When Retirement Isn’t Retirement

One of the pleasures of retirement lies in enjoying friends through an extended and delightful lunch on a Friday afternoon.  Of course, none of us consider ourselves retired.  Larry manages rentals.  Bill manages too many acres.  Debbie and I own small businesses.  Here’s the thing:  Every retired person needs a side gig.

Why, you ask?

  • Who couldn’t use a designated stash of mad money for travel?
  • Who actually enjoys living on a strict budget of just Social Security?
  • Who needs to pique the brain with stimulating interests?

I think I just described 99.9% of all seniors.  Boomers, think about the tax deductions if nothing else!  If you simply cannot fathom yourself in a side gig, comment below and let’s email back and forth.  I’m full of ideas.

Friends who know me will affirm this truth:  I am a serial entrepreneur, and at various seasons in my life I dabbled in several age-appropriate side gigs.  When the boys were young and being home schooled, I wrote a monthly home school magazine and earned side money as a freelance graphic designer publishing corporate newsletters.  When I owned a flourishing bead business and traveled to trade shows across the country, I also enjoyed a travel business.  Each served me well.  Each earned some money, but mostly  I found them immensely rewarding.  I haven’t changed.  Right now I sell a fabulous affordable skincare line, and am positioning myself as a blogger.  Writing brings me full circle to how I started, and since I think better with a pen in hand, it suits me.  Writing brings my soul to water and refreshes me.

Find friends who share your interests and live life more fully, with grace and gusto.  Retirement isn’t retirement.  Not really.  Hopefully not ever.

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Travel the World for Essential Oils…and never leave home.

Tonic for the WinBare It All micellar Tonic is my new best friend.  Yes, it removes makeup, but I seldom wear face paint.  So why do I love it so much?

First of all, look at the potpourri of herbal infusions packed into this baby!  Lavender, sage, peppermint and chamomile.  What a winning combo!  The toner gives my face a squeaky clean feeling, tightens my pores, and evens out my coloring.  What’s not to love?

Beyond that, look at its value.  One bottle costs $20 and it lasts me over a year, which averages out to about a nickel a day.  I consider that a pretty hefty savings.  Posh aims at being value-driven and Posh lovers everywhere appreciate their devotion to tight budgets.  Buy 5 and get 1 free, long-lasting and used in droplets…my pocketbook (and my husband) it.

Instructions on usage:  I use little round cotton pads from the drugstore.  I tip up the toner and pat four or five drops onto the cotton pad.  Begin at the center and gently round outward on your face.  Never rub hard, but just gently grace your skin with this lovely bouquet and let it do its work.  If remnants of makeup color stain your little pad, go again.  Apply a second moisturizer for the night and sweet dreams!

How do you get this fabulous elixir, you ask?  Travel to my site at http://www.madaboutposh.com and click on SPECIALTY FACE.  You’ll see the Bare It All toner in the fabulous array of products that complement your skincare regimen.  If you love adventue, poke around the other collections and enjoy a host of great naturally-based wonders.  I love to travel, but my pocketbook limits my forays to distant places.  Thankfully, Posh does the footwork for me, collecting the best ingredients from around the world, putting together just the right recipe, and seeking out companies right here in the good old USA to make their products.

We tone up a lot of things, like muscles and printers.  Why not our faces?  Keep your skin young and healthy, so people exclaim, “What?!! You’re going on 70?!! No way!”  I always sing the praises of my skin care routine.

I Suck at Hula Hoops

I know people who sway with the greatest of ease.  Hula hoops made their debut while I dawdled on the swings in third grade.  Kids on my block counted those plastic revolutions until I got dizzy trying to keep up.  Come to think of it, I fail at ALL categories of spinning.  My friends rhapsodized about the fun of carnival rides until I couldn’t wait to try one.  I rode my first in 5 grade, but it left me green and I truly woofed up my cookies.  Yup, I suck at all spinning things.

