What’s in YOUR Love Language?

Barclay here –

One of our favorite pastimes is visiting Open Houses on a Sunday afternoon.  Last week my husband and I met Walter, a 70-ish realtor, white-haired and jovial.  “I am actually retired,” he told us.  “I offered to cover this Open House for the homeowner who is a close friend.”  Then he added, “It gives me something to do and I think my wife is happy when I leave the house.”

I’ve heard versions of that statement many times – from the elderly salesman mixing paint at Lowes to the gray-haired gentleman trying to manage a wordy Starbucks order.  “My wife prefers I get out of the house.

Many married retirees are striving to find balance between getting out of the house and enjoying quality time with their spouse — pursuing outlets enough to add to the conversation-table, but not so much that one spouse feels abandoned.  This is tricky as relationships are dynamic and feelings are fragile.  It takes both sensitivity and intentionality.

Joy and I have recently been exploring the 5 Love Languages .  Have you heard of them? Knowing the primary Love Language (LL) of your spouse and becoming fluent in it can enhance your relationship and draw you closer.

We each have a primary LL – the one that, when received, makes us feel loved.  Mine is Words of Affirmation, while my husband’s is likely Quality Time.  Lately here in southwest Florida, we have been hanging pictures together which, like hanging wallpaper, or any home project, can go different directions when measurements don’t align and words veer toward the colorful rather than the affirming. But since my husband and I have been intentional about filling the LL tank, our wall art stayed straight and we ended up giving each other a high five and admiring our handiwork over a beer.

The key is being intentional about the filling and the receiving.  An empty LL tank makes for a dry relationship.  But a full tank can make even hanging pictures a delightful adventure and 35 years of marriage seem like the honeymoon’s just beginning.

So go for it.  Take the quiz and then put it into practice.  The result may mean that people like Walter won’t have to hide out in Open Houses or mix paint at Lowes — unless of course, they can’t wait to tell their spouse about it over wine that evening as she shares about own excursions!

 

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Joy here:

Barclay had mentioned this 5 love languages stuff to me before, but this being a brand new year and a new decade, I figured it was time to give it more consideration. For me, having been married 42 years (hard to believe…yes, I was a child bride!), I occasionally face many of the same issues that I have always faced with my EPS (Ever-Present Spouse). And I have observed that if you don’t address these issues head-on, they won’t go away by themselves.  A wise friend of mine here in Mexico (no names divulged) said, “If you have problems North of the border, you’re still going to have them South of the border.”

As a newly retired person (especially one who’s worked outside of the house for 40 plus years), you may find yourself suddenly spending an inordinate amount of time with your spouse.   It’s a great time to ponder these questions together.

What are our goals in this new phase of life?

What do we still want to accomplish before we die? 

What do we want to explore together as well as on our own? 

How much space  (Me-Time)  do we each need?

The 5 Love Languages site provides a wonderful quiz that helps you answer how you feel about certain things in your relationship with your partner. (Click HERE) .  I took it and while my score was 3 points away from the highest score you can achieve (meaning I have more than one LL), I knew (and had confirmed) that Affirmation – defined as emotional support or encouragement – is the most important action my spouse can show me.

I had my spouse take the test as well.  Interestingly, his score was only a point different from mine (his was actually higher!) and Quality Time was his number one LL, with Affirmation a close second.  His results surprised me.  I had thought Physical Touch would be at the top of the list, but it was actually third.

What this does for a couple is to make it clear what each partner wants from the other.  It’s also a wakeup call that, maybe, you don’t know this person as well as you think you do.

Take the quiz and see what happens.  If nothing else, it’s an interesting exercise!

LL Quiz

Today’s Takeaway…

-Be open to seeing your partner in a new light.  You are not the person you were when you got married, nor is he/she!

-Bearing in mind that you are going to be together a lot more, make the time interesting.  Think of conversation to engage.

-Give each other space.  Sometimes, your partner just wants to know you’re there.  You can be reading in one room and he can be in another on his laptop, or whatever he chooses to do with his time.  Be mindful that you have come through a lot together and there’s much more to come. G-D willing!  Jewish people must say this after every sentence involving health!

-Be happy you have each other because you won’t always!

