3rd Chapter, 3rd Career: Joy’s Revisionist Retirement!

I’ve now been retired almost 2 1/2 years.  I can’t say the time has flown by, but boy have I learned a lot about myself!  What makes me happy, what I need to make me happy, what works, what doesn’t, how I want my life to be defined going forward, and how to overcome chronic insomnia!  (vape pen with CBD oil!)

I tried volunteer work last year and while I enjoyed it, it didn’t give me that sense of purpose I was looking for.  Truth be told, I like earning money.  Call me crazy, but fulfillment is different for all of us.  For me, as a sales person for the last 25 years of my career, I need to be working towards something —  to write a ticket, as those of us in trading used to say.  I need something tangible.

I started by rewriting my resume.  I hadn’t written a resume  or added to one in years.  Having been at the same company for 19 years, I had gotten comfortable and settled.  Resume writing is so easy today with templates for every style and font you might imagine.

Once this was completed, I was ready to test the waters.  The beauty of looking for a job at this stage of life, my 3rd chapter, is that I don’t feel pressure.  There is no career track. I don’t feel I have anything to prove, except to myself.  I knew I wanted to work again, but not a “big” job with a title and long hours, but rather what I dubbed a “little job.”  I wanted to have purpose again, to have structure, to be in an office environment with people, camaraderie.

Though, I have worked as an independent rep for the last 10 months, my post retirement gig, as I call it didn’t provide fulfillment.  I have enjoyed getting to know my new community selling to small businesses, meeting restauranteurs, shop owners, yoga practitioners, architects, landscapers, organic farmers, etc, but something was missing.  I have never loved working from home.  While one of my daughters enjoys the freedom of working remotely, I felt isolation. There were no people to bitch and complain with about your job, your boss, your work space… Who do you discuss the latest episode of “This Is Us” with?  The dog just wasn’t interested!

I started applying for jobs on various websites, not really sure what I was looking for, but hoping to play off of my skill set.  I am a sales person and I have always believed, once you have sold, you can sell anything!  I knew I didn’t want to be in a boring job, so I thought about the kinds of businesses in my upstate locale that interested me.  Much to my surprise, I actually had people respond to me!! Wow, maybe I wasn’t over that hill after all!  (That’s the proverbial hill!!)

I applied to an auction house, a spa, a yoga retreat center (think discounts!), an upscale customized vacation company that does “glamping” on a local farm (glamorous camping by way of luxury tents) and an organic purveyor of Fair Trade coffee, nuts, dried fruits, etc.

I have been made 2 job offers and I will make a decision next week as to which one I want.  This time, it’s about me.  I’m not supporting a family, paying a mortgage, putting money away for college or retirement.  It’s for my need to be useful, productive, engaged.  This is what I need to be happy.

Some people can’t wait until the day they retire.  They are happy to piddle around.  Maybe, they are better than I am at structuring their day. The beauty of the whole thing is that if it doesn’t work out, it’s okay.  I will try something else.  I’m thankful that people who interviewed me were willing to take a chance on little ole me!

As my mother Muriel always said, you can sleep when you’re dead!

Today’s Takeaway

-Listen to the voice in your head, not to others. Only you know what makes you happy and fulfilled.

-Give yourself time to adjust to this new way of life, but if you do want more, don’t be afraid to get out there and search for it.

-Never underestimate what a senior person brings to the table.  Your wisdom, experience, and guidance just might be the right mix for your future employer.  Old is just in your mind and age is merely a number!

Enjoy the ride!

xox Barclay & Joy

 

 

 

 

Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow-Or Adult Summer Camp Goodbyes

We have exactly 1 more week left here in Ajijic, Mexico.  It is hard to believe that 4 months have gone by.  The winter season has ended and spring is upon us, even in upstate New York and Chicago!

I wouldn’t have felt this way last year, the year before, but this year being our 3rd winter, I am sad to see it end.  Being a crab, a true Cancerian, I am a clinger.  It may take me a while, but then I get comfortable.  I hate change and everything about it, though I have advised others that they must go with the flow and adapt.  It doesn’t mean I heed my own advice!

