Where Did The Last Five Years Go?!!

As of mid December, I have been retired for five years. It’s hard to believe. I can’t say they’ve gone slowly or quickly, but they are, nevertheless gone. So, what do I have to show for it? What have I learned? Have I figured out this chapter of life through trial and error? I thought it time to ask myself some of these questions. Milestones cause one to reflect on where they’ve come from and where they are headed.

There is no right way to retire, or wrong way for that matter. I’ve learned so much about myself and what makes me tick. I wish someone had written a book or a guide to prepare me so that Barclay and I wouldn’t have this great responsibility! We who are retired now couldn’t find anything that spoke to the raw feelings that we both felt – the anxiety, the puzzlement of what this new life should look like. There are many books that advise on when to pull money out of your 401K, how to choose the right Medicare plan, how to purchase long term health care, where should you choose to live. But we couldn’t find anything that addressed how one feels during this transition so, in spite of putting some very personal feelings out there into the stratosphere, we hoped we could help those thinking about retirement, new to retirement, or even several years into it. The idea of our Revisionist Retirement blog was born to satisfy a need to write. Cathartic, self-therapy (a lot cheaper than seeing someone) – our blog gave us a venue to vent, a place to express ourselves, a platform where even if we helped one person, we had accomplished something.

In the beginning, retirement is novel, just like anything else that is new. No alarm clock anymore, no regimen, no deadlines, no trains to catch, a blank slate that you must create a picture on every day (or not.) I learned that I desperately need to know that I have, at the least, one activity per day. To this end, I tried relearning mah jong and I dabbled in pickleball, a game that has swept us baby boomers up like no other sport before it. I also tried knitting (couldn’t get the hang of that counting and dropping stitches), hiked like never before, and took the dog out more times than he was interested in. Then I volunteered at a local stable working with disabled children through equine therapy, and I took a real paying job at a farm cooperative. Basically, I complained a lot to my poor husband that I was unhappy! God bless him for putting up with me. An unhappy wife does not make for a fun partner!

The pandemic that wouldn’t go away didn’t help any of us, although in some ways we were allowed to feel as though we too were working remotely. We were in good company with many others who suddenly found themselves not going into an office anymore. We could pretend that was us too!

What have I learned from these last five years? Try, try, try. Push yourself forward, both physically and mentally. Wallowing is the worst thing you can do for yourself. Depression can creep in very easily. Don’t wait to start spending money that you’ve saved up for all these years. Hopefully, your children will make it on their own. Your job is done on setting them on the right course. The rest is up to them.

Most importantly, if you get it wrong and you don’t like the end result, rip up the blue print and change direction. Nothing is set in stone. As I said in an earlier reflection, you are the director, the producer of this documentary. You can decide if it has the happy ending you desire or you can fill it with regrets. Time ticks by so while I can’t say I’ve loved this decade of my life so far, I’m hopeful that I can still get it right (my right, no one else’s)

As always, my key takeaway is…

Enjoy the ride!

xox Barclay and Joy

The H Word

We want to be thought of as humble, but none of us actually wants to be humbled. Meaning, we do NOT want to “goof”, as my granddaughter would say, particularly in public.

The other day our family was gathered in our living room and my neighbor stopped by to see the grand babies. In the course of her visit, she handed me her cell phone to share her own grandchildren pics. Then she left, forgetting her phone.

I jumped into action, thinking, and unfortunately saying out loud, the following…”Oh no. Jean forgot her phone! I’ll call her.” I proceeded to dial my friend’s number on my phone which prompted her phone to ring with my name on its screen. My brain was slow to process this mystery. And yes, I then picked up her phone and spoke to myself.

Grandma Mimi realized her goof and scanned the room to see who witnessed this self to self conversation on two phones. I caught sight of my daughter chuckling in the adjacent room, which was not a good sign.

Such incidents are humbling. (Humiliating is more accurate.) And as we age, they can happen with annoying frequency. We have become the gray haired ladies on those Hallmark cards, the ones who sit together in the front seat of a car and one says, “Where are we going?” And the other responds, “I thought YOU were driving!”

Joy and I believe it is healthy to laugh at ourselves and by doing so, to practice humility. Turning into those Hallmark ladies can be embarrassing, but it is preferable to being self-righteous and ego driven, traits which we try, often unsuccessfully, to keep in check.

