The Last Time I Saw You We Were 7!!

What do you say to someone you haven’t seen since you were 7 years old?!! It’s a mind blowing experience and one I had to share.

In one of my many unaccounted for retirement moments, I was thinking of people who have come and gone in my life.  Names from the past, childhood, in particular.  I had two very close friends in elementary school, one who I have been friends with since kindergarten (with a hiatus of about twenty years, but that’s a post for another day) and another who I met at about the same time.  Friend #2 moved away at the end of 2nd grade and we lost touch. I put in her maiden name, not knowing if she was married or divorced or never having been married.  A gap of this much time means you missed out on her growing up, graduating from junior high school, high school, a first boyfriend, the prom,  applying to college, getting married, a first job, a career, having children, the list goes on.

Is it curiosity, getting older and wanting to connect with people from our past or the fact that FB allows us to be super sleuths? The ability to find just about anyone from our past exists. When you find someone who was a best friend, no matter what age you are, it’s a gift.  It’s a renewal of something you once shared that only the two of you remember.

Ironically, my friend has a sister who has a weekend house less that an hour and a half  away from where I live.  What are the chances?  So,  last weekend we made a plan to meet at a local restaurant for a glass of wine.  She would be with her husband and I would be with mine. I walked into the restaurant and a big broad smile came over her face.  I recognized her immediately and she me, though we hadn’t seen each other in over 50 years!!!!  The face of the child I knew was still there.  It brought a flood of emotion to us both and we knew this was going to be a night of reminiscences, laughing and scratching the surface of two lives reconnecting.

At this phase of life friendships are more important than ever.  We have the time to see people that we may not have had while raising families.  If someone has been lost along the way, reach out.  FB and other social media make things possible and it’s an amazing tool that I still marvel at.  (no matter how lame that sounds!)

Today’s Takeaway…

There is no time like now to reach out and make someone’s day.  If you’ve lost a friendship over the years, take a chance and try connecting. The memories you shared are still there and it can be so worth the effort.

Barclay and her husband just visited us in upstate New York and I am still smiling.  It was an opportunity for our husbands to get to know one another and we could commiserate in person over our still unfigured out state of retirement!

Enjoy the ride

xox Barclay and Joy

Where did my UWS go????

A few months back I met one of my long time friends for lunch at an UWS (Upper West Side) establishment, Barney Greengrass.  Greengrass is a long long time (since 1908!) establishment on Amsterdam in the 90’s known for it’s smoked fish (it’s a Jewish thing!) and not taking credit cards! We walked for blocks and talked, as we always had.  I couldn’t help but notice the many “For Rent” signs in windows.  The small businesses of my childhood, ones where the proprietress or proprietor knew you by name or your family by name were long gone, but now even their replacements were being shuttered.  High rents have made it nearly impossible to own the type of shops that made the UWS my UWS of the 1960’s and 70’s.

Map of 410 Riverside Dr, New York, NY 10025

 

I grew up on Riverside Drive by Columbia University.  My building was one of those grand limestones with a carriage drive, pillars and huge picture windows across the street from the park.  I lived there for 23 years with my parents until I got married.

I knew Tom’s Diner long before there was a Seinfeld, Mama Joy’s for deli sandwiches, The Columbia Men’s Shop for college clothes to wear when your parents came to visit, the stationery store on the corner of 113th and Broadway that my father nearly bought, Simmons Gift Shop for presents that a 10 year old might buy mom for her birthday or a house warming gift, Daitch Shopwell where my mother did her “big” grocery shopping and Party Cake on 110th Street for linzer tarts and special cupcakes for each holiday!  (a Valentine cupcake, a Chanukah cupcake, a Christmas cupcake)  Of course, there was the 5&10 or Woolworth’s on Broadway and 110th for literally everything from Maybelline makeup to buttons to underpants and bras! This is where my mother told me it was okay to sample their hard candies in baskets because that’s what they were there for!  Luckily, this didn’t lead to a life of crime! These are some of my memories of a childhood spent on the UWS, 113th street, too far uptown for  many people who felt uncomfortable going higher than 86th Street in those years. Riverside Drive was always special, it was my playground, it was where I learned to ride a bike, where my mother sent me to hang when our apt was being painted or wall papered.  It was where I played in the dirt or in the sandbox, went down below (that’s what we called the lower level of the park) to later study in high school or to hit a ball against the wall to practice tennis, picnic on a hot summer Sunday and read The New York Times.  Life was simple, or so it seemed and I loved it.  It felt like a neighborhood, people lived in their rent controlled apartments forever!  Why would you leave when you were paying $350 for a 2 bedroom 2 bathroom apt with a huge living room and full kitchen!