Yet every one of us manages to dance our way around the sun, day in and day out.  Some of us perform like a rapper with a caffeine buzz, while others waltz gracefully without breaking a sweat.  As you correctly imagine, I never end up at the waltzing end of that continuum.  I’m more the awkward spinner who never balances the hoop correctly and often sways madly trying to keep it from hitting rock bottom.  And when I try spinning multiple hoops?  Put 911 on speed dial.  Really.  One item at a time, please.

The gyrations of life sometimes leave me dizzy and disoriented.  I offer you three simple remedies should you be more like me than you care to admit:

  • First of all, determine your presence in this hula hoop contest we call life.  More than showing up, commit to engage in the process, improving each day in spite of your lack of coordination. Realize every single person on the planet sways in a rhythm personalized by circumstance and respect those differences.  Life=Swaying.
  • Secondly, serve others.  Today.  This minute.  Think of someone who needs your help and give it willingly.  That small act of service in your corner of the world, done by folks all around the globe, keeps our planet-spinning hoops from hitting rock bottom.  We all need a little timely help to keep the hoops swaying.
  • And finally, set apart 5 minutes or more for introspection.  This last step, most critical of all, helps you find your balance.  Isaiah said it well:  “Get thee up into the high mountain.”  As you gain a better perspective, life makes more sense.

I like to believe that hula hoops don’t define me.  I am more than the soul buffeted by swirling winds and dizzying life experiences.  I once saw a documentary on the frenetic lifestyle of the Roaring Twenties, and witnessed a world spinning out of control.  The crash was inevitable, but only because their hoops got so far out of whack.  By showing up, serving others, and finding balance my crazy world spins under control.  A hundred million of us all swaying in sync, keeps society’s crazy hoops from crashing.   I may sway like a drunken sailor, but hey!  I’m swaying.  I remind myself every day, “Be the hoop!  Just be the hoop!”

 

The Therapeutic Value of Touch

The old saw rings true, “Once a nurse, always a nurse.”  I learned as a youngster the value of touch.  My mother was crippled with rheumatoid arthritis before I ever entered the world, and a rough touch left skin slips or bruises on her fragile skin.  I learned early on the art of grasping without leaving a mark.  I learned as a student in pediatrics that babies denied a loving touch develop a syndrome known as failure to thrive and die without intervention.  A gentle touch became ingrained as a way of life.

I now home school a sweet red-headed grand with freckles and a lovable chuckle.  In almost every way she is a delight.  She’s just…messy!  Very, very messy.  I often wonder how a little girl who loves Fancy Nancy and all things pretty, especially all things that sparkle, can present me such ugly work.

Do overs, extended bouts of penmanship, scolding, praising, nothing fazes her.  Every day I see her becoming more and more entrenched in habits of messiness. Thus I decided one day, after receiving yet another page of abominable handwriting, that radical action be taken immediately.  A campaign was in order.  A gentle undertaking to touch her soul.

pensI added a summer course of calligraphy.  We find character building scriptures on relevant topics and letter them in fancy styles, adding flourishes and swirls, and on her paper, that means a lot of swirls everywhere.  She loves it.  Her calligraphy requires a loving eye in order to offer any praise, but here’s the point:  She invests almost an hour in one line or sentence, which is 59 more minutes normally occupied in writing the same line on any given day.  I offer hope for improvement.

Every parent or grandparent possesses the opportunity to touch the life of a child, and every child needs those loving touches.  This sweetie just lost her daddy, so every hug, every word of encouragement, every smile wrenched out of her situation equals a weighted touch.  So I’m learning to be generous.  Touch a child, your own or another’s, and offer an imprint on a little growing soul.  The soul you bless may one day legislate your Social Security, save your life in an ambulance, or just eat family dinner with you…but trust me, two lives reap the benefit, both now and later.  I encourage you, gentle reader, touch a little life.  You’ll find it therapeutic for everyone involved.

Why My DIL is a Bad Influence

Don’t get me wrong.  I love the girl to pieces.  Yet the fact remains…she taught me a bad habit.  A very bad habit.

