Retirement Truth or Dare

Beware of these Retirement Lies:

I am too old to…

No one needs me.

The best is behind me.

I can’t learn anything new.

Ok, it may be too late for medical school.  And your marathon days are likely over.

But here’s the truth about this season of life —

  • You CAN learn new things.  Your brain will thank you. Ballroom dancing?   Spanish?  Cooking?  Painting? Writing?
  • We tend to romanticize the past.  (Oh, when the kids were young…)  THIS could be the best time of all.  It’s all about our attitude.  Jane Fonda, age 80, touts the opportunities of this Third Act. Check out her TED talk.
  • As long as you are breathing, you CAN serve others. Find them in soup kitchens, schools, nursing homes, pet shelters, horse barns.  Check out the RR post, Making a Difference
  • Granted, a 4 hour marathon is gone, but keep your butt moving.  Walking, stretching, dancing, doing jumping jacks. Check out this RR post, Keep Moving!

CNN has reported that older brains are able to “see the big picture”  We are like fine wine. But we cannot just sit on the wine rack.  According to CNN we must, “Nudge our neurons and keep doing different things.”

Have you seen the documentary, RBG, about Ruth Bader Ginsburg?  At age 84, she’s giving her neurons a run for their money – working out with a trainer (we’re talking push-ups and planks), studying and writing until 4AM, going to operas, granting speeches and interviews, and serving on the highest court in the land.  She’s a two-time cancer survivor, a widow, a grandma, and an icon with rock star status.

So let’s live an RBG life.

We don’t have to stay up until 4AM and no one is asking for our dissent opinion – but each day we can say along with the psalmist, “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

And in the face of those outright lies about this season – let’s shout with RBG enthusiasm,  “I DISSENT”.

I dare you.

Today’s Takeaway –

-RBG and Jane Fonda are modeling how to leave a legacy.  Let’s try to do likewise.  Millennials are watching us.

-Today is the day.  Choose to rejoice in it.  Sip coffee from an RBG mug. And be notorious!

Enjoy the ride!

xox Barclay and Joy

This RBG trailer should whet your appetite for more.

And Jane is equally notorious!

As the leaves turn…

The end of Summer and the beginning of fall bring mood changes for me.  They always have.  I think about the butterflies I had in my stomach every year at this time.  (1st grade through high school) As soon as the fall issue of TV Guide (which I looked forward to, so I could plan my after homework watching of the new shows) hit the newsstands, it was a signal the carefree days were coming to the end.  The Miss America Pageant (pre-Trump) was always a fixture on tv Labor Day weekend as was Jerry Lewis’ Muscular Dystrophy Telethon.  What kid doesn’t love summer?!  It is a time of long days, long nights, few demands, no hard core schedules, anxiety free and just plain wonderful. September is back to business, like clockwork bringing  with it a quick drop in temperatures (please may that happen this fall!  Sick of humidity and heat!), a more serious air, a determination to make things happen, to accomplish goals, objectives, and stop procrastinating.  (my tax extension that seemed months and months away is almost upon me and reality hits that the IRS is calling!)

When you are retired the end of summer has a different meaning. Other people are preparing to get back to business and you’re left out!  Even though I have a regimen and my days are filled, I am on perpetual time off mode.  I have no one to answer to, but me.  Since I worked part time last fall at my old company, this will be my first fall without a return to the work world.  I know that I must keep my pace, stay busy, continue to fill my days with an itinerary, a plan. If I don’t I will lose momentum, sink into a feeling of despondency, and make my family miserable!  So with a little CBD oil  (a topic for another post!) the right attitude, a positive upbeat me, I am ready for my favorite season.  I married in the fall, my two daughters were born in the fall, apple picking, gorgeous color changes, a need for a light jacket or sweater, sleeping with the windows open, the Jewish Holidays, a time of rebirth and renewal.  I see the fall as that time far more than the new year on the calendar.  So with the right attitude, I will move forward, I will find my new pace, and be mindful that no one can make me feel better, but me.  If I feel a little nostalgic or melancholy, it’s okay, but I won’t allow myself to wallow. Make plans, schedule get togethers with friends who were at the beach all summer, and know that every season brings with it an opportunity to make things happen!