Being an ex-pat, one has a common bond right off the bat with people who think like you do.  They have jumped off the diving board into cold unfamiliar water, not sure what to expect.  They are out of the box thinkers, probably protested during the Vietnam War years, marched for women’s rights, knew every Joan Baez, James Taylor, and Peter, Paul and Mary song! We have gravitated towards people who march to the beat of their own drum, don’t care what other’s think, and are confident in their own skin.  We have met people from Oregon, California, and Florida, all unique and wonderful in their own right. They are our peeps in Ajijic and, now, for the first time, because time is what you have a lot of, we have gotten to know them. We are no longer rushing for trains, rushing to get home to make dinner, helping with home work, paying bills, crashing into our beds at 10 while watching the nightly news. We have quality time every day to form relationships, bonds with other human beings.  How very fortunate we are and blessed to have found this little paradise filled with free spirits!

So, as we prepare to go back upstate, return to the U.S. for summer and fall, we say thank you for accepting us little village of Ajijic.  We have learned to appreciate a new culture, different ways of doing things, the pace that our Mexican neighbors move, and the best margaritas for 60 pesos anywhere!  (about $3 U.S. dollars!)

Hasta que nos volvamos a encontrat el ano que viene!

Today’s Takeaway:

If you’re lucky enough to try a new country, state, city, go for it!  If not now, when?  Break out of your comfort zone and go for it.  The friends you have from wherever you are coming from will be your friends no matter where you reside.

Thank goodness for the internet!  Communication was never easier.  I wrote multi page letters to my college roommates when I graduated to keep the friendships going.

https://www.iamexpat.nl

https://www.internations.orgimg_4022

Enjoy the ride

xox Barclay & Joy

 

 

 

 

Crying: Cathartic or Debbie Downer?!

Crying-the act of crying, feeling sad, despondent, depressed, melancholy, sentimental, nostalgic, reminiscent.  We cry for so many reasons, but for me, it’s usually sadness or an event that provokes this emotional outpouring.

I have always been a crier!  In my twenties, I cried easily.  Sad movies made me cry.  I cried rivers when I saw “Love Story”, ‘Terms of Endearment”, (multiple tissues required!) Sophie’s Choice.  I don’t know how or why, but I hardened my emotions as I aged into my 30’s  and crying didn’t come to me as easily. I have always felt it cathartic to cry, a cleansing of the soul and body, a purge and surge at the same time.  It made me feel wrung out and ready to move forward.  I had no idea that my dear friend Barclay saw it differently until we began to discuss it.

WebMD actually tells us that crying can be good for you.  ‘Crying activates the body in a healthy way”, says Stephen Sideroff, , Ph.D, a clinical psychologist at UCLA and director of the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Ethics. ‘

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Photo by Kat Jayne on Pexels.com

Letting down one’s guard and one’s defenses and (crying) is a very positive healthy thing.  The same thing happens when you watch a movie and it touches you and you cry… That process of opening into yourself…it’s like a lock and key.”

In Japan they actually have something called a crying club.  I kid you not!  The term “rui-katsu” means “tear-seeking.’  In Tokyo, adult men and women watch sad videos and listen to depressing music resulting in communal bawling.  Japan has brought us many strange concepts (think Lolita fashion!) so why not crying clubs?!  Instead of being sad alone in your 600 floor Manhattan apartment, go to a club and cry in good company!  https://www.afr.com for more details.

Bottom line is we all feel things differently.  Crying can indeed be cathartic or it can be downright depressing and make one feel much worse.  Wallowing in self pity is an expression that aptly fits this state of mind.  Whatever it does for you or doesn’t, go with it.  Let it come naturally.  Be glad you can cry and express emotion.  There are many people that can’t.  Studies actually show that often when one is severely depressed tears do not come, even though you might want them to. This can be melancholic depression and can be extremely serious. A person who is in this state feels nothing, though they are sad.  Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote a poem that describes this state and likened people suffering from this type of depression to marble statues. Depression is weird like that.

So, as not to make this post too terribly morose, Spring is in the air, both here in Mexico and finally, home in upstate New York. Get out, breathe the fresh air, look at the beauty of the flowers budding, and if you feel the sensation to cry, you can always blame it on allergies!!

Today’s Takeaway:

.Let your emotions hang out, whatever they are.  It’s okay! Crying can be a good thing.  It might actually make us live longer!

Enjoy the ride

xox Barclay & Joy

 

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Photo by Juan Pablo Arenas on Pexels.com

Aim Low and You’ll Never Be Disappointed! How to Manage Expectations

This may sound like the advice of a low achiever or someone with no goals or aspirations.  Anyone who knows me can tell you, that is not who I am.  I have always been competitive.  My grades mattered to me, as did the college I got accepted into, the jobs I had, my career path, promotions, awards, accolades, etc.

