Dreaming Small

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

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

Michelle described a few “more’s”.

Sleep more. Knit more.  Travel more.

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

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

Say Yes.

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

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

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

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

What’s your YES these days?

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

Find your mission.

What gives you joy?

What are your unique gifts and talents?

What moves you?

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

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

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

It’s OK to Dream Small

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

There’s a song titled Dream Small —

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

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

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

Today’s Takeaway –

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

Enjoy the ride!

xox

Barclay and Joy

Ye Ole Comfort Zone

My daughter, Alex, needed to produce a favorite quote to be published in her company’s news periodical – alongside a photo and an interview.  She selected one by Sheryl Sandberg, author of Lean In.

“What would I do if I weren’t afraid?”

When I googled Sheryl Sandberg, I discovered a plethora of inspiring quotes that someone like me needs to heed.

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Here’s my favorite –

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If offered such a seat, let’s just say I’d be running the other direction!

I love my Comfort Zone.  And now that I’m retired, it’s all too easy to bask in it.  To be a lazy bum and then condemn myself for being so, then open the freezer and reach for a Ben and Jerry’s Coffee Chocolate carton to seal the deal.

You get the picture.   Ms. Sandberg is not exactly my doppelgänger.  (Never used that word before.  How’s that for risk taking?!)

As we age, we need to guard against social anxiety (my middle name), self-induced isolation, and lazy bum-ism.

We don’t have to board a rocket ship, but we do have to MOVE.

In fact, the word, MOVE, can be a Rules-for-Life acronym for us Baby Boomers who are leaning-in – just not as Ms. Sandberg advocates.

M =  Mindful (THIS is our one life; And Time, she’s a mover.)
O =  Own your age (As you thinketh, so you are-eth – a loose Proverbs translation – by moi)
V =  Volunteer (even just a smile or kind word; a note; an hour a week with the elderly, the homeless, the “least of these”)
E =  Exercise (remember Peggy in her high heels?)

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We of an introverted nature may need a kick in the butt.  Reuters News published this 2017 piece that could be our butt kick.  Check it out if you have a minute.

Exercise linked to lower risk of premature death in older women

So goodbye, Comfort Zone, I’m heading out to play paddle tennis.  Then Codie wants to go to the nursing home.  And then I may meet a friend for a beer while Codie contemplates her canine life (food) alongside.

No need for a trip in a rocketship however.  Sorry, Sheryl!

Today’s Takeaway –

– MOVE – Be mindful of your days; own your age; volunteer; and exercise.

-Take that seat in the rocketship if that’s your thing.  I’ll drink my beer and applaud you from a safe distance!

Enjoy the Ride!

xox Barclay and Joy

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Nosotros Vamos a Mexico

My (Joy’s) husband had always dreamed of retiring internationally. This is the man I married 40 years ago! A dreamer, an out of the box thinker, someone who didn’t care if his opinions were not popular or main-stream.We had a subscription to “International Living” magazine when no one had heard of it, its readers, hippy-dippy types who chose to live in Ecuador or Panama long before these places were considered cool.  

Me, the girl from the Upper West side of New York City who lived in the same apt for 23 years until the day she got married. I guess this was my alter ego saying, try something you have never experienced before.  So we poured through these monthly issues voraciously thinking of cool places to retire.  We were never going to be the people who moved to South Florida, as my parents did or Arizona or Nevada, the Carolinas, typical choices of Northeast folks when it came time to leave the workforce and the cold winters of this part of the country. As a twenty something year old reading this stuff, it seemed a lifetime away.

About 12 years earlier, for my 50th birthday to be exact, we planned a trip to Belize, a country getting a lot of attention at that time for being atypical Caribbean and non touristy.  I hated traditional resorts and all inclusives, being a sophisticated traveler.  Belize sounded cool and I only knew a few people who had been there. I picked a beach resort and figured we’d check it out at the same time for possible digs in that next chapter of life. Our whole family went including our then 15 and 18 year old daughters. We traveled to Grenada, a beautiful colonial city that some people had mentioned as a potential candidate for retirement.  Beautiful architecture, a city feel, but also armed guards with serious looking weapons at the local bank, and a true third world feel.  

Adventurous, I am, but stupid I am not.  This just didn’t feel like a place I’d call home!

From there we took a small plane (the kind you have your knees up against your chest in and pray until you land on terra firma safely) to our lovely beach resort.  We had a wonderful vacation and I will always remember Belize as the place I spent my 50th birthday with my family, but its less than smooth non white beaches were underwhelming and not even on the list of possibles when we returned home.

Next, several years later, as that 60 something decade was getting closer, we tried Panama and Nicaragua.  Both lovely destinations for a vacation but they didn’t make the cut. Panama City reminded me of Miami Beach, — not a fan and the humidity was oppressive.  In addition, the currency used is the U.S.dollar, so no benefit in terms of buying power.

 Nicaragua, while beautiful on the coast, many likening it to Southern California of 50 years ago.  But we must not forget that a wacko by the name of Noriega ran this country not that long ago. When discussing the idea of buying property in Nicaragua with one of my friends, who is actually from there, she advised me not to touch real estate in her own beloved country.

With 3 down, all giving us very enjoyable vacations, the attention was brought back to Mexico, our neighbor to the South.  International Living had recommended Mexico for years:  it had a stable government, the peso advantage (now 18 to 1, but as high as 21 to 1 last year when we arrived) and people who are welcoming and friendly.  They actually like Americans, or they did until we had this crazy person in the White House, but I digress…

My husband being the researcher in the family, me being the shoot from the hip, ask questions later kind of girl, came up with this place called Ajijic, a long time destination of expats, artists, and hippy types for over 30 years. Such famous people as  Meryl Streep, Marilyn Monroe going way back, D.H. Lawrence, Ernest Hemingway, and the little brother (Todd Karns) in the eternally famous movie, “It’s A Wonderful Life”.  Who knew?

It’s not as well known as it’s more expensive and much larger sister San Miguel Allende, known as SMA, but it offers incredible weather, temperate for about 9 months out of the year, and a rainy season for 3 months that makes the mountains turn into broccoli, so I hear. It’s considered to have the second best climate in the world after Nairobi.   We being snowbirds, can only tell from photos and friends.

 

This is our second winter here and so far so good.  We have returned to friends, a vibrant social life, far more than we ever had in Southern Westchester for 25 years, and a quality of life that is pretty good.  La Vida es facil and an average dinner costs about $30 U.S dollars complete with wine, appetizer, entree, dessert and coffee.

I’d rather be on this side of the Wall any day!  We’re only snowbirds, so I see my children when I get back and we can roll our eyes at the Tweets El Presidente issues from afar!

 

Viva La Mexico!

 

Today’s Takeaway—

. Be open minded.  Would I ever have thought I’d live in Mexico as an expat? If not for my EPH’s out of the box thinking, I wouldn’t have experienced Mexico and the benefits of living abroad.

. Stretch that comfort zone. If not now, when?!

 

Enjoy the ride

Xox Barclay and Joy