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





Marathons, Memories, and Metaphors

“Looking good!”

“You got this!”

“Go, runners!”

It was mile 23 of the 2018 Chicago Marathon – a drizzly, 50-degree Sunday afternoon.  Some of the runners looked like they had no business signing up for this endeavor.  It was 4 hours into the ordeal and they clearly needed all the encouragement we could muster.

Plus a little levity.  One sign read,  “Hell, you’ve come this far.  Might as well finish!”

Finally we saw Alex. Looking strong and spirited. She turned to her older brother, “Jared, jog with me. Give me a pep talk!”   Which he did.  Enough to melt a mother’s heart.

If nothing else, a marathon conjures up memories and metaphors.

It seems like yesterday Joy and I ran a marathon together. We were 27. Alex’s age. On the cusp of careers, parenting, and life events we never anticipated.  Spending hours on that jogging path set the stage for a lifelong friendship.

Now for the tired metaphor.  We Baby Boomers are at mile 23 and we want to finish well.  Leave a legacy.  End strong.

According to Jonathan Rauch’s  Happiness Curve, we may have fallen prey to discontent and malaise in our midlife —  but come Mile 23 — in our 50s/60s, we can experience a sense of well-being – a deep satisfaction with life (major caveat here says Mr. Rauch — he is assuming all things have remained equal, meaning crisis-free).  We savor relationships and value community; we put the corporate ladder aside in favor of pursuing passions.  The author says we substitute “competition for compassion”.

We retired folks (or TRBs — “Those Retired Bitches” – as one working friend describes us)  have time for compassion.  (Oh and also for watching Hallmark Christmas movies in our PJs!  9 days to go as I write this!)

Small and big acts of kindness.  Brett plowing snow beyond our house – anonymously;  Joy at the horse barn assisting kids smiling ear to ear from their high perch;  Stef tutoring a teenager from Syria; Jim, unasked, driving us to the airport; Jeanne raising money for adults with challenges; Cathy honing her social work skills at grocery stores; Sally taking doggie love to the nursing home, Joy and David volunteering at a dog shelter and naturally leaving with a puppy.

That’s Mile 23 living at its best.

So as the sign said, “Hell, you’ve come this far…you might as well finish!!”

And finish strong!


Today’s Takeaway –

-Look for ways to spread joy today.  You don’t have to come home with a puppy.  (But maybe that’s not the worst idea ever!)

-Savor friendships.  Like red wine, they get better with age.

Enjoy Mile 23!

xox Barclay and Joy

The Last Time I Saw You We Were 7!!

What do you say to someone you haven’t seen since you were 7 years old?!! It’s a mind blowing experience and one I had to share.

In one of my many unaccounted for retirement moments, I was thinking of people who have come and gone in my life.  Names from the past, childhood, in particular.  I had two very close friends in elementary school, one who I have been friends with since kindergarten (with a hiatus of about twenty years, but that’s a post for another day) and another who I met at about the same time.  Friend #2 moved away at the end of 2nd grade and we lost touch. I put in her maiden name, not knowing if she was married or divorced or never having been married.  A gap of this much time means you missed out on her growing up, graduating from junior high school, high school, a first boyfriend, the prom,  applying to college, getting married, a first job, a career, having children, the list goes on.

Is it curiosity, getting older and wanting to connect with people from our past or the fact that FB allows us to be super sleuths? The ability to find just about anyone from our past exists. When you find someone who was a best friend, no matter what age you are, it’s a gift.  It’s a renewal of something you once shared that only the two of you remember.

Ironically, my friend has a sister who has a weekend house less that an hour and a half  away from where I live.  What are the chances?  So,  last weekend we made a plan to meet at a local restaurant for a glass of wine.  She would be with her husband and I would be with mine. I walked into the restaurant and a big broad smile came over her face.  I recognized her immediately and she me, though we hadn’t seen each other in over 50 years!!!!  The face of the child I knew was still there.  It brought a flood of emotion to us both and we knew this was going to be a night of reminiscences, laughing and scratching the surface of two lives reconnecting.

At this phase of life friendships are more important than ever.  We have the time to see people that we may not have had while raising families.  If someone has been lost along the way, reach out.  FB and other social media make things possible and it’s an amazing tool that I still marvel at.  (no matter how lame that sounds!)

Today’s Takeaway…

There is no time like now to reach out and make someone’s day.  If you’ve lost a friendship over the years, take a chance and try connecting. The memories you shared are still there and it can be so worth the effort.

Barclay and her husband just visited us in upstate New York and I am still smiling.  It was an opportunity for our husbands to get to know one another and we could commiserate in person over our still unfigured out state of retirement!

