Category: Staying sane (page 1 of 9)

Happy Birthdays to Us!

Rites of passage.  Whether it’s turning 50, 60, 70, 80, or beyond, we feel them.  They get our attention.  They get the attention of everyone in our family and circle of friends, because they can’t believe we are whatever age we are.

Big birthdays sober us. They remind us of our immortality.

But they also can be quite emancipating.  They tap us on the shoulder and urge us to look ahead down that trail, and wonder where it will take us.  Where do we want to go?  What do we want to achieve?   Are we done chasing goals of the past?  Are we ready to take a breath, or is it time to gear up for new challenges?

There’s a sadness to passing from one decade to another.   Who doesn’t pause a bit when they realize they can’t quite move as fast as they once did.  Can’t get on the floor to play with the dog and get up quickly (or at least, without some assistance).  Can’t eat all that spicy food without raiding the medicine cabinet at 2 a.m. for the antacid.  Can’t even stay up late…and late has gone from 11 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.

Still, there’s a giddiness to growing older.  You just have to look for it.

You have permission to give up some things.  Stop worrying about so much.  Know that you have gained wisdom the younger set doesn’t yet have, (even though they’re convinced you don’t know what you’re talking about).

Smile a bit more.  Nap a bit more.  Take it all in.  Or not.

If you’re coming up on a big birthday, turn it on its head and think about what gifts it can bring.   More time to travel.  Walk on the beach.  Wear a floppy hat.  Stop dying your hair.

Or start dying it purple.

.When she turned 70 last year, actress Sally Field said, “I’ve gathered strength behind my years, I owned them, I’ve earned them, I’ve deserved them, I have a right to have them. Behind my years I have value that doesn’t come when you’re 50 or 40 or 30 or 20, it doesn’t come until you’ve been in that saddle for a number of years.”

Amen!  Here’s to rocking the wrinkle however you can.

Here’s some other thoughts on jumping into that next decade:

“The aging process has you firmly in its grasp if you never get the urge to throw a snowball.”~Doug Larson

You are as young as your faith, as old as your doubt; as young as your self-confidence, as old as your fear; as young as your hope, as old as your despair”.~Douglas MacArthur

“In a man’s middle years there is scarcely a part of the body he would hesitate to turn over to the proper authorities”. ~E.B. White

“The first sign of maturity is the discovery that the volume knob also turns to the left.”.~Jerry M. Wright

“I think your whole life shows in your face and you should be proud of that”. ~Lauren Bacall

You have come a long way. You’ve endured a lot of struggles and pain.  You’ve touched more people’s lives than you will ever know.

And you are still here!





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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


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Who’s talking?

Machines are always talking to us. These days, it seems they’re doing more talking than our friends who can’t get their noses out of their cell phones to eat dinner, enjoy a vacation, or go for a walk in a beautiful park. Everyone has their head down looking at a screen.  I wonder if we’ll all end up with a crooked spine because we never look straight ahead anymore.

But I digress.

As I was attempting to check myself out at the grocery store recently, I wondered what would happen in the technology we interact with every day suddenly became very honest.  Actually told us what we don’t want to hear, but might need to hear.  Or what if it just started arguing with us?

After all, we don’t talk to each other much anymore, so why shouldn’t we argue with the scanner?

I’m scanning items at the grocery.  I’m realizing I probably shouldn’t have shopped when I was so tired, so hungry, and so desperate for a few moments of comfort. That always leads to bad choices.  So let’s just imagine what the machine would say besides the usual orders to put the item in the bag and an attendant has been notified to assist me.

Scanning cheese dip.

“Really?  Cheese dip?  You haven’t worked out in weeks.  Have you read the fat content?”

Scanning chips.

“Well you might as well get your salt intake for the week.  At this point, could it matter?  You know, drinking 8 glasses of water doesn’t erase this.”

Scanning dark chocolate peanut butter cups.

“Okay, now it’s clear.  You have no desire to pursue nutrition.  You’re just in it for the rush.  Wow.   I mean, sure, dark chocolate is good for you, but two bags?  Expecting company??”

Scanning salami.

“Tell you what.  You bag your items, I”ll go ahead and phone the emergency room and let them know you’re on your way.”

Scanning broccoli salad.

“Ahh yes, the healthy item, all freshly prepared and boasting nutrients.  I’ve got news for you sister, you could put it in your hair at this point and it wouldn’t matter.

But it does make you feel better, doesn’t it?”

Did the scanner really say these things?  I don’t think so.  Then again, anything’s possible. Scanners now tell you how to do everything, chide you when you do it wrong, and then go blank and inform the nearest armed guard you’re an intruder.

