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Aging Gracefully

Posted by jayemerill@live.com on February 17, 2020 at 3:25 PM Comments comments (0)


 

When people talk about growing older gracefully, it's not uncommon to ask what that actually means or if it is actually does happen. How does one accomplish this? Who’s measuring, and how do they do it? There are so many messages about aging, that to age gracefully is to ask someone about the ‘elephant in the room”; it can be both scary and difficult to measure or carry out.

 

For one thing, being graceful can appear in different strokes with different people so there's really not a fixed formula for implementation. Perhaps aging gracefully doesn't have to refer to age or appearance, but rather the attitude one holds onto as she goes through the various stages of life. It's doing your best to uphold virtuousity, both of self and others, by invoking some daily nourishment and understanding of the human race, a sharing of peace and well being.

 

Having a youthful attitude is also helpful, as we must all eventually recognize a decline in vitality (wrinkles, balding, loss of muscle mass and tone, diminishing vision and gray hair, high blood pressure, anxiety). However, aging gracefully doesn't mean you have to wear your wrinkles with pride - instead, you need to do whatever is necessary to stride into your older years with confidence.

 

For many, it means taking steps to make your outside appearance match the way you feel on the inside. I often look at myself and see the 30 year old woman that I was and still think I am, although she's somewhat trapped in a much older body.

 

If you feel energetic and youthful internally, I challenge you to begin to look at new ways to grow and come up with a greater understanding for how to best stall the progression of age. In our LUNCH & LEARN sessions, I often ask and challenge ladies to make choices about their well being and live a bit longer by adopting simple lifestyle choices for increased health and happiness.

 

We also remain ready and willing to entrust our hearts to new friends. We women know that it is only within the context of friendship that we truly grow and learn as people. There are few things as joyous as a reunion of these friends, and few emotions as exhilarating as the excitement of meeting new people and discovering we have much in common with them.

 

Our friends help us face the reality that we are actually getting older, yet continue to grow each day, that we're far better off now that we ever were, that we're wise enough to know what we need to know and how to get it, and we can offer that wisdom to those who will follow in our footsteps.

 

Jean Chittister in her book "The Gift of Years;Growing Older Gracefully, has said "A blessing of these years is that they offer us the chance to be excited by new personalities, new warmth, new activities, new people all over again. Does it demand that we fall in love? No. But it does demand that we love someone else enough to be just interested in them as we are in ourselves. It demands that we set out to make tomorrows happy."

 

I have come to cherish our girlfriends, viewing them as members of an extended family, our little tribe of imperfect and loveably adoreable ladies. We have tons of stories and experiences to share as we age together, and find special meanings in the art of growing older.

 

You see, it is through our continued conversations amongst each other which makes the very most sense about how best to grow old. The graceful part is a personal choice.


Are You a Lone Wolf?

Posted by jayemerill@live.com on February 16, 2020 at 11:35 AM Comments comments (0)

I'd like to reach out to a few folks who may be having a difficult time ... 

When a person is lonely, enough to become isolated from others, it can weigh heavily on a person and eventually become exhausting and sad! It might be because in adding oneself to this group of virtual strangers, you become leery of others and feel it difficult to share, especially if you don't know others well enough or at all. 

 

I'm wondering if it's a matter of convenience to give off hand reasons for not socializing. But then, there are also considerations for withdrawing. For example, when another’s needs are calling for attention or there's another place to be, if caregiving keeps you at bay and interrupts from making potential friends and keeping them, your life might have become be a rather lonely place. It may be time to make an appointment with yourself for a change.


 

Is it because you're afraid of being laughed at or shamed; is there something hard to stomach if you're turned away? It's also true that nobody said it was easy to mix with others, especially if you’re not considered a social butterfly. I try pretty hard to help newcomers feel comfortable in our WGOG gatherings.


 

Nevertheless, having at least one or a few friends to talk to can provide a measurable amount of good and wonder if mingling is the right thing to do. Lonely ladies...please make the effort to connect, be your authentic self and breathe to allay possible fears of belonging-ness, so you can love and laugh with our ladies of leisure and have a marvelous time!

 

 


 

Lonely or Alone?