Enjoy the ride

xox Barclay and Joy

The Power of Prayer: A Christian and a Jew Walk to A Bus Shelter …

A Joint Post by Barclay and Joy

JOY- Sometimes, a topic resonates so well with both of us that we have to write jointly.  The title sounds like a joke Rodney Dangerfield might have told, or Henny Youngman!  Don’t ask me who they were because if you don’t know you’re too young for this ride!

Barclay and I did indeed meet at the bus shelter in 1981 on the corner of our building on Chicago’s Gold Coast.

While our backgrounds are very different,  we have come to learn over a lifetime of friendship, soul searching, commiserating, kvetching, crying and laughing that we are kindred spirits. You see we both believe in a higher being, the power of prayer, and we  lead spiritual lives that mean a great deal to us.

Coming off the High Holy Days, the two most sacred Jewish holidays of the year, I am in a reflective mood.  I have self examined my past year and asked God for forgiveness for the many actions I took that were thoughtless to a friend, a family member, a neighbor.  I have sat through hours of services, listened to countless sermons, and heard many shofars blown year after year. The one thing that has never changed is my belief that tradition matters, rituals are important, and prayers are heard no matter how silently we utter them.

BARCLAY –  Each Tuesday morning I have the privilege of spending time with a group of toddlers while their moms attend a Bible study.  For September the toddler story has been about Hannah pleading with God to have a baby (I Samuel; chapter 1)  The accompanying verse has been, “Do not be afraid; your prayer has been heard.”  We teachers and toddlers sing this verse to the tune of Frere Jacques (which if you do but a few times – and the verse will be forever stuck in your brain.  Not a bad thing.  Try it!!).


During my turbulent high school days, my brother Charlie told me that there are 3 things to remember in life:

God exists.  God loves you.  The story ends happily.

To Charlie’s list, I would add a 4th – God hears.  Especially the prayers from deep within our soul.

God heard Hannah’s desperate pleas for a child.  The following year she gave birth to Samuel who became the great Old Testament prophet of Israel.

And over the years God has heard my own prayers – especially during times of loneliness and fear –  the “Scaries” of life.  That’s when He has reassured me of His presence.  He has been faithful when I have not.

At this late date, it seems unlikely that I will give birth to a prophet of Israel.  But I am grateful to God for providing:

Toddlers to sing with.

And a friend to laugh, pray, and commiserate with – beginning in a bus shelter long ago.



Today’s Takeaway…

. God is omnipresent, as well as omnipotent.  No matter Jew or Christian, Buddhist or Muslim, Hindu, (you get my drift), pray as though you mean it.  Get in the zone. God knows when you do a half ass job!

. Never stop praying.  You will always be heard and your heart will be lighter for doing so.

Enjoy the Ride

xox Barclay and Joy

Happy Anniversary!

Joy —

The end of July marks the 6 month anniversary of www.revisionistretirement.com, by Barclay and Joy.  We thought seeing as this is a special milestone (well, it’s not a year or a 5 year, but it is indeed special to us), it was time to celebrate!

We started out with an idea that two lifelong friends adapting to retirement had a lot to say!  We needed an outlet, a cathartic way of getting our thoughts out of our heads and into print.

It’s been great to get to know someone that I’ve known for 37 years even better. We now have a personal call once a week to catch up and a business call to discuss our blog.

Barclay —

“So what do you do?”

When you’re retired, people ask you this all the time.

The voice of my mother echoes,  “Seriously, Barclay, what DO you do all day?  And at day’s end what exactly have you DONE?” 

My life used to be structured (and identified) by raising kids, performing at a job, managing a home.  I was ruled by the alarm clock and the family calendar.

Then, bam… Jared and Alex embarked on their own journeys.  My work life ended. The alarm clock was bored.  The word, retirement, sounded like an abrupt end.  I was grateful but uneasy.

Then came Joy.

Joy and I go back some 40 years.  Joy is one of those people who treasures friendships —  you can pick up right where you left off even if you haven’t spoken in months.  She’ll make you laugh until it hurts.

Now Joy and I speak every week.  We are among the throngs of Baby Boomers – retiring at a rate of 10,000 per day – some of whom have fallen prey to depression, anxiety, over-rumination.  For Joy and me, talking and writing about these pitfalls has been vital – hence the blog idea.  Retirement being revised.  A time of opportunity and growth.  Yes, you CAN teach old dogs new tricks!

Joy’s daughters, Morgan and Dana, have been key to the birth of this blog.  Morgan came up with the name and occasionally acts as editor;  Dana has helped with many an IT issue.  Both have been sounding boards – ever so patient – which must be a tad challenging.  Old dogs can learn but not at a millennial rate!

So far, RR has addressed everything from crepe skin to death.  Overarching themes include –

Aging – Those lovely surprises your mirror announces.  And the mental jolt you get each birthday or when the movie cashier doesn’t even blink when you request a “senior discount”.

