Loading...

Follow Boomer Connections on Feedspot

Continue with Google
Continue with Facebook
Or

Valid


One of my goals for 2018 is to seek out new friendships.  As empty nesters, we find some of our friends drifting away. Neighbors downsize and move. We no longer have the same connections with other parents through school activities. Kids have grown and flown. We drive into the old neighborhood every day with a bit of sadness and nostalgia, remembering all the block parties, all of the kids trick-or-treating together, dinner parties, Super Bowl parties, Oktoberfest, and even just getting together for drinks on the deck at the spur of the moment. It was the best of suburbia and we miss it. These were our people. But now it is time to stop moping and take action. Time to seek out a new path.

In this series, my Boomer Connections partners and I will reflect upon how we have made new friends. Here is my first foray:

I recently joined a fabulous gym in our area, ACAC. They offer a myriad of classes and I started checking out all those listed under “beginner.” The more advanced classes are way too hard-core for me, out-of-shape wimp that I am. I feel ridiculous flailing around in the back of a Step or Zumba class. The weights I can handle in Body Pump are pitiful. I feel like the 90 lb weakling featured in the back of the old comic books of the 60’s… although, thankfully, no one is kicking sand in my face! And so, I slowly gravitated to Yoga. To me it has always been simply meditative and peaceful stretching. I regard, with envy, the fact that many of my classmates seem to find something in it that I do not. Also, many of them seem to know each other and are buddies. I wondered, “How do I become a buddy?”

So…the other day, I tried out Aqua Yoga. It seemed hugely appealing, since I love being in the water. It is held in the warm saltwater pool at ACAC, which is truly like heaven on earth. I get there early so I can paddle around before anyone gets there so I can bliss out, imagining myself on a warm Caribbean beach. The instructor is a wonderful, exuberant man named Alec. He’s a fellow Baby Boomer who discovered yoga later in life. He took to it so strongly that he became an instructor. In addition to teaching at ACAC, he now has his own studio, SoCoYo Southern Comfort Yoga .

Alec, being the leader, got there early. I was the only one there, so I paddled up to say “Hey.” We got to talking. Because I was interested in finding out more about yoga, and because I asked a lot of questions, Alec talked. He is a talker, in the best possible way! Yoga is his passion and we had an enlightening conversation about it. He mentioned that he hosts an 8 AM Saturday yoga class in the studio upstairs. He also said that some of the regulars go out afterward for tea at the Whole Foods across the street from the gym. This particular Saturday after tea, they were planning to visit the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) to take in the East Asian exhibit hall and ponder the statues of Buddha. What? How cool is that?!!!

Was I interested? Well, heck yeah! So I turned up on Saturday and made my way to class, which I completely enjoyed. I’m starting to understand why yoga is good for both body and soul. Alec’s teaching style, irreverent and engaging, made us laugh, woke us up, and created a sense of camaraderie in the studio, full despite the early weekend hour.  Afterwards at Whole Foods, over a cup of holistic, organic, kindly harvested tea, Alec introduced me to some new friends. The group was composed of two women, Boomers around my age, Alec’s wife, who also teaches classes at ACAC, and a lovely young woman in her 20s. They were all so interesting.

Not surprisingly, we discussed yoga. I’m truly trying to understand why this practice becomes so meaningful to so many people. I wanted to know what they find in the practice beyond the simple stretching that so far I do not.  What is this “mind/body connection?” My two new Boomer friends revealed that they both, like Alec, got so into yoga that they took the in-depth course that allowed them to become instructors. It changed their lives. And like Alec, they were happy to answer my many questions about why yoga meant so much to them. They were so eager to share. Now I feel inspired to jump into yoga a little bit more to see what happens. Apparently, one of the premier yoga retreats in the country is right here in Virginia, appropriately named Yogaville. I’m planning to sign up for a retreat there sometime soon because it sounds absolutely fascinating. More on that later.

Alec shares his wisdom

After tea, off we went to VMFA. We met at the East Asian hall and Alec walked us around the stunning statuary, talking about the origins and principals of yoga, riffing off the examples in the art. It was just beautiful. I felt a connection.

Making new friends has never been easy for me. It’s often challenging for me to reach out. But in this case, because I am so naturally curious and nosy (and always looking for something to discuss on the blog!), I couldn’t help but ask questions, and the rest just unfolded.