Posted by jayemerill@live.com on January 28, 2020 at 3:05 PM Comments comments (0)

It appears that the older I get, the easier it becomes to slow down once in awhile, take a breath as I relish knowing some wonderful friends. I cherish them as they have become quite important to me. Yet, today it was seemingly better for me not to go out to lunch with them, but to stay inside, by self. I hope they understood that. I guess you might say it’s a matter of slowing down to speed up and a little self indulgence and rest was called for.


Unfortunately, I also believe it can become the plight of retired’s,  for who choose to sit at home alone most of the time, to easily fall prey to face periods of sadness or depression if this kind of isolation becomes routine. This may have been the case several years ago, yet knowing now that being lonely and alone made for a bleak living, a change to a more positive attitude, coupled with the desire to befriend wonderful people , has made big difference in my outlook on life.


Many will argue with the prospect that being alone is always a bad thing. In my opinion baby boomers are known to reach and burst the bubble about expected behaviors of retired people. Unfortunately, it  appears that alla retired  person was expected to do was to sit in the rocker and watch TV .  And, yes. It’s important to make time for solitude, to give yourself space to reflect or to make new social connections and find some meaning. But it's not Ok to sit in solitude and become weepy, afraid and depressed because you choose to isolate yourself. There's a big difference between the two.


I’m certainly not here to admonish those persons who choose to remain hidden and not participate in the workings of their community or decide not to socialize. Obvious reasons for withdrawal vary; health or money issues, family and work responsibilities, shyness or even being scared to meet. 

It has been said that the ability to make productive use of our own company triggers even more creativity by helping us tap into our thoughts and our own inner worlds. A decision  to cuddle up with a good book or work on some project, instead, of going out is certainly an acceptable..


Actually, it’s a personal choice and a matter of being able to create a symmetry, using both introvert and extrovert personas, and keeping tabs for whether a person should step up to make new friends or be alone, but not isolated. Balancing both worlds to become more intentional about your needs and wants is the critical decision to make. It’s never too late and it’s certainly fine when one declares what their heart and mind knows what’s right for them.


You’re a big girl, so know that  either can be OK.

 

Peace of Mind

Posted by jayemerill@live.com on January 19, 2020 at 12:05 AM Comments comments (0)

There’s nothing like feeling useless, trapped and unfulfilled, but holding onto a sense of gratification and contentment in life can make one more joyful. Some may think that becoming more positive might not really change a life, especially when facing the doldrums. Its a matter of learning how to train your brain to look on the bright side—and possibly change your life in the process.

It's a known phenomenon that happiness and success go ‘hand in hand’. At least, that’s how it’s supposed to be. In addition, this complicated duo also needs pleasure making, tactics to follow, in order to join in that special dance of life and make it all worthwhile.

What better way than to break into a self-induced happy cycle and sow the seeds of joy? Oh yes; happy people are more creative, more productive and more helpful and being happy increases self-esteem to reverse the vicious cycle of regret, shame or blame.

If that’s actually true, then the best we can do is to try and live up to being more alive, to gain more optimism by pushing those personal boundaries and challenge ourselves. All it takes is a little hope.

-Starting a new project can be a great idea and once you get started, you may find that it can take on a life of its own.

-Smile, smile, smile, from inside out! Live it to share it with family and friends, even if you have to force doing it. Nothing feels as good as a happy face smiling back at you.

-Turn up the music and dance when no one is looking or take some cha cha lessons, or something like that.

-Go for a nice long walk in the sunshine to find something interesting or new to see or do. Hug a neighbor, smell the roses!

-Try out a new recipe and invite a friend or two. Be good to yourself.

From day one, success and sharing with others has served me well. This comes from realizing that the pattern of behavior that stood for itself over the past thirty or more years has changed over time. Now I’m physically different, with different solutions in my tool kit. And, I’m not just wise, but better off too!

That said, this is our time to shine, no matter what others think. I choose to catch the wave of opportunity, jump into the world of joy and contentment, and bathe in the lightheartedness I truly deserve.

It’s simply a matter choice in welcoming the truly bountiful blessings , while always reaching to set up new opportunities, keeping playfulness and peace of mind as my great companion.