I struggle, however, with finding the balance between proper humility and self condemnation, between having a healthy view of self, and self-aggrandizement. Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life, defines humility as, “Not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.” This definition butts heads with our social media obsession luring us to check and then double check likes and comments; or to scroll through our photos and enlarge our own image…vowing next time to raise our chins so as not to see that loose skin succumbing to time and gravity. We (I) do need to think of ourselves less, while maintaining a proper self image.

But how?

In the book of Philippians, we find a Do This/Not That. Paul says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.” And in Proverbs, Solomon says, “Fools delight in airing their own opinions.”

It turns out I can be a fool AND a goof! But each day of my retirement life, I am going to TRY to remember to put others first and to ask questions more than insert opinions. That is the anecdote to pride and arrogance — and the desire to check a mirror to see how your lipstick is faring. (I have become my mother in this practice; she would not hesitate to pull out her compact and reapply her lipstick, whether in the grocery store or at a dinner party.)

But now I need to end this post and go see how my chin is looking this morning.

Today’s Takeaways

-When you do goof in public, and you will, celebrate that you are human, prone to failure, and LAUGH at yourself. That said, do try to think before opening your goofball mouth!

-Try to listen, really listen; curb the temptation to interrupt, and try not to be distracted by your self-oriented mindset, which is wondering what you will eat for dinner. And do not under any circumstance, call your friend’s phone when that same phone is in your hand!

Enjoy the ride!

xox Barclay and Joy, your fellow goofballs

Choosing Forgiveness

In my younger years I was a grudge-holding expert and prone to my own brand of tantrums. On one occasion, as a twenty-something, I remember getting ready for a Christmas party, slipping into a blue suede strapless dress that I had ordered from Victoria’s Secret. I gazed at the bedroom mirror with indulgent admiration. But when I proceeded down the stairs trying not to trip in my stiletto heals, I did not hear the expected response from my husband (Wow, you look amazing!!) Instead, he looked at his watch and said we needed to leave right away. I was fuming. He asked if I was okay and naturally I could not appear vain and admit that I had been expecting a compliment. (How shallow would that be??) So of course, I said flatly, “Nothing!” – leaving him clueless and unsettled. Well, a few glasses of wine later, my righteous indignation peaked and I picked an argument with him on the way home — and when our car stopped at an intersection, I opened the passenger door and stormed onto Racine Avenue. At midnight. In a blue strapless dress. Wearing heels. In snow.

It was much like Reese Witherspoon in Legally Blonde indignantly marching home while her boyfriend tries to cajole her back in the car, lest her designer shoes be ruined.

Of course, like Reese, I did get back into our car, rather sheepishly, having realized that I could freeze to death.

Now that I am older and one hopes a tad wiser, I have no time for such theatrics. Holding onto a grudge causes wrinkles, chest pain, indigestion, and a host of other unwelcome ailments to my delicate constitution! I love how realistic and low-bar-ish the Bible is on this subject, “If possible, as far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”

At this juncture, who has time for spitefulness or a lack of forgiveness? We need to move forward, creating boundaries if necessary, but striving for peace with everyone. If our mother wronged us, perhaps she did the best she could with what she was dealing with at the time. If a teacher shamed us, or a friend betrayed us, retirement is the time to unpack our bag and travel lighter.

The Wall Street Journal has this to say in a 2016 piece written by Diane Cole.

To forgive, or not to forgive? It is a question that we ask ourselves more, and that becomes more salient, as years pass. As we grow older, it is “very, very common to review your life,” says Berit Ingersoll-Dayton, professor and director of the joint doctoral program in social work and social science at the University of Michigan School of Social Work. It’s a process that inevitably will bring up “things that we feel good about—and that we don’t.”

In the absence of forgiveness, an offense that was committed against us, or some pain that we caused others, can replay in our minds, causing continuing anger or remorse that is often a recipe for bitterness and bad health. A wealth of research has linked the isolation and loneliness that can result to increased health problems and higher mortality. Forgiveness, by contrast, allows one to focus on more positive thoughts and relationships. “It allows you to free up the real estate in your brain” taken up by negative thinking, Dr. Sood says.

