Retirement Truth or Dare

Beware of these Retirement Lies:

I am too old to…

No one needs me.

The best is behind me.

I can’t learn anything new.

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

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

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

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

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

So let’s live an RBG life.

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

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

I dare you.

Today’s Takeaway –

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

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

Enjoy the ride!

xox Barclay and Joy

This RBG trailer should whet your appetite for more.

And Jane is equally notorious!

Laughing at Ourselves

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

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

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

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

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

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

And there’s more.  My advice  —

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

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

The Huffington Post says,

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

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

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

And you may just find joy therein.

 

Today’s Takeaway –

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

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

 

Enjoy the ride!

xox Barclay and Joy

 

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Self-Care – Putting your oxygen mask on first

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

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

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

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

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

Unplug for a day. Go on a media fast.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

She’s right.  As usual.

Today’s Takeaway –

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

Enjoy the ride!

xox Barclay and Joy

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These are Codie lookalikes.  Same joie!

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

Dreaming Small

Mary Rose filled our glasses and we knitting ladies (loosely termed as I am an awful knitter) toasted Michelle on her retirement.

“What are you looking forward to most?” we asked.

Michelle described a few “more’s”.

Sleep more. Knit more.  Travel more.

Sounds great.  But after the initial exhilaration, some retirees find themselves with more Netflix than more Grand Canyon.

Here are some ideas to get us off our asses (Peggy’s infamous descriptor) physically and mentally.

Say Yes.

Have you seen the Jim Carey movie, Yes Man, where the main character has to say yes to everything?  He finds himself interacting with exhilerating people and having wild-ride experiences.

My friend, Cathy, has said yes to political marches, travel, and continuing her social work.

Jeanne has said yes to tutoring, RV living, and volunteering for Avenues to Independence.

Gina has said yes to bike riding, gardening, and urban renewal projects; Mary Rose – to cradling babies and hanging with her granddaughter; Sally – to travel, family, golf, and taking her beloved dog to nursing homes.

What’s your YES these days?

(A caveat — make sure your YES is not that people-pleasing, forced-into-it type, but comes out of an open heart and a desire to be courageous.)

Find your mission.

What gives you joy?

What are your unique gifts and talents?

What moves you?

Maybe what gives you joy is exactly the spot where you make the world a tad better for others.  One theologian describes this intersection as follows –

“The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”― Frederick Buechner

My brother, Charlie, a philosophy professor, plans to teach classes to prisoners once he retires. Jeanne, a reading teacher, is helping kids with dyslexia.

It’s OK to Dream Small

Diane says yes in small ways each day.  She is intentional about chatting with grocery store clerks; she shares uplifting  messages on FB, she smiles at strangers.  Her random conversations sometimes end with the other person saying, “I was just meant to talk to you today. I feel so much better. Thank you.”

There’s a song titled Dream Small —

Live well
Loving God and others as yourself
Find little ways where only you can help
With His great love
A tiny rock can make a giant fall
So dream small.

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Whether we visit the Grand Canyon or to the Grand Grocery Store, let’s look for more YES moments.

And then we can check out what’s trending on Netflix!

Today’s Takeaway –

-What a wonderful life I lead.  I can’t wait to do this again tomorrow.    Said no one – ever – after watching 6 straight hours of Netflix.  (I speak from experience…)

Enjoy the ride!

xox

Barclay and Joy

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

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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