Category: We baby boomers (page 1 of 17)

12 days of a boomer Christmas.

12 Days of a Boomer Christmas

On the first day of Christmas, my Subaru gave to me…..

a recall notice they fix for free.

On the second day of Christmas, my oak trees gave to me….

two zillion leaves, and a recall they  fix for free.

On the third day of Christmas, my furnace gave to me….

no warm air, two zillion leaves, and a recall notice they fix for free.

On the fourth day of Christmas, my insurance company gave to me….…

four denied claims, no warm air, two zillion leaves, and a recall they fix for free.

On the fifth day of Christmas, my pantry gave to me….…

chili cheese fritos!  four denied claims, no warm air, two zillion leaves, and a recall notice they fix for free.

On the sixth day of Christmas, my closet gave to me….…

six pants a-busting, chili cheese fritos!  four denied claims, no warm air, two zillion leaves, and a recall notice why is it always  me.

On the seventh day of Christmas, my remotes gave to me

seven batteries a-dying, six pants a busting, chili cheese fritos!  Four denied claims, no warm air, two gazillion leaves, and a recall notice oh golly gee.

On the eighth day of Christmas, my clients gave to me

eight invoices a-ignoring, seven batteries a-dying, six pants a busting, chili cheese fritos!  Four denied claims, no warm air, two gazillion leaves, and a recall notice they fix for free.

On the ninth day of Christmas, my subconscious gave to me

nine ways to feel guilty, eight invoices a-ignoring, seven batteries a-dying, six pants a-busting, chili cheese fritos!  Four denied claims, no warm air, two gazillion leaves, and a recall notice someone help me.

On the tenth day of Christmas, driving gave to me

ten new swear words …nine ways to feel guilty, eight invoices a-ignoring, seven batteries a-dying, six pants a-busting, chili cheese fritos!  Four denied claims, no warm air, two gazillion leaves, and a recall notice someone help me.

On the eleventh  day of Christmas, my oven gave to me

eleven fewer degrees, ten new swear words, nine ways to feel guilty, eight invoices a-ignoring, seven batteries a-dying, six pants a-busting, chili cheese fritos!  Four denied claims, no warm air, two gazillion leaves, and a recall notice someone help me.

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my heart gave to me….

12 reasons to be happy

11 million reasons to be grateful

10 ways to find joy each day

9 people I could help right now

8 chances to smile every hour

7 recipes to share

6 songs I could hum as I drive

5 people I could wave to as they cut me off in traffic! 

4 elderly friends who could use a visit

3 old friends I miss

2 donations to make

and a Merry Christmas to one and all!

 

 

“Ho Ho Ho!”

   Santa Claus

 

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Welcome Winter!

 

IMG_0008Winter has an inferiority complex—and I think we’re to blame.

We complain a lot about winter. As baby boomers and beyond, we grumble about how the cold air makes our bones ache. Dries out our skin. Causes us to shiver on the bus stop or while walking our dog.

We don’t want to drive in it. Or sit outdoors at a sporting event and be uncomfortable.

Winter gets in our way. Slows us down. Simplifies everything.

Hey wait…maybe that’s a good thing?

There’s nothing like 15 degrees, a strong north wind, and a little sleet to force you to take stock. Are you prepared? Do you have what you need to survive? Are you making wise decisions so you literally can stay alive?

And going a bit deeper….are you living your life the way you hoped?

I confess I can grow weary of shoveling snow and slushing around in heavy boots and multiple layers of cold. But I also relish the amazing beauty of this season.

As children, we loved to make snowmen, ride sleds, build forts and attack unsuspecting adults with a barrage of snowballs. (When I was a senior in college, we did this to the professors leaving the journalism building—they were not amused).

Now, I marvel how the snow can sparkle like diamonds. How snow-capped hills shine brilliantly against an unbelievably blue sky. How the crisp air awakens every part of me every time I go outdoors.

Just look at your pets. At least in my house, my dog delights in the snow with a joy that takes me back to that giddy feeling of school being canceled and a warm kitchen.

IMG_0816Instead of seeing winter as a time of decay and death, consider the blanket of beauty that winter can bring to nature. Think of Walt Whitman’s “unseen buds, infinite and waiting”. The ice-covered ponds. How snow lands on each tree branch and defines it with exquisite detail.

“The life of the crystal, the architect of the flake, the fire of the frost, the soul of the sunbeam.” (Words of John Burroughs.)

Garrison Keillor of A Prairie Home Companion once commented how “winter gives us purpose.” I like that. I like a season that reminds us who is in charge, and that we are left with ourselves.

Maybe as people aged 50 and better we can really understand that winter can be hard, but it will pass. Winter’s dreary nature doesn’t last forever. It might not even last a day. And doesn’t the cold make it easier to draw closer together? To snuggle against what is out there, or what might be coming?

And winter is a perfect time to stop and think about those who truly face the challenges of the dropping temperatures…the homeless, the frail, the forgotten. Those who have no shelter from the storm. Who sit by the shops with their empty cup and watch us come and go.

We know their struggle is real, because many of our parents and relatives lived through the Great Depression and had very little. We understand how hard it can be. And we can help.

