Category: Uncategorized (page 1 of 26)

Losing a diamond in the rough.

I lost a good friend recently.  He was a true good, gentle spirit.  A gentleman to a fault.  In a profession of egos and insanity, he maintained an even, quiet demeanor that was consistent, no matter what kind of day he was having.

He did not enter a room and strategize how he could assume control.  He did not carry an impressive day planner or leather portfolio.  I never, in working with him for 30+ years, saw him wear a suit.  He simply carried himself with a confident dignity that spoke much louder than wearing a watch that can control the refrigerator.  His mode of transportation was anything but the coolest model off the showroom floor.  In fact, his beat-up car/truck/suv/crossover would have come in handy on Let’s Make a Deal, because everything he needed was inside.

I don’t remember ever having a disagreement with him.  True, his alma mater was not my favorite, but I could forgive, as he had played football for his school and was very proud of his accomplishments.  No matter how tough the assignments we faced as colleagues, or how hot the day, he’d always say, “This ain’t nothing.  Try two-a-days” in a reference to two practice workouts in one day in sweltering temps prior to the football season.

His point:  I’ve seen worse.  We’ll get through this.

And we always did, even when the demands of our clients were unorganized, unfair, and often ridiculous.  He would do what it required, whether it was a weekend, nighttime or holiday.  He was driven by a commitment to show up, do a good job, and be a grownup.

I can’t say how much I miss him.

As a friend, it hurts because he always made me laugh.  He loved music, he loved sports, and he loved his family.  He was a pleasure to be around.  As a colleague, I know I may never find anyone quite like him again.  Granted, I still work on projects with talented, mature, reasonable people.  But this particular person was from an era that we won’t see again, at least not for a long while.

Maybe one day again, people will truly respect each other for their experience and their talent, and not dismiss them if they don’t  know the latest share-file software.

Maybe one day again, every person involved in a project will take a personal interest in seeing that it is done correctly, on time, and in budget.

Maybe one day again, appearances, hairstyles and clothing won’t matter as much as wisdom, accuracy and reliability.

I hope so.  Because I can assure those under 40 that when you work in this manner, you feel better, smile more and sleep much more soundly.

He’s in a better place, at least I believe so.  He’s strumming his guitar and relaxing knowing he made a difference here.  I hope I can do the same.  We all must.

 

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.

Anne Frank

 

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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

 

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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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Sizing up aging: finding clothes that fit.

Some people hate going to the dentist.  Others do anything to avoid cleaning out the garage.  Or doing their taxes.  Or  raking leaves.

Me…shopping for clothes.  Oh it used to be fun, years ago. Maybe I’m crazy  but it sure seemed clothes were more attractive back then.  Putting them on wasn’t difficult.  (Weren’t the buttons bigger?  They sure seemed bigger.)  Looking in the mirror wasn’t akin to watching a vampire movie.

Not anymore.  Is it me, or does there seem to be a conspiracy of ugly clothes, impossible sizes and dressing room mirrors that double as carnival sideshows?

Just because we’re boomers, we shouldn’t have to be tortured when we go shopping.

Things change.  We’ve changed.  And clothes have changed…and it seems, not for the better.

  • A new study published in the International Journal of Fashion Design, Technology, and Education reveals, “The average size of an American woman is now between 16 to 18, which is an increase from 10-year-old data that indicated most women in the U.S. were a size 14.”  Scientists have now determined that the average waist circumference has increased 2.6 inches in the past 21 years, which is why there has been an increase in clothing size.
  • According to a study by J. Walter Thompson London, 69% of women between 53 and 72 feel that they’re ignored by the fashion industry.  Some 82% of the women surveyed believe that the clothes aimed at their age group are too old-fashioned.
  • And it’s not only women.  The average weight of American men has increased by about 15 pounds over the last two decades, according to a new study published today by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Especially depressing is to embark on a new fitness program, sign up for classes, be ready to sweat and work hard, and then try to find workout clothes you can breathe in.  Surprise!  They are made for 75-pound people who run along the shore all day posing for soft drink commercials.  They are not made for anyone who wants to lose 10 pounds.

Why are we letting this happen?  We should rebel.

All of us. 

Give us clothes that ft. Give us clothes that we feel good in.  Give us clothes we can actually leave the house in.  

After all, it was OUR generation that transformed fashion, took risks, brought high styles to women in affordable, wearable clothing. So why have we been abandoned?  Why does it feel like a scene from a James Bond film when we shop?  (“We’ve caught you, double agent 543, and now for the torture…you have to try on these clothes, in front of a 3-way mirror, and actually walk out into the store!  And if you don’t give us the secret war codes, you’ll have to try on….a swimsuit!!”)

According to Forbes:

“Boomers are finding themselves trapped between two worlds–desperate not to become their parents and reluctant to dress like their children. Their challenge is to find clothing that is age-appropriate and fashionable….Unfortunately, according to a Mintel survey of Baby Boomers, more than half of respondents said there are few retailers that carry appealing merchandise, and one-third said stores catering to their demographic have unstylish clothing….

Yet it’s us baby boomers who have the most money to spend. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the current 83.4 million Boomers have a collective spending power of more than $2 trillion and hold 50% of all discretionary income.

Add to the dilemma the barrage of messages you get online about all the things you should not wear if you’re over 50.  Not that too many of us are running out the door in a micro-mini skirt or speedo swim trunks, but come on.  After a while, it starts to feel like we should stay inside with the shades drawn, or just put a hole in a potato bag and tie a rope around our waists.

(Yes, children, potatoes used to come in bags. See how worldly we boomers are?)

RockTheWrinkle has made this appeal before to retailers: pay attention to us!  Macy’s, Dillards, Chico’s, J Jill, whoever and whatever…get smart!  If you stock it, they will come!  Of course there’s always the great catalogs who seem to get it more than others, like Land’s End, LL Bean and others.  Clothes that fit, sleeves long enough to cover a few brushes with too much cheese dip, and forgiving lines.  And they actually look good.

But so many times a trip to the dressing room is just too depressing.  And it shouldn’t be.  We are NOT (most of us) a size 4.  And we don’t want to be.  We are beautiful, or handsome, just as we are and we should be able to dress that way.

And don’t even get me started on shoes .  (But thank the universe for Aravon, Taos, Merrell, Cobb Hill, Rockport, Rieker and Jambo, to name a few.  You make stylish shoes for women that take orthotics.  Thank you.)

So what do you think?  Do we stop shopping?  Do we write designers and clothing manufacturers and tell them what we think?  Do we call up online catalogs and offer our opinions?  If you have an idea, I’d love to hear it.  How are you handling this frustration?

“Style is something each of us already has, all we need to do is find it.” —Diane von Furstenberg

“Fashions fade, style is eternal.” —Yves Saint Laurent

“When in doubt, wear red.” —Bill Blass

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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