Successful Aging

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Retirement - Stay focused and be confident.

by Irwin
(Lakeland, FL)

How do we stay both focused and confident, now that we are retired, so that we enjoy our lives as much now as we did when we were working?

First of all, whatever we choose to do to utilize all the time available to us now that we are retired should be fun. For instance, if you like reading mysteries, select your favorite author, call them up on the computer (or go to the library if you do not have a computer) and secure a listing of all the books written by that author. Chances are, unless you are truly an avid fan and dedicated reader, there will be one or more titles that do not sound familiar. Now would be a good time to seek out that particular book and set time aside to read it. Or, while mysteries may have been your bag in the past, perhaps now is the time to seek out other genres thus creating something different and exciting to do with your new found time. The opportunities are endless.

Another way of staying focused is to forget about the past and the so-called old days and think up new and other exciting things to do. Perhaps you used to enjoy board games but haven't done so in a long time. Gather up some of your closest friends (hopefully others that might enjoy doing something different for a change) and set a game night. Unless you have a particular game all of you enjoy, make it interesting - have each person bring a game of their choosing and once assembled, decide which one is most interesting and begin with that one. Keep trying each game until you find the one that everyone enjoys and then meet weekly for "Game Night".

We have game night every Wednesday night after "Social Hour" (about an hour and a half of socializing with drinks and finger foods). Once the socializing is done anywhere from six to eighteen or more individuals play Mexican Train. What we do is have three tables of players and we all start the game at the same time. The winner from one table exchanges places with a winner from another table. That way we are constantly changing players and we socialize and talk while playing the game. We usually start at 6 PM and play for approximately two hours. Great night and we look forward to the time spent with friends and neighbors.

Set firm goals. What do I mean by that? Well, everyone can set goals but problems arise when the goals are not really firm goals. Say one wanted to lose weight. Saying you intend to lose some weight by a specific date isn't so much of a goal as it is a wish. Saying on January 1st for instance that your goal is to lose 8 pounds by November 25 is a firm goal. One that can be tracked weekly or monthly allowing you to adjust your lifestyle (portion control, exercise, and what have you) accordingly to make sure you are staying on target.

Goals can range from things like weight loss to exercise programs (again be specific with regards what you intend to do regarding an exercise program). Or you might want to read three books a month or take a twenty minute walk every day.
Some of you may want to begin a daily journal.

Whatever the goal, make it a firm goal - one that is not vague but actually is achievable.

Be your own benchmark. How do you do that?

By making a plan and working the plan.

Committing the plan to writing so that you can track your progress is a good way to see how well you are progressing.

Using the example above about the weight loss, if after one month you see that your weight is going up rather than down (recording your weight weekly), you know you have to adjust something if you are to stay on target with regards the goal you set for yourself to lose 8 pounds.

Same theory would hold true with regards an exercise plan or if you planned on reading more and so forth and so on. Writing it down (let's face it, as we get older, our attention span tends to wane and we occasionally forget things) so that we have a record to actually look at will go a long way in assisting us in keeping on target with our goals.

Make a note of it. I love making notes and lists. Without them, I am of the opinion that my minutes, hours, days and weeks just run into each other and afterwards, say a month, I tend to look back and try to figure out just what is it that I accomplished during that time period.

At our age, leastways, my age, I need that instant gratification. I usually make a list on a Sunday evening or first thing Monday morning of all the things I hope to accomplish beginning Monday morning. Sometimes the note is just for what I want to accomplish Monday and other times it is what I hope to accomplish for one or more days.

After I make the list or in some instances, while making the list, I tend to prioritize the items I want to do. I use either a lettering system such as A, B, C or a numbering system - 1, 2, 3 and so forth. At the end of each day, I cross off those items I have taken care of.

Hopefully I have addressed each item in accordance with its priority such as A's get done before B's and 1's get done before 2's and so forth. But if by chance I did, say a 3 before I did a 2, - well then when I redo the list, the 2 will become a 1 (assuming I did #1) and so forth. There have been times when it seemed easier to do the 2's 3's and 4's before doing that number 1 and that is OK providing that you eventually go back and tackle that #1.

In using such a method, on occasion one will find that one or two items keep making the list but don't really get addressed. In instances such as this, I sit down and re-evaluate just how important this item is. If I realize that it really isn't that important, I just delete it from the list.

The satisfaction derived from crossing off several items from the list at the end of a day is great because it means something of importance did get done and my time has not just been slipping away.

Another way of staying focused is getting friends involved. Ours is an active community. We try to have a dance monthly during the times the snowbirds are here. In addition we usually have a Saturday or Sunday breakfast once a month. Plus we try to have a Pot Luck supper once a month. One such event that goes over well is a Soup Night. On that night everyone (those that sign up to do so) brings a Homemade soup of their choosing and we put little bowls out.

