Stand up.  Dismiss.  Be Patient.

The world seems to have gone mad.  Anger is everywhere.  Reason has taken a vacation.  Neighbors scowl at one another, family members glare over the dinner table, friends disappear as events of the day spiral even further out of control.  What can we do?  We boomers who have lived lives of hard work, worry, duty and responsibility?  How can we keep peace around us, and somehow, peace within our hearts when we see so many things we fought for falling by the side of the road?

There’s so much that can be said.  Yet it feels like too much has been said already.  Maybe it’s time to be still enough to hear the peace that can be found if we search hard enough.  And if peace really does begin with each of us, take a new look at Walt Whitman and his words.  Soothing.  Encouraging.  And forceful.

Hear what he has to say:

“This is what you shall do:

Love the earth and the sun and the animals

despise riches, give alms to every one that asks

stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others

hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people

take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men

go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families

read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life,

re-examine all that you have been told at school or church or in any book

dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes

and in every motion and joint of your body.”

 

Dismiss what insults you. Hold fast to your heart.  Reach out to those with less.

Walt had the idea.

Like Lieutenant Dan in Forest Gump, we can hold tight to the mast…the winds can only blow so long. Meanness, evil and lack of justice will, like any noxious weed, eventually wither and disappear.

And in their place, new life can grow.

 

“The world will not be destroyed by evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.”

      Albert Einstein

 

Welcoming Fall

146

Fall

Early morning cool

Leaves starting their journey

Soft jackets with stubborn zippers

Announcers in filled football stadiums

Squirrels getting busier

Chili peppers teasing your nose

Bright lights of a county fair

New pencils and sharp crayons

Meeting new characters on television

Early blanket of darkness

Elk are bugling

Socks and sweatshirts

Warm cider and hot tea

A different light in the afternoon

Airing out the quilt

Reading the Farmer’s Almanac

Stocking up on essentials

Summer’s last gasp Laughing by the fire pit

Relaxing in the season

What is Fall for you? A time of exciting new beginnings? Or painful memories from years gone by? Does the cool air energize and inspire you, or do you wish summer’s warmth would linger?  Of course you may live somewhere that offers high temperatures year-round. If so, what does the change of season mean to you?

I’ve always viewed the fall with mixed emotions. As a child, it was the whole back-to-school thing. Then it was the back-to-campus thing during college. Then you “become an adult” and school calendars no longer rule your life (though I swear universally work stops for everyone the first week of school, and the last week of school, because no one knows where their kids, car keys, or brain are).

But then I grew older and things changed.

IMG_6287I became relieved by the cooler temperatures. It felt like a time to go inward and be still.  I loved the changing leaves and gorgeous sunsets.

Now as I am much older, Fall is also symbolic of how quickly things change. How life passes before we’re ready.

How we need to take the trip today, tell someone we love him or her today, have dessert first today.

How we should not “postpone our joy”.

Fall is a new season. But I think inside, it’s also our cue to pull the blanket around us and warm up to our lives.

Luckily, as boomers, we have a lot of kindling.

“There is a pearl in every season. Find it. Then give all you have to claim it.”

       Joan Sauro

 

Peace. Just Peace.

 

Peace.

Simple peace.

No murders.

No neighborhood shootings.

No children crying in fear.

No victims of assault struggling to be heard.

No mothers mourning their dead.

No persons finding their homes vandalized with words of hate.

No young people running from bullies.

No people trying to report the truth being shamed or persecuted.

No racist labels shouted from a passing car.

Peace.

Simple peace.

Patience, instead of revenge.

Empathy, instead of judgement.

Love, instead of hate.

Help a neighbor.

Smile at a stranger.

Remember someone in need.

Consider that everyone has the right to be who they are.

And let them be.

Peace.

Simple peace.

Today could be a day of peace.

Let’s make it ours.

“All we are singing is give peace a chance.”

       John Lennon

 

 

 

 

Getting older or better?

