As the leaves turn…

The end of Summer and the beginning of fall bring mood changes for me.  They always have.  I think about the butterflies I had in my stomach every year at this time.  (1st grade through high school) As soon as the fall issue of TV Guide (which I looked forward to, so I could plan my after homework watching of the new shows) hit the newsstands, it was a signal the carefree days were coming to the end.  The Miss America Pageant (pre-Trump) was always a fixture on tv Labor Day weekend as was Jerry Lewis’ Muscular Dystrophy Telethon.  What kid doesn’t love summer?!  It is a time of long days, long nights, few demands, no hard core schedules, anxiety free and just plain wonderful. September is back to business, like clockwork bringing  with it a quick drop in temperatures (please may that happen this fall!  Sick of humidity and heat!), a more serious air, a determination to make things happen, to accomplish goals, objectives, and stop procrastinating.  (my tax extension that seemed months and months away is almost upon me and reality hits that the IRS is calling!)

When you are retired the end of summer has a different meaning. Other people are preparing to get back to business and you’re left out!  Even though I have a regimen and my days are filled, I am on perpetual time off mode.  I have no one to answer to, but me.  Since I worked part time last fall at my old company, this will be my first fall without a return to the work world.  I know that I must keep my pace, stay busy, continue to fill my days with an itinerary, a plan. If I don’t I will lose momentum, sink into a feeling of despondency, and make my family miserable!  So with a little CBD oil  (a topic for another post!) the right attitude, a positive upbeat me, I am ready for my favorite season.  I married in the fall, my two daughters were born in the fall, apple picking, gorgeous color changes, a need for a light jacket or sweater, sleeping with the windows open, the Jewish Holidays, a time of rebirth and renewal.  I see the fall as that time far more than the new year on the calendar.  So with the right attitude, I will move forward, I will find my new pace, and be mindful that no one can make me feel better, but me.  If I feel a little nostalgic or melancholy, it’s okay, but I won’t allow myself to wallow. Make plans, schedule get togethers with friends who were at the beach all summer, and know that every season brings with it an opportunity to make things happen!

Today’s Takeaway-

. Seasonal change means many things depending on what phase of life you are in.  Make new memories, new plans, try not to get swept up in the way life was pre-retirement.

. Remember people are looking at you as though you’ve got it made! You planned, you saved, you picked your exit!  Make the most of it this fall.  Go bake that cobbler that you never had time to make!

Enjoy the ride

xox Barclay and Joy

Music, Dance, Theatre, Art are in my Soul

active adult artist ballerina
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I was exposed to the arts at a very early age.  My mother was a culture hound, a theatre maven, dance snob, museum lover.   She adored it all and she prided herself on knowing what was playing on Broadway, the prima ballerinas of The American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, art exhibits at The Met, The MOMA (when it was built!) and The Museum of The City of New York.  She was a classy lady, refined, polished and she exposed me at a very early age to the beauty of it all.  How lucky I was to be a child growing up in a major city, with the opportunity to savor it all, sense it, see it through my own childlike wonder.

I saw my first Broadway musical at six years old.  It was Flower Drum Song (funny to think of now that “Crazy Rich Asians” is a smash hit!) I saw many more to come through the years, The Music Man”, “Carnival”, “The Unsinkable Molly Brown”, “Camelot”, and “Bye Bye Birdie.”  I loved every one of them and knew the music by heart!  I danced in the living room to the music that I listened to over and over on our hi fi set.  (now, I’m really dating myself, if I haven’t already!)

I was taken to see The Nutcracker every Christmas and later modern dance as well as Alvin Ailey (much later on)  My appreciation grew and grew.  How lucky a kid I was to have experienced all this at such an early age!!  My husband grew up in Norfolk, Virginia as a boy and while he had the Confederate Museum and battlefields of The Civil War, he didn’t have much else.

I have passed this on to my children who have an appreciation for the arts, for museums, for beauty that is created by one’s imagination.  It is a special bond between us.  I also have shared some amazing moments with dear friends who cherish the theatre as much as I do.  To see Vanessa Redgrave in person with Philip Seymour Hoffman, Robert Sean Leonard, and Brian Dennehy is a once in a lifetime experience.  Who knew Seymour would die so young?!  “A Long Day’s Journey Into Night”, directed by Robert Falls (2003)  My friend and I witnessed greatness on the stage never to be duplicated and we knew it!  The standing ovations were like none I have ever seen.