So, here’s the takeaway: To make new friends, just start asking questions!

How have you made new friends?

The post Making New Friends: Episode 1 Yoga Class appeared first on Boomer Connections.

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

One of my goals for 2018 is to seek out new friendships.  As an empty nester, you find some of your friends drifting away, as your neighbors, also empty nesters, downsize and move. You no longer have the connections with other parents through school activities, as their kids have also grown and flown. You drive into the old neighborhood every day with a bit of sadness and nostalgia, remembering all the block parties, all of our kids trick or treating together, dinner parties, Super Bowl parties, Oktoberfest, and just getting together for drinks on the deck. It was the best of suburbia and I miss it. These were my people. But now it is time to stop moping and take action. Time to seek out a new way forward.

In this series, my Boomer Connections partners and I will reflect upon how we have made new friends. Here is my first foray:

I recently joined the fabulous gym ACAC. They offer a myriad of classes and I have started checking out all those listed under “beginner.” The others are way too hard-core for me, out-of-shape wimp that I am. I feel ridiculous flailing around in the back of a Step or Zumba class. The weights I can handle in Body Pump are pitiful, I feel like the 90lb weakling featured in the back of the old comic books of the 60s, although no one is kicking sand in my face thankfully. So I have gravitated to Yoga. To me it has always been simply meditative and peaceful stretching. I regard, with envy, the fact that many of my classmates seem to find something in it that I do not. Also, many of them seem to know each other, they are buddies. How do I become a buddy?

So…the other day, I tried out Aqua Yoga, hugely appealing, as I love being in the water. It is held in the warm saltwater pool at ACAC, which is like heaven on earth. I get there early so I can paddle around before anyone gets there and bliss out, imagining myself on a warm Caribbean beach. The instructor is a wonderful, exuberant man named Alec, who is a fellow Baby Boomer, and discovered yoga later in life. He took to it so strongly that he became an instructor and now has his own studio, SoCoYo Southern Comfort Yoga in addition to instructing at the gym.

Alec, being the leader, got there early. So I paddled up to say Hey, and we got to talking. Because I was interested in finding out more about yoga, because I asked questions, Alec talked. He is a talker, in the best possible way! Yoga is his passion and we had an enlightening conversation about it. He mentioned that he hosts an 8 AM Saturday yoga class in the studio upstairs, and that some of the regulars go out afterward for tea at Whole Foods. This particular Saturday after tea, they were going to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) to peruse the East Asian exhibit hall and ponder the statues of Buddha. What? How cool is that?!!!

Was I interested? Well hell yeah. So I turned up on Saturday and made my way to class, which I completely enjoyed. Starting to understand why yoga is good for both body and soul. Alec’s teaching style, irreverent and engaging, made us laugh, woke us up, and created a sense of camaraderie in the studio, full despite the early weekend hour.  Afterwards at Whole Foods, over a cup of holistic, organic, kindly harvested tea, Alec introduced me to my new friends. The group was composed of two women, Boomers around my age, and Alec’s wife, who also teaches classes at ACAC, and a lovely young woman in her 20s, all so interesting.

Not surprisingly, we discussed yoga. I am truly seeking to understand why this practice becomes so meaningful to so many people. I wanted to know what they find in the practice beyond the simple stretching that I do.  What is this “mind/body connection?” My two new Boomer friends revealed that they both, like Alec, got so into yoga that they took the in-depth course that allowed them to become instructors. It changed their lives. And like Alec they were happy to answer my many questions about why yoga meant so much to them; they were eager to share. And now I feel inspired to jump into yoga too, and see what happens. Apparently, one of the premier yoga retreats in the country is right here in Virginia, appropriately named Yogaville. I am planning to sign up for a retreat there sometime soon because it sounds absolutely fascinating. More on that later.

Alec shares his wisdom

So off we went to VMFA. We met at the East Asian hall and Alec walked us around the stunning statuary, talking about the origins and principals of yoga, riffing off the examples in the art. It was just beautiful. I felt a connection.

Making new friends has never been easy; it is challenging for me to reach out. But in this case, because I am so naturally curious and nosy (and always looking for something to discuss on the blog!), I couldn’t help but ask questions, and the rest of it unfolded.

So, the takeaway here: to make new friends, start asking questions!

How have you made new friends?

The post Making New Friends: Episode 1 Yoga Class appeared first on Boomer Connections.