So…..enjoy the ride and reach for your partner’s hand!

xox Barclay and Joy

 

Happy New Year!

Happy 2020!

Love, love, love from Revisionist Retirement to you, our faithful readers!!

 

Photo by Asad Photo Maldives on Pexels.com

 

Love, Love, Love from Revisionist Retirement!

 

Barclay here —

When our father passed away in 2004 at the age of 95, my brother Charlie wrote an essay entitled,  Love Love Love .

During our father’s final days, conversation was difficult.  Charlie recounts,

 Two weeks before he died, Dad and I had the following

exchange. I said: “I really love you, Daddy.” He said: “Don’t make

me cry.” Neither of us cried. We held hands. “You know, Dad, when

you get to the other side, there might be lots of questions. I hear

that it’s a good idea to say the word ‘love’ a lot.” He squeezed my

hand three times and said:

         “Love. Love. Love.”

This holiday, may we go out of our way to squeeze each other’s hands.  May Love, Love Love pervade our homes, our hearts, our whole beings, as we spend time with family, give and receive offerings, and perhaps honor that empty chair of a loved one passed.

And may this same Love Love Love carry us all into 2020!

 

This is our wish for you and yours.

 

Love, Joy and Barclay

 

Please note that Revisionist Retirement will be taking a brief  blog-cation in January.  But we will pop back into your email before you know it – filled with Love, Love, Love!

Welcome, 2020! Reflections on a Decade Past and the One to Come

Joy here –

The end of a decade!  As we come upon Christmas and Chanukah (this year, a mere 3 days apart), I have to reflect on these last 10 years.  And what a decade it has been.

2010 – A devastating earthquake in Haiti killing 160,000.  The swine flue pandemic.

2011 – A 10-year manhunt ends with Bin Laden being captured and killed.  Japan’s quake and tsunami resulting in disastrous loss of life.

2012 – US toll in Afgan War hits 2000.  Costa Concordia shipwreck.  Newtown, CT takes the lives of 26, including 20 children, the killer taking his own life and that of his mother.

2013 – Boston Marathon bombings.  Verdicts from the George Zimmerman trial and Jodi Arias.  Nelson Mandela, former president of South Africa and leader of the anti-Apartheid movement dies.

2014 – Republicans take control of the Senate in mid-term elections.  Ebola epidemic becomes global crisis.  A new terrorist group by the name of ISIS emerges.

2015 – China devalues the Renminbi in the wake of an economic slowdown.  Greece denied austerity relief by ED.  Refugee crisis hits Europe with the flood of nearly a million people fleeing war and seeking a new life.

2016 – The US presidential election shocks many people (including myself, a lifelong New Yorker who never expected this TV reality star/real estate tycoon to represent America).  The BREXIT referendum.  The Zika virus spreads through the Americas.

2017 – North Korea launches a ballistic missile over Japan.   Women’s March on Washington becomes one of the largest single day demonstrations in US history.

2018 – Democrats win back the House.  Biggest seat gain since Watergate class of 1974.  Me Too movement goes global in the wake of Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein being accused of multiple sexual harassment transgressions.

2019 – Government shutdown becomes the longest in history – 22 days – impasse over Trump border wall.  The college admissions bribery scandal.

 

A momentous decade comes to an end.

 

And we look forward to 2020,  (It has a nice ring to it!  Hey, there’s a TV show named for it!) we hope and pray for the best our country has to offer, as we spread peace and love in our own corners.

 

So….

Happy Chanukah!  Merry Christmas! Or Kwanzaa! Or anything else you might celebrate.  Be merry, joyful, and extend good wishes to strangers and friends alike.

 

Barclay and I thank you for your loyalty and devotion to Revisionist Retirement.  We would be nowhere without you!

 

As always, enjoy the ride!

xox Barclay & Joy

 

 

Please note that Revisionist Retirement will be taking a brief  blog-cation in January.  But we will pop back into your email before you know it – filled with Love, Love, Love!

 

 

Let There be Light: Seasonal Affective Disorder is Real!

You open your blinds to see bare and brown tree limbs twisted as if with arthritis, curling gnarled fingers around the few dead leaves that forgot to let go.  The sky is a gray blanket – an impermeable cloud layer that looks like it’s here to stay. And even with the blinds raised, your bedroom is shadowy and let’s face it, gloomy.  You switch on the bedside lamp but it can’t dispel the grayness or the feeling of vague yet palpable sadness that now seems to loom over you.