This past weekend in the heart of The Berkshires (where I am only an hour away-how lucky am I!) my two college friends and I (another post is coming on friendship and the power of long lasting bonds) and I attended the Bernstein Centennial Finale at Tanglewood.  Audra McDonald was the Mistress of Ceremonies and no less than five guest conductors  took up the baton.  John Williams, Michael Tilson Thomas, Andris Nelsons, Keith Lockhart to name a few, in addition to world class violinist Midori and cellist Yo- Yo Ma graced the stage paying homage to the legendary Lenny.  If that wasn’t enough, nature set the atmospheric sky with a full moon and a lawn scattered with music lovers numbering 15,000!  What a night! We looked at each other when it was over and knew we had witnessed magic!  If you can, see it when it is broadcast on PBS in the near  future.

Arts fill the soul, they give us meaning and bring beauty to what would otherwise be lifeless and dull.

“The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.” Pablo Picasso

‘If music be the food of love, play on”  Shakespeare- Twelfth Night

Today’s Takeaway…

.Stop and enjoy what is around you.  If you are fortunate enough to be near museums, theatre, dance, experiment.  Find what resonates in your heart.

We need our Arts to teach us how to breathe”  Ray Bradbury, Zen in the Art of Writing Tags

Thank you Muriel for this gift you gave me.

 

action adult dance dancer
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Chocolate, the Elixir for Long Life

I  have just returned from seeing family in North Carolina.  My aunt is 88 years old and living in an assisted living facility, where my cousin tells me her diet consists of chocolate every day.

I got to thinking about this because I had an aunt many years ago who also subsisted on a box of assorted creams and caramels every day.  She lived to almost 90!  Maybe, this aging stuff wasn’t that bad!  After all the years of watching my intake of sweets, particularly chocolate, which I so love, there was indeed a light at the end of the tunnel!  (literally the end of the tunnel!)

At a certain age, does it really matter if you eat your veggies, fruits, grains?  Maybe chocolate is the new  food group for the geriatric set!  Death by Chocolate? Not so terrible! I think the idea here is,

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

if it gives you pleasure, it makes you happy, and it isn’t doing anything harmful to your body, then why not?

We live our lives constantly watching what we eat, having to lose an inch or two, a few pounds to get into those favorite jeans, depriving ourselves of something we love.  I get it.  At a certain age (and I’m not sure what that age is!) it just doesn’t matter.  If it feels good, do it, if it tastes good, eat it, if it looks pretty, buy it!  It’s a simple theory for that later chapter in life!

I’m a firm believer that if you are lucky enough (blessed) to have good genes, then you can do things that other people can’t with little or no consequences.  I’m not suggesting you light up that cigarette at 85 or eat fried chicken every day, but hey what’s holding you back from doing what makes you happy?

Did you know that the smell of chocolate increases theta brain waves which triggers relaxation.

M&M’s were created in 1914 as a means for soldiers to enjoy chocolate without it melting.

Eating dark chocolate every day reduces the risk of heart disease by 1/3

When it comes to coughs, chocolate is more effective than codeine!

Every second, Americans collectively eat 100 lbs of chocolate

The world’s largest chocolate bar weighed 5.792 kg (12,770 lbs)

So now that we know these very important facts, open up that box or bag of chocolates, cream filled, caramel, or whatever pleases your palate and think what a good thing you are doing to increase your longevity!

Today’s Takeaway…

. Eat, Drink, and be happy!  If a simple pleasure like eating chocolates every day makes you smile and your palate say thank you, then go for it!

. While your at it, have that glass of red wine too!  They pair so well!

Here’s to aunt Jerri and aunt Gussie before her!  My other aunt Rose drank sauerkraut juice and lived to 100!  Another post for another day! Personally, I’d go with chocolate!

Death by Chocolate Cake – Baker by Nature
https://bakerbynature.com/death-by-chocolate-cake/

blueberries cake chocolate chocolate cake
Photo by Abhinav Goswami on Pexels.com

Enjoy the Ride

xox Barclay and Joy

 

The Dog Dance

A few weeks ago my husband and I took our beloved Winston to Jacobs Pillow for some serious boogeying!  Winston is our Mexican refugee dog who came back with us from Ajijic a year and a half ago.  We adopted him quite unexpectedly after falling in love with him at an adoption day in our little village of Ajijic.  This is the place we winter, escaping the severe cold of upstate New York.

My daughter had seen an ad for dog dancing at the world renowned Jacobs Pillow, a mecca in The Berkshires for serious dancing since the 1930’s. It is the oldest internationally acclaimed Summer dance festival in the United States.  220 acres in size and gorgeous, The Pillow, for those of us in the know, was listed as a National Historic Landmark District in 2003.

