Your Retirement Identity: I just feel like myself when…

“When I’m on a tennis court, I just feel like myself,”

I knew exactly what Judy meant by that comment.  There is something about the sounds and smells of an indoor tennis facility – balls bouncing and tennis shoes squeaking – that makes me “feel like myself”.   For 50 plus years, this setting has been akin to an anti-depressant, where life’s troubles are shelved for a couple of hours (and no weight gain!!…adds Joy.)

Where do you feel like yourself?

The forest preserve?  Your church sanctuary?  The public library?  A yoga mat?  Or at a Starbucks sitting across from a great friend, over-caffeinated and laughing your head off?  Remember laughter is the best therapy and I’d rather have laugh lines than any other wrinkle anytime!

Retirement offers us more time in such settings.  And time to discover new ones. In fact, the most happy retirees are those who discover new passions, new places to feel like themselves.

For me personally (Joy here) I crave being busy, over programmed, juggling tasks.  I’m not so sure I am ready for so much time to mull over my new state of being.  Perhaps, I just need to adjust.  If it takes me longer, that’s okay.  I will find my special place and I will know it when I see it.

Who better to help us than Oprah who offers a free passion quiz  —  under the enticing title, Who am I meant to be?

And then there’s Maria Shriver, our Mentor – who unfortunately doesn’t yet know she’s mentoring us.  Maria applauds those pursuing passions and making a difference.  Check our her interviews at Architects of Change.

Maria challenges US to be Architects of Change.

“We all have the power to be Architects of Change in our own lives, in our own homes and our own communities… to imagine what can be, then create what you envision. You can make a difference, play a part in moving humanity forward and ultimately, uniting it.  Together, we will create a more caring, conscious, connected and compassionate community.”


So for us,  this retirement season is a time to look beyond the tennis court and the yoga mat to imagine more.   More places to feel like ourselves. To forget ourselves.

We don’t need to conform to anyone’s image of who we should be.  Performance reviews are not given in retirement! (If they were though, Barclay and I deserve “much improved”!)

We may not yet be Architects of Change, but we can be Architects of Ending Strong. Whatever that looks like.

Oh and we may have to stalk Maria.  Just a bit.  Don’t tell her.  (She may get a restraining order!)


Today’s Takeaway –

-As much as we love Maria, it probably isn’t a good idea to stalk another person.  There are consequences!  Although, I’m sure her home is lovely!

-There really isn’t such a thing as retirement, is there?  It should be called “work in progress”!  We retired from the workforce, that’s all.  We are still the same people as we were when we wore professional attire!  Now my dress code is more yoga pants and a loose fitting tee shirt! Think of the savings in dry cleaner bills!


Enjoy the ride!

xox Barclay and Joy











Your Mind on Retirement – Ruminate No More!

Some of us are all too eager to open those one-on-one date cards sent from our minds.  (Can you tell I am deep into Season 14 of the Bachelorette?) We know full well our minds will betray us — telling us half-truths or outright lies, shrouding us in shame over past mistakes, and then showing a compelling movie trailer that previews catastrophes yet to come.

Our crafty minds know how to play the Getting Old card.  How many years do you think you have left?  What have you really done with your life?  A glance in the mirror reveals a new wrinkle, sag, spot, pouch. Your mind has ample material to draw upon.

Soon your mind is questioning your friendships (not good), your calendar (too full or glaringly empty), conversations after one glass too many (you said THAT?), childhood memories unresolved; degrees, titles, goals – yup, all unreached.

Your mind also invites you on group-dates – social situations where loneliness is ironically at its worst – where your mind plays the Comparison Card culminating the big reveal of your fraud status.

We need to silence such unproductive ruminations once and for all.  But first a couple of reminders.

We are not alone.  

Consider the plethora of TED talks and self-help books – The Power of Positive Thinking, The Secret, The 7 Habits, The Power of Now, Mind Shift, Minding Your Mind; Outsmarting your Brain, Mindfulness.  I love this recent title, Unfu*k Yourself – Getting out of your Mind; Getting on with your Life.  (Really…why didn’t we think of that?)

It seems we are the reluctant star of the summer hit movie, Mind Gone Wild.  (Ah, wouldn’t you know it…that’s already a book title!)

Secondly, our mind is the ultimate unreliable narrator who filters out the good and highlights the regrettable.  It is time to call it out. We CAN tell our mind to mind its manners. (Now there’s a book title!)


Psychology Today offers practical suggestions for combating rumination.  These are my top 5 which I am trying to implement when my mind starts on its awful-izing path.

  • Distract your mind with a walk, a movie, a book or exercise. (Your mind has ADHD and is easily distracted.) When your mind is otherwise occupied, it has a chance to regroup.  
  • Recite Bible verses or poems; sing a song; say out loud, STOP.
  • Write an encouraging note or email.
  • Keep a gratitude journal.  Review the events of the prior day and highlight what went well.
  • DO something – clean a bathroom, cook a meal, pay a bill.  Accomplish SOMEthing – albeit small.

