Say BOO! to Aging


Halloween’s almost here. Ghosts, goblins, fattening candy, black cats running for their lives…so what are we afraid of?


Yep, many of us over 50 are afraid of aging. We don’t like to talk about it. But it’s there…lurking in the closet with our sexy shoes we can’t wear anymore, hiding in the medicine cabinet with the pain relievers and hair growing tonic we don’t want to admit we have, and stalking us when we have to find our glasses to read the small (and sometimes large) print.

The more we shy away from it, the bigger the fear grows. Maybe if we don’t look at it, it will go away. Then again, maybe not.

How about we turn on the light and see what’s really there?

•  Fear of losing our minds. Dementia and Alzheimer’s are very real, and not pleasant. I know firsthand what it’s like to watch an aging parent go through this frightening forest so I do not diminish the importance of catching early warning signs and seeking treatment as soon as possible.

Yet, it’s not a good idea to just decide if you’re growing older, your mind won’t be as sharp. Studies show that it’s basically a case of we have too much information in our brains by the time we reach the 60+ years, so some of it is going to fall away, or at least be harder to remember. Science further has shown that older folks do a better job of assessing the “big” picture and arriving at solutions than the younger set.

You’re feeling better already, aren’t you?

• Fear of becoming physically frail. Granted, the years take their tolls on joints, muscles, bones. But if you stay active and incorporate weight training into your exercise regimen, you can build muscle your entire life. You can reduce your chances for major diseases. You can lift your mood and find it easier to get up and get going in the morning.

People who are lifelong fitness buffs have always known this. Science is catching up and telling people don’t give up…get up and do something. Now.

• Fear we’ll be alone. Are you alone now? Would you like more friends? Don’t let fear keep you on the couch. Walk around the block if you can. Drop by an art museum. Volunteer: it’s not only a great way to meet people, it’s been proven to be physically good for you. Join a discussion group at a local library. Mentor a young person in your career.

Having friends of all ages is (once again) not only a good idea for your brain, it’s also a key component of healthy aging. We need each other.

• Fear we will actually look old. Yes sports fans, it happens. Wrinkles. Age spots. Saggy skin. You can lock yourself in the closet. Or wear a gunny sack. Or, you can get out there and be proud you are alive—and every mark on you tells a story. Movie stars get plastic surgery, have a team that spends hours making them look better, and sit in perfectly lit sets so they seem ageless. They aren’t.

Personally, I’d rather use all that energy to hike a trail or laugh at the wrong time. At this age, we should all know and embrace how beauty really is within and wrinkles just show more smiles.

This Halloween, let the kids put on the costumes and scare one another. We can sit back and enjoy it all…and know that we are just fine as we are. Growing older and better…and rocking that wrinkle!

“The fears we don’t face become our limits.”

        Robin Sharma


Don’t vote for hate.

This post first ran in February.  I honestly didn’t think the election dialogue could get worse.  I was very wrong.  What’s happened to civility?  Here it is again, but with some needed edits.

Mother always said if you can’t say something nice about someone, don’t say anything.

Designing Women’s Julia Sugerbaker said if you can’t say something nice about someone, come sit next to me.

In today’s political climate, it seems to be required to say nasty things, especially if there is no basis in fact. Say it loud. Say it with an air of arrogance. Say it with a smirk on your face and look right in the camera.  And it seems, say with no regard for vulgarity, lewdness, or harm to others.

DSC02021How did we get this way? is an interesting website that considers all kinds of thought-provoking ideas. When I ran across one of the site’s posts about human behavior, I thought it most appropriate for these scary political times. Here are some thoughts from

Interesting facts about human behavior.

  • People with high levels of testosterone get pleasure from the anger of others.
  • People with low self-esteem tend to humiliate others.
  • People sincerely believe their negative opinions about others are truthful and have no connection with them. 
  • People tend to commit immoral acts or do not fulfill someone’s request for help if no effort is needed and they do not have to face that person directly.
  • Lying takes a lot of mental effort. So as a result, a liar uses simple sentences and finds it more difficult to cope with mental tasks.