What Does Growing Older Gracefully Actually Mean?

Posted by jayemerill@live.com on January 11, 2020 at 2:00 PM Comments comments (0)

When people talk about getting older gracefully, it's not uncommon to ask."What does that mean? How do we accomplish this? Who’ s measuring this and how do they do it? There are so many mixed messages about aging in itself, that grappling with this ‘elephant in the room” can be both scary and difficult to measure or execute. Many people  have heard what's expected from  both the past generation and are working on a  new definition of aging. Which ever is right for you, to do it gracefully is actually the gift we need to reach for.

The goal is to gain confidence in navigating life transitions-and see yourself as an integral part of society-instead of being isolated from society.

Perhaps aging gracefully doesn't necessarily have to refer to age or appearance, but rather the attitude people have as they go through the various stages of life. Do you fall into thinking about the phrase “Aging Gracefully” to mean, something like "Looking old, but embracing it" or "Showing signs of aging, but still powering forward with life" ?

We all have the same needs, to survive and maintain, but keeping a youthful attitude is what we can do while we eventually recognize a gradual if not alarming decline in vitality (wrinkles, balding, loss of muscle mass and tone, diminishing vision and gray hair, high blood pressure, anxiety, etc etc).    I'm not saying that aging gracefully means you have to wear your wrinkles and then become full of pride. instead, doing and being able to  stride into the older years with confidence means taking steps to make your outside appearance match the way you feel on the inside.

Disrupting aging is about challenging outdated beliefs and stereotypes, while sparking new solutions, to make positively fantastic choices about how we want to live and age. It seems that between the ages of 40 through the early 70’s we question the meaning of our lives and whether our success has brought us happiness. We go through a period of reflection and re-evaluation to assess our achievements to see if we have realized our goals. Then,  ask ourselves what we still have to do to reach them,

The goal is to gain confidence in navigating life transitions-and see yourself as a meaningful part of oursociety-instead of being isolated from it.  If you feel energetic and youthful internally, it comes down to taking a look at your most important personal needs and desires.

And so, I challenge you to begin to look at new ways to practice growing beyond your intelligence and  to try and bring a greater understanding for how to stall this progression of age.

What’s the next step in our lives? Perhaps we should be making changes in that life balance, your marriage or take a long look at finances and health. When answering these questions it is then our turn to face our fears, the fear of the unknown, of outliving our money, of losing our independence, of failing health, and of becoming a burden to our families. Sometimes it may even be the result of or fear of boredom.


When we reject the common notion that aging equals failing and look at aging as a process of continual growth, a greater sense of purpose and self-image can emerge. Then, aging is disrupted and becomes the part of life to look forward to; discover the real parts for living the life of the person we’ve always wanted to be.

But then, languishing in self doubt doesn't help with  the willingness to demonstrate growth, a change to expand one's horizons when making new changes is acceptable. Activities  such as finding new companionships, , challenging  comfort zones and widening life's boundaries can bring with it a whole new feeling of exciement and vitality if we change the way we view ourselves.

Many of us have had our share of friendships or marriages that have ultimately failed and we absorbed just how much that kind of loss can hurt. But rather than dwell upon our losses, we have learned to maintain the success for many which have stood the tests of time.

 The group, Women Growing Older Gracefully,  helps to redefine what aging gracefully  is all about, where  we assist each other to make improved and wiiser choices about their wellbeing. There, we have come to cherish our girlfriends, viewing them as members of our extended families. Few things are as joyous as this reunion of comrades, and as exhilarating as the  meeting new people, discovering we have much in common .We also remain ready and willing to entrust our hearts to new friends andknow that it is only within the context of friendship that we truly grow and learn as people.  

We have a whole lot of experience to share as we age togetherand find special meaning to the art of growing older gracefully. You see, it is through continued conversation among ourselve’s and together, which makes sense for doingour best to grow old gracefully.

 

Moving Onward as a Senior

Posted by jayemerill@live.com on January 9, 2020 at 10:20 AM Comments comments (0)


 

Many people think there is nothing they can do about aging, although this isn’t true; unless you want it to be that way!