People go up to the tables and try one or two soups and then go back and try others. It is interesting and tasty because there have been occasions where we have had as many as two dozen different soups to try during Soup night.

In addition, we try to have other monthly events that are lots of fun. We host a Casino night, a night at the horse races (we actually create our own wooden horses and race them), and many other fun things. All these events require manpower and it is a neat way to get others involved.

This is especially true for people new to our park. By seeking them out to assist with these events, we have that social contact, meet new friends, and stay focused with regards to what it is we want to do in retirement - lead happy, healthy, and socially active lives with friends desiring to do the same.

Active people are actually healthy people. It sure beats sitting on the porch watching the grass grow - one blade at a time.

Last but not least, another thing to be learned regarding our retired lives now is to keep our priorities straight. Health, nutrition, exercise, and social activities should top our priorities list.

By attending to the suggestions mentioned above, and assuming that we are in good health to begin with, there is no reason that we cannot live and enjoy life as retirees as much as we did when we had to work for a living. It just takes commitment and dedication and I for one hope to continue living the "good life" as long as I possibly can.

How about you?

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Aging – A time to find our passion in life!

by Irwin Lengel
(Lakeland, FL)

Have you ever stopped and asked yourself, what is my purpose in life at this stage of the game?

While it doesn’t happen often, I would be telling an untrue if I said the idea hasn’t crossed my mind. So, I decided to sit down and rather quickly without too much thought, try to list various items that crossed my mind when it comes to determining what my passion is now that I turned 71.

First things first, since none of us know exactly how much time is left, we should sit down and ask ourselves - what is important?

We all have dreams of what and where we might like to be. Do I have any dreams? How am I going to make them come true?

Once those dreams are out in the open, then one has to ask the question – OK – what are my strengths? Why are they important? How are you going to make your dreams come true?

Without knowing how important one’s strengths are, how can you ask yourself if you are even using them?

While I could sit here and write a bunch of powerful adjectives about myself, afterwards I would also have to say to myself, are these adjectives obvious in the way I am living my life at the moment?

Truth be told, they probably aren’t obvious otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this particular blog at the moment. I would be addressing my passion(s).

So, where do we go from here? Well, having identified various adjectives about myself, the next thing I would do would be to monitor the things I do in my life that leave me feeling good about myself, Unfortunately to be fair, I would also have to monitor the things that leave me weary or down on myself.

Having determined both the ups and downs of life, so to speak, the next step would be to make a sincere effort to do more of the former and less of the latter.

Another approach one might take at this point would be to ask: – if I won the Lotto tomorrow, what would I do differently in my life? In my situation – the first thing I would have to do is go out and buy a lotto ticket (my wife keeps teasing me by saying – “in order to win the lotto, one must play the lotto.”)

But, what if you didn’t win the lotto? What you need to do in that instance is do those things in spite of the fact that you didn’t win the lotto. Let’s face it, another question we ask ourselves at this point in our life is – what would really make me happy? If we know what makes us happy, then the secret to being happy is to find ways to make it happen.

I don’t know about you, but I am pretty sure we won’t be around forever. So here is another way of trying to find your passion at this point of your life – say to yourself – if I only had 2 or 3 more years to live, how would I want to spend the balance of my time here on earth? Then figure out how to make it happen now while you are still around. Life is too short - do not keep putting the important things off.

Another approach would be to ask friends and family what they think you are good at. Who better to ask than family and friends? As they tell you, prepare a list which will, upon completion, be a picture of your life and work. This picture should also show whether you are using your strengths. If not, determine how to incorporate them in your everyday activities so that you move forward.

Another tip, (and being truthful I would have to admit that I did not have many dreams as I was growing up), would be to try to think back and remember the dreams you had when you were a kid. Assuming that you had some dreams regarding what you hoped to be doing as a child of six or seven or even eight or nine, have you done them? If not, can you still do them?

Remember, age is just a number. We are as young as we feel. What about as you got older? Did the dreams change? What about your teenage years? Did you want to get involved in politics? Social groups? Volunteer service (Peace Corps comes to mind)? If none of these, what? As you aged, did you continue to support those values? If not, would they still be important now?

Okay, another way to try and determine one’s passion, think of the answer to this question: If asked to write your epitaph, how would you word it? Put another way, at this point in our lives, now would be a good time to decide what you would like your epitaph to say, keeping in mind that upon determining what we want it to say, the next step would be to make sure your life (or what is remaining of it) allows that to happen.

While I have things such as my writing, teaching, traveling and line dancing to occupy my days when we are not running errands or involved with community projects, fact-of-the-matter is that I am not sure I have found my true “passion” in life!