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So, as far as it depends on us, if possible, let’s choose to forgive, and resist the urge to jump out of cars in self-righteous indignation. We could break a hip!!

Enjoy the ride!

xox Barclay and Joy

Love More and Shop for Hearing Aids

We are at that age where our hands have become our mother’s hands. We are raising the volume of the TV, and we are struggling to find the simplest of words. We might address our daughter by the dog’s name, and we are for sure eating dinner no later than six, in order to watch Wheel of Fortune which begins promptly at six-thirty followed by Jeopardy at seven. (Good for your brain..well, Jeopardy at least!)

When you hit your mid-sixties, the aging process seems to accelerate. It has been likened to the unrolling of toilet paper and we are heading faster and faster toward the last strip. Last week our next door neighbor, a single man in his early 60s, came to his last strip. He was found unresponsive, apparently the result of unchecked heart disease. His passing came without warning – leaving his family and friends overwhelmed by grief and if-only’s. If only he had gone to the doctor sooner, if only he had had his cholesterol tested regularly, if only he had known his roll was growing smaller.

But then, even if he had been more proactive with his health, something totally outside his control could have claimed his life. The fact remains that we all irrationally believe that death will never come to us. We look at our thinning and wrinkled skin with amazement, and think, how on earth did that happen??? (see our earlier post on bat wings!)

As Joy and I grow older, we are reflecting on choices we can make now that will support our mental, spiritual, and physical health. The bottom line is that when our own rolls diminish, we will have led lives characterized by love and humility. We don’t want to have regrets.

CNBC published an article in 2019 citing regrets shared by those in their 90s. Let’s listen and take heed. (Click here for the article, written by Lydia Sohn)

  • They regretted not cultivating closer relationships with their children.
  • They regretted not putting their children on the right path in life.
  • They regretted not taking risks to be more loving, such as being more open about their feelings for new people or more affectionate with those already in their lives.
  • They regretted not being better listeners; they wish they had been more empathetic and considerate.
  • They regretted not spending enough time with the people they loved.

One man was asked if he wished he had accomplished more. “No,” he responded. “I wish I had loved more.”

That’s it, isn’t it? To love more. To choose to love even when we have been wronged. Yes, it’s a high bar and perhaps a naive one. But each morning we have choices. We can smile at someone, write an encouraging email, overlook a harsh word, or marvel at the architecture of a spider web, a nest, an anthill even.

And yes, at the same time, we can and should address our cholesterol, our cataracts, and our clumsiness. And start shopping for hearing aids.

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Joy here. I always knew cataracts were going to be an issue for me. Everyone in my family has had them so they are a rite of passage into old age. I was told I had them in both eyes about 15 years ago but thankfully they have taken their sweet time to develop. (You kind of think that day is never going to come. It seems so far away when you are younger.) Recently, however, they have re-announced themselves and darkness is not my friend when driving. My night vision issues were quite apparent last summer when I very calmly told my passenger daughter that I couldn’t see that well and that the oncoming headlights were super bright (very calming for this passenger who probably thought I was about to drive into these bright headlights!)

So, now at long last I am seeking opinions on whether I can wait another month or two or do I rush to get them removed. After a very thorough ophthalmologic exam here in Mexico, I was relieved to find out I don’t have glaucoma or macular degeneration or need to rush to remove my two cataracts. It does need to happen, but it can wait until I get home. My wonderful cousin, Fran Lisa, has offered to do all the night driving on an upcoming trip to San Francisco (phew!) so I don’t jeopardize anybody’s life with my driving! Not a small matter. I didn’t like driving in the dark with better vision, so I certainly don’t feel comfortable now. One of my many idiosyncrasies!

The advent of cataracts hits you in the face with a splash of cold water – you are old! The good news is that the technology is fantastic. This is not the cataract surgery our parents had. Your vision can actually be restored to near perfect with no need for glasses.The basic fix is an IOL (intra-ocular lens). A host of options are possible and your ophthalmologist will advise as to what is best for your needs. It’s an amazing surgery which allows you to return to seeing again within a short period of recuperation.