Then there’s driving.  How did we ever get along without a rude woman saying “recalculating” every 5 minutes?  How did we read maps?  Find out way in the dark?  Plan our vacations?

We did.  Somehow, we did.  I can’t even imagine my father programming in a route.  He took a map, decided how long he was going to drive each day, calculated his gas mileage every time we stopped, and stopped when he was good and ready.  Which was usually long since past when we had fallen asleep in the back seat.

wi9yf7kTQxCNeY72cCY6_Images of Jenny Lace Plasticity Publish (4 of 25)I confess I use a GPS occasionally.  Just in case.  Just in case I can’t remember alternative routes, or get detoured, or just don’t want to concentrate on where I’m going.

That’s a little scary.  Is it really that much work to figure that out?

Sometimes getting lost is the best way to get where you need to go.  But you can’t even do that these days without being scolded.


“Turn left.

“No, left.  You missed the turn.


“You just missed it again.

“No.  Stop.

“Make a u-turn.  Now go right.

” I said right.

“Aren’t you listening?

“Don’t re-boot me.  I’m the only one that knows the way. “


I don’t mind having help.  I do ming something else doing all the thinking for me.  When did we turn into mindless robots?  

Do we really have to check our phones every 15 seconds?

Can’t we sit in an airport lobby and people-watch?

Maybe even…egads...strike up a conversation?

Watch the clouds float by?

Utter a prayer of gratitude?

Just sit?



I’m getting older.  I”m trying to keep up with things.  But sometimes, a little quiet, a little simplicity, a little human contact…is a very good thing.

I can do it all by myself.

And my transaction always goes through.


“Silence is the true friend that never betrays.”







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Let it go!

Downsizing.  Rightsizing.  Simplifying.  Purging.  Lightening your load. It’s  a popular theme for us over 50 boomers and beyond. And it can be quite liberating.

I mean who doesn’t enjoy the feeling of just getting rid of stuff?  Especially when it’s still usable and could be of value to someone else.  Thus the many trips to Goodwill, ARC, and other charitable organizations who know how to recycle and reuse.

But what all do you get rid of?

There’s the drawer full of socks you never wear.  The books you never read or read so long ago you can’t remember.  The strange knick-knacks some long deceased aunt or uncle bought you while overseas.  That odd artificial flower arrangement.  That weird scarf you can’t stand.  The tie clip you wouldn’t be caught dead wearing.

That’s the easy stuff. But what about the rest?

It can be hard to separate the memories from some items.  Sure, it’s not the prettiest vase on the planet, but Mother gave it to you.  Or the pipe set from your grandfather. Or the painting your father’s aunt did that you ended up with but have never hung.

file0001896435004Is it okay to throw these things away?

Moving experts will tell you yes, it’s okay.  Keep the memory.  But maybe don’t keep the item.  Especially if you’re moving. There’s just too much stuff.  Too many boxes to pack.  Too many boxes to unload.

 (You know they multiply in the moving van, right?)

Yet there’s the guilt.

We remain convinced that somehow, those who have gone on the great beyond will know we just threw out that ceramic dog.


The late comedian George Carlin had a great routine about this….our “stuff”.  We all have stuff.  We have to move our stuff because our homes aren’t big enough to hold our stuff.  Then there’s the stuff we take when we travel.  Which stuff should we take?


Move cross-country a few times and you’ll have a new perspective.  You don’t think you have that much, until you count the boxes in your garage.

Oh my God, how did I get this much stuff??

I think it’s kind of like friends.  There are those people who are just on the fringe of our lives, who maybe like to “friend” us on social media but don’t really know our stories.  People who wouldn’t be there at 2 a.m. in the emergency room if we called them.

But would be there if George Clooney were staying in our front room.

Do you hang on to them?  Probably not.

You hang on to the people who care about you.  Who ask you how you are and then wait for the answer.  Who laugh with you, and cry with you.  People who let you be who you are, warts and all.

Those you keep.  Always.

Many older people face a lot of anxiety and sadness when they are told to “rightsize” so they can move into a smaller residence, often a senior living community.  Understandably, giving up cherished antiques can be quite upsetting.  But think about it:  how much space do you really need?

IMG_0503 - Version 3How much space do you actually live in?

Is it the antique, or the memory, that lives in your heart?

I can tell you this;  being about to embark on another cross-country move and packing boxes until my eyes roll backwards has inspired me to part with many things. I can only hope they give others joy.

I know I feel simply giddy.

“How many things are there which I do not want.”





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