I think I am still searching. I would love to find that one special thing that I just cannot wait to get to upon waking in the morning or when the chores are done. Something that we love so much, it tends to preoccupy our mind even when we should be concentrating on the chores at hand.

Am I happy? Yes, but at times I sense the need to feel passionate about something. You know what I mean! That little something that makes you want to get out of bed in the morning anxious to get on with it!

I know there are many folks that go through their entire lives not having any passions. However, and this is just my humble opinion, bottom line – to have a fulfilling life in retirement - we should be passionate about something, have a purpose, do what’s important.

Once this happens, hopefully happiness will come to us! The day won’t just end - it will merely pause allowing us time to revitalize so that we might begin once again in the morning doing that which we find passionate about our life.


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Retired and Alone, but NOT Lonely

by Sophia

I'm living alone but I do not have the feeling of loneliness.

Those who feel lonely is because they do not make use of the time, but like to sit down doing nothing, with lots of unnecessary thinking.

Loneliness won't follow you, if you occupy yourself with activities, whether is group activities like art class, dancing class, cookery class or self-activities like walking, reading, swimming, gardening, sewing even cook a nice meal for self to enjoy.

For me I love to do shopping alone and enjoy it very much. sometimes go for movies with friend or with my nephew/niece. I have a little garden with plants and herbs which planted by myself and enjoy watching them growing lovely and nicely.

Within the year I always have 1 or 2 days trips with friends and over sea holidays every 1 or 2 years.

I'm doing voluntary work once a week. From time to time have meals with friend.

Where is the time to feel lonely!?

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Aging Is A Full Time Job

by Marcia Casar Friedman

This is a good book Aging is a Full Time Job - written on topics of new submissions lately... aging and writing!! Enjoy! Wendy

AGING IS A FULL TIME JOB: Now Is The Time To Make Peace With Your Past So You Don't Mess Up The Present!

Everybody is doing it! Aging is our universal full time job!

AGING IS A FULL TIME JOB by Marcia Casar Friedman, is a motivational book written for seniors, ages 50+, with an emphasis on Silver Sages ages 65+. Marcia writes about feelings, self-esteem, aging, wishes, loneliness, endings, worrying, gratitude, family changes and more. With the goal of guiding readers to improve their lives, Marcia discovered writing is healing.

Everyone can write! There are numerous "How to---" topics emphasized throughout the book, with directions to write privately in a journal, using a computer or talking into a tape recorder.

Even though the various subjects examined in the book can be faced at almost any age, seniors have a different point of view due to years of experience, in a much less technological world.

Reviewing experiences by reading, thinking and writing, can help many people come to terms with the natural changes that come with aging.

Use the evaluating tools included in the book to recognize the inspirational new light that comes from the wisdom of aging. Endings are beginnings! Concentrate on today to create an improved, first-class life for today and tomorrow. Discover the answer to "Who am I?"

How can we acknowledge the good, the bad, and the ugly inherited from the past and still lead a balanced, successful life? Relive them! The last part of the book emphasizes family relationships and their effects. The past is done, it no longer exists. Learning never ends! Now is the time to make peace with your past so you don?t mess up the present!

-- Author Biography --

Ms. Friedman was a teacher for the Pittsburgh Public Schools, Los Angeles School District, and a Cal State University master student teacher. Writing, sociology, and psychology have always been her passions. She conducted adult training programs in English as a Second Language, created "feelings workshops", behavior modification classes and was a trainer for various businesses. Her enduring belief is that "learning never ends!"

Buy the book at Amazon: AGING IS A FULL TIME JOB: Now Is The Time To Make Peace With Your Past So You Don't Mess Up The Present!

Wendy: Marcia, the author of the book, has posted this page. This wasn't written by me, and I'm just keeping it real... The book really does sound like a fantastic resource (Amazon links) and something right up my retirement alley -- I might get it and review it myself soon!

I also posted this book review for another reason... Marcia believes "Everyone can write!" and I very strongly believe that too! That's why I do my website and why I encourage blogs and websites -- share your story, share your own knowledge!

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Retirement: Keep your mind active, interact with young people.

by Antoinette
(Calgary Canada)

Working long past retirement age with younger people sharing in young interests and storys, even so sometimes this makes one tired.

Volunteering is a great experience, but I found that walking into a Seniors Centre meeting and finding yourself surrounded by white hair and chatter about Bingo games made me feel old.

But volunteering for a organisation filled with young people made me feel great.

I am writing this with respect, but it is good to have contact with young people, even so some are at times a little bit difficult to understand. Most important keep your mind busy and active even if the old body has slowed down.

Wendy: Antoinette, this is good advice -- keeps you mentally young!!

