Sorry, Marie Kondo…it’s a MEMORY!

 


close up of pink indoors
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The idea of decluttering your life is a good one in theory.  I get it.  I have saved way too much stuff over the years.

Photos in shoe boxes, albums on bookshelves, schoolwork in bins, projects made out of clay, papier-mache, plaster of Paris, mosaics, and naturally, a host of lanyards.  I am, after all, a Cancer. I can’t bear  to throw things away.

It’s a memory, as one of my daughters would say.  She too is a hoarder and carries receipts from restaurants, cleaners tickets, (not sure how she picks the stuff up!), match book covers, ticket stubs, etc.

My mother couldn’t have been more different.  Muriel was able to go through her UWS apt of 30 years and toss anything and everything in her path of destruction.  I’ve told the story to many people about my mother throwing away her wedding album.  Who does that?!!

My parents moved to Florida (South Florida.  Where else in those days?!) Muriel wanted to make a clean break and only take the clothes she would wear for the next 20 some odd years.  No personal effects, with the exception of some photos.  I couldn’t do this if I had a gun to my head.  I am a mush.  I am sentimental, nostalgic, attached.

MEMORIES.  I understand the concept of letting go of things that don’t bring you joy and Marie Kondo (so adorable!), but I’m not Asian and “austere” is not in my vocabulary.  Ask daughter #1 who has insisted I decorate with clean lines, simple, space, no tchotchkes!  (dust collectors, as my late mother in law would have called them.  She too was a person who could throw out her son’s Lionel train set and have no remorse-probably worth a fortune today!)

Luckily, when we moved from our home of 25 years in Westchester, New York, my husband had the strength and smarts to call the junk luggers when I was at work.  I never saw what they took.  And interestingly, I never missed it either.  So I guess in the end this method has its merits!  I couldn’t have done it myself.  Everything would have had tear stains and I would have a reason to hold onto the bust of Nick Carter, the first Nikes worn by daughter #2 , and a whole host of other precious possessions.

 

So, with apologies to Marie Kondo, let it be known that I may wish to be buried with those Nike shoes from daughter #2, a couple of lanyards from sleep away camp, maybe a few receipts, and of course photos galore!

All of them tear-stained!

 

Today’s Takeaway –

-Some call it clutter.  I call it Memories.  If a memory gives you joy, then be counter-cultural and hold on to it!

-Just draw the line when your souvenirs need a storage unit of their own. Marie does make a good point or two!

 

Bottom Line —  Enjoy the ride!

xox

Barclay and Joy

 

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Oh My God, I Left My Baby on The Bus!!!!!!

Okay, seriously, I was and still am that person who forgets everything!!!

I like to think it’s because I am distracted easily and have many thoughts going through my brain at the same time. (We brilliant folks do!  It’s a cross we must bare!)  I probably have ADD, though I’ve never been tested, but ask my children or husband and they will say, without a doubt!

Last week I was carrying around my knapsack with me and didn’t realize I had left it somewhere until 2 days later. I was looking for something and remembered I had placed it in the knapsack.  Luckily, I could retrace my steps and fortunately, I didn’t have a wallet or passport inside it, but nevertheless, I had to return sheepishly to the doctor’s office my husband and I had been sitting in 2 days earlier.  The receptionist came out with the knapsack and said, “We didn’t know who it belonged to!”  It didn’t have my identification in it since there was no wallet.  Phew!

It is the worst feeling in the world to lose things.  I should know since I’ve been doing it all my life!

When my 1st child was born, my husband bought me a tee shirt that said “Oh My God, I Left My Baby on The Bus!”  This was amusing, to be sure, but could I actually do that, be so absent minded as to leave a living breathing person on public transportation and not realize it until I got off??!!  Thank God, it never happened.  Maybe, I didn’t take enough buses at the time!!  A story just appeared this morning though in Newsweek with a mom leaving her baby on the plane, so I am in good company!  Check it out!

I was the kid who came home from school without her books so that when it came time to do my homework, OOPS!  One time I left an entire duffel bag and had to explain to my teacher that I couldn’t do my homework because I didn’t have my assignment or my notebook!  Really, JOY!!!  REALLY!!   I guess once forgetful, always forgetful because I have carried this trait throughout life. My mother always said to me, “If your head wasn’t screwed onto your body, you’d forget that too!”  Thanks mom.