Nevertheless, with vision and hearing loss, and flapping bat wings, we are aging before our very eyes. That person staring back at you in the mirror is the same one she was at eight years old, but carrying wisdom, experience, battle scars, wonderful memories, and the desire to stay healthy as long as possible.

Today’s Takeaways:

-Take each new reminder of the aging process little by little. What we can prevent through good diet, exercise, mental attitude, we should go for and be diligent in doing so.

-You don’t have to look old. That’s what injectables are for! There are also mini face lifts, neck lifts, threading, LED wands, creams and moisturizers. Do your research and do what you can afford that makes you feel good about your appearance. Some women and men don’t care about wrinkles and grey hair. Each of us is an individual and makes these choices.

At the end of the day, it’s all about enjoying the ride!

And befriending the bat wings… which are here to stay!

xox Barclay & Joy

What does God think of retirement?

Is the concept of retirement in the Bible?

There’s one reference to retirement and it’s in the book of Numbers.  The Levite priests were to retire from their priestly duties at the age of 50.

Besides that, God is silent on the matter.

But he is not silent regarding the concept of work and purpose.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “Plans to prosper you, not to harm you; plans to give you hope and a future.”  Jeremiah 29:11

Crown Financial says that we should view retirement as  an opportunity for “repurposement” rather than a cessation of work.

“The problem with today’s attitude towards retirement is that it completely negates an integral aspect of God’s design – that we were created to work. It also normalizes something that was never intended to be normal – not working.”

So what is our new work?  Our new purpose?

Crown says that the Biblical view of retirement is —

“Freeing up our time to devote to serving others more fully without the necessity of getting paid for it.  It is time to repurpose how and why we invest our time and resources.”

Back to those Levites from the Old Testament.  Upon being released from their duties, they did not join a golf club and work on their chipping and putting; they did not devote hours to perfecting their down-the-line backhand.  (Not that there’s anything wrong with those activities.  I am still trying to get out of a sand trap in less than four attempts!)

The Bible says that the  retired Levites were to “assist their brothers in performing their duties.”

So we retirees can “assist”.  We can assist our church, our neighbors, our families, the homeless, or a cause we are passionate about.

The Bible also says we are to think of the next generation.

“Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come.”  Psalm 71

So maybe you want to become a “cuddler” — a holder of babies in the NICU of a hospital.

Maybe you want to work with therapy horses, as Joy has done.

Or maybe you can simply devote extra time (which we have) to praying for the sick.

Or if you are a knitter (which I am not), you can make hats or blankets for those in need.

Whether we are knitters, pray-ers, cuddlers, God seems to be saying that our re-purposement is to assist others.

We should, however, take exception to that phrase, “old and gray”.   We may be old, but we don’t HAVE to be “gray”, right?

In fact, I find myself getting more blonde as the years go by — a miracle of Red Sea proportions.

Or a testimony to the skill set of my hairdresser, whom I see with increasing regularity.

 

Today’s Takeaway –

-I just discovered that being a NICU “cuddler” is a sought after role.  Se we need to apply today!

-And it’s OK to get better at exiting a sand trap or becoming blonder with the passing years.  It’s just a matter of knowing what truly matters when it’s all said and done.   And most likely it’s holding a sick or premature baby while sitting in a rocking chair in a NICU.

 

Enjoy the ride!

xox

Barclay and Joy

When Lobster Tastes Like Soap: Don’t Get Attached to your Stuff!

Financial guru, Dave Ramsey, says, “There’s nothing wrong with making money or with spending it on some cool stuff for yourself.”

But he adds,  “If you eat enough lobster, it starts to taste like soap. Having stuff will never satisfy you.”

We know he’s right, right?  We have all experienced that titillating rush after a new purchase — a piece of furniture, an outfit.  But how quickly that rush dissipates..  The furniture collects dust; the outfit goes out of style.

It’s all about balance. Ramsey reminds us that the Bible is often misquoted to say that “Money is the root of all evil.”  What it actually says is, “The LOVE of money is the root of all evil.”

In and of itself, money or that new outfit is amoral. Neither good or bad.  (That said, have you tried Stitch Fix??)  It’s when the pursuit of money and the accumulation of stuff becomes our paramount focus, that  we are destined for unhappiness. Stuff does not satisfy and money is never enough. Our lobster tastes like soap.