Today, every corner has a bank or a Duane Reade Pharmacy.  Small businesses stopped being able to afford the UWS a long time ago.  A few still remain from my childhood, but they are very few, Mondel’s Chocolates, which my best friend’s aunt and uncle owned,  The Town Shop further down on Broadway, Zabar’s  of course, the V&T for pizza (every Columbia student knows it well, and The Hungarian Bakery for dessert after you eat pizza! They have withstood the test of time.

We were middle class and everyone I knew was just like me.  Perhaps, they had a little more or a little less, but we were so similar in values, in philosophy, in morality, in politics.  It might have been the most integrated area in the U.S.  I went to school with Hispanics, Blacks, Poles, Irish, Jewish, Catholic, and a few Chinese. I can’t remember any WASPS, but they probably lived on the UES! Too many halfway houses, slum lords, and SRO’s at that time. The cuckoos kept to themselves.  Mental health wasn’t well understood  and if you didn’t bother them, they didn’t bother you.

The question is do you remember life a certain way because that’s how it was? Or are your childhood memories viewed through rose colored glasses with the soot and grime removed?

I feel fortunate to have grown up when I did and in the place I still love best.  I scattered my mother’s and father’s ashes over Riverside Drive Park at 113th Street because it was their happy place too.  (Don’t tell anyone!  I’m sure I needed a permit!)

Today’s Takeaway… 

. “Nostalgia can be a treacherous mistress because she glamorizes the past and downgrades the present in a way that threatens to make them both intolerable.”

Enjoy the ride

xox Barclay and Joy

Warding off Depression in Retirement

It can sneak up on you.  Especially if your self-image has centered around your career.  Especially if you don’t have an established routine. Especially if your mind has time on its hands.

You used to have that go-to identity.  I am a _____.   

Now when asked what you do, there’s a caveat.  I used to be a _______ .  Or   I am a retired-_________.

Then there’s the auspicious question,  So now that you’re retired, what do you do all day??

Self-doubt can creep in, especially after the euphoria passes.  And with that self-doubt, depression can make a surprise appearance.  You may feel that no one can relate.  After all, you are the lucky one.

It may be a case of expectations being derailed.  This is supposed to be the best time of your life.  The time you’ve saved for, planned for.  Upon its arrival, you’ve traveled, you’ve mastered the strudel recipe, you’ve taken the dancing class.  Now too much leisure coupled with too little structure leaves an emptiness not anticipated.

You are not alone.

According to the London-based Institute of Economic Affairs, “The likelihood that someone will suffer from clinical depression actually goes up by about 40% after retiring.”   Work-life has provided the ingredients to life satisfaction — social connections, a steady routine and a sense of purpose.   When work is taken away – even by design and desire, depression can ensue.

So what to do?

Investopedia cites 6 ways to overcome depression in retirement.

Staying in shape. Being social. Developing a schedule. Giving back.  And maybe hitting the classroom or finding part-time work.

The bottom line, they say, is to get a plan.

If the depression becomes too much to handle, this plan may involve medication, talk therapy, or a combination of both.  And that’s not something to be embarrassed about.

So be aware that an abundance of leisure has to be balanced with purpose and routine — a plan to be occupied mentally,  physically, and spiritually.

Eleanor Roosevelt said, “It takes as much time to worry as it does to plan.”

What’s my plan?

First, when I feel anxiety creeping in, I do SOMEthing productive and tangible — cleaning a bathroom, getting on the elliptical, taking Codie for a walk, calling a friend.  Then I make sure my calendar has a pre-planned activity each day — this, alongside exercise, Bible reading, the occasional book club, the strategic getaway – and usually depression/anxiety is held at bay .

When someone asks, “What do you do all day?”  I can say, “I’m enjoying my one an only life!”

Today’s Takeaway –

-Depression is sneaky.  And it’s the last thing you expect during this long awaited time of freedom from traditional work.  Don’t be surprised by its appearance.

– Seek help if needed.  You are not alone.

-Codie thinks that you should definitely get a pet – preferably, a golden retriever.  Codie is a therapist on the side.

Enjoy the ride!

xox Barclay and Joy

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What do I Really Need?

I have been thinking a lot (to borrow Maria Shriver’s beginning sentence leading into her wonderful Sunday post-mariashriver.com/sundaypaper) Retirement gives us the time to daydream, to muse, to preoccupy our minds with small things as well as big philosophical questions.  When working I didn’t have the time to let my mind wander. Time is money when you are in sales.  You need to be disciplined, focused, fixated on your goals and how you are going to attain them. This thinking time can get us into trouble, but it can also help us put things into perspective.