The good news is I never did lose the baby, not the 1st one or the 2nd one.  I remember my dog, my husband, and for the most part important things.  Keys, sunglasses, and a shopping bag are a whole different story!

Today’s Takeaway:

. Focus, concentrate, try your level best to be aware of what you are carrying.  If you are like me, (I pray you are not!) know your shortfall and be extra careful when something is in your possession.

. If that’s my worst flaw, so be it.  Learn to laugh off the small stuff.  Material possessions can always be replaced, humans a bit harder!!

 

Enjoy the Ride!

 

xox Barclay & Joy

 

 

 

Will You Be My Friend? How to make friends when you’re out of the workforce

Hi.   My name is Joy and I am an extrovert.  (sounds like an AA chapter meeting!)

I wasn’t always.  My daughters find this hard to believe, but I used to be painfully shy.  I hid behind my mother’s apron strings (who wears an apron anymore?!!). I cringed at meeting new people;  my helpful mother went up to strange children on the beach to befriend them for me!!  Soo sad!  Hey, I had issues!

I decided that I didn’t like bashful Joy and I began to model my personality after a distant cousin I had met one Jewish holiday celebration.  What’s the worst thing that can happen? I thought to myself. Someone will not like me. Oh well…

It took a while to get comfortable in my new outgoing skin.  But it turns out, you can change who you are.  (I have told my one shy daughter this many times.  She remains skeptical.)  It’s an act at first, until you get used to this new person and then it becomes who you are.  I am proof positive that it’s achievable and doable.  You have to want it, just like anything else in life!   I like me and I wouldn’t change extroverted me to introverted me ever again.

If you’re not comfortable in this 6th decade of life, change it up.  The new people you meet don’t know the old you!  If nothing else, your epitaph will say, “She was friendly!”

 

Hi.   My name is Barclay and I am an introvert.

In elementary school I was the back-row student who tried to be invisible.

In 4th grade, my mother, like Joy’s, tried to secure a best-friend for me — which was quite humiliating.  (One wonders, did she offer money?)

As an adult student, I dreaded that inevitable first-class practice of going around the room to share your name and occupation and then on occasion, the hideous “something interesting about you.”  My heart would pound with such vigor that I was certain others could hear it.  I was concerned my own name would escape me.  Fainting was a possibility.

And public speaking?  Let’s just say I would sooner endure the stomach flu.

Making friends is not easy for an introvert.  In fact, Joy and I became friends because she approached me.  But opportunities are missed if one shies away from reaching out, at least offering a smile, an overture of friendship.

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Joy is right.  Growth is possible.  Maybe it’s high time we introverts show some vulnerability.  (Red wine is also adviseable.)

The LIFE blog by the Huffington Post offers tips to help us be intentional about making friends.

  • Realize that you want to make friends. And not just “kind of want.” “Kind of” doesn’t make things happen.
  • Think of places where you can find people with similar interests. You can find a potential friend in line at a grocery store or volunteering at the animal shelter.
  • The most important step in starting a new friendship is showing up. Start showing up to those places you came up with.
  • Make sure you factor in enough downtime before and after you get out there.
  • It’s OK if you’re anxious about going to new places and doing new things. It’s ok if you’re shy–it’s very common. But don’t let it control your life.
  • Show up with an open and nonjudgmental mind, with your only expectation being that you will meet people, not that you will make a friend.
  • Realize that for most people, friendships can take a while to form. Don’t push a possible friendship.
  • Be open to others. If someone smiles, smile back. Sometimes that’s the end of the interaction.  Sometimes the smile turns into a conversation, which eventually turns into a friendship. You’ll never know if you don’t smile back.
  • Learn to tolerate small talk. Conversations have to start somewhere, and most of the time it’s with small talk.
  • Don’t take rejection personally. Do you want to be friends with everyone? If you’re an introvert, I’m guessing the answer is a big No. The person you’re talking to may have too many friends as it is. Or, they may be totally disinterested in having any friends. You have no way of knowing, so it’s best not to take it personally.
  • Realize that hard things get easier the more you practice. Don’t give up.

 

Being an introvert is not a detriment. It just means we require downtime and preparation.

And a friend like Joy who isn’t afraid to reach out to us!

