Another New Year’s

So another new year is upon us and the old one is about to exit.

We reflect, we ponder, we think about what we have accomplished and we what we didn’t. Going into my second year of retirement (hard to believe!) I want this next year to be easier, not as much soul searching or scratching my head as to what to do now.  I want a light bulb to go on and a little voice inside of me to say , it’s okay to kick back every once in a while, to take an afternoon nap, make paella on Tuesday, sip a glass of wine every day at 4!  There don’t have to be rules to live by, just to be a good person, a role model for your children, your grand children, the people you care about.

The holidays are filled with great expectation and then they are over.  It all comes to an abrupt end and then reality reenters the picture.  People go back to their lives, their work lives.  This 2 week period where not much happens is an excuse for the world to take a break, a vacation, a ‘call me after the holidays”, take the tree down on Monday instead of waiting until the weekend.  Retired people return to being what?  Retired?  Where do I fit now?  What’s my place in the world?  Big questions for a Sunday, but thoughts that cross my mind and I want to share.

Barclay is headed down to Florida for a well deserved winter break and I will be leaving for Mexico next week.  We are lucky to get away. We have chosen to have a change of scenery, warmth for our bodies, sun for our geriatric dogs (we both have them)   We don’t have to worry about vacation schedules anymore, how many days have I accrued, will my company survive without me?  (believe me, it will!  None of us are that important, unless you are saving lives or working on a cure for cancer) What I’ve learned this last year is that I am the director and producer of this play.  I can change the script anytime I want or feel the need.  If something doesn’t please me or fulfill me, I can for the first time cancel the second act!  No one to account to, but me.  My performance review will be written by my toughest critic, moi!

http://www.revisionistretirement.com has come a long way since we began almost a year ago.  We have written 91 posts, poured our hearts out to you our followers, shared some very personal feelings, painted a picture of the little girls we were, the parents who raised us (where would we be without Peggy and Champe, Muriel and Ben?) the children we adore and couldn’t live without, and the EPH who puts up with 2 women who are navigating waters they never expected to be rough.  Writing has been cathartic, emotional, and joyful. It is an outlet that my fellow blogger and I needed to have.  We wanted to share this journey with both  friends, select family members (those who wouldn’t be offended by anything we say) as well as strangers who might benefit from the trials and tribulations we have faced.

Not so sure I’m making resolutions this year or buying new red underwear (I made my children fearful that if they didn’t rush out and buy a new pair every year, their year would be ruined!), but I will not eat chicken no matter what!  (all traditions that I have followed on New Year’s eve for many years!  What can I say, I’m a very superstitious person!) This year I’m going to shake it up a bit because as much as I am a creature of habit, I’m ready to break free!

In the words of Oprah, “Cheers to a new year and another chance to get it right.”

Today’s Takeaway…

-We hope we made you laugh, made you think, given you a glimpse into our souls and that you will follow us in 2019.

-This 3rd chapter promises to be full of surprises and Barclay and I are ready to take it on!

Happy New Year to all and Enjoy the Ride.

xox Barclay and Joy

 

 

 

We Wish You A Merry Christmas

Screen Shot 2018-01-25 at 1.53.49 PM   From the bottom of our hearts, Barclay and I thank you for your support as we navigate this retirement road.  It’s been a lot cheaper than therapy!! ( We’re not on medicare yet!)

We are taking a bit of a break as we enjoy our families, friends, one big birthday, and the end of another year.

May all your wishes and dreams come true.

Enjoy the Ride

xox Barclay and Joy

A wonderful read as you enjoy this holiday season-

http://www.google.com/url?q=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.pewforum.org%2Finteractives%2Fwhat-keeps-us-going%2F&sa=D&sntz=1&usg=AFQjCNEFAkcd6QEopqlg6Vw8d_dMZws3Eg

 

 

 

 

Christmas Messiness

 

One Christmas I proudly mailed out our family Christmas card, only to realize after the fact that 4-year-old Jared’s hand was placed comfortably (yet firmly) on his crotch, center stage.