Today’s Takeaway-

. Seasonal change means many things depending on what phase of life you are in.  Make new memories, new plans, try not to get swept up in the way life was pre-retirement.

. Remember people are looking at you as though you’ve got it made! You planned, you saved, you picked your exit!  Make the most of it this fall.  Go bake that cobbler that you never had time to make!

Enjoy the ride

xox Barclay and Joy

Laughing at Ourselves

It was my first day of work at John Nuveen and I was quite impressed with myself.  Granted, I was a mere secretary (or administrative assistant as I preferred to call it) but hey it was a foot in the door. I was a clueless 22-year-old envisioning myself as Mary Tyler Moore tossing her hat high into the Minneapolis air.  You’re gonna make it after all.

As I walked toward my wee little desk in the research department I noticed a lovely spread of fruit and breads.  What a wonderful company I thought as I took a large bite out of a particularly moist lemon cake. My horrified tongue immediately informed me that I had just ingested a quarter of a stick of butter.  Looking around, my mouth bulging, I saw only fancy offices and boardrooms; no ladies room in sight.  I briskly walked past the executive suites, not making eye contact, until at last I found a bathroom.  My tongue still hasn’t forgiven me.

Then there was the time I went through an entire day of teaching, complete with IEP meetings sitting beside the principal — oh so professional – except for the fact that my dress was on backwards. There was a pocket on the back, butt level.  I became aware of this when 3rd grader Isabelle asked, “Mrs. Marcell, why is there a pocket on the back of your dress?”  I didn’t miss a beat; I turned around and placed a pencil in the backside pocket.  “I keep pencils there.”  Isabelle chuckled.  3rd graders can be quite mean.

I have signed my name, “Barclay Marclay”.  In front of people at a bank.  In pen.

I have driven our car into the garage with great conviction only to remember that there was a Christmas tree tied on the roof of the car.

And one day, late for school, I plowed the car backwards into the the sitting garbage cans at the end of the driveway; and following that, in the presence of my 8 and 10 year old, I emitted a loud utterance that starts with F and rhymes with luck.

And there’s more.  My advice  —

  • Do not talk to inanimate objects like a column, especially during a job interview.
  • It is not advisable to take your 2-year-old to a high-church liturgical service. When he starts grabbing bills from the offering plate, do not get flustered.  And do not yell.  Sound travels in those old sanctuaries.
  • Mascara does not serve as lipstick.

The longer we live, the larger our list of faux pas’s — times we’ve tripped, forgotten names, mistaken sour cream for cream cheese.

The Huffington Post says,

“Being able to laugh at yourself may be a sign of an optimistic personality and a sense of humor, and it might even improve your mood. Humor has also been identified as a possible factor in the development of personal resilience.

And Susan Sparks, the author of Laugh Your Way to Grace says, “If you can laugh at yourself, you can forgive yourself; and if you can forgive yourself, you can forgive others.”

So share your embarrassing moments and laugh out loud.   Think of the personal resilience you’ll develop!

And you may just find joy therein.

 

Today’s Takeaway –

-Our mouths turn downward as we age making us appear grumpy.  Laughing exercises facial muscles and will make us look younger.  How’s that for a win-win?! (Check out this RR post, Exercising your Face! It’s a Thing!)

-Share your stories here!   What’s your most embarrassing moment?  Let’s laugh together!

 

Enjoy the ride!

xox Barclay and Joy

 

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Chocolate, the Elixir for Long Life

I  have just returned from seeing family in North Carolina.  My aunt is 88 years old and living in an assisted living facility, where my cousin tells me her diet consists of chocolate every day.

I got to thinking about this because I had an aunt many years ago who also subsisted on a box of assorted creams and caramels every day.  She lived to almost 90!  Maybe, this aging stuff wasn’t that bad!  After all the years of watching my intake of sweets, particularly chocolate, which I so love, there was indeed a light at the end of the tunnel!  (literally the end of the tunnel!)

At a certain age, does it really matter if you eat your veggies, fruits, grains?  Maybe chocolate is the new  food group for the geriatric set!  Death by Chocolate? Not so terrible! I think the idea here is,

box celebration chocolates decoration
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

if it gives you pleasure, it makes you happy, and it isn’t doing anything harmful to your body, then why not?