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
Boomer Connections by Diane Andrews - 1w ago

The CDC defines aging in place as “the ability to live in one’s own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level”….From Wikipedia

In the following post, Richmond Realtor Diane Andrews provides some great advice for those considering the options for aging in place, either for themselves or their parents.

Look for ‘universal design’ in changes for your home

What is “universal design” in a home? It refers to a house that is safe, attractive and comfortable for people of varying ages and abilities. The different features might include single-floor living, wider doorways, multilevel kitchen counters and easy-to-reach switches and outlets. Incorporating all universal design elements in an older home is probably not practical, but it doesn’t hurt to keep the standard in mind. Many 55+ communities already offer these types of amenities built into their design. If you do not live in a 55+ community, but have an older home with standard design elements, you may need to modify the home by hiring a ‘certified aging in place specialist’ or CAPS certified builder to help you with the changes in your current home.

Bigger, less slippery bathrooms

Space in a bathroom is important, particularly if there needs to be room for a wheelchair or caregiver. A higher toilet (16-18 inches off the ground, instead of the standard 14-15 inches) is easier to use, and grab bars can reduce the risk of falls. Another way to add space to an existing bathroom is to replace the bathtub with a shower. One option is a no-lip shower stall that can accommodate a wheelchair or walker or a design with a shower seat incorporated.

Using GatorGrip “peel and stick” traction mats vs. removable non-skid mats can help avoid slipping in a shower.

Eliminate hazards or move the bedroom downstairs.

To make a home as easy as possible to navigate, consider moving the master bedroom downstairs.

Eliminate hazards such as throw rugs or excess clutter. Install railings on both sides of any stairs or think about having an automatic stair lift installed if moving downstairs is not an option.

 Think outside as well as inside

Front walkways pose special hazards, particularly if they have steps. Ramps can be built in some circumstances, but they can detract from the resale value and are not always practical.  If the door is three to four feet off the ground, you’d need a 60-foot ramp.”

In some cases, a motorized lift makes more sense.  Or, a window at the back of the house can be converted to a door with a ramp leading up to it.

Grab railings on both sides of steps is an easy option if they are not already in place.  And, outside grab bars can help when entering a home if there is a manageable step in front of the door.

Find ways to stay in touch

We’re all familiar with the old television commercials for Life Alert, with the famous despairing cry, “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.” Monitoring systems have gotten more sophisticated, no longer requiring any action on the part of the person who needs help.

Also, consider forming relationships with neighbors who can check on you regularly, and seek out transportation alternatives if you can no longer drive.

Local agencies and counties many times have senior advocates that can assist in sending you to the correct place for information.

The post Tips for Aging in Place appeared first on Boomer Connections.

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
Boomer Connections by Cherie R. Blazer - 1w ago

Compiled by Cherie R. Blazer

Last week I wrote about bringing passion into the exercise of setting goals for the New Year. Here are some good quotes on the subject of passion, to get you fired up:

  • Don’t worry about what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive. — Howard Thurman
  • Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.– Harriet Tubman
  • There is no passion to be found playing small–in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living. — Nelson Mandela
  • Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you. –Oprah Winfrey
  • If you feel like there’s something out there that you’re supposed to be doing, if you have a passion for it, then stop wishing and just do it. — Wanda Skyes
  • If you can’t figure out your purpose, figure out your passion. For your passion will lead you right into your purpose. – Bishop T.D Jakes
  • Only passions, great passions, can elevate the soul to great things. – Denis Diderot
  • I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.– Albert Einstein

The post Quotables: Living with Passion appeared first on Boomer Connections.

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
Boomer Connections by Cherie R. Blazer - 1w ago

Goals 2018! With the advent of the New Year I reassess my life goals, which are so different at 55 than they were at 25, 35, and 45. What is important now? I have been thinking a lot about what makes a good life…and how to come to terms with midlife and beyond.

I used to make goal setting such an analytical exercise. I’m a self-help junkie, and there are so many books, articles, blogs and tools on this subject. I studied and bought many of them. After all these years though, here is what I have learned and what it comes down to: What makes you happy? What are you passionate about? What does your good life look like?

My latest self-help pursuit is to learn how to become a good speaker.  This is a lifetime goal of mine because I appreciate the value of this skill, yet public speaking is an overwhelming fear of mine, and avoidance of it compromised my long career in PR and Communications. So I was listening to the audiobook called Talk Like Ted, by Carmen Gallo, full of speaking pointers from the best TED presenters.