What you’re feeling is real and it may be Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).  Those in retirement who lack the daily structure and social mandates of a 9 to 5 job can fall prey to SAD -particularly those living in northern climates.  SAD is not to be taken lightly.

What are the symptoms?

Oversleeping

Sleepiness during the daylight hours

Low energy

Trouble Concentrating

Low to no motivation to exercise

Carbohydrate cravings

Weight gain

Withdrawal from social situations

A depressed mood during specific months

 

Time.com defines SAD as, “a form of depression that typically coincides with the winter months,”   They say, “The possible causes of seasonal depression are manifold, but an absence of sunlight appears to play a role. “We know rates of SAD vary by latitude, so they’re much lower in Florida than in Alaska,” (says Dr. Korb, a UCLA researcher). Just as shift work or traveling to a different time zone can profoundly mess with your body’s natural rhythms, the lack of light in winter may create a “dyssynchrony” in your body’s sleep-wake cycles and internal clocks. This in turn may lead to imbalances in your levels of serotonin, dopamine and other neurotransmitters that control your mood, appetite and energy levels.”

Joy here –  When my daughter was in graduate school in London, far away from family and things familiar, she felt out of sorts all winter — depressed, blue, not wanting to do anything social.  She now lives in Amsterdam, yet another dreary city in winter, bitterly cold and dark by 4pm.  The beauty of springtime where tulips burst with vibrant colors is long forgotten, overshadowed by gray skies and a dampness that goes right through your bones.

During her London stay, I bought my daughter a lamp that emits light designed to combat SAD.  Amazon lists no less than 30 different lamps!!  I couldn’t believe it.  They are called “Happy therapy”, ‘Light therapy”, Happylight”, ‘Sun lamp light therapy.” People need sun light; they need to wake up and see blue sky, maybe not every day, but certainly at least a couple times a week.  It affects our moods, our dispositions, our energy levels.

As retirees without the structure we once had, bleak winters, especially post Holidays, are challenging.  If we didn’t have get-up-and-go in the spring or summer, we sure don’t have it in winter!

If you have to stay in a cold climate, help yourself by working on projects, cooking more, making big pots of soup, stews,  casseroles, comfort foods; try your hand at baking, build fires and get cozy; wrap a comfy blanket around yourself, snuggle with someone you love or your cat or dog!

If all else fails, go to a warm climate, even for a long weekend! Sunshine does wonders to lift your spirits and recharge your batteries. Know that this is a very real condition and you need to help yourself get out of it and feel better. Pamper yourself, even if it’s just a facial from your local drug store.

Know that spring will indeed come again.  Even now, those tulips are doing their own light therapy underground, plotting their return when they will  burst forth and lift our collective spirits!

Today’s Takeaway:

-We may be addressing this early with the spirit of Christmas and Chanukah in the air. However, we know that winter is about to set in. We want to prepare because January just plain sucks!  What’s to look forward to after the heightened anticipation of the holiday season?!

-Know that a lot of what we as retirees feel is magnified and it’s okay to feel blue.  The most important thing is to bring yourself out of it and know you are in good company!

As always enjoy the ride!

xox Barclay & Joy

 

Happy Thanksgiving, 2019!

Joy here:

As Thanksgiving rolls around yet again, it calls to mind many memories.  It is truly my favorite holiday, always has been.  It is about food, gathering together as a family, whatever that family unit may consist of, traditions, being bored with your relatives, wondering how you could possibly be related!!, falling asleep after the big meal. watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, pretending you like the football game that is on (who’s playing?!) remembering the holiday of the past, particularly if you have lost loved ones along the way. Thanksgiving is about all of these things and more.