Ramsey says that the goal of attaining wealth is so we can be generous. And he’s right. Sure, opening that Stitch Fix box is fun, but it can’t begin to compete with anonymous giving, or reaching out to a sick friend,  extending a sincere compliment, or writing a note of encouragement.

That is the currency of heaven.  Lobster dipped in butter.

 

Today’s Takeaway

– Generosity is your lobster!

-Having said that, check out Stitch Fix!

 

And enjoy the ride!

xox Barclay and Joy

De-Friending Procrastination

Hello, Retiree.   My Name is Procrastination.  We can be great friends.

We both know what you SHOULD be doing right now.

Emails.  Laundry.  Meditation. Jogging. Bill paying.  Bible reading. Writing. Facing clutter that would make Marie Kondo blush.

Your dog sits at the front door with a leash in her mouth.  And that yoga mat and weights aren’t going to get off the shelf on their own accord.

All I have to do is turn your gaze to Facebook, chocolate, another cup of coffee, the news.  You need to be informed, right?  Perhaps your IRA needs tending.

Did an hour just slip by?   Your dog sighs and returns to bed.

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In the absence of traditional work, retirees need strategies for sticking to daily disciplines, de-friending procrastination, and making first things first.

James Clear has written extensively on how to form good habits.  He recommends we incorporate the “Seinfeld Strategy” described as follows —

“Brad Isaac was a young comedian starting out on the comedy circuit. One fateful night, he found himself in a club where Jerry Seinfeld was performing. Isaac caught Seinfeld backstage and asked if he had “any tips for a young comic.”

Here’s how Isaac described the interaction with Seinfeld…

He said the way to be a better comic was to create better jokes and the way to create better jokes was to write every day.

He told me to get a big wall calendar that has a whole year on one page and hang it on a prominent wall. The next step was to get a big red magic marker. He said for each day that I do my task of writing, I get to put a big red X over that day.

“After a few days you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job is to not break the chain.”

You’ll notice that Seinfeld didn’t say a single thing about results.

It didn’t matter if he was motivated or not. It didn’t matter if he was writing great jokes or not. It didn’t matter if what he was working on would ever make it into a show. All that mattered was “not breaking the chain.”

And that’s one of the simple secrets behind Seinfeld’s remarkable productivity and consistency. For years, the comedian simply focused on “not breaking the chain.”


 

Clear and Seinfeld are right.  The secret is the “every day” part.  Putting that X in the calendar square and not breaking the chain.

Want to incorporate a morning time of meditation and prayer?

Want to have a more grateful heart?

Want to get rid of those “hi Jane” arms?

Start building that chain today.  And say good-bye to Procrastination!

 

Today’s Takeaway –

-Don’t worry if you skip a day. Just don’t skip two if at all possible.  Good habits have a way of evaporating.  And then Procrastination comes knocking at your door!

-Don’t feel badly about dating Procrastination -who is awfully cute and entirely familiar.  This post is late in coming because I have been VERY busy — spending time with Hannah, the controversial bachelorette.  🙂

 

Enjoy the ride!

xox Barclay and Joy

 

 

 

 

 

 

Failing Better: Learning and Growing

Back in my 20s I held 7 different jobs in 11 years.  That meant 7 “first days” — finding the coffee machine,  meeting colleagues, imprinting names while shaking hands, signing forms, training, ever smiling, trying not to walk into a wall or closet.

One first day stands out.  I had to enter the trading room of Dean Witter, not only late, but also  wearing a large white bandage on my chin, having tripped while jogging along Chicago’s lakefront at 5AM that morning, certain that I was outrunning a mad rapist, which was actually a puzzled squirrel — it was a bloody affair necessitating a trip to the ER to get stitches.

Then there was a new job where I apparently slipped through the cracks of Human Resources.  I had been hired by a regional manager in Chicago and I thought it would be important to visit the NY office to meet the traders.  After my visit, I returned to Chicago where the manager who had hired me was no longer an employee.  And when I called the NY office to chat with my new trader-friends, those whose hands I had just shook were gone as well.  It gradually dawned on me that they had forgotten to fire me.  Paycheck or not, it was time to quit.

I hated first days and new jobs.