(Do you know about TED talks? They have become a cultural phenomenon; you can find them on www.ted.com–wonderful thought-provoking talks on any number of topics.)

The book refers to academic research conducted by Dr. Melissa Cardon, a professor at Pace University, who studies how passion relates to business success.  She defines entrepreneurial passion as “a positive, intense feeling that you experience for something that is profoundly meaningful to you as an individual.” Of course, passion is a critical component of success as an entrepreneur (and speaker).

You can read the book, it is a good one, but basically, the secret of good public speaking comes down to this: Harvesting Your Passion.

I loved those words! They resonated with me. My last blog talked about the study of happiness. In this one I wanted to take a closer look at the concept of passion. Without happiness and passion, what else matters really?

Passion is what brings energy and meaning into your life, the energy to find your happiness. Yet with middle age, I have observed in so many Boomers, the results of fading passion. I saw it in my parents’ generation when they were at this age. I don’t mean just passion in a relationship, I mean passion for LIFE.

I offer this: It is time to find your passion again if you feel you have lost it somewhere along the way. This ideal is what we are all about at www.boomerconnections.com and that we feel so passionately about passing on. I feel we owe it to ourselves to (and this is my personal mantra by the way) “live a meaningful life your whole life.”

Why. the heck. NOT?!! Live with passion, don’t settle!

So what do you think? Is it time? In my quest for a formula or a roadmap for finding passion—I always go the academic research route first—I found this lovely article on a lovely website that I am going to visit again and again: (https://tinybuddha.com/blog/8-ways-to-discover-your-passion-and-live-a-life-you-love/) (https://tinybuddha.com)

In summary, the article offers some specific actions to take in finding your passion:

  1. Slow Down: introspection and quiet thought and activities like yoga may clear the pathways to self-discovery.
  2. Change Your Story: encourage your inner voice to speak to you of confidence rather than limitations.
  3. Own Your Uniqueness: recognize what talent, gifts and strengths are particular to you and play into those.
  4. Cultivate Confidence: through tools like written affirmations and/or a vision board.
  5. Find the Themes: examine reoccurring themes and patterns in your life, whatyour are drawn to both positive and negative, and what you can learn from them.
  6. Write: process your thoughts for even a few minutes each day in writing and see what appears.
  7. Focus on the Fun: instead of filling the squares and adding to the To Do list, spend some time doing what fills you with joy.
  8. Push Past Fear: identify what keeps you from moving forward.

Such great advice!

And here is another snippet, a bit of a different perspective, but also very valuable, from an article in Psychology Today called “5 Keys to a Passionate Life,” by Gregg Levoy: (https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/passion/201502/5-keys-passionate-life)

Very loosely paraphrased, the 5 go something like this:

  1. Take small actions to be spontaneous and act on your passions rather than setting up a “5-Year Plan.”
  2. Figure out what is sucking the life out of you (a job? relationship?) and how you can take action and make changes
  3. Take risks, do some things that scare you
  4. Work at the pursuits that feed your passion: apply diligence
  5. Passion goes viral and follows the law of attraction: if you have it you tend to pass it on and attract others with it. Look for passionate others.

All of this talk about passion led me to mindfully consider what exactly makes me happy now, what do I live for, what do I love? What about myself do I have to discover, or rediscover? It was a most meaningful exercise…to help the self-help junkie set goals!

So New Year, here goes! I have my goals set: I have a blog to develop, my husband and I just got an RV. We have a passion for the open road, so I am going to wander, and write about it. What’s your passion? Think about, and then Let’s Do It!  And if you have any insight to share, leave us a comment! We love to hear your thoughts.

(Note: Check out my next blog for some good quotes on the subject of passion!)

The post Harvesting Your Passion appeared first on Boomer Connections.

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

As the frenzied Christmas season ends and a New Year begins, this is a time of reflection. You may find yourself asking: Is it a Wonderful Life?

Mid-life and beyond, you have to come to realize that there will be goals you will not meet in this lifetime. You accept that you probably won’t get down to that “ideal” body weight. There are things you may have wanted very badly that you will not get. That’s why they call it a mid-life crisis. Also, This Boomer’s Life is often marked by loss, illness and caregiving.