Then there was the time Grandma and I were happily preparing a feast, wine in hand, when she looked out the window at our neighbor’s Christmas lights, and exclaimed “Look at the donkeys!”  To which I responded, “Perhaps they are reindeer.  But I could be wrong.  Maybe Santa uses donkeys.”  We still giggle at our inebriated discussion!

And I’ll never forget the Christmas I briskly drove our SUV to the tree lot, fuming that I was doing this chore all by my lonesome.  And in this state of angry self-justification, I subsequently plowed this same SUV into our garage, forgetting the small fact there was a tree tied to its roof.  I can still hear the violent crunching sound.

Another year Alex and I brought home a complete Christmas village, with snow, miniature people, benches, trees, and intricate buildings lit up from within.  “We have to be very careful,” we said.  “They are so fragile”.  Upon the word “fragile” we turned at the exact same time and crashed the village churches into each other, teeny windows, roofs and doorways falling on the living room rug.  They were indeed fragile.

And finally there was that Christmas night we went to the movies, a certain-family member having selected the film.  Imagine sitting next to your daughter’s boyfriend, age 25, and watching the first (close-up) scene from The Wolf of Wall Street – it is not A Wonderful Life.   That certain-family member still gets teased about this selection.

Do you have some messy Christmas memories?

Well, take heart that the very first Christmas was also messy.   A teenage mom.  Stinky barnyard animals.  Straw.   Refugee status awaiting.  An evil ruler.

 

So don’t let a ruined tree, an embarrassing card, drunk cooks, or an awkward movie experience get in the way of marveling at the miracle of Christmas.

God coming down.  Messy and marvelous.

 

Today’s Takeaway –

-Read Joy’s reflection.  My Favorite Christmas Memory (still)    Relish the messiness!

-And don’t forget to marvel!

Enjoy the ride!

xox Barclay and Joy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Favorite Christmas Memory (still)

macro shot photography of christmas stockings ornament on a christmas tree
Photo by Craig Adderley on Pexels.com

I (Joy) had always wanted to have a Christmas tree.  As many Jewish children will tell you, pleading, making the argument that the tree can be a Chanukah bush, that it isn’t truly a Christian symbol, ya de ya de ya de…  It didn’t work with my father and I’m sure it doesn’t work with many Jewish families.  Though in today’s world, times are different and maybe a small tree might fly!

Fast forward many years later at the tender age of 23, I marry a nice Catholic boy.  Finally, I would get to experience Christmas!  (Why else marry outside your faith?!!)

It was Christmas 1977 and I was so excited.  We didn’t own a car since we commuted into New York City by bus from New Jersey.   I had a driver’s license, but never drove having grown up in New York City.  My husband walked with a shopping cart to the local supermarket, a distance of a mile or more, to buy a tree and surprise me.  I remember it vividly when I came home to a tree standing tall in a stand ready to be decorated by newlyweds who were doing everything for the very first time.  I cried putting the tree up and I cried taking it down.

I have been carrying on this tradition for years, but this first Christmas will always be one I cherish in my heart and memory.  There is only one first and the ones that you remember are special, never to be duplicated again.

Christmas, just like many family holidays triggers memories for many people.  If you have lost someone, a parent, a spouse, someone dear to you it is a time for those memories to be felt acutely.  Recognize that the most mundane things we do can be made memorable.  Live in the present, not in the past, but hold the past locked in your heart for safe keeping.  These reminiscences will make you smile now and 10 years from now.  It’s your unique story that is unlike anyone’s else.

So, indulge Barclay and me, if you will, as we muse on Christmas past and present.

Charles Dickens, where are you?

Today’s Takeaway…

. Time is your friend now.  You don’t have to compete with your job, raising children, getting dinner on the table.  Savor each baked Christmas cookie and each unwrapped ornament as if it was the first time you ever experienced it.

. Make new memories and blend them with the old. After all, your retired life is just that, a patchwork quilt that you are weaving together.

Enjoy the Ride,

xox Barclay & Joy

 

 

 

SWEAT- it’s a great feeling!