Apparently, The Pillow hosts a canine dancing event every Summer to celebrate National Dog Day.  The dance is choreographed by resident dancers and the caregivers accompanying their canine friends.  (the dance belongs to the dogs though, not the people!  We just serve as props!)

“Partnering is fundamental to many dance genres and the partnership between dogs and their companions is unlike any other,” says Jacob’s Pillow Director Pamela Tatge. How right she is!  We do not think we look silly jumping around and pirouetting with our four legged friends on the great lawn in the Berkshires.  It is pure silliness, fun, and downright love for the one living thing that gives it’s owner unconditional love.

This event will now become a part of my cultural summers in the Berkshires, weather permitting.  I will look forward to dancing barefoot in the grass with my agile Winston and paying homage to my senior citizen Colby.  If only life could remain this simple!

A short post today before Barclay and I take a much needed rest from our blog publishing.  We have published 60 posts since the end of January when we began.  We are so proud of what we have accomplished and the response from our family and friends.  We will be writing our little hearts out so that we have posts in the queue with no interruptions.  We figured if Maria Shriver (our heroine and role model) could take off the whole month of August, we were entitled to at least two weeks!

Today’s Takeaway…

Don’t be afraid to act silly, laugh, run through the grass with your dog!  Who cares who’s watching?!! Don’t be afraid to let loose.  If not now, when?

. Our 4 legged friends are special.  Love them with all your heart.  Talk to them, cry on their backs, tell them secrets. They are on this earth for one reason only, to give pleasure. Never forget that DOG is GOD spelled backwards.

 

Enjoy the Ride!

xox

Barclay and Joy

 

 

 

mail.google

Bravo Winston!!

The Letter

My mother used to write the most beautiful letters.  They were handwritten, well thought out, and in beautiful penmanship.  A millennial would probably say, what’s penmanship?  Why bother?  You can text or better yet, no words, Instagram!

Muriel (if you have been reading our blog, you would know!) won awards for her beautiful cursive writing.  Me, not so much.  I’m a lefty and write like a doctor (if only I had gone to medical school!). She wrote letters to her boyfriends, caught my father’s attention with love letters that made me blush (when I went into her drawers and furtively read them!), and congratulated friends on their anniversaries, birthdays, marriage of a child, birth of a child, etc!  When my mother-in-law passed away, she wrote the most beautiful letter to her husband, my father-in-law. She expressed her grief and disappointment in not really getting to know her new daughter-in-law, married less than 3 years earlier.

Letters are a thing of the past, sadly because they hold a person’s most private thoughts in a way that a text or email cannot. They can disappear with the stroke of the “delete” key. Whether on heavy stock paper with a monogram (this is what Muriel used) with ball point or ink, they beckon us to read them over and over again.  I have put many of them in my drawers to be discovered unexpectedly as I rifle through underwear.  Once I find one, I sit down and read it again.  A tear may come to my eyes, a smile, a look of fondness and love. They are never to be duplicated again and they do not carry any acronyms: LOL, LMAO, WTF, IDK,  OMG, etc.  Everything is spelled out in full.  T’s are crossed, i’s are dotted, strong messages underlined.

“Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate and to humble.” Yehuda Berg

‘Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.”  Mother Teresa

‘To send a letter is a good way to go somewhere without moving anything but your heart” Phyllis Theroux

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”- the Bible

I  am of the generation who kept in touch by letter.  I kept my college roommates apprised of my newly married life, my parents, my old friends, and family members.  It took time to write, to compose, to add humor, funny stories.  When you read my letters it was like being in the room with me.  I wrote run on sentences, as I do today and called it my stream of consciousness writing. I loved receiving them in the mail and I hope mine were met with the same enthusiasm as the ones I received.

They are my mementos of a life filled with friendship that I worked very hard to maintain through a lifetime of new jobs and new addresses.

Take the time to pick up the phone, write a real letter on paper and mail it with a stamp, go ring someone’s doorbell to say hello.

We are all busy, even those of us in retirement, so it means that much more when we take the time to connect as human beings.

Today’s Takeaway…

.Write a letter, the old fashioned kind on paper with a ball point pen.  I’m sure you have one somewhere! It will mean more than you know to the person on the receiving end.

. Never underestimate the power of the spoken or written word.  Keep your mind active by writing down your thoughts, whether in a personal journal, blog, or diary.  You will be glad you did.  They will make you smile when you need it most and keep your memories alive when you may have forgotten.

Enjoy the ride

Barclay and Joy

x0x

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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