Wrap yourself up this winter, but not so tight that you cannot take in all that is happening around you. Seasons change. We grow older. And life renews itself again.

 

 

“Winter is the kind of showman,

Turning tree stumps into snowmen

And houses into birthday cakes

And spreading sugar over lakes.

Smooth and clean and frosty white,

The world looks good enough to bite.

That’s the season to be young,

Catching snowflakes on your tongue.

Snow is snowy when it’s snowing,

I’m sorry it’s slushy when it’s going.”

            Ogden Nash

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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?

Learningmind.com 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 Learning-mind.com:

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.”

IT’S WRONG.

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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Which way to go?

Whenever I go for a hike, I’m always eager to get started, to walk through the beautiful scenery, breathe the fresh air and feel the sun on my face. I’m careful to keep my balance as I walk over rocks and roots so that I won’t stumble.

So as much as I’m enjoying my surroundings, I’m mainly concentrating on my feet…on getting where I am going.

The destination.

DSC_0180 - Version 2Along with this is the aspect of time. If I’ve driven to the mountains for the day, I know my time is somewhat limited, so at some point, I’ll need to either turn around, or only spend so much time at the trail’s end before knowing it’s time to get back. So as beautiful as the lake is, or the view, or the mountaintop, or wherever it is I’m going, it’s not forever.

I can’t stay there. I want to get there, but I can’t stay there.

When I ultimately do turn around to go back down the trail, I’m always struck by how much more I enjoy that part of the hike. I see things from “the other side”. I notice so much more. Everything looks even more beautiful and I often see things I missed on the way up…maybe it’s an unusual tree. Or a lovely small waterfall trickling down the side of the trail. Or a view from a perspective I didn’t note on the way up.

The hike feels more inviting, more relaxing. Because I’ve already accomplished what I set out to do—hike the trail. Now I can really enjoy it.

But only when I’m coming back down the trail.

 Lately I’m struggling with a crossroads. Trying to decide which path to take, or whether to simply be still. My heart pulled me years ago to move a great distance to answer my yearning for the beauty of the mountains. I did it, scared and unsure, but I followed my instincts and took the giant step. There were many who advised against it, just as there were many who applauded my determination.

8bc72ed7

Now, almost a decade later, I’m faced with some challenges that include, in various degrees, issues about money, aging, a strong desire to do something else with my life, and more. I’m considering turning around on the trail and going back to where I was before.

Mind you, I’m still just considering it. Yet already I’m hearing some of the same things I heard almost 10 years ago. How can you do that? Aren’t you scared? What if it’s a mistake? (And my new favorite):

How can you give up on your dream?

I’m not giving up on anything. I’ve accomplished my dream. I’ve lived it. It’s in my heart and it will always be there. I can come back and touch it anytime I choose.

But I’m not on the same part of the trail anymore.

Already, I’m “heading back” in many ways these days. It’s not so much a slowing down as it is re-evaluating. I’m asking myself:

What matters most to me?

What brings me joy?  

 Can I have more peace of mind?

 What new adventures would I like to participate in?

I’ve been talking with some trusted friends and mentors about their experiences of “going home again.”   One very successful man told me I’m “driving his Porsche.” He said he always wanted a Porsche, and longed for years to have one. Now he’s in a position to have one, but he no longer wants it. Instead, he’s enjoying married life with his wife and stepson. “But you went out and followed your dream,” he said. “You’ll always have that.”

IMG_0799 - Version 2Another wise friend reminded me of words written by author and teacher Parker Palmer, who talks about two kinds of heartbreak. The heartbreak when you are deeply hurt or angry and your heart feels like it’s in shards. And then heartbreak where you heart has to break open in order for the new good things to flow in.

I like that. Because thinking any kind of change won’t be painful is short-sighted.

Of course it is.

Giving up anything you love hurts. Yet, as I think Palmer is saying, it also makes you stronger.

I also like the idea that while I may never really “belong” anywhere—simply because I’ve lived in 4 states in my life—I’ll always “belong” with myself. Place is important, but it’s not what stays deep inside. I think I’ve always had this “place” inside of me, just as I’ve always carried other places with me as well.

Look at a labyrinth:  you begin on the outside, following the wide path around the edges, slowly working yourself closer and closer to the center.  Then suddenly, you find yourself walking back towards the outer edge, going back past the route you just took, yet you aren’t in the same place.

You’re covering new ground.  

And in fact, you have to do that to eventually reach the center destination…before you turn around and walk back to where you began.

When you throw caution to the wind (at least metaphorically) and you do achieve what you’ve always wanted….a new address, a new relationship, a new job, whatever…you show courage and self-knowledge. No one can ever take that away from you.

Where you go from there is your decision. There’s a lot of advice out there about how to change your life and go a whole new way. There’s very little said about deciding at some point to return to your roots, and start life anew.

That’s really rockin’ the wrinkle!

I still don’t know what to do. I’ve been at crossroads before, many times wondering which path looked like the right one. But I can say that I’ve always trusted the trail to take me where I need to be.

And it’s always a welcome sight.

“Wherever you are is the entry point.”

     Kabir

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”

      Marcel Proust

“And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.”
    Kahlil Gibran

“When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”

    Yogi Berra

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