 

Today’s Takeaway –

 

  • We are who we are, but we can be who we want to be sometimes!  It just takes practice and practice and practice.
  • Accept those  who are different.  My daughters (Joy speaking) consider themselves introverts and my husband is one.  If everyone were the same, it would be a boring world!
  • So glad I went up to Barclay in that bus shelter. Who would I be writing this blog with if not her!?

 

Enjoy the ride!

xox Barclay and Joy

 

 

 

 

Think About Dying While You’re Still Living!

It may sound funny or macabre or morose, but I mean it!  Being retired gives you a lot of time to think, to reflect, to ponder, wonder, question.  Do it while your mind is awake, alive, inquisitive. My cheerful topic was prompted by a text I received this weekend from a very close friend of mine regarding her dad.

Her dad at a very advanced age of 94 has decided he is ready to die.  There is no disease, per se, like cancer or Parkinson’s or the many other maladies that one might succumb to in these final years.  He is tired, frail, short of breath, not feeling the way he might have last year at 93.  We can fix so many things through treatments, organ replacements, medication, until we get to a certain point in life where the options don’t provide the same results.  It struck me, knowing this man for over 50 years, as a thoughtful, well analyzed decision.  This is not someone who feels sorry for himself or is depressed.  He has lived a long full life.  At 94, what more can you say?  If this is someone’s wish and they are of sound mind, then we as family members should honor it and respect what it took to get the person to that point.  It’s a tough one for sure and there will be many followers who will not agree with me.

He is one of the lucky ones, not suffering, not bed ridden, not in a memory care facility unable to remember his daughter’s face or name. With so many of my friend’s parents living into their 90’s, an age most never would have expected to see, it is something to give thought to.  We are all individuals and life is precious, every breath, every morning that we wake up, but why can’t we decide on our own destiny if we choose? Go out on your own terms according to your own plans.  We will all die of something someday, just a question of when.

I saw a post this morning that made me laugh:

Welcome to your 60’s!

 

If you don’t already have a mysterious ailment, one will be assigned to you shortly.

Today’s Takeaway…

Health is truly a gift.  Everyday you wake up without a body pain or ache, is wonderful! Treasure it.  Never ever think it’s trite to say- “When you have your health, you have everything”

Oh, and did you know you can buy a coffin on eBay?  I wonder if they’re new or used?!!!

Spend your children’s inheritance!  Hopefully, they’ll make their own money!

Enjoy the ride

xox Barclay & Joy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Burger King is hiring!!

close up photo of a cheese burger

Photo by Rajesh TP on Pexels.com

We are in a very healthy job market that is witnessing unemployment stats we haven’t seen in 49 years!  Mind blowing that this is true when several of my retired friends want to continue contributing to the work force and are having trouble doing so.

A dear friend of mine has been diligently sending her resume out looking for a job that will carry her for the next few years.  She is super qualified for every post she responds to and writes one hell of a cover letter! 

What’s wrong? One would think in such a robust environment anyone who wanted to work could!  Not true.  Age discrimination sucks!  It’s something we will always have to deal with and it’s not okay! We can make excuses that we have only a limited number of years to give, like an expiration date on a can of soup! 

We can argue that our skill set is not as good as a millennial when it comes to Excel, PowerPoint, or some data management system. But the fact is many of us learn quickly, get with the program and know what we need to do to fit in with a younger office culture.  How did the world move so quickly, were we not paying attention when trends shifted in our industries?

I, for one, was in the publishing business.  Publishing has gone through cataclysmic changes just like many other industries.  The migration from print to digital came at such an amazing speed that even though we could see it coming, we could not prepare fast enough to develop the new skills we would need.  If only, I had worked in the digital space 15 years earlier, I would never have felt the lack of comprehension I experienced.  Jargon was different, metrics, completing proposals.  I felt dumb, inadequate, at a loss.  For an Alpha female this is not my preferred sense of self!

Age discrimination in the workplace will always be an issue.  Whether we are in a strong job market or not, no one wants someone who is well past their prime.  While 70 may be the new 60, that truly does not apply in the traditional work environment.  For every Nancy Pelosi, Glenn Close, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, there are many more faceless women (and men) who would tell you otherwise.

My solution at this stage of the game is to take whatever I want as a “little job”.  I have nothing to prove at this point.  I’ve succeeded in my field, hit my bogeys, met my objectives, been the #1 sales person.  I suggested to a friend of mine that I might take the civil service exam and become a mail person!  For a nosy person, this could be my best gig yet!  I get to see other people’s mail!  Good benefits and pin money for entertainment.  I’m not seeking a career, but rather structure, routine, camaraderie with other people.

