They were too busy coping with day-to-day life. For most typical 1950’s families, the father earned a living, the mother took care of the children, grocery shopped, managed the household, prepared the meals. Who had time for philosophical discussions with oneself!

We started the exercise craze with running, walking, stretching those limbs, bicycling, roller blading.  We wanted to keep moving, get our figures back fast after childbirth, be relevant, be vital,be in touch, be present, mindful.  

Suddenly, yoga mats were everywhere, apps for meditation, supplements for de stressing one’s life, retreats to get in touch with yourself, spas to unwind, massage therapy, aromatherapy, pet therapy, …  

A newly released study conducted by the Yoga Journal and Yoga Alliance shows that U.S. yoga practitioners increased to more than 36 million up from 20.4 million in 2012. That’s a lot of rubber mats being sold!

Many Baby Boomers returned to the religion they were raised with, having veered from it as young twenty somethings.  It answered that need for more. Maybe we couldn’t do it all without a little help from a higher being? Maybe praying brought peace and hope.  It all makes sense when you think about the tumultuous times we grew up in and the rapid changes we were witnessing.

A 2000 New York Times poll reported that 70% of Americans described themselves as more or equally observant of religion as their parents.  81% expressed a belief in the after life, and 30% say they meditated regularly. To cap it off 90% participated in private religious experiences and a majority believe in miracles.  Wow, is the life we lead on a day-to-day basis not fulfilling enough, lacking in someway? I ask myself these questions because I have the time now! I didn’t before and so while they may have entered into my head, they were tucked away for a later date.  Retirement!

I remember my father in law’s wife (whom my husband and I never liked -another family story for a future blog) reading books on Buddha and Hinduism. I thought it odd, but now that I reflect back, I realize she was seeking something too. Though not a Baby Boomer herself, she was a person searching for more, not content with the present. This being about twenty-five years ago, it became clear to me that I am the age she was then!! So my conclusion is that we push these big thoughts aside until we have the time to reflect on them. This desire to achieve contentment and peace of mind is in our DNA.  How could we, the doers, the activists, the advocates, be anything but searchers in this next chapter of life?

Following in our footsteps, but getting a jump on the future, Millennials are not waiting . They are seeking happiness from the get-go.  I’d like to think it’s because we were good role models, but maybe it’s because they see how stressed out we are (were) and how we cope – in this technological world of split second  decisions and expectations of immediate gratification,

Interestingly, more Yale undergrad students registered for a first class on happiness  than any other course in the university’s history.  Nearly ¼ of Yale’s undergrads enrolled.

Now, if that doesn’t give us hope for the next generation, nothing will!  

Bravo Millennials!

Today’s Takeaway—

.Be a searcher, a seeker, always look for that place that gives you peace and contentment.  Don’t accept things the way they are. Unless you are in Nirvana already, there’s always room for improvement!

.Don’t judge other people’s practices, whatever they may be.  What’s right for one person often doesn’t work for another. Find your Zen and embrace it. 

Enjoy the ride!

xox Barclay and Joy

De-Friend your Scale and Boost your Metabolism

My scale and I go way back.  You might say we have a love-hate relationship.  In fact, my scale is a bit of a narcissist – demanding center stage in my mind where it wields more power than it should.

It’s fond of reminiscing about the previous day’s consumption.

Nuts, yeah they’re healthy, but probably not when you eat 5000 calories of cashews.  And speaking of calories, wine has more than you think. 

It’s time to de-friend this time guzzling device.  But first –  a word about our changing metabolism.

Yesterday a woman at my hair salon  lamented, “Once I turned 50, it seems I gain weight after just two bites of cake.” She’s right.  According to Women’s Health“Our metabolism takes a nosedive over the years.”

In our 20s, our metabolism peaks.  We burn the maximum amount of calories just by being alive.  In our 30s, muscle mass reduces and our metabolic rate drops. By the time we’re in our 50s and 60s, our hormones are depleted and we need to reduce our caloric intake substantially just to maintain our weight.

That scale gleefully reminds us Boomers that we are not in our 20s anymore. Or 30s. Or 40s. Or 50s.  Thank you so much.

But there’s a silver lining.

We don’t have to run a marathon or swim a mile, or even jump rope.  We can give our metabolism a kickstart by building muscle through strength training.

Women’s Health says, “Building Muscle is Non-Negotiable!   People who lift weights put on less belly fat as they age than cardio bunnies. Strength training gives your metabolism the biggest boost after your workout ends.  A woman who was sedentary in her twenties and thirties can actually have a higher metabolic rate in her forties if she exercises.”