And yet…

And yet articles about Happiness (with a capital H) kept crossing my desk in recent months. On social media, on the TED talk channel, in my e-mail, in the news, I would see HAPPINESS in the subject line.

In my life, I have always looked at the glass half empty, always chasing the next better thing. I am prone to regrets over the brass ring I could not quite grasp. Fortunately, my husband of 35 years is relentlessly positive, and has always tended to see the glass half full. He would slip messages about Happiness into my e-mail. I finally got the hint. Ping!

Amidst the many missives on Happiness, one in particular resonated: It was a TED talk on YouTube by Physiatrist Robert J. Waldinger, the fourth director of a long-term study on happiness and human development that was launched in 1938 by Harvard University.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Kpr7NjGDX4

Dr. Waldinger has made it his mission to impart the findings of this study to the world. In his own words, “The government has invested millions of dollars in the research, so why keep it a secret?”

This study, the longest of its kind, followed two groups of young men: One group was comprised of students at Harvard University, the other from inner-city Boston–two very different groups with very different life experiences. Yet, as the results have proved over 75 years, the keys to happiness cut across these lines. According to Dr. Waldinger, here is the most important:

Good relationships keep us happier and healthier. Period.

Dr. Waldinger began by making a very interesting point. In surveying the Millennial Population (currently those in their 20s to early 40s) regarding what defines “happiness” for them, 80% said money and 50% said fame would be their goal. This is a generation encouraged to “Lean In” and to focus on work/career pursuits. We Boomers were there not so long ago. Did we feel any differently? It has been my observation that our generation seemed to pursue and even expect happiness. We didn’t as a whole accept a life only to be slogged through, a philosophy of life I observed in my parents and grandparents. So, what is it that makes a Wonderful Life, even as we may struggle?

The Harvard study reveals that “Leaning in” to relationships with family, friends and community were far, far more important to long-term happiness than either money or fame.

Throughout an entire life, it was close relationships and the quality of those relationships, including stable and supportive marriages that made for health and happiness. Long-term relationships can be challenging and they can be messy. They are not without bickering and differences of opinion. What is important is feeling you have someone to count on.

“Loneliness kills.” notes Dr. Waldinger. Yet at any given time, typically 1 in 5 people describe significant feelings of loneliness, often even in the company of others. The lesson here is clear: to seek out relationships not only within family, but in the larger community, whether through volunteering, Meet Up groups, church, or the Y. One of the benefits of our hyper-connected Internet world is an opportunity to find your people.

Other key findings of the study:

  • A happy childhood with good parental and sibling relationships is one key to happiness, but those who had a difficult childhood can make up for it by creating positive relationships within their own family, with their children or via a mentoring relationship.
  • Those who learn positive ways of coping with stress are happier and healthier. One positive strategy is taking action.  Another is altruism: for example, an addict who helps counsel others through treatment gains a tangible benefit from these relationships. Yet another key is learning “sublimation,” which is putting out of your mind things you cannot change. On the opposite side, negative strategies that impact you and those around you include denial or acting out.

It is tempting to seek a quick fix in the pursuit of happiness, but in fact, relationships require work over the long run. Dr. Waldinger offers suggestions for small changes that can pave the way: Replace screen time with “people time.” Liven up a relationship with date nights, or just start by taking long walks. Consider reaching out to repair long-standing family feuds.

The good life is built on good relationships.

Dr. Waldinger ended his TED talk with a quote by Mark Twain, one that seems perfectly thought-provoking for the New Year:

“There isn’t time–so brief is life–for bickerings, heartburnings, apologies, callings to account. There is only time for loving, and but an instant, so to speak, for that.”

To read more about the happiness study and Dr. Waldinger:

http://robertwaldinger.com/

And by the way, there are so many wonderful TED talks out there full of mind-sharpening ideas. Check them out at:

https://www.ted.com/talks

The post What Makes a Wonderful Life? A Closer Look at Happiness appeared first on Boomer Connections.

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
Boomer Connections by Cherie R. Blazer - 1w ago

My mom turned 90 this year. Her story is a fascinating one but the journey was not easy. Born in 1927, she is a product of the Great Depression and grew up in rural Pennsylvania with limited means. She was in high school during World War II, and married my dad, a combat wounded veteran, soon after the war. Despite being gifted with an unusually beautiful soprano voice, she gave up the dream of a career in opera and the opportunity to study at a prestigious conservatory in order for my Dad to go to college on the GI Bill. Soon thereafter she moved back home with her new husband to take over her parent’s farm, where life continued to be hard and at times thoroughly heartbreaking. She had 6 kids and tragically lost my sister to childhood cancer at age 6.