And (need I even have to say this?) talking—boasting—about sexual assault isn’t cool.  Funny.  Harmless.  Or just “locker room talk.”


Anyone coming to mind???

There’s room for disagreement in every situation. Discussion and compromise are what made this country, and many others, great. We don’t have to agree on anything.

But couldn’t we keep the conversation civil?

Couldn’t we agree that at the end of the day, we need to work together for the greater good?

It sure seemed like we used to know how to do that. As boomers and beyond, we remember that it’s never been easy to bring people together. I wasn’t around then, but I’m sure there were many people who didn’t like what Franklin Roosevelt did, but they agreed something major needed to be done during the Great Depression. The Cold War was a volatile challenge that sparked lively debate. Every political figure has his or her fans and detractors.

But it just seems that in the past, there was a realization that what mattered was the outcome…the people’s welfare.

Not any one person’s ego.

Not any one person’s religious beliefs.

People change. Times change. We live in a very different society, one where everything a public figure says or does is immediately in front of us. I just wish that rather than that causing the worst to be out there all the time, the opposite would happen.

Maybe think a little more about what you say. Actually check the facts (no, not Fox “news”, not a liberal website, not Facebook.) Investigate. Ask questions. Give it some consideration. Invite a discussion.

Respect those who do not agree with you IF they deserve your respect..  Do not blindly follow someone after they have offended a religion, women, those with disabilities, other cultures, or any other group.  Distance yourself and fast.

file8961250911676I so hope cooler minds prevail and the hatefulness that seems to be filling the airwaves dies down to a whisper. We’re all in this together. Let’s remember every thought that comes in our mind does not have to come out of our mouths.

Maybe we can’t stop others from being rude and loud.

But we can stop listening.  And we don’t have to follow.


“Rudeness is the weak person’s imitation of strength.”    

     Eric Hoffer


More reasons it’s good to be a boomer.




Not chasing the brass monkey.

Remembering The Beatles’ first appearance on the Ed Sullivan show.

Looking through old photo albums.

Revisiting old neighborhoods and seeing how much they’ve changed.

Comfortable shoes.

Friends who remember you when.

New friends who appreciate who you are now.

More naps.

Being able to appreciate excellent books and music.

Not caring about who the latest star is.

Delighting to the wonders of each changing season.

Sitting on a park bench and watching life go by.

Savoring dark chocolate.  Rich coffee.  Exquisite pesto.  Cheetos.

Protecting your time, privacy and boundaries fiercely.

Lifelong pets.

Not dreading Mondays.

Understanding the value of silence.

Letting things fall away that steal your energy.

Laughing more.

Did we mention naps?

“Sometimes I sits and thinks and sometimes I just sits.”


Letting some things fall away.


In many parts of the country, leaves are starting to fall…bringing up images of childhood…remembering orange, red and yellow leaves from several sugar maple trees that lined one of the homes I lived in when I was very young.

They were beautiful. They crackled beneath my bicycle tires. I’d press them between pieces of paper and use crayons to come up with masterpieces (at least in my mind).

Years pass and leaves have become more of a chore, raking, bagging and hauling to the curb. Yet I never pick up a rake that I don’t think about how much fun it was to run and jump into a gigantic pile of them. (Always remembering, as Lucy Van Pelt would tell Charlie Brown, “never jump into a pile of leaves with a wet sucker.”)

And leaves also remind me it’s time to let go of the past.

Pack away the summer clothes and get out the well-worn sweatshirts and long socks. Wrestle the comforter back into the duvet. But more than that, it’s a natural reminder that things fall away, plants stop blooming, and people pass away. Life reinvents itself in preparation for the next season.

It’s never been more true for me than this year, as I’ve once again made a  major life change.