But I also knew that if I didn’t take risks, face challenges, I’d never find fulfilling work.  I would remain in my first role — not even a secretary, a secretary to a secretary.  (I took a mean short-hand, by the way – a skill set I am quite proud of!)

There is such a thing as good stress in which you stretch yourself.  You put on a brave face and take on uncomfortable challenges where you can learn and grow — even if you wind up being forgotten, fired, or embarrassed.

Failures are harsh but instructive.

The Swiss tennis player, Stan Wawrinka, has a tattoo on his left forearm that inspires him to take risks and learn from  life’s  failures.  It’s  a Samuel Beckett quote  that reads –

 

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No Matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”

 

 

 

 

That saying, Fail Better, speaks volumes.  It reminds us retired folks that life still entails learning and growing. IF – and it’s a big IF – we take risks.

Volunteering.  Socializing. Reading. Calling friends and family. Writing notes.  Trying recipes.  Taking classes.  Traveling.   Even finding new work at Jewel, Starbucks, the Library (surely, SOMEone wants us?!).

 

So when failure slaps you in the face, remember Stan Wawrinka, and say, No Matter!  Fail again!  Fail Better!

 

You don’t have to get a tattoo, however…

 

Today’s Takeaway –

-Stress can indeed be good, if it propels you to take a risk.

-Hey, maybe a tattoo is in your future… no judgement here!!

 

Enjoy the ride!

xox Barclay and Joy

 

 

 

Beware of Nostalgia; Live in the Present!

Remember that 1950s show, THIS is your Life?  The unsuspecting guest would come face to face with family and friends who had affected his life — a 2nd grade teacher, a long lost relative, a friend from summer camp, an army buddy.

I am in the process of decluttering our basement – where thousands of photographs overflow from shoeboxes.  These are the pictures  that didn’t make the cut for an album, but would never have been tossed.

The problem is that there are at least 50 photos of one single moment in time- Kacie as a puppy stuck in the grass that’s higher than her head,  Jared as a toddler in diapers playing with a plastic T-ball set in our bedroom, Alex as a preteen holding her first tennis trophy from a round robin with her grandfather.

As I pull each shoebox off a shelf, I  hear the voice of decluttering expert, Marie Kondo, Keep what gives you joy.  

OK, Marie, I will pare down 50 photos of puppy Kacie to 5.

What Marie didn’t warn me about though, was that a wave of nostalgia would soon wash over me.

Oh to go back to those summer afternoons  – with the turquoise plastic pool filled with water, our first dog, Jessie, rolling in the dirt, Alex giggling, Jared on the swing set.  Making sandcastles.   Playing tag.  Running the bases.

Graduations, birthdays, vacations, sports teams.

Halloweens, Christmas trees, visits to Florida to see grandparents.  That August afternoon on Lake Michigan when Brett and I got married.

 

Each shoebox triggers deepening nostalgia.

For there are no children giggling upstairs, no driving in the car listening to Barney songs, and definitely no wedding songs to ponder.

Kids have graduated and left.  Dogs haven’t lived long enough.  And trophies are not given out anymore.

So with apologies to Marie Kondo, I return each shoebox back to its shelf – lest  this nostalgia slip into depression.

 

Time for a walk with Codie.

 

Because all I have is NOW.  And those Marcell Christmas cards that boast of endless joy, are liars;   life has always had its struggles, not suitable for Nikon’s close-up lens.  Shoeboxes, unchecked, can lead our hearts toward sentimentality and romanticism.

 

Historian Stephanie Coontz wrote a NY Times op-ed called Beware of Social Nostalgia.  She says that “homesickness”, as nostalgia used to be called, at best, is a harmless self-deception that can  lead us to reignite relationships that have ceased being close.

But nostalgia is also dangerous.  It amplifies the good and minimizes the bad; it  paints an idyllic vision of days gone by that robs us of optimism for the future – a future which cannot compete with such a one-dimensional view of the past.

Memories, like witnesses, do not always tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. We need to cross-examine them, recognizing and accepting the inconsistencies and gaps in those that make us proud and happy as well as those that cause us pain.”

Nostalgia can distort our understanding of the world in dangerous ways, making us needlessly negative about our current situation.”

 

So I have a new plan with regard to the basement storehouse of idyllic memories.   Let the next generation deal with them.