There is no one I respect more in the world than Mom. I don’t really like to challenge or argue with her because of the respect I have for her, but we are the embodiment of the differences between the Greatest Generation and the Baby Boomer generation.

I was her youngest child, born at the tail end of the Boomer generation. While my mom was preaching about self-sacrifice and duty and the value of hard work, I was listening but plotting a different course. I felt it was my right to seek what I wanted in life, not sacrifice everything in order to be a good wife and mom. I felt that what I wanted was important. Freedom was the thing. Fun. What was wrong with being self-indulgent if you earned it and hurt no one else in your pursuit of this?

Yes, I loved and admired my mom, but the generation gap was wide. I got out of that small town as soon as possible, and left to “find myself.” Isn’t that such a Boomer term?

Now many years later, things turned out alright. In the attempt to find myself, I had a blast, got my education, and traveled the world. I became a mother myself. Now I’m an empty nester, so I have much more time to spend with my mom and participate in her care. I consider myself lucky for the opportunity. I guess all those things she taught me weren’t lost after all.

I find it amusing that in my 50s, the generation gap still divides. The philosophical differences over the notion of self-sacrifice vs. self-indulgence are subtly played out in a minor but distinct bone of contention between my mom and I. It involves leaving the light on.

I love lights. My house is full of candles and sparkly string lights and strategically placed nightlights to keep the ghosts at bay. Light creates a mood that makes me feel a certain way—my lights are much more than a practical necessity.

My mom has a problem with this extravagance. When she comes to visit, she asks me to turn off each light in the house except the room we are settled in. There is one very small lamp I always insist upon leaving on because I like its soft and pleasant glow, and she always politely but firmly mentions the fact that there is no need to waste electricity. So while some cohabitants have thermostat wars, Mom and I have light skirmishes.

And so it goes. The thing is, despite your disapproval Mom, I’m going to leave that light on. It’s helping me, you know, find myself.

The post Leaving the Light On appeared first on Boomer Connections.

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
Boomer Connections by Cherie R. Blazer - 1w ago

Early in my freshman year of college, I happened upon a card with a now timeless message that absolutely spoke to me. It begins and ends with: “If I had my life to live over…I would have picked more daisies.”

I was an English major, so I encountered lots of poems, lots of great literature, and lots and lots of words during my years of education, but I don’t think any have resonated more than this one. I kept the card most of my college years, pinned it to my bulletin board in my various dorm rooms and apartments. It was there to remind me that I wanted to really live, and at the end to have no regrets. After college, all that stuff got put away or thrown away and I haven’t looked at much of it since.

Recently I started in earnest to clear the decks of the detritus that has accumulated over the course of 37 years of marriage and 20 years of parenting. It is time to de-clutter our lives, our minds, and the attic, as we move onto our next chapter as empty nesters. Interestingly, during the course of this frenzy, the card surfaced. I saw it as an omen, a reminder, a question from the universe: Did I do it, did I pick the daisies?

Hopefully I’m not at the end yet, but I think I can say mostly, yes. I picked a lot of daisies, and countless other flowers. I definitely ate more ice cream than beans. Took lots of trips, climbed many mountains, saw tons of sunsets. So, yes and yes. Burned so much gasoline with a life partner, my husband, who loves to just drive and drive and see what there is to see, just like me.

I guess I could tell that impatient, restless, seeking18-year old self who was so afraid of missing out, to rest easy. However, I still am afraid of missing something, and that is a good thing. It keeps me on my toes! It is the reason I write the blog series “Let’s Wander,” about going out into the world near and far, and seeking adventure and new things to learn. Or series like “The Relevancy Project, “ because I feel so strongly about living a meaningful life all my life and staying in the game. I want nothing more than to pass on that restlessness. Here are the words that have remained in the back of my consciousness all of my 55 years and remained my compass:

If I had my life to live over,
I’d dare to make more mistakes next time.
I’d relax, I would limber up.
I would be sillier than I have been this trip.
I would take fewer things seriously.
I would take more chances.