Funnily. enough, as my friend CC would say, I donated several pieces of my parent’s furniture to The Salvation Army last week.  In case you didn’t know, mahogany is so out!  Millennials like light wood, (“mid century everything!)  One of them was a mahogany dining room table   (from the 1940’s where you would add leaves to expand it). We had this piece of furniture in the foyer of our UWS apt for most of the year, but opened it up for “company”. My mother, Muriel, spent days ahead of Thanksgiving preparing for family.  It included a trip down to the lower east side for nuts, prunes and apricots (she made this concoction of prunes, apricots and marshmallows with a toothpick as  a sweet treat-have never seen this anywhere else!) borrowing metal chairs for extra guests, polishing silver, getting the “good dishes” down from a shelf way up high in our kitchen (needed a ladder to get down), and putting out white bread to get stale for the famous Weinstein chestnut stuffing.

As Maria Shriver said in her weekly Sunday paper, “Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  It is filled with smells I remember, pictures in my head, stories of yesteryear, and a longing for my parents, who I miss every day.”

This year, my first born daughter won’t be with us as she is in Europe, so I will miss her dearly, but my younger daughter and her boyfriend will join us and make new memories.  I can’t wait!

So this year, remember the past fondly, but don’t live in it.  Soak in every moment of this wonderful holiday. Don’t let little things aggravate you.  Let them roll off your back.  They are unimportant.  We don’t know what next year will bring, so be happy for the now.

Lastly, in addition to my love for my family, my friends, my dog Winston, and the life I have led thus far, I am thankful for my dear friend Barclay who I have blogged with for almost 2 years now.  I am truly blessed.

 

Barclay here:

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday as well.    It’s a day of REST where it’s perfectly acceptable to plop on the sofa, eat the leftover pie straight out of the pan, and sip your first glass of wine around 2pm as you monitor the simmering dishes on the stove.

In my teaching days, Thanksgiving would fall right after 3 nights of parent-teacher conferences where you would be so tired you’d worry if you were repeating yourself mid-sentence.  Thanksgiving represented your reward for hard work and a time to reflect on the blessings of your family and your job – even if you had just put your foot in your mouth at 9pm the previous night and called 2nd grader Suzie, Sally, right to her parents’ faces.

Even though we Marcell’s don’t have a big family, on Thanksgiving, we always had every traditional dish represented at the table –  the four of us plus Grandma Rosie would sit down to-  twice baked potatoes, mashed potatoes, scalloped potatoes, sweet potatoes, a giant turkey amply stuffed, alongside green beans and salad  chiming in as the only healthy options, and that being questionable.  This feast was followed by 3 kinds of Bakers Square pies.  You would think we were preparing for a marathon the following day.  No wonder we all plopped on the sofa in a carb coma!

This Thanksgiving, we will have the traditional carb extravaganza – but we will also be overwhelmed with gratitude.  (Our wine may make its appearance at 1pm!)

2019 brought two tiny miracles into our lives – our twin granddaughters who are now home from a lengthy stay in the Neo Natal Intensive Care.   We are praising God for our expanded family and looking forward to joys present and to come.

Maybe this is cause for another potato dish at our table!

 

Gratitude is indeed good for the soul.

The daily devotional that I read says this for November 22nd  —

“A thankful attitude opens windows of heaven.  Spiritual blessings fall freely onto you through those openings into eternity.  As you look up with a grateful heart, you get glimpses of Glory through those windows.  You cannot yet live in heaven, but you can experience foretastes of your ultimate home.  Such samples of heavenly fare revive your hope.  Thankfulness opens you up to these experiences, which then provide reasons to be grateful.  thus, your path becomes an upward spiral; ever increasing in gladness.  Thanksgiving is not some sort of magic formula; it is the language of Love.

Even if your Thanksgiving looks a bit like this New Yorker cartoon, may your heart expand with the language of love.

Thanksgiving.

 

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A Tale of Two Faiths Part Two: The Non-Negotiable’s

Barclay here –

Did you ever see the 1979 movie, The Jerk?  There’s a VERY funny scene when a distraught Steve Martin wearing just a bathrobe is leaving his wife (Bernadette Peters).

“Well I’m gonna go then.” he yells.  “And I don’t need any of this. I don’t need this stuff, and I don’t need you. I don’t need anything except this!”  He picks up an ashtray.   And that’s it and that’s the only thing I need, is this. I don’t need this or this. Just this ashtray.” 

He glances down.

“And this paddle game, the ashtray and the paddle game and that’s all I need.” 

He sees something on a nearby table. “And this remote control.”