One of the most important life lessons that we need to focus on is that the past is gone forever and that the future will never be here. Instead, the present is the only time warp where we can actually apply our knowledge and skills in making our world a little bit healthier and happier each day. . Sounds easy, right?.

It's really quite simple and true about what older folks already know, which revolves around the concept of happiness and contentment.

Studies reveal that the happiest people know that it is a choice and doesn’t come from complaining. Rather, happy people understand that the blessings they’ve been given and there for a reason and they are grateful I do believe that having tough challenges throughout life makes a person stronger and better able to fight as each malady comes down the pike.

Seniors aren’t overly upset about their added wrinkles or lessened abilities to see or hear Rather, being a senior allows for elders a look within and move on, forgetting their wrinkled butts, their great belly’s or the birthmark they’ve had all their lives.

It’s the process of evaluating one’s life and going deeper , that there’s even more joy, when making the time to focus on yourself. That is, in order to maintain independence and not be a victim of loneliness and rejection, it is the hobbies, and actively assisting in the community, which make a huge difference and as empowerment feeds the psyche.

Adding community service or working in the arts might be a wise and stimulating avenue to pursue. One must remember that our wisdom to act comes from within, not by doing what others think is best. As it always is, a new enthusiasm and sense of purpose for life brings with it a heightened gratitude for the life you’ve been given.

Seniors aren’t consumed with achievement or ideas about security which the young haven’t yet grasped (by the way). Where youth give energy and enthusiasm by trying to become more recognized, middle ager's also seem to relish in having some kind of power and status

Seniors, on the other hand, are beyond this period and are adept in relishing and giving perspectives, bestowing wisdom to others. Being an elder can also bring a new perspective into the lives of others.

Seniors also learn have having friends and a strong support system allows them to live longer than socially isolated persons..

It certainly becomes obvious that being healthy is simply a function of the lifestyle one leads. Whether to maintain and preserve the physical side of things, socialize with friends and supporters, maintain healthy (lifestyle) habits, it all adds up .

I would only hope I can live up to expectations for maintaining this healthier lifestyle as I walk along the path to more graceful living in my older age..


New Programs for Women in Retirement

Posted by jayemerill@live.com on January 2, 2020 at 12:25 AM Comments comments (0)


I’m proud to introduce a new series of lunch and learn sessions, “Get the Most Out of Retirement”, to be offered in the next few months .How you approach your retirement, how you respond to your retirement, how you behave in retirement, how you handle retirement, and ultimately, how you live in retirement is really up to you.

 

I have prepared eight specific topics to walk ladies through the lunch and learns, with several check lists designed to help get you organized and look to the next 5-10 years ahead. Then, you might ask how you can modify your dream to make it work.

 

As you know, retirement takes a lot of work to get it right. Not only does one need to ease into its adjustment, but there are some details that need be addressed. With that in mind, here’s what’s coming:

 

Where Will You Live in the foreseeable future? Check the information regarding available options including the luxury of retirement communities, assisted living, sharing with others or staying in your own home

 

De-Clutter: Wouldn't you rather enjoy life to gain greater peace of mind and do something about that clutter that's mucking up your life? Are you getting ready to downsize or sell your home? What papers do you to keep and which to toss? Get rid of stuff you no longer have a use for,

Resources will be provided with actionable check lists and tools given to keep track of bills, statements, and claims, with tips for inventory purposes.

 

Records Management: Retirement brings a new series of paperwork that you’re needing to keep track of. So, let’s make some room for the new and track down the important documents concerning your finances, physical health records and final expenses You'll receive checklists for keeping vital information together.

 

Your Retirement Team: Put together a team

of individuals you can rely on for medical, investment, insurance or legal questions. This is also an introduction to remaining economically secure, and setting financial goals/ financial boundaries with friends and family

 

Advance Planning : In the event something should happen to you, we’ll cover plans for how you can distribute wealth in proper legal documents, Learn how to create an advance care plan for the medical care you want to receive and get some guidance around housing care decisions., (February 20)

 

SCAMS: Hear what you can do to take stock of your assets and investments to live comfortably in the future. We’ll see how to spot scammers and fraudulent investment schemes. (February 25th)

Class size will be limited for these sessions and I thank you ahead of time to stay in the group once you have RSVP’d and to help preserve continuity of this subject matter.