OK, a personal trainer is expensive.  And so is a membership to a gym where we may not darken the door.

How about trying this 15-min workout?  All you need is a couple of 3-10 pound weights.

In addition to trying this workout,  I’m going to give my scale a talking-to.

Hey Scale,

You are not even in the Friend Zone.

You are free to date other people.

 

Today’s Takeaway –

-Let’s skip the scale and be nicer to ourselves.

-Let’s dust off the dumbbells and try for 15 min a day while watching Good Morning, America.  Our bodies will thank us. Plus, we get to drink more wine!

Enjoy the ride!

xox Barclay and Joy

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Sophie says…

photo of Jessica and Sophie

Homage to Sophie

This post is written for my dear friend Jessica, whom I have known since we were 14 years old.  I am blessed to have several very long term friendships. I treasure them for one cannot duplicate the experiences a person shares when going from child to teenager to young adult, to 3rd chapter Boomer. Jessica and I have shared many memorable experiences together, but this is not about us, but rather her dog  Sophie.

Sadly Sophie was diagnosed with an aggressive tumor, quite out of the blue and at the tender age of 8. She was this little mop of a dog – furry, sweet, lovable, and adored by neighbors and kids on the UWS of New York City. In Jessica’s own words, “She was a puppy at heart until the end-bouncing around, behaving silly and making everyone laugh.  She was the mascot of her building-loved hanging out in the lobby to greet everyone.”

Sophie was trained to be a therapy dog and participated in an amazing program teaching empathy and building self esteem for middle school kids-a fair shake for youth.  She flirted with the other therapy dogs, used every opportunity to inch her way over to them and nuzzle.  It made everyone around her laugh.

What better role can a dog play (besides giving their owners unqualified love) but to bring joy to others who have so little, whether emotionally or physically impaired?  This was Sophie’s gift, her special talent and she did it with humor, tenderness, and compassion.

She came into Jessica’s life when she needed it most, having gone through a very difficult time. I truly believe dogs (cats too, if you are a cat person) are little people in fur suits who know us better than we sometimes know ourselves.  (metaphorically speaking of course)  They snuggle when we need a hug, nuzzle up to us when we need an ear to listen or a shoulder to cry on.  They are there for joy, as well as sorrow and are never too busy to be there for you.  No dog has said, “Sorry, can I call you back later, I’m in the midst of something.”

To add a bit of levity to what is a very sad story, I must include the animal communicator tale. What’s that you said, “animal communicator?” “Put simply, animal communication is a silent, telepathic language that functions via deepened intuition.” (SheKnows)

 

An animal communicator was contacted (Jessica’s sister had suggested this in her hour of need) and a conversation took place via phone. The communicator informed Jessica that Sophie was stressed out and that she, Jessica, needed to lighten up.  “Too much negative energy!” Now this animal communicator was not told anything beforehand about Sophie’s tumor or that Jessica was faced with this life or death decision.  STRESSING HER OUT!!!  Really?

As Jessica told me this story over lunch at Barney Greengrass on the UWS, I was ready to fall off my chair laughing. Jessica knew that  out of all her friends, I would be the one to appreciate this the most.  I, who have always been superstitious, a believer in astrology, psychics, reincarnation, etc.  (We once went to Staten Island on a bus for an incredible reading by a woman that occasionally would be hired by the NYPD to help find missing children!  I digress…)

The animal communicator was then told about Sophie’s diagnosis to explain why there was stress and she proceeded to take a different approach.  She couldn’t make the decision for Jessica, but she did assure her that all Sophie wanted was to be near family and to feel loved.

Reiki was administered to both dog and human.  Jessica reported that suddenly Sophie started running around like the puppy she had always been.

Jessica knew that she had done everything she could and that Sophie understood and felt loved.

Todays Takeaway- 

.. Dogs (cats) are special.  They bring us joy and comfort.  As we age, perhaps, ever more importantly, they give us a reason to keep to a regimen, to let them out in the morning, to feed them, to walk them,to provide company, solace.  Never underestimate the power of a pet! Who knows, it might be someone’s soul inhabiting the body?  But that we will save for another post!

-Kacie and Colby (Barclay’s and my senior citizen dogs) are respectively 14 and 17.  We know their time with us on earth is limited.  Love them with all your heart and be sensitive to their needs, as you would want someone to understand yours.

Enjoy the ride!

xox Barclay and Joy

 

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