The scene continues until he tries to take the dog.  “And I don’t need one other thing… except my dog!”  The dog looks at him and growls.

“I don’t need my dog.”

 

So what do WE need in our faith-walks?

My non-negotiable tenets of faith can be summed up in a made -up song from the toddler room at my church. It goes to the tune of London Bridge is Falling Down :

God made me and God loves me. God loves me. God loves me. God made me and God loves me. Jesus wants to be my friend forever. (If you sing it enough times, I guarantee it will get stuck in your brain.  Probably forever.  Not a bad thing!)

God made me. Psalm 139 says, “O Lord, you have searched me and known me.  You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.  You are familiar with all my ways.  Before a word is on my tongue, you know it completely.”

God loves me. Isaiah 43:4 says, “You are precious in my eyes  and honored and I love you.”

Jesus wants to be my friend forever. Revelation 3:20 says, “Behold I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.”

 

The very best thing about walking in faith is that when you endure trials. and you can’t even pray, the Spirit of God intercedes on your behalf.   Romans 8:26 says that “The Spirit helps us in our weakness.  For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.”

October 31, 2018 was a day where I could not muster prayer.  Our family was facing the “unimaginable” (a reference to the play Hamilton when Eliza and Alexander are mourning the death of their son.)

When you face the unimaginable, and you cannot pray, your very tears become prayers.

Now a year later, I can testify that God does hold your hand through the unimaginable, interpreting your wordless prayers.  As Psalm 23 says, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for you are with me.”

“I made you.  I love you.  And I will be your friend forever.”

So like the Steve Martin character, I will clutch onto the tenets of my faith –  promises from God that enable you to endure even the unimaginable. And bring beauty from ashes.

That’s all I need.

 

 

Today’s Takeaway –

-With age comes hardship – when prayers cannot muster words. Take heart that the Spirit of God carries your tears into the presence of God Himself.

-Joy and I do not anticipate wearing a gray bathrobe anytime soon!  Much as we love Steve Martin!  We are far too fashion forward!!

Thank you for reading our musings and reflections! Click the blue “Follow” button at the top right of the site to make sure you see Joy’s next edition about all things retirement – from faith to face cream to forgetfulness to fabulous!

Enjoy the ride!

xox Barclay and Joy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Tale of Two Faiths Part 1 – Spiritual Roots

Now that we are retired, Joy and I have time to reflect on our beliefs and faith practices.  Since we have different spiritual roots, we thought it might be interesting to share our journeys of faith, which are just that – journeys.

Barclay here –

I grew up going to church on Sunday mornings, singing hymns whose lyrics began, What a friend we have in Jesus and  Jesus calls us o’er the tumult of our lives’ wild restless seas.

As young children, Charlie and I were read bedtime stories, but not about Mickey Mouse or the Berenstein Bears.  Rather, our mother read aloud her paraphrased versions of Old Testament stories, written on a yellow legal pad.  We heard about David facing Goliath with but a sling and 6 shiny stones,  Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednigo being thrown into the fiery furnace, blind Samson regaining his strength and crushing the columns of the Philistine’s temple killing himself and all those around him. Our mother eventually published these legal pad stories in a book called, In the Beginning.

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At Christmas time, our mother was counter cultural.  She deplored  the bearded jolly man (She even wrote an article called, “No Virginia, There is no Santa Claus.”)  Her children’s book, The Real Reason for Christmas, reminded Charlie and me that God had gone to extraordinary lengths to stoop down into human existence as a baby in a manger.   Christmas was all about Jesus.

So from a young age, I believed.  My faith was anchored in the stories of a God of love intervening into human life – forgiving sins, (David, Abraham, Jacob, Joseph were hardly perfect) providing strength in weakness, and showing love, mercy, and justice.

But as the hymn says, life has its “wild restless seas” and my mother’s faith, though an undeniable force, did not override her focus on outward appearances and her quick tongue.  And as I broke away from my mother in my teens and 20s, I also broke away from my faith.  Rather than reading the Bible, I read nice devotionals that did not challenge or inspire.  I adopted a lukewarm faith, that allowed me to look inward and not outward.