By the sweat of my brow, sweat equity, blood sweat and tears, don’t sweat the small stuff, etc etc.  I (Joy) got to thinking about this sweat stuff and realized after a hot yoga session-sweat is good.  It makes you feel alive!  It lets you know you’ve worked your hardest – or that the room is 95 degrees and you are attempting to do downward dog!

Sweating is a bodily function that makes me happy, satisfied with my performance.  In the words of Winston Churchill- “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.”  Winston must have known something!

My daughter desperately wanted a yoga room in our basement so last winter we renovated the space and installed a sauna. (I wasn’t planning on it since I am now retired and watching my spending!)  But I love saunas and so does she. A perfect addition to a yoga space complete with light that turns from green to red by remote control,  Very Zen indeed! There is nothing like going downstairs in your own home with a towel wrapped around you to sweat for an hour!  This is sweat not from hard work like exercise, but pure heat raising your body temperature.  Ah sweat!  It’s wonderfully sinful! Next a hot tub!

Sweat is just fat crying-can’t take credit for this marvelous quote, but had to use it!

 

Barclay chiming in…

My friend, Geri, observed that when you first begin a hot yoga class, you think you look OK.  Your hair is neatly tied back; you’re wearing the right gear.  But then gradually over the course of the hour, you begin to turn into a monster.  Your hair becomes alternately matted and frizzy; your mascara from the night before has descended to your cheek; and you are pouring out sweat in all the wrong places.

But, you feel amazing!  Cleansed.  Accomplished.  And perhaps a tad high on endorphins.

The site, Medical Daily, tells us that sweating (while exercising) detoxifies our body, boosts our immune system, and cleanses our skin.  It’s even better, they say, if we do so with other people.

“Exercising increases the level of the “feel-good” endorphin hormones that are naturally released during physical activity. A 2009 study published in the journal Biology Letters found group workouts actually increase endorphin levels and cause less pain for those who work out together than those who train alone. Sweating it out during a group exercises like Zumba or hot yoga can help put a smile on your face.”

Oh, and it also helps get rid of any alcohol that may be lingering in your system from the previous evening.

So sweat away.  It’s empowering; it’s feminine; it’s mood lifting.

Channel your inner Jane Fonda, circa 1980, with her legging-socks.  A style that YOU could bring back into vogue!

 

Screen Shot 2018-12-11 at 2.38.51 PM

 

Today’s Takeaway –

-My mother was right AGAIN.  She loved to sweat during a workout.  Check out Keep Moving!

-Do not look in the mirror when you leave your Hot Yoga class.  You will see a frizzed out monster which in no way resembles you!

 

Enjoy the Sweaty Ride!

xox Barclay and Joy

Mrs. Grossman, is that you???

This is an addendum to the post of several weeks ago about reconnecting through social media.  
The Last Time I Saw You We Were 7!!

 

Mrs. Grossman was one of my favorite teachers of all time. All us girls at P.S. 165 (shout out to the upper west side before it was hip and cool!)  She was 21 at the time and we were her second teaching job ever!  (just learned this recently) She was pretty  and when you think about it not even a full generation removed from us 7 year old girls!

My friend Paula wanted more than anything to reconnect with Mrs. Grossman and she made it her business to find this woman.  Eureka!!  Through the skill of Scott, Paula’s husband he found a phone number and hoped this was the right woman.  Last night Paula had a 2 hour phone conversation with her that was filled with tears of happiness and nostalgia.  The only reason it didn’t go on longer was that Mrs. Grossman’s phone died!

Just as I had said in my previous post, how does one catch up on a hiatus of over 50 years?!  The answer is you can’t. You don’t.  You ask about children, parents, births, marriages, deaths, health.  You let the person know you have thought about them and how much they influenced your life.  Paula actually became a teacher because of 2 people that deeply influenced her.  One was Mrs.  Grossman.  How must that feel to tell someone that they chose their career path because you were a role model.

Mrs. Grossman was so touched and flattered.  She mentioned names of other students from our class that she had recalled and asked if Paula had kept in touch with anyone.  Of course, our own story of reconnection was told.