 

Friends...Where Would I Be Without Them?

Posted by jayemerill@live.com on December 29, 2019 at 11:50 AM

It seems to me that the older we get, the less often we get to see our friends. That's what they say, anyway. I certainly hope it isn’t  really true of  gals in our Women Growing Gracefully group! Instead, their vision s to welcome and encourage new friendships among retired and semi-retired acquaintances.


We’re the group of pals who  remind about what we're all about, who we are and who seem to know us better than we even know ourselves.


Here’s to the treasured friendships that last, to the gals who makes us laugh until we cry and who  let us peel back the many layers of our personalities.


Here’s to friends who I know will pick up their phone when it rings in the middle of the night if they're needed.


Here’s to friends with the willingness to expose their darkest secrets or greater fears to each other, in trust.


Here’s to friends who let us be whoever we are to them and they will accept us anyway. 


I love this quote from Carrie Jacobs Bond; “And we find at the end of a perfect day the soul of a friend we’ve made”. Whether a friend is with us for a short time or for years, these bonds serve as a source of wisdom, comfort and distraction.

Where would I be without them?

Where would we be without them?

 

Letting Go of 2019

Posted by jayemerill@live.com on December 28, 2019 at 2:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Every year that we experience is a new chapter in the book that is the story of our lives. This year has taught me a lot as I look at both old and new friends and to making new experiences and fond memories. They will surely last a lifetime.


In 2020 I want to take more time and effort to enjoy those who mean the most to me. Then I can be reminded of how great life is and it will push me to move forward for more joy and happiness.


I thank 2019 for keeping me away from painful moments, as this year has been a respite from many toils or troubles. You are exactly what I needed, as you gave me the good times and left me with the bad. I am truly thankful for this grace of peaceful time, keeping away those sleepless nights or tears of sorrow.


I must admit that there were few rough spots in 2019, as with everyone; within the good moments were some bad ones, just as along the bad were some good ones My wish is that although I’ve already and seemingly been through ‘the ropes, it appears that the part about suffering, within my mindset, tells me that good is there. It is my hope to increase personal growth. and that it will prevail through 2020. No matter what, it’s going to be one heck of a ride.

I must say goodbye and thank you

, 2019. I’m getting ready to move on

 

 

Keeping Christmas Simple

Posted by jayemerill@live.com on December 22, 2019 at 2:50 PM Comments comments (0)



We have cut way back on the gift giving and it is much better for us in ALL ways,as it's less about the presents and more about time with loved ones. 

Today's vignette is about my six year old grand daughter who was tickled silly when I was able to regale a tale about her great grandfather who celebrated Christmas during the depression as an orphan. She was amazed and taken aback when I described his experiences living on a farm in upstate NY. The most interesting part was wiith describing his Christmas celebration; hanging a stocking.

In this scenario, Santa wasn’t expected to come down the chimney. The stocking would foretell if my father was either a good boy or bad one, as determined by his receiving either an orange or a lump of charcoal, respectively. Needless to say, my grand daughter was incredulous and joked the next day about his getting only an orange…a far cry from gifts received today !

But it's grand to think about how  Christmas traditions and clebrations have been passed down to  children from other countries. Some are not as fortunate in a monetary sense,but, rather, the sense of community and togetherness prevail. For example, in  Peru, it's customary to determine one's fortune by using potatoes; an unpeeled one brings good fortune, while and peeled one heralds a sign of no money coming forth.

In France, children put their shoes by the fireplace instead of a stiocking, while Greece doesn't do Christmas. Rather, they use wooden bowl . In India, presents are given to those in need rather than  family members.

And here, in the USA, trillions of dollars have already been spent to have children and failies gather and celebrate this wondrous occasion of miracles and blessings. The average American will spend $700 on holiday gifts and goodies this year, totaling more than $465 billion, the National Retail Federation estimates.Too bad it has to come in the form of greed. and not in as many blessings for all. 

Good tidings to you as I hope we can all be reminded of the good 'ol days and how going back to the simpler ways of life andloving can be the best.


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