But then came parenthood.  And the realization that I needed God.  Desperately.  The God of David, Shadrach, Mechak, and Abednigo.  The God who sent his son, Jesus, a fulfillment of prophesy, to die for me so that each day of imperfect parenting could be a “do-over” – grace filled and led by one more powerful than I.  As David says, My sin was ever before me.  And I could no longer do this life on my own power.  That much I knew!

What do I believe today?

Deuteronomy 6:4-9.

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 

Micah 6:8.

What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.

 1 John 4:9-10.

This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

 

And when my seas become restless with waves of anxiety, fear, or grief, I believe that I have a friend in Jesus who calls me o’er the tumult.

 

Joy here-

I grew up the daughter of a mother who downplayed her Judaism and a father who came from an Orthodox family of 5 children, with a mother and father speaking Yiddish in their home.  My mother, Muriel, was very Reformed, as was her brother, Morton. Uncle Morty, I was told recently almost missed his Bar-Mitzvah because he was playing stick ball!  (millennials can look that up if you are reading our blog!)  My father was  a first generation American and my mother a 3rd generation American.

I was raised Reform and attended Sunday School for seven long years, attempting to learn Hebrew for most of those years, but definitely knowing my holidays. I was confirmed at 13, not Bat-Mitzvahed (they really didn’t do that in those days for girls) I was very proud to be asked to go up to the bimah ( a raised platform in a synagogue with a reading desk from which to read the Torah, Haftarah)  My parents had been married at this Upper West Side synagogue and my grandparents had attended services there as well, so it was considered an honor to be asked.  I recited a special poem, which I had memorized. I was proud to be turning 13 as a young Jewish woman.

Fast forward and who do I end up falling in love with?  A De Santo, not a Goldstein or a Goldfarb, but an Italian, blue eyed blonde who was raised Catholic!   You fall in love with a person, not the person’s religion, so I married out of my faith.  My parents took it well, although my father certainly would have preferred me to marry a Jewish boy, preferably a doctor or a lawyer, of which my De Santo was neither.  Handsome, promising, and very smart, I hadn’t thought about anything else at 23 years of age.

When we had children, we decided you couldn’t leave it up to them to decide (many people of my generation who  married inter-faith thought they could). At the time. I was a High Holy Days worshipper, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. I said my prayers every night,  (the same ones my mother taught me when I was little- “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep.  If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take) David attended church every Sunday so I balanced the decision in my head and went with bringing up the children Catholic. We celebrated all the Jewish holidays, but did have a Christmas tree and attended  mass on Christmas and Easter. I wanted to expose the children to both religions and have always felt as long as you believe in some higher being and can pray when you need to (or want to), that’s all that counts.

Today, one grown daughter is more aligned with Judaism, at least culturally, and the other considers herself a Catholic.

For me, I would describe myself as a Jewish girl from the Upper West side and proud of it!  I light Yarzheit candles, just as my mother did and her mother before her. I worship on the High Holy days, I fast on Yom Kippur, I observe Passover by abstaining from all leavened foods during the holiday, and I pray every night.  My religion is important to me. I feel a swell of emotion when I sit in a synagogue and hear the cantor chant.  It is a religion of tradition, beauty, ancient customs and belief in one G-D who is omnipresent and omnipotent.

I will pass down a very special white bible “The Holy Scriptures” given to me the day I was confirmed in 1968,  one year after the Six-Day War, also known as the Arab- Israeli War. I hope my daughters will carry it on their wedding day and will feel the depth of emotion that I do when I see it and hold it.

Today’s Takeaway…

Barclay and I share a deep commitment to our religions.  Though they are different, we both believe strongly and know that we are always in G-d’s hands.

It gives us both comfort to know that.

Thank you all for reading our musings, writings, perspectives, and very personal stories.

As always, enjoy the ride.

xox Barclay and Joy

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joy Gets Her Groove Back!

Joy here–

 

So, it’s taken me 2 1/2 years to find my stride, to get my groove back. Retirement has not been an easy transition for me, but I think I have finally figured out what I need as a person in this _____ decade of life. (This is left blank on purpose for those who don’t know my exact age and never will!! I still have to keep that secret because I am quirky about age, as many of my friends know!)