The Past – We all have baggage and Jane Fonda suggests that the Third Act is high time for forgiveness and peace.

Passion and Purpose – Finding your sweet spot of service.  Making a difference even if it’s just smiling more, over-tipping, giving someone a sincere, over the top compliment.


Loneliness, Marriage, Volunteering, Friendship, Learning, Travel, Mindfulness, Staying Active, Forgetfulness, Parenting adult children.

And lest we forget, Muriel and Peggy have snuck into many a post.

So here’s a new blog post title – You Never Know!

Neither Joy nor I could EVER have anticipated this blogging adventure. We invite you to join us and discover your own revisionist retirement!

Together we’ll find a cure for crepe skin and arm flab — or at least be able to laugh at all things jiggly!

Joy —

Don’t underestimate us!  We both think (maybe in our own delusional minds!) that a Lifetime movie can’t be far behind!  You want to be able to say, I read their blog from the beginning and knew it was special!!!  Don’t miss out on this opportunity!  I will be  played by Julia Roberts (my mouth is the same size as hers and she has large teeth!)  Barclay will be played by Diane Lane.  Sexy at any age!

Above all else keep reading our blog-http://www.revisionistretirement.com

Enjoy the Ride and Raise a Glass!


Barclay and Joy

Keep Moving!

Peggy was ahead of her time.  Back in the day when women weren’t supposed to sweat, she was dripping wet every morning.  “Barclay,” she’d say. “You must get out of breath once a day.”  Her Bible was the Royal Canadian Air Force Exercise Plans for Physical Fitness.  Naturally she did her sit ups, push ups, jumping jacks in heels.    

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Peggy kept her slim figure intact until the very end.  Even when restricted to her bed, she arranged for a physical trainer to bring over weights and beach balls.   I suspect she was wearing heels under the covers.

“You just have to keep moving!” she’d declare. 

Now the downside to all this is that I grew up to be an exercise fiend.  I completed 15 marathons, played tennis 4-5 times a week, biked, took hot yoga — and sweated my way right into an eating disorder that can still rear its ugly head.  

But Mom was right.  Exercise is key to warding off depression, staying fit, producing endorphins, rebooting energy levels, combating disease. And if it’s a social thing, all the better.  Whereas my mom was relegated to the bedroom (the only acceptable form of exercise for a 1950s female was vacuuming), my world expanded through exercise.    

I met my husband and secured 2 jobs on a tennis court; my ladies doubles group has sprouted a wine group; and  during my brief and unspectacular hockey career, I encountered fascinating women from different backgrounds and orientations. 

So let’s follow Peggy’s advice and keep moving!  Just not in heels!


Today’s Takeaway –


  • Discover a new sport.  Consider Pickleball — it’s easy to learn and cheap.   It’s the fastest growing racket sport and has Baby Boomer written all over it.


  • After exercise, stick around for an adult beverage.  Your workout can lead to friendships you didn’t anticipate with people you wouldn’t otherwise encounter.



Enjoy the ride!

xox, Barclay and Joy






The Power of Friendship

Okay, so who would guess that 36 years later, this woman who lived in the same Chicago apartment building and I would write a blog on retirement!  After more than a couple of marriages, 18-plus jobs (only 6 on my resume, but who’s to know?), 5 dogs, 2 houses, 4 children (between the two of us) and here we are!

Why us? Well, if we survived all that life throws your way and still remained such good friends, though we haven’t lived in the same state for 31 years, then we were meant to write our musings on retirement together! In Yiddish, one would say it was Bashert! Meant to be, destiny!

Our friendship was cemented when we trained for the Chicago Marathon one extremely hot summer.  As 26 year olds (God, we were young!) we talked about our work day, our husbands, parents, what we were doing for weekend.  We somehow breathed and kept our training pace even though we gabbed the whole way. It was a great relief from daily stress, both of us being in the finance industry, Barclay in municipal bonds and me institutional equities.

How we loved our 80s business suits and bows – a short lived fashion trend.

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This would become a great friendship! 

Fast forward and I retire at 62, Barclay 6 months later, me from financial publishing, she from teaching. The two young girls had grown old together, had a full life of achievements, accomplishments, disappointments, joy mixed with frustration, in other words, LIFE!

This chapter we’re now in –  post-job –  well, you just don’t know what it’s going to be like until you get there!   Barclay and I are seeing it similarly — and hence the idea of the blog was born!

Who better to write than two great friends!

Today’s Takeaway –

  • Foster friendships!  Reach out.  Have a drink or coffee with a buddy.  Be intentional. 
  • Listen more than talk.

Enjoy the ride!

xox, Barclay and Joy