Changing your outlook IS possible.  Here’s what wonderful Maria Shriver has to say in her latest  “I’ve Been Thinking” Sunday Paper —  

“Shifting your thoughts can shift your perception of a person, of a place, of an event, or most importantly, of yourself. How you view yourself is truly dependent on how you think about yourself and your life.

Do you see yourself as a victim? If so, try shifting to survivor. Tell yourself, “I am a survivor.” Just use the word over and over again.

Do you see yourself as weak and indecisive? Then tell yourself that you are brave, clear and confident instead.

Do you see yourself as someone over the hill and no longer relevant? Then shift your take on that, too. Tell yourself, I’m in my prime. This is my time. Say this out loud. Say it clearly and confidently.”


So the next time you see that date-card with your name on it, tell your mind that you have other plans.  Take a walk. Read a book. Cook an amazing dinner. Clean that toilet. (Well, let’s not go too far!)   Treat yourself as your best friend. Say along with Maria, “This is my prime!”


Today’s Takeaway –

-Sometimes the very thing you DON’T want to do is the thing you probably should do and will feel better for having done it.   Vacuuming, walking the dog, simply moving have the ability to unfu*k your mind!

-Another Maria-ism — Instead of saying, “I have to…”  , say “I GET to…”


Enjoy the Ride!  You GET to!!


Barclay and Joy

YIPPEE Moments

Joy and I are big fans of Maria Shriver.  We look forward to reading The Sunday Paper – her inspirational essay that comes to us each week via email.   The writing style is engaging, the voice authentic, and the content both mind stretching and heart warming. Oh and it’s free.  (Click here to subscribe.  You will love it!)


Screen Shot 2018-05-07 at 7.45.56 AM

A couple of weeks ago, Maria talked about celebrating life’s daily “Yippee!”  moments.  Even in the midst of a dark season, such moments are there to be discovered.

“We all need more joy in our lives,” says Maria. Yippee-Joy, she defines as “a moment you consciously celebrate. It’s a moment where you decide that you get to feel joy-filled.”

Maria suggests we  recognize these Yippee’s at least once a day.  And the reason we DON’T do this, she adds, is a matter of where our focus is.

“Most of us are so bogged down getting through life and attending to life’s never-ending stream of responsibilities that before we know it, we aren’t playing anymore. We aren’t celebrating anymore. We aren’t thinking “yippee!”

Instead, we have our heads down in our computers or phones. We’re dealing with evolving relationships, changing kids, sick friends, our own health, aging parents, and bills. Lots and lots of bills. Sure, you can stay on this path and say, “well, that’s just life.” Or, you can consciously decide, like I have done, to find a daily “yippee!””

And in case you’re not in a Yippee mood, check out this research study from 2003.  There were three groups – one listed blessings; one listed hassles, and the third did nothing.  The results showed that the gratitude group reported improved happiness, increased motivation, and better sleep! It turns out there’s a causal relationship (not just correlational) between an attitude of gratitude and a better life.

The Bible tells us to “Rejoice always!” .  If we didn’t quite get the message (since we were too busy worrying), it reiterates, “Again, I say, Rejoice!”   Sounds rather like a command, doesn’t it?

So in the words of Becca, the Bachelorette, “Let’s do the damn thing!”

Here goes…

YIPPEE!  Spring is  here!  Buds are bursting from seemingly dead branches.  I’m seeing colors of unspeakable beauty, fat robins flitting and chatting.

YIPPEE!  Yesterday my husband AND my grown daughter took a walk through Millennial Park in 80 degree sun and then shared a meal at Veggie Grill.

YIPPEE!  I have 3 new library books sitting on my bedside table ready to befriend me.

YIPPEE! I am now enjoying 3 racket sports (pickleball, paddle, tennis) that provide the company of wonderful women – and cold beer.

YIPPEE!  Kacie, a cranky shih tsu lies at my feet, chilling in the morning sunlight.  Codie, of Golden love, stares me down, saying “Let’s do THIS damn thing!” Meaning, I should give over my damn cereal bowl so she can lick the remaining Grape Nuts.

These knucklehead doggies exude yippee-ness!

Screen Shot 2018-05-07 at 8.44.09 AM.png

So let’s embark on a 14-day YIPPEE Challenge.  Join Joy and me in the discipline of listing YIPPEE moments each morning.


If we also smile broadly while compiling our lists, then we will be exercising our facial muscles and REDUCING wrinkles. Some call this Face Yoga.   (Check out our post called, Exercising Your Face – It’s a THING!” )

The only response to that is YIPPEE!



Today’s Takeaway-

– Life is short.  Claim all Yippee’s while you can!  And then don’t forget to subscribe to The Sunday Paper. Click here.

-Maria’s essays are now compiled in a best selling book called, I’ve Been Thinking.  Click the book image below to order from Amazon.  $11.99 well spent!



Enjoy the Ride

xox   Barclay and Joy