It brought back for both Paula and me a time of innocence and simplicity.  It made us both happy to talk about the effect this one gesture, a phone call had on the life of a woman who we still remembered.

One person can have a dramatic effect on another human being.  In Paula’s case she saw Mrs. Grossman as the teacher she might be one day.

My dear blogging partner, Barclay, became a wonderful reading specialist.  Not sure who her influence might have been or even if there was one.  I have no doubt she was  nurturing and passionate  in her career  leaving an indelible impression on many young children.

Today’s Takeaway

-People are effected and influenced differently.  We all have the ability to shape an opinion, an impression and shouldn’t diminish what we bring into this world.

-Lest I get too serious and philosophical, I have included my (and Paula’s) 2nd grade class picture which features my Mamie Eisenhower bangs!  Who knows, perhaps skirts with straps will make a comeback and pixie haircuts with Mamie bangs!  They tell me fashion is cyclical!

Enjoy the ride

xox Barclay & Joy

 

 

Letting Go

Thanksgiving is over and I’m driving my daughter home. The car pulls up to her apartment.  There’s a quick hug. “Keep in touch!” I say as she bolts from the car. “Yeah…mom…keep in touch.”

After holiday togetherness, I fight sadness with saying good-bye.  And I am fortunate that – presently- my daughter, son, and daughter in law live close by.

But they have their own lives.

As they should.

Why do I cling to moments when we are under the same roof?  Why is letting-go so hard?

Richard Rohr says that “All spirituality is about letting go.”  (I think he means LIFE itself is about letting go.)

Father Rohr would probably recommend that Clingers like me investigate the spiritual discipline of Detachment.  In The Power of Spiritual Detachment we are told more about this ancient practice,

Spiritual detachment is a process that frees us from whatever interferes with our spiritual growth. Detachment helps us avoid disordered inclinations and relationships with persons or things. Detachment can help us avoid negative memories and thoughts that keep us from God’s love.”

So what does this look like?

For me, it means letting go (or detaching) from that which I can’t hold on to – so that I can grab (or attach) to that which is eternal, to God Himself, who actually may not be repelled by my abject clinginess.

I am a slow learner though.  But I do know one thing..

When cars pull away from apartment doors. when hugs dispatch in front of  bustling United terminals – that’s when the practice of Detachment comes in handy.  That’s when I need to reach out and attach to the hand of God.

Who thankfully is reaching toward me.

 

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Barclay and I are so in tune with each other on this topic.  It is especially hard for me to let go as well. Like a true Cancer (my astrological sign) I am tenacious, a lover of home and hearth, and slow ( I mean slow!) to accept that life isn’t what it used to be!

I love being with my daughters and am blessed to have one of them living with us (still!  re-read “The Boomerang Daughter” for clarity) I know that there is a reason she is with me now.  It could be she will move to a foreign country for her career or marry someone from abroad. I have always believed that things happen for a reason, though we may not understand the why’s until many years later.  There is a bigger plan and if you believe in a higher being, then trust that the pieces of the puzzle will be revealed in due time.

Many of my friends who have grown children have been able to let go because their offspring are engaged or married. If they haven’t entered into that next phase of life (mine have not), then you (make that me) tend to see them as an extension of their younger selves. So my goal, as a Jewish mother is to hover ever so lightly, trying to loosen the reins as much as my personality will allow, and hope that they tell me when I have stepped out of line!

 

Today’s Takeaway –

-It turns out that if you pay for dinner or for vacations, the whole family will come!  Something to think about!

-If a roll of the eyeball is directed at you, if your grown child has to peel himself away from your hug, if  a stray tear is seen rolling down your cheek – well, as Joy says, it’s time to loosen those reins lest your kids run, not walk, in the other direction.

-If you need some sappiness in your life, just park yourself in front of the Hallmark channel with a glass of wine in hand.

Disclaimer-We know this is what we should be doing.  This does not mean we’re very good at practicing it!

Enjoy the Ride

xox

Barclay and Joy