So, that’s not what I’m saying.  What I am saying is that I have always had high expectations of, well, everything!  When you have a personality like that, chances are you’re going to be disappointed.  People disappoint, family disappoints, friends disappoint, bosses disappoint, situations disappoint.  I know this full well and, yet, I continue to set the stage with a script written for perfection.

My husband, on the other hand, has always set the bar low, so that he rarely is disappointed.  If you aim low, you’ll never be crushed when things don’t turn out the way you thought they would! Do I want to be like my husband-no, definitely not!

As a follow-up to my “Mrs. Grossman, Is That You?” post of a few months back, my very dear friend Paula (the one I hadn’t seen since I was 7) followed through and arranged for a dinner with our 2nd grade teacher and her husband.  She had been planning this get together since she first made contact with Mrs. Grossman over the phone several months back.

Think about it… Mrs. Grossman was a woman she admired, looked up to, modeled her career after, who was now in her early 80’s.  She had been a young woman of 22 when she taught our class on the Upper West side of Manhattan.  Paula had built up such high expectations of what this meeting would be like–  the emotions that would be flowing, the warmth of connection and memories from an innocent child’s perspective. Well, the evening was enjoyable, but it was a let down.  How could it be anything but, with expectations so unrealistically high?

I have always set the bar high – so I totally got it when this encounter was related to me over the phone.  I wondered what had gone through Mrs.  Grossman’s head?  How did she feel about seeing a student, a little girl from her distant past, and thinking back to her own beginnings of womanhood and career?

There are many articles that have been written on high expectations.  In the Elite Daily , we are told that the management of expectations is key to our happiness.  The article goes on to say that if we don’t have any expectations, we can’t be disappointed.  Makes sense, but easier said than done. The article summarizes that “There are two ways to be happy :  improve your reality or lower your expectations.”

Also good reads:  “How High Expectations Can Lead to Disappointment and Anxiety” by Carolyn James; ‘High Expectations: When to be Unreasonable (And When To Take It Easy)” by James Clear, and ‘How High Expectations Enable Success” by Stephen Guise.

It’s a tough personality to have, much like perfectionism.  If you’ve been this way your whole life, pretty hard to change now.  The key, I think, is to know when you are going into a situation that this is your makeup.  Be mindful of the scene you are creating and set your expectations appropriately for the specific event, person, destination, encounter.

If I haven’t learned anything, I know this is my cross to bear and I alone have the power to set the bar a little lower.  Not rock bottom, but maybe a couple inches off the ground. Kind of like doing the limbo!

Today’s Takeaway… 

. Set expectations realistically. Don’t expect more from people than they are capable of giving.

. Know that there are a lot of people just like you and be there to support their let-down if it comes.

Enjoy the Ride!

xox Barclay & Joy

 

 

 

Riding The Wave

I guess it just means going with the flow!  Or in the words of Nike, “Just do it”

I am a futurizer, always have been.  I don’t know if I made up the word or I like to think of myself as making it up, but it’s me to a tee! 

I think about what life will be like when … it happens.  Part of my futurizing had been “When I’m retired …” Or, “When my children get married, when my children find jobs that they like (I could be waiting a long time for that one!), when I have enough money, when ………….

Human nature is just like that.  It’s hard to just live in the present and I’m not going there.  Promise.  Too much has been written about living in the moment.  I like the “Riding the Wave” imagery because I love water.  I must have been a sea creature in a past life, perhaps, a sea horse (they’re cute!).

I think it says it best. Once you’re on the wave, you don’t have a lot of choices.  You either ride it or you go under!

Maybe, the trick to life is to not think too much about what lies ahead (we know that death is closer for sure so why stress yourself out with those kind of thoughts?)

Of course, we want to be prudent, prepared, plan (PPP) so that we are not caught short in any way.  No will, no directives, not enough cash, not having said the things we want to say to our family, not repaired broken fences, etc.

So today’s post is short and sweet.  Ride the Wave and focus on the now.  It’s here and it’s all we know that is guaranteed.  Tomorrow is not.

Today’s Takeaway…

RIDE THE WAVE!  I’m in Mexico where it’s heating up so that wave looks pretty awesome!

Enjoy the ride.

x0x Barclay & Joy

ocean wave

I guess what this means is just gonPhoto by Simon Clayton on Pexels.com

Sorry, Marie Kondo…it’s a MEMORY!

 


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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