I am a worker bee (as my good friend CC says, as is she.) While some can’t wait to kick back and relax, apparently I need to work in a job capacity.   While some want to try new things, take the time to explore and experiment that they never had time for while raising a family, working, juggling everyday life – I need a 9 to 5 structure.

So, I set out to find post-retirement work.

At first, I thought it was about seeing if I could still get a job. Who would want me? What was my skill set? Old ad sales people are not in high demand!! Then, I thought, what do I really need to be happy? An atmosphere where there is a buzz, a vibe, people coming and going. Chat. Interaction.

My husband does not need any of these things and kept saying to me, “find a hobby, take an online course, read.”  But I’m not a solitary person. I love to read, but I can’t sit there all day and do that. I have read more wonderful novels in the last 2 years than in the previous 5! That’s all well and good, but I need more. No matter what other people tell you, even your spouse, who knows me pretty well after almost 42 years of marriage, you know you best!

I need affirmation, confirmation, to be valued for what I can still bring to the table — an upbeat outgoing personality who wants to engage. People fascinate me, they interest me, I enjoy the banter that comes in a social setting, a working atmosphere.

So, this summer I found work!  (A full employment economy helped  Employers of menial type jobs are so in need of people who can at least add, subtract, and multiply, as well as speak in full sentences!))

My part-time job makes me feel useful, purposeful, responsible. It isn’t about the money. I’m paid hourly!!! I work with young people who have nose rings, tongue rings, and multiple tattoos, and they’re great!! There are also a few old fogies like me and we bring a certain gravitas to the job. We’ve been around and are wise! We give good advice and we listen.

I once worked with a young lady, Anne, years and years ago, who told me her parents made her work at the local Stop & Shop. She wasn’t poor, she didn’t need the money, but they wanted her grounded and responsible. I was so impressed by that and kept reminding myself that work fulfills a need for some — and me in particular.  My working is just what I needed. I feel healthier and happier than I’ve been in 2 1/2 years.

 

It reminds me of my mother, Muriel, who went back to work when I was in high school. She had a part time job at Columbia Health, a women’s clinic for students since we lived near the university. She was so proud of herself and us of her, that at Thanksgiving, she purchased one of those turkey ice cream cakes that Baskin  Robbins used to make ( don’t know if they still do) and when served at the table, proudly announced, “Compliments of Muriel”. She was very proud of herself for buying dessert with her own money! I will never forget that and every year as the holiday ( my favorite) approaches, I think of that and her.

So, Joy is back in her groove, enjoying a part time job, buying tickets to theatre with her own money, and sneaking an extra $100 or 2 to her daughter’s! Shhhhh! It makes me happy and it’s what I needed to do for me! There may be a day when I’m ready to do less, to play more, but I’m not there now.

Today’s Takeaway

– Be true to who you are. You know best what you need to be happy.  A little work never hurt anybody and it keeps your brain alive, no matter what you’re learning. It’s learning!!!

-Barclay and I thank you for sticking with us as we slowed down our weekly writings. Life has been fuller and that’s a good thing!!!

We have so much more to say, so stay tuned!

As always, enjoy the ride!
xox Barclay and Joy

On being a Grandma; Following Rosemarie’s Rules

Barclay here –

In her book, Becoming Grandma, Leslie Stahl describes grand parenting as “an unspeakable joy” where “your heart grows new chambers.”

This year I became a grandma.  And in this new role, I aspire to take after after my mother-in -law, Rosemarie.

You see, Rosemarie could have authored the Grandma playbook.

As a first-time mom, I embodied the “Peter Principle”  — meaning, I was in over my head.  But Rosemarie  kept her mouth shut while I fumbled with baby Jared.  She said NOTHING when I tried in vain to comfort my colicky, squirmy, sweaty infant.  Instead, she just told me what a great mother I was and then demurely asked it she could hold Jared (who must have felt instant relief there was a professional in his midst.)  She modeled what mothering looks like. Without words.

Rosemarie was also a faithful babysitter; a listening counselor; and she never missed a performance, a practice, a game – to which she always brought treats.  Among Alex’s high school tennis teammates, Rosemarie was Grandma to all the girls.

She was also a cool Grandma.  She took Jared to rock concerts,  encouraged Alex in her rock collecting, and made up silly songs and dance moves about Fig Newton cookies, of all things.