I got to thinking about possessions, what I want, what I need at this stage of life.  I don’t need a lot.  Who’s going to see my new designer blouse?  The check out girl at the supermarket? True, we do things for ourselves, but at the end of the day, didn’t I always like the office compliment, the bathroom banter over my new shoes, haircut, lip gloss  Who notices now?

The key is to do all the materialistic things that make you happy when you have a paycheck! Buy that high end moisturizer on a whim! Go to the best sushi restaurant on someone else’s expense account (I never looked at prices until I retired! Dining out in a major city is expensive when it comes out of your own pocket!)

When I think about it, I don’t need blingy jewelry (I spend the winter in Mexico so take off all my jewelry before I go-no reason to broadcast it.) I don’t need designer clothes or even a fancy car.  We are living in the land of SUVs and not ones with prestige brands.

It all goes back to living a simple life, one in which waking up in the morning, hearing nothing but the sounds of the country is bringing me a new sense of who I am unadorned, unadulterated, and understated. Maybe I could do with a little eyeliner!  You never know who might be scouting for retired publishers in Columbia County!

Somewhere, there’s a happy medium of figuring out who you are without the trappings.  I do know that I don’t need stuff to make me happy anymore and that yoga pants and a tee shirt are my outfit of choice!  The beauty of not needing more is that it saves a lot of time surfing the internet for things that I’ll never wear.

In the words of my favorite realtor in Westchester, less is more!

In the words of my colorist (of course I don’t have any gray!) if you don’t like the way you planned things, change it!  The only rules you have now are your own.

Daily Simplicity: 13 Habits That Will Make Your Life Lighter and Happier
https://www.positivityblog.com/simplicity-habits/
May 2, 2018 – “Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.”. … One simple reason and one of the most important ones for me is that simplicity reduces the heaviness in life. … 

 

Today’s Takeaway…

. Reassess everything that made you the person you were for all these years.  Pare down, get back to basics and remember we all go out the same way we came in!

Enjoy the Ride

xox Barclay and Joy

 

 

 

 

Body Image

I’ve admitted that I am a sucker for those As-Seen-on-TV products. When I hear, “If you order now…” – my credit card is out.

Some recent purchases include —

A twirly hair product for creating easy, beachy waves. (Not so easy.)

A brush that straightens your hair. (Now in a bathroom drawer.)

A facial hair removal wand. (Actually I LOVE this product.  Who knew that our post-menopausal faces would decide it’s high time we sport facial hair?)

A wand for eyebrow hair removal.  (Now in a bathroom drawer. My eyebrows apparently decided to donate their extra hair to my chin.)

I have tried products that exfoliate, moisturize, tighten, plump, and contour.

Naturally, I watch TV in a Snuggie.Screen Shot 2018-08-22 at 4.56.00 PM.png   Doesn’t everyone?

At least I am savvy about enterprises who auto-charge and auto-deliver until you have enough product to open your own storefront.  And I read the fine print.  You do NOT want to have to dial an 800 number and spend hours on hold just to extract yourself from a commitment you never committed to.

I am still at it though.  I recently succumbed to this concealer which promises model-like perfection for arms, legs, torso. Will it grant runway-status legs or make it look like I’m being prepped for a casket?

Perhaps you’ve seen their infomercials.  I can’t be the only one who finds them irresistible. Right??

Screen Shot 2018-09-05 at 10.22.24 AM.png

Body image is tricky business.

My mother once wrote an article entitled The Last Whistle.  She described walking along Lexington Ave when she heard a construction worker-type whistle directed her way.  She was well into her 50s and she felt flattered that she had drawn male attention. Her article went on to bemoan the aging process. It was her last whistle she said.

I hated that article.

What is beauty anyway?  My friend, Rita, age 96, lying prone on a nursing home bed, is looking more like an angel each time I see her.  Her teeth won’t stay in place, but her smile is the prettiest I’ve seen.

That said, let’s raise a glass with Jane Fonda and vow not to go gently into that dark night.

We will stay moving, keep reading, enjoy friendships, and wear Maybelline concealer – not seen on TV.

And rock a Snuggi when no one is around.

No one, and I mean no one, looks good in a Snuggi!

Today’s Takeaway –

-Make up and skin care indeed can give us additional confidence, but an equivalent amount of attention needs to be given to caring for the soul. That which lasts.

-Let’s aspire to be like this random internet woman.  We may not master her pose, but maybe we can touch our toes – remembering that it’s not the toe touching that counts, but what takes place on the way down. At least that’s what my 25 year old yoga teacher said.

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Enjoy the ride!

xox  Barclay and Joy