I’m one of the lucky ones who got to leave on her own terms. If it happens in your 50’s it’s a whole other story.

An article that appeared in AlterNet says it best, see below.  It’s a dose of reality that we need to pay attention to because it creeps up fast!

50 Is the New 65: Older Americans Are Getting Booted from Their Jobs and Denied New Opportunities
written by Lynn Stuart Parramore / AlterNet December 24, 2013

Age discrimination could be headed your way, sooner than you think.

Editor’s note: This article is part of Lynn Parramore’s ongoing AlterNet series on job insecurity and part of the New Economic Dialogue Project.

In every corner of America, millions of people are terrified of losing their jobs and falling into financial ruin. Men and women with impressive professional achievements and credentials are being let go, nudged out and pushed aside. They are pounding the pavement and scouring the job sites, but find themselves turned away even for the most basic retail jobs. Not because they aren’t competent. Not because they lack skills. But simply because they have a gray hair or two.

This is not just a story of people in their 60s or 70s. Workers as young as 50 are shocked to find themselves suddenly tossed onto the employment rubbish heap, just when they felt on top of their game. They’re feeling stressed, angry and betrayed by a society that has benefited greatly from their contributions.

As the global population grows older, age discrimination is on the rise. It could be headed for you, much sooner than you think.

“I Got Thrown Away”

Jan, a marketing executive from Southern California, is just 51, and she has already learned the heartbreak and frustration of age-related job insecurity.

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She was flying high as the head of marketing for a large financial planning firm when she was laid off in 2009 at the age of 47. The recession had done its damage, and her firm had to let some people go — mostly the youngest and oldest employees. Jan understood why the layoff happened, as sad as it was. Her firm gave her great recommendations and kept her on as a consultant for a year.

But she was not prepared for what happened when she tried to find another job.

First Jan applied for positions similar to her previous employment at banks and other financial institutions. Nothing. Keeping upbeat, she widened the net, applying for all marketing and communications jobs advertised in a 40-mile radius of her home. Still nada. Finally, she started applying for retail jobs and was shocked to find that she could not even land these. Jan got an interview at Barnes & Noble, but the store didn’t call her back, and she wondered if all the young people on the floor had something to do with it. She tried a local bridal shop, thinking that she was the same age as the mothers of the brides and would be a good fit. They didn’t hire her. Even Target turned her down for a job as a store clerk. No reason was given. That’s when she started to panic.

“It’s been difficult on my family,” Jan says. “My husband was a lawyer, but he has become disabled. My daughter felt embarrassed that I couldn’t find a job, and I’ve had to explain to her why she shouldn’t be. I had to explain to her that I was not ashamed, that I was mad. I had done everything I was supposed to do. I had gone to college, then to grad school. I worked very hard and I had a lot of success. Then I got thrown away.”

In researching this article, I heard many stories like Jan’s, from Americans from all walks of life. A commercial fisherman with 30 years experience from Tucson, Arizona has sent out dozens of applications, but gets zero bites. An Ohio IT professional with over 30 years experience was let go after 15 years at his company, and now finds himself working in a bottom-tier customer service position with 20-year-olds.

These are downwardly mobile Americans whose dreams of stability after decades of a job well done and a comfortable retirement are vanishing before their eyes.

Bigotry That Knows No Boundaries

Today’s Takeaway-

. Be prepared for anything life throws your way.  If working is still something you want to do, screw what other people think!  It’s about what makes you happy!

. Burger King is always looking for good people!  A few lines around your eyes just makes you wiser and you probably get all the fries you can eat!

Enjoy the Ride.

xox Barclay & Joy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Honey, My World Has Shrunk!!

ball shaped blur close up focus
Photo by Porapak Apichodilok on Pexels.com

One of my friends used the phrase, “My world is so much smaller now.”  I thought about the meaning of this phrase and how it applied to my own life.  No question the plate I had in front of me had a full time job, caring of children, running a household, keeping in touch with people for social events, finances, etc.  There were many different balls in the air, all the time, and I liked it that way!

My friend who put this new world into perspective worked for the same company I did and traveled the globe.  She was always on a plane going somewhere, meeting important people, managing directors of major investment banks, Central Bank ministers, Presidents of emerging market countries, people with discretionary budgets to spend money.  She loved her job and she did it so successfully.