Rosemarie now lives in Phoenix, but she remains close to Jared and Alex.  Four years ago, she embraced a new grandchild  – Kathleen, Jared’s wife, whom she adores.

Rosemarie doesn’t bug her adult grandkids with daily texts and calls;  but she’s always got their back.  She prays constantly, and she’s enthralled with news, beaming when her grandkids reach out. Which they do.

So may I exude Rosemarie’s love and wisdom!   As my heart grows new chambers.  And I compose a silly song or two.

 

Joy here –

I am bursting with happiness for my dear friend Barclay!  She will be a wonderful grandmother.  She has learned from a pro! I only know Rosemarie through FB, but Barclay has described a lady who has taught her much and knew when to stay in the background, as well as when to shower special attention on her grandkids.

I, sadly, did not have grandparents growing up.  My father’s parents both died before I was born and my mother’s father died before I entered the world as well.  I was named for grandpa Jack, as is the custom in the Jewish religion, a great honor.  My mother’s mother was an invalid with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease) and was in pain most of the time when I visited her in a nursing home  as a very young child.

Many articles have been written about the positive effects of a having a grandparent close by who is involved in their grandchildren’s lives. (Research out of Switzerland and Germany has been published in the journal,  Evolution and Human Behavior.) It’s the caregiving, apparently that makes the difference —   not just being a grandparent who visits occasionally, but one who actually helps out.   No pressure on my children, but I’m counting on you for my longevity!

Just like I couldn’t wait to become a parent, I am hoping and praying that one day I will be called Grandma by some little kid.

So, in the meantime, congratulations to Barclay and Brett.  So happy for them both!  They will be amazing grandparents.

Today’s Takeaway –

Life is filled with many ups and downs, but becoming a grandparent is one of life’s pleasures (so I hear). Never take grandchildren for granted because not everyone gets to have them.

 

As always, enjoy the ride.

xox Barclay & Joy

 

 

 

 

Get Thee to a Rock Concert (before all the rockers of our day die!!)

Joy here –

A couple of weekends ago our neighbors and good friends of 25 years
came up to our neck of the woods for a rock concert.  Our friends had
purchased the tickets months ago to see the great Santana with an
opening act by The Doobie Brothers.  (If, by some chance you are a
millennial who has found his or her way onto our Revisionist Retirement
site, don’t worry, way, way before your time!)

Having not been to a concert for a few years, I forgot how much fun
they can be. You instantly regress to your early 20’s with a little
swaying of your hips and a couple of glasses of wine.

On a summer evening in Saratoga Springs, a venue I had never been to before, our
little group and another 25,000 people, mostly looking to be in their
50’s, 60,s, and beyond, got lost in the hypnotic Latin rhythms of the
one and only Carlos Santana.  We knew all the words to the songs of
the 70’s, whether in Espanol or English.  It brought us back to a more
innocent time in our lives, uncomplicated, exploratory, one in which
we had our whole lives before us.  For 2 solid hours Santana played the
music of our youth, and with a nod to the 50th anniversary of Woodstock
(having taken place the weekend before), strangers danced on the grassy
knoll barefoot and lost in time.

 Music has a way of transporting us to a time and place that feels
familiar.  It brings back memories of another era.  Inhibitions melt
away as many of us got up to shake our hips and bop our heads in a way
that feels oh so familiar, but not moves our bodies make on a routine
basis!

With Elton John performing his farewell tour this year, the Stones
doing their 5th (I’ve lost track!) final tour, plus Barbara Streisand and
Queen, the price of a ticket is a magic carpet ride that will leave
you smiling all night and, maybe it will help you to remember the
person you once were (and can still be) when no one’s looking!

So, for all of us of a certain age, don’t be afraid to admit your love
for Barry Manilow or heaven forbid The Bee Gees (just watched a
special on PBS last week of a concert from 1997!)  It was a great time
to be young and I wouldn’t have wanted to come of age in any other
era.

Today’s Takeaway…

– Go buy a ticket to a rock concert.  Take off your shoes and dance, dance, dance.
Nostalgia is good, unless you get stuck in time.

-Allow yourself a ride back there whenever you feel like it, but always live in the
present, not the past.

As always, enjoy the ride
xox Barclay and Joy