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Aging with a Plan.

by Abed

I am a moderately healthy man and reaching 60 years of age.

During my service of more than 35 years in and Indian Pharmaceutical Company, my work place felt like my home. Now since I am just nearing my retirement age this makes me a feeling that I am getting old and may be sidelined at my own home and suspect that my happiness may be deprived of.

In order to deviate from this feeling, I have made it sure that I should feel young and for this, I have made following list which I hope will be helpful for those who might have the same feeling of getting aged:

1. Feel young at heart, not reminding myself that I am old.

2. Taking activities duly enjoyed by the youngsters which will helps me to learn new things and enjoy youngster's company.

3. Closely monitoring activities and life of young generation

4. Constant exercise daily - possibly in the early morning and evening

5. Taking standard vegetable diet as fat/overweight makes feel older.

6. Good sleeping with essential rest.

7. Sharing a sense of humour with your young partners as keeping good cheer is very much important for good health.

8. Keeping quiet, not losing your temper and be patient, supportive and loving relationships.

9. Keeping busy with any activities - sometimes social, residential, gardening, etc., Here I am very much helpful with my yoga. Ayurveda is much helpful.

10. Maintaining a positive outlook towards life.

11. Appreciating myself, be gentle to other's feeling with a very patient hearing to others grievances.

12. Avoiding comparison with others.

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Aging and Multi-Tasking through God's Help...

by Betty

As a goal oriented, type A person, I have always had my plate full.

When I was first married, I taught in a Christian school while my husband was in seminary, and also did the ordinary wifely things of homemaking and hospitality.

When our children were born, I no longer taught at school, but continued homemaking and hospitality, and added the feeding, diapering, training and discipling to my duties as a wife. Balancing those things was sometimes difficult, as it was easy to let some things fall by the wayside. I now had to work hard at not neglecting my first job-- that of wife to my husband!

Then we added homeschooling to our list of priorities. The first year was hard as our children complained that it was not "real" school and I was not like their teacher from "real" school! Enter Daddy, the husband, father, homeschool Principal!

Over the years we both learned to "balance" quite a lot of activities. My husband was very helpful in helping me decide what new tasks to take on-- praise God for His plan of submission! It was great to be able to say, "My husband does not feel I can do that at this time."

When the children grew up and married, I had to learn what to do with time again. I volunteered to wash dishes for Senior Citizen lunches at church, taught a couples Sunday School class with my husband, and continued upholstering and custom sewing for other people, as I had time in between homemaking and hospitality.

When I was widowed at 52, EVERYTHING changed!

For four years, God sent other activities to fill my days and I eventually adjusted to the loss of my husband.

I still was active in homemaking, hospitality, church activities, and sewing, but now God added grandchildren, and mentoring and discipling younger women to my plate. What a joy that has been!

When I remarried at 56, God gave me lots of new activities, including moving across country twice in a little over a year! Homemaking, hospitality, sewing, mentoring and being wife, stepmother, and grandmother to a growing tribe of Blessings completely filled my plate again. God is so good!

Yesterday, I realized my days of multi-tasking may be limited!

As I was pinning a slipcover together, I pricked my finger and bloodied my hand. On my way to the kitchen to wash off the blood to avoid staining the fabric, I spotted the hummingbird syrup cooling on the stove. So I picked up the pan on my way to the sink, and poured the syrup into the hummingbird feeder. I noticed an ant walking around the edge of the pan, so as soon as I finished filling the feeder, I set it down to rinse the ant down the drain.

Suddenly I was covered with syrup flowing over the counter onto my dress and the floor! I had set the feeder onto the counter without first putting on the bottom part and turning the feeder over so it could stand without dripping. How many times have I filled the feeder in my life?!

Yes, I know that is a silly matter on which to base my conclusion that I can no longer multi-task, but it showed me that I AM aging and cannot expect to do so many things at once as I once was able to do.

I walk into a room looking for something and spot some task I have not done, do it; then realize I should also clean my desk, or maybe finally add to my blogs, and a few minutes later, my husband walks in to ask me why the kitchen faucet is running in an empty sink!

My dreams lately have been of having a day when I can sit down and read a book all the way through in one sitting, instead of taking weeks to read it between other daily chores.

Or of having a day when I can really clean out the flower beds, instead of just watering them occasionally because I must pick the vegetables in the garden and can them before the next batch comes in-- and guests are coming for supper, and I have not finished folding the laundry yet.

I used to be able to do all those things at once without even thinking.

I believe God prepares us for each stage in our lives, and His preparation for me now may be to slow down and gratefully accept my limitations so that when the time comes when I may be really limited, I will not stress about it and complain that I cannot do all that I once did.

Praise God, I may get to slow down and read that book in one sitting after all!

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