I would climb more mountains and swim more rivers.
I would eat more ice cream and less beans.
I would perhaps have more actual troubles,
but I’d have fewer imaginary ones.

You see, I am one of those people who has lived sensibly and sanely,
hour after hour, day after day.
Oh, I’ve had my moments, and if I had to do it over again,
I’d have more of them.
In fact, I’d try to have nothing else.
Just moments,
one after another,
instead of living so many years ahead of each day.

I’ve been one of those people who never goes anywhere
without a thermometer, a hot water bottle,
a raincoat and a parachute.
If I had to do it again, I would travel lighter than I have.
If i had my life to live over,
I would start barefoot earlier in the spring
and stay that way later in the fall.
I would go to more dances.
I would ride more merry-go-rounds.
I would pick more daisies.

Nadine Stair, 87
Louisville, Kentucky

Here’s hoping you continue to pick the daisies too!!

The post I Picked the Daisies appeared first on Boomer Connections.

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

“We all could have been alone and lonely on this Thanksgiving holiday, but instead we reached out, got together, and had a lovely Friendsgiving. It was a new reason to give thanks.”

With these words Camille put a hopeful spin on a challenging aspect of her life right now, one that she described in our article of a few weeks ago: I Feel Abandoned.

The challenge is loneliness.

For many Baby Boomers, the holidays are a sad time rather than a time to celebrate. At 70+, a number of Camille’s friends are widows. Parents and, in some cases, friends and siblings have passed away. Some do not have children, others have children but they live far away. When I see the photos of Camille’s “FriendsGiving” however, I see a new reason for hope and happiness at the holidays, if we just reach out and gather our friends and acquaintances together. Boomers shared so many common experiences and challenges over our lifetime, and came up with answers and solutions. We are an innovative generation.

FriendsGiving is one such solution.

Just last year, Camille’s mother, aged 95, sat at the head of the Thanksgiving table, as lively and engaging as ever. She passed in January. A loss so fresh, the first holiday season without her mother, has really hit Camille hard. The week prior to Thanksgiving she felt bowed down with sadness. In addition to losing her mom, her only surviving sibling, a sister, had gone to Texas to help her own daughter whose husband was battling cancer. “I spent an entire day in bed. I felt overwhelmed.” But then she snapped out of it and went shopping for a Thanksgiving turkey.

Camille remembered happier days of her youth, growing up in a large Italian family in New York City, with all its wonderful traditions and wonderful food.As an aside, I was curious as to what her Italian Thanksgiving food traditions were all about, as my Pennsylvania Dutch ones were surely very different. Camille described stuffed mushrooms and stuffed artichokes (definitely not on my family’s menu. Artichokes?) Yes on the turkey, gravy, (sausage) stuffing, and mashed sweet potatoes. No on the pumpkin pie. In NYC they had special Italian pastries for dessert, and nuts still in their shells that you had to crack with a nutcracker. She noted that in the early years the meal started with traditional Italian antipasti but her mom had to suspend this particular offering, as no one would then be able to eat the dinner afterward!! The meal would last for hours. In between courses, the women cleaned up for the next round and the men would rest, as the kids played games.

Camille cooked the turkey, just as she had in all the years gone by on the Weber barbecue. This year, each of Camille’s 7 guests brought their own favorite dish from their family tradition, so the meal became a fabulous potluck, a table overflowing with delicious food, wine…and friends. As the group was seated Camille greeted them with the words: “Welcome Friends. For Thanksgiving, This is our family now.”

The youngest of the group family around the table was 69, the oldest 89. There was lots of laughter, lots of good stories. One of the ladies has been to every continent (yes, including Antarctica) and every state. She is a single woman, always has been, but that did not stop her from seeing the world.

Carolyn Guertin with an award for 75 years of service with the Civilian Air Patrol.

The oldest of the group is an amazing lady named Carolyn Guertin, who shared stories about 75 years of service with the Civil Air Patrol. She is a Lt Col. US Air Force Auxiliary, Virginia Wing, joined Jan 7, 1942. She is 89 so if you do the math, she joined at 14!! She flew planes during WWII, transport and search and rescue, as she was not allowed in combat. She continued serving throughout her life, and parachuted out a plane just a few years ago! Incredible, right? Next year I want an invitation to Camille’s Thanksgiving celebration!

In the end, this was Thanksgiving in all its glory—different, yet still special and still festive. “As they said goodbye the ladies could not stop expressing their thanks,” said Camille. “But in reality, I was so grateful to them.”