Because they live on our property, we share a mailbox.  I collect their mail, meaning, all of her packages.  The UPS man stops here so regularly we’re on a first name basis, so you can see where I’m going with this.  Yes, she shops online.  A lot.  It started me wondering.  Why?  Does she get good deals?  Does she save time or gas?  What’s the attraction?

My first forays began so innocently.  Amazon, so naturally Amazon Prime, meaning free shipping!  What’s not to love, right?  Who could argue with that?  Do you realize just how quickly a person can rack up money spent online?  A single click and boom!  Suddenly I’m a proud owner of…more stuff.

I quickly banned trips to Amazon to once a week, and only with list in hand.  Then I discovered…you might want to cover this piece of information with your hand, it’s that explosive in nature… (and if you’re reading aloud, just whisper here) Tophatter–the most decadent and deceiving app of them all. You see the picture.  They tell you the retail price.  They show you the instantaneous savings.  The bidding lasts just two minutes, so you dare not contemplate on whether or not you need it or where in the world you would put it…hurry up!  Bid already!  Bid again!  Boom!  Now you really own more stuff, especially if you check it out several times a day, just to see what’s there, of course.

mailWhen I started adding up what I spent (as opposed to what I supposedly saved), I quickly realized yet another site needed banning.  I blame all this on my DIL, whom I love dearly and who, I am sure, buys only what she needs, because she is amazing.  But I ask you, is she worth her weight in stuff?  Because that’s what my unbridled obsession stacks up to equal or exceed.  Yes, she’s a very bad influence.  And, I repeat, I love her dearly.

Arches, Swirls and Whorls

My friend, Candy, possesses an instinctive flair for design.  Large floral arrangements look stately in her living room, and when I visit, I always think I should go home and create something just like it.  I love that look.  Yet when I go home and play with arrangements, the affect falls woefully short.  Imitations never measure up, do they?

The trick lies in finding the grace inherently deposited within each of us.  As individual as the arches, loops and whorls inscribed in our fingers, we create different testaments of that grace.  The tragedy of our century has been the enslavement of our daughters to the silver screen, which portrays a staged, manicured, false image girls vainly strive to imitate.  They cannot, for our daughters are real.  An unscripted life will never result in the elusive images of Hollywood icons.  Celebrities don’t even look like icons outside of the illusory realm of Beverly Hills.

Sug and NanaIn the process of trying to be someone else, girls lose their sense of self.  Bereft of those underpinnings they fall victim to depression, anorexia, and worse.  Talk to a girl, I mean really delve deep down, and you’ll hear her say, “Oh, if only I had a straight nose.”  “If only I had a flat stomach.”  “If only I had a bigger chest.”  “If only I had long legs.”  Insecurity plagues each one.

Conversely, maturity lies in eschewing cheap imitations for the real, unvarnished gleam of healthy skin and shining eyes and a good heart.  Girls need to see it modeled and hear our admiration when they express themselves.  They need the tools to discover and create their own grace notes, their own instinctive “prints” of natural beauty.

How to Knock the Ball out of the Park

Steamy evenings with no shade and bleachers full of families; yes, Little League season has arrived.  Knuckle biting begins with the first painful swing with a miss.  The grip on the bat tightens.  The next mighty swing cuts through the air with gusto bordering on despair.  Strike two.  Coaches begin their litany:  “Relax.  You don’t have to hit it out of the park.  Just keep your eye on the ball.  Just connect.”  When that ball gets whacked the crowd lets out a mighty roar.  A home run often occurs due to the lack of fielding, but we cheer as if Casey himself wielded the bat.

As we get older, knocking the ball out of the park gets a little harder.  The competition improves.  No one sits in the bleachers cheering for us.  In the ball game of life, we flounder without a coach, clear cut baselines and umps to call foul play when fate deals us an unfair blow.  Instinctively, we try harder, harder.  Tension mounts