For THIS is my life.  Present tense.  Present moment.

 

And the present is a gift.  Which no shoebox can take away.

 

 

Today’s Takeaway –

-When you feel nostalgia trigger sadness, cross-examine it.  And then tell your distorted memory to take a hike and your present self to take a walk- preferably with a dog,

-Be more dog-like.  Life for dogs  is always in the NOW.  And joy awaits with each meal, each time a leash is reached for, each new person to greet.

 

Enjoy the ride!  Present tense!

xox

Barclay and Joy

What day is it again? The DO’s and DON’Ts of a Happy Retirement

Sandy received a wall clock as a retirement gift.  This clock doesn’t tell time. however; it reminds Sandy what day it is!

You non-retired folks are thinking,   So, let me get this straight…. your big stressor is remembering the day??  Do you know how lucky you are???   You don’t have meetings, quotas, due dates, alarms  jarring you awake, business trips to places you don’t want to go, airport fast food, 5AM Ubers,  middle of the night terror over a sale not executed, an evaluation gone awry,  imminent termination.

So retirement is indeed none of those things.  And we know we ARE fortunate.

But, retirement has its own set of pitfalls.  Did you know that depression is a widespread occurrence among retirees?  The American Psychological Association tells us that those who have not paid attention to  their “psychological portfolio” alongside their financial one, can succumb to social isolation, identity loss, and even suicide.

So now that Joy and I are well past the retirement-euphoria stage, we would like to share some tips to keeping that psychological portfolio performing optimally.

DO find balance between “work” and play. 

When my dad retired from being an airline captain, he found “work” in talking on his ham radio, connecting with like-minded devotees across the globe, practicing morse code, and sharing weather movements. This gave him “appointments” to adhere to and human connections beyond that of the tennis court.

DON’t succumb to an empty calendar. 

Plan activities.  Find that volunteer role that makes you smile.  My friend’s husband, newly retired, teaches 3-year olds ice hockey.  Emily reports that when Dave returns home, he is all smiles.

DO maintain your social interactions. 

Introverts may need a push out the door to make this happen.  Most churches offer small groups that meet regularly around a common focus.  Sally goes twice a week to Faith and Fitness.  They walk/jog in place while gabbing about their families and prayer requests.  Michelle takes her berne-doodle, Beatrice, to a neighborhood dog park – at the same time each day – where she and Bee have made easy friendships.

DON’T answer Netflix every time it calls.

Pick up a book instead.  Or better yet, take a trip to your local library.  Get out of your space.

DO tend to your diet and exercise routine.

Just don’t get obsessive or self-damning when you fall short.  Find a friend to do a 30-day challenge with you.  Those Hi-Jane arms of ours are not getting any firmer! We want them to be more like Michelle Obama arms!!

DON’T talk about aches and pains.

No one wants details about your colonoscopy – as fascinating as it may be! And by all means, do NOT share those photographs! There’s plenty of time in your 80’s to talk about your medical procedures!!  We’re far too young to focus on this now!

DO exercise your brain. 

Learn a new vocabulary word.  Do your crosswords.  Memorize Bible verses.  Start or join a book club.  My brother, Charles, reads a dictionary page each day.  My dad memorized the US presidents.

DON’T feel like you have to finish every book you start.

If it doesn’t grab you, give yourself permission to  put it down and find something that does.  Time is short!

DO encourage others.

Diane finds purpose each day in “being available”.  She is open to random conversations and encounters where her open smile can bring joy to others.  She listens to God who provides marching orders.

DON’T frown too much. 

We may lose our ability to smile.  I have zero research to back this up — only the observational evidence of Baby Boomers whose attempts at smiling look pained. Smiling takes practice.  Don’t let your smile get sloppy.

 

And finally…

DO remember what day it is!

Non-retirees may slap you if you say something like, Every day is a Saturday!! And they would have every right to do so!  🙂

 

Today’s Takeaway:

-How is your psychological portfolio doing?  If you are having trouble finding your purpose, then adopt Diane’s simple philosophy and just Be Available.  That is enough!

– You are NOT alone!  Find your people.  They may be knitting as we speak.  Or talking on a ham radio.

 

Enjoy the ride!

xox Barclay and Joy