The post Reflections on “FriendsGiving” and What I am Grateful for Now: A Conversation with Camille appeared first on Boomer Connections.

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

One of my goals for 2018 was to seek out new friendships.  As an empty nester, you find some of your friends drifting away, as your neighbors, also empty nesters, downsize and move. You no longer have the connections with other parents through school activities, as their kids have also grown and flown. You drive into the old neighborhood every day with a bit of sadness and nostalgia, remembering all the block parties, all of our kids trick or treating together, dinner parties, Super Bowl parties, Oktoberfest, and just getting together for drinks on the deck. It was the best of suburbia and I miss it. These were my people. But now it is time to stop moping and take action. Time to seek out a new way forward. In this series, my Boomer Connections partners and I will reflect upon how we have made new friends. Here is my first foray:

I belong to a fabulous gym called ACAC. They offer a myriad of classes and I have started checking out all those listed under “beginner.” The others are way too hard-core for me, out-of-shape wimp that I am. I feel ridiculous flailing around in the back of a step or Zumba class. The weights I can handle in Body Pump are pitiful, I feel like the 90lb weakling featured in the back of the old comic books of the 60s, although no one is kicking sand in my face thankfully. So I have gravitated to Yoga. To me it is simply meditative and peaceful stretching. I regard, with envy, the fact that many of my classmates seem to find something in it that I do not. Also, many seem to know each other, they are buddies. How do I become a buddy?

So…the other day I tried out Aqua Yoga, hugely appealing, as I love being in the water. Plus no one can really observe how awkward you are. It is held in the sublime warm saltwater pool at ACAC, which is like heaven on earth. I get there early so I can paddle around before anyone gets there and bliss out, imagining myself on a warm Caribbean beach. The instructor is a wonderful, exuberant man named Alec, who is around 60, and discovered yoga late in life. He took to it so strongly that he became an instructor and now has his own studio (www.socoyo.com) in addition to instructing at the gym.

Alec, being the leader, got there early. So I paddled up to say Hey, and we got to talking. Because I was interested in finding out more about yoga, because I asked questions, Alec talked. He is a talker, in the best possible way! We had a wonderful and enlightening conversation. He mentioned that he teaches an 8 AM Saturday yoga class in the studio upstairs, and that some of the regulars go out afterward for tea at Whole Foods. This particular Saturday after tea, they were going to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) to peruse the East Asian exhibit hall and ponder the statues of Buddha. What? How cool is that?!!!

Was I interested? Well hell yeah. So I turned up on Saturday and made my way to class, then Whole Foods for holistic, organic, kindly harvested tea, where Alec introduced me to my new friends. The group was composed of two women, Boomers like me, and Alec’s wife, who also teaches classes at ACAC, and a lovely young woman in her 20s, all so interesting.

Not surprisingly, we discussed yoga. I am truly seeking to understand why this practice becomes so meaningful to so many people. I want to know what they find in the practice beyond the simple stretching that I do.  What is this “mind/body connection?” My two new Boomer friends revealed that they both, like Alec, got so into it that they took the in-depth course that allowed them to become instructors. It changed their lives. They were happy to answer my many questions about why yoga meant so much to them; they were eager to share. And now I feel inspired to jump into yoga too, and see what happens. Apparently, one of the premier yoga retreats in the country is right here in Virginia, appropriately named “Yogaville” (www.yogaville.org). I am planning to sign up for a retreat there sometime soon because it sounds absolutely fascinating. More on that later.

Alec shares his wisdom

So off we went to VMFA. We met at the East Asian hall and Alec walked us around the stunning statuary, talking about the origins and principals of yoga, riffing off the examples in the art. It was just beautiful. I felt a connection.

Making new friends has never been easy; it is challenging for me to reach out. But in this case, because I am so naturally curious and nosy (and always looking for something to discuss on the blog!), I couldn’t help but ask questions, and the rest of it unfolded.

So, the takeaway here: to make new friends, start asking questions!

How have you made new friends?

The post Making New Friends: Episode 1 Yoga Class appeared first on Boomer Connections.

Read Full Article
Visit website

Read for later

Articles marked as Favorite are saved for later viewing.
close
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Separate tags by commas
To access this feature, please upgrade your account.
Start your free year
Free Preview