One of the most beautiful passages about this ever appeared in Bambi, written by Felix Salten in 1923. (Not the Disney cartoon version. This book is a beautifully written, deeply moving look at nature, humanity and life itself.) If you never read it, you might pick up a copy. If you did, perhaps you’ll recall this amazing passage from Bambi that takes a gentle look at death, rebirth and so many of the questions many of us still have even though we’re not children anymore.


The leaves were falling from the great oak at the meadow’s edge. They were falling from all the trees. One branch of the oak reached high above the others and stretched far out over the meadow. Two leaves clung to its very tip. “It isn’t the way it used to be,” said one leaf to the other.

 “No,” the other leaf answered. “So many of us have fallen off tonight we’re almost the only ones left on the branch.”

 “You never know who’s going to go next,” said the first leaf. “Even when it was warm and the sun shone, a storm or a cloudburst would come sometimes, and many leaves were torn off, though they were still very young. You never know who’s going to go next.”

 “The sun hardly shines now,” sighed the second leaf, “and when it does, it gives no warmth. We must have warmth again.”

 “Can it be true,” said the first leaf, “can it really be true, that others come to take our places when we’re gone and the after them still others, and more and more?”

 “It really is true,” whispered the second leaf. “We can’t even begin to imagine it, it’s beyond our powers.”

 “It makes me very sad,” added the first leaf. They were silent for a while. Then the first leaf said quietly to itself, why must we fall?

The second leaf asked, “What happens to us when we have fallen?”

 “We sink down…. What is under us? I don’t know,” answered the first leaf. “Some say one thing, some another, but nobody knows.” The second leaf asked, “Do we feel anything, do we know anything about ourselves when we’re down there?”

 The first leaf answered, “Who knows? Not one of all those down there has ever come back to tell us about it.”

 They were silent again. Then the first leaf said tenderly to the other, “Don’t worry so much about it. You’re trembling.” “That’s nothing,” the second leaf answered, “I tremble at the least thing now. I don’t feel so sure of my hold as I used to.”

 “Let’s not talk any more about such things,” said the first leaf. The other replied, “No, we’ll let it be. But what else shall we talk about?” It was silent, but went on after a while. “Which of us will go first?” “There’s still plenty of time to worry about that,” the other leaf said reassuringly. “Let’s remember how beautiful it was, how wonderful, when the sun came out and shone so warmly we thought we’d burst with life. Do you remember? And the morning dew and the mild and splendid nights….”

 “Now the nights are dreadful,” the second leaf complained, “and there is no end to them.” “We shouldn’t complain,” said the first leaf gently. “We’ve outlived many, many others.”  


 “Have I changed much?” asked the second leaf shyly.

 “Not in the least,” the first leaf said. “You think so only because I’ve gotten to be so yellow and ugly. But it’s different in your case.”

 “You’re fooling me,” said the second leaf.

 “No, really,” the first leaf answered eagerly, “believe me, you’re as lovely as the day you were born. Here and there may be a little yellow spot. But it’s hardly noticeable and makes you only more beautiful, believe me.”

 “Thanks,” whispered the second leaf, quite touched. “I don’t believe you, not altogether but I thank you because you are so kind. You’ve always been so kind to me. I’m just beginning to understand how kind you are.”

 “Hush,” said the other leaf, and kept silent itself, for it was too troubled to talk anymore.

 Then they were both silent. Hours passed. A moist wind blew, cold and hostile, through the treetops. “Ah, now,” said the second leaf, “I….”

 Then its voice broke off. It was torn from its place and spun down. Winter had come.


 I’m grateful for the seasons, and how the light changes with each. I’m  grateful for the memories of fall afternoons raking leaves.  I’m grateful that for almost a decade, I had beautiful aspens and gorgeous oaks sharing their leaves with me.  I”m grateful for the opportunity to see how Fall unfolds in a new zip code.  I’m grateful I’m here to see it all. 

To every thing there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.

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