When it all comes to an end, your world does shrink!  It’s a smaller world filled with more mundane routines, like getting out of bed in the morning and making the bed, scheduling a game of pickle ball or mah jongg, a coffee date, a lunch date, a drink date, reading, getting in touch with friends.

Small is relative, I guess.  “Good things come in small packages.” “It’s a small world after all.”  “Only small minds are impressed by large numbers.” ~Arthur C. Clarke. “Small children give you a headache; big children heartache” ~Russian proverb. “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” ~Neil Armstrong.  “If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way.”~Napoleon Hill.

You get the picture!

So, maybe smaller isn’t that bad.  It’s different.  It’s not the same world that I had.  It takes getting used to and tweaking, moving the deck chairs around, moving the chess pieces across the board.  Small in the end is okay, as long as it’s meaningful and enjoyable. Anyway, it doesn’t mean my best days are over!  Whenever you, Ms or Mr. Retiree, think that way, just look at Ruth Bader Ginsburg (The Notorious RBG).  She isn’t going anywhere anytime soon!

Today’s Takeaway..

. A smaller world (space) is not all bad.  It’s easier to find your lost keys!

. Readjust your thinking!  Get to like your new digs.  Like little houses;  a smaller world might not be half bad after all! Less to clean!!!!

Enjoy the Ride

xox Barclay & Joy

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joy, it’s a hard name to live up to!!

IMG_4236Seriously, did you ever think about the name you were given? I mean, really think about the meaning, how it’s affected your life, how people see you, first impressions; you get the picture.  A name, something given you at birth before anyone knows anything about you, the type of person you are, the strengths you have, the weaknesses, what makes you laugh, what makes you sad, cry, pout, grimace. 

A name shapes you or it can. It may set the tone your life will have, the road you walk down.  It may be a detriment or it may be something you are proud of  and love.  If we are lucky, we get a great name that we think, ‘Wow, mom and dad really gave this thought! I would have picked it out myself had I been born and given the assignment!”

In my case, my grandmother Francis named me.  She was hocking my mother to have children for years and thought she was being selfish not having a child.  This was in the 1950’s where you got married and had children.  QED.  When Muriel finally conceded she would go ahead and procreate, grandma was already thinking of names and the emotion she felt (I guess) was sheer JOY!  So much so, that (wait, don’t divulge this often!) my middle name would be Merri.  Yes, that’s right, Joy Merri.  Could you get more elated than that!

The question is, does the name reflect who you are as a person or do you grow into the name you are given.  What if I had been named Bertha or Lucy or Guinevere? Would I be a different kind of individual?  Would I mold into my name?  Perhaps, Berthas are fat and Lucy’s are ditzy and Guinevere’s are princesses?  These are my musings as a retired person, although I must give credit where credit is due!  My husband, David, pondered this question as a boy!  He was a loner, a lot of time on his hands! I’m merely taking the question to the next stage of my adult thinking.

It turns out that we are not the first to consider this and we will probably not be the last!  Too many of us must have too much free time. Johnny Cash must have thought about this when he titled his song, “A Boy Named Sue.’

See these references I have highlighted for my proof:Bad Baby Names – A Boy Named Sue, and a Theory of Names …
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/11/science/11tier.html

does our name shape who we are? – Yahoo Answers Results
Do names shape who we are …? (Ramadan)?

A Point of View: Can your name shape your personality …
http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-34423194

Survey: To what degree do you think that a person’s name affects what…
2 answers
I think it affects a person a lot. A lot of people often judge others by appearance but some judge by name.

Bottom line, Joy is a lot to live up to on a daily basis!  The pressure is always there to be happy, upbeat, optimistic.  What if I feel sad or discontent?  Do I change my name for the day?  The week?  The month?

If I hear one more person tell me, your name fits you so well… But seriously, I do like it and I try my best to live up to it.  It has served me well!

Today’s Takeaway…

Consider things you never had the time to think about before.  You have the whole day and may come up with something really great!

Live up to your name or change it if you want.  I have a cousin who abandoned Jill for Olivia.  As long as you don’t name yourself after a borough of New York City, a season, a vacation destination, or a beach, I’m cool with that!

This is our  100th post and the end of the month celebrates our 1 year anniversary.  Thank you one and all. If nothing else, this is a true accomplishment.

Enjoy the Ride

xox Barclay & Joy