We live our lives constantly watching what we eat, having to lose an inch or two, a few pounds to get into those favorite jeans, depriving ourselves of something we love.  I get it.  At a certain age (and I’m not sure what that age is!) it just doesn’t matter.  If it feels good, do it, if it tastes good, eat it, if it looks pretty, buy it!  It’s a simple theory for that later chapter in life!

I’m a firm believer that if you are lucky enough (blessed) to have good genes, then you can do things that other people can’t with little or no consequences.  I’m not suggesting you light up that cigarette at 85 or eat fried chicken every day, but hey what’s holding you back from doing what makes you happy?

Did you know that the smell of chocolate increases theta brain waves which triggers relaxation.

M&M’s were created in 1914 as a means for soldiers to enjoy chocolate without it melting.

Eating dark chocolate every day reduces the risk of heart disease by 1/3

When it comes to coughs, chocolate is more effective than codeine!

Every second, Americans collectively eat 100 lbs of chocolate

The world’s largest chocolate bar weighed 5.792 kg (12,770 lbs)

So now that we know these very important facts, open up that box or bag of chocolates, cream filled, caramel, or whatever pleases your palate and think what a good thing you are doing to increase your longevity!

Today’s Takeaway…

. Eat, Drink, and be happy!  If a simple pleasure like eating chocolates every day makes you smile and your palate say thank you, then go for it!

. While your at it, have that glass of red wine too!  They pair so well!

Here’s to aunt Jerri and aunt Gussie before her!  My other aunt Rose drank sauerkraut juice and lived to 100!  Another post for another day! Personally, I’d go with chocolate!

Death by Chocolate Cake – Baker by Nature
https://bakerbynature.com/death-by-chocolate-cake/

blueberries cake chocolate chocolate cake
Photo by Abhinav Goswami on Pexels.com

Enjoy the Ride

xox Barclay and Joy

 

The Dog Dance

A few weeks ago my husband and I took our beloved Winston to Jacobs Pillow for some serious boogeying!  Winston is our Mexican refugee dog who came back with us from Ajijic a year and a half ago.  We adopted him quite unexpectedly after falling in love with him at an adoption day in our little village of Ajijic.  This is the place we winter, escaping the severe cold of upstate New York.

My daughter had seen an ad for dog dancing at the world renowned Jacobs Pillow, a mecca in The Berkshires for serious dancing since the 1930’s. It is the oldest internationally acclaimed Summer dance festival in the United States.  220 acres in size and gorgeous, The Pillow, for those of us in the know, was listed as a National Historic Landmark District in 2003.

Apparently, The Pillow hosts a canine dancing event every Summer to celebrate National Dog Day.  The dance is choreographed by resident dancers and the caregivers accompanying their canine friends.  (the dance belongs to the dogs though, not the people!  We just serve as props!)

“Partnering is fundamental to many dance genres and the partnership between dogs and their companions is unlike any other,” says Jacob’s Pillow Director Pamela Tatge. How right she is!  We do not think we look silly jumping around and pirouetting with our four legged friends on the great lawn in the Berkshires.  It is pure silliness, fun, and downright love for the one living thing that gives it’s owner unconditional love.

This event will now become a part of my cultural summers in the Berkshires, weather permitting.  I will look forward to dancing barefoot in the grass with my agile Winston and paying homage to my senior citizen Colby.  If only life could remain this simple!

A short post today before Barclay and I take a much needed rest from our blog publishing.  We have published 60 posts since the end of January when we began.  We are so proud of what we have accomplished and the response from our family and friends.  We will be writing our little hearts out so that we have posts in the queue with no interruptions.  We figured if Maria Shriver (our heroine and role model) could take off the whole month of August, we were entitled to at least two weeks!

Today’s Takeaway…

Don’t be afraid to act silly, laugh, run through the grass with your dog!  Who cares who’s watching?!! Don’t be afraid to let loose.  If not now, when?

. Our 4 legged friends are special.  Love them with all your heart.  Talk to them, cry on their backs, tell them secrets. They are on this earth for one reason only, to give pleasure. Never forget that DOG is GOD spelled backwards.

 

Enjoy the Ride!

xox

Barclay and Joy

 

 

 

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Bravo Winston!!

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.

———————————————-

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

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.

Plus…

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!

xox

Barclay and Joy