Are you scared of turning 60?  Or 70?  Or whatever age you’re about to be?

We get a number in our heads and we start worrying…what will life be like, what will I look like, and how much longer do I have…and most of the time, these fears are based on advertising, old movies, or mean old people we knew when we were children.

That crabby lady down the street who never handed out Halloween candy.  The old man who seemed to get so old so fast.  Our third-grade math teacher who never smiled.  When we were about 10 years old, they seemed to be 100.  But of course, they weren’t.

They were just older.  And since it was probably 50+ years ago when we knew them, they were older in a different time.  A time when there weren’t yoga classes for people over 70. Or strength training opportunities for anyone past 80.  Or well-designed communities for people over 55 with everything from an indoor pool to a pub to a non-stop calendar of events.

So, whether it’s true or not, it seems like people “back then” aged faster. They certainly didn’t have all the health and nutrition advantages we do now.  Many of them probably did physical labor for so many years it took its toll. Health conditions that are quite treatable today weren’t then.  People sat outside and worshipped the sun without realizing the dangers, so there a whole lot more wrinkles to rock.

Today, some say 50 is the new 40, 60 is the new 50, and so on. Maybe just say 60 is the new 60!  Maybe don’t worry about the number; but do have a good understanding of the physical changes that occur as we age and how we can enjoy life more than ever.

There are some physical changes to be aware of as we get older…startsat60.com lists a few:

  • Our taste buds are not quite as sharp.
  • Body odor changes.
  • Always loved sweets? You might find yourself with stronger cravings for salty, or vice versa.
  • Feeling stiff and sore in the morning is common as we age.
  • Wonder why you always seem to have a bruise? Your skin is thinner so a slight bump can leave a mark.
  • Feel achy? If you’ve had bad posture or have been inactive for years, it’s going to show.
  • Dry skin. Drink more water and use lotions.
  • Bladder problems can occur.
  • You might forget things more often.

Is it all bad news?  NO!  While it’s a good idea to understand that these changes are normal, it’s even more important to know you can do quite a lot to level the playing field.

Here’s some thoughts from Mayo Clinic about healthy aging:

  • Every day, do something physical. Walk, swim, do chair aerobics…it will help you maintain a healthy weight, lower blood pressure and feel better in general.
  • Don’t smoke. Eat a healthy diet.  And get enough sleep.
  • Bones weaken as we age. So, get enough calcium, vitamin D and watch your alcohol intake. And join a gym for some strength training—you are never too old to build muscle.
  • Stay social. Find reasons to get out and meet people, stay in touch with friends, have the family over.  Social interaction wards off depression  and stress, which can contribute to memory loss.
  • Exercise your mind by always learning something new…a foreign language, a new way to drive to the store, or a complex puzzle to solve.

The GREAT news about turning older.

Remember when you were 39 and you thought 40 meant it was all over?

Or turning 50 and thinking everything was going to stop?

Well chances are it didn’t….you look back now and laugh, thinking how young you were then, and if “I’d only known” then I wouldn’t have worried.  It’s the same now.  Find someone 10 years older and they will urge you to get up, get active and enjoy life with all the gusto you can.

Because being afraid of what might come isn’t going to help.

Being proactive in making “now” better just might.

  • You can sit in front of the TV all day. Or you can go to the park and walk by a lake.
  • You can never learn another thing. Or you can take an adult education class and learn all about something you never even considered, make new friends, and expand your world.
  • You can eat the same food every day. Or you can go online and find new recipes and try them out on your friends.
  • You can look at old photos and cry. Or you can become a docent at a local history museum and interact with interested people all day.
  • You can decide no one cares anymore. Or you can connect with a volunteer agency in your town and start helping the truly needy and forgotten.

Life really is what you make it.  And you have the wisdom, experience and talent to make it spectacular.  Or at least, more interesting than you thought possible.

It’s your time.  And it’s your choice.

Sit and stew…or rock that wrinkle?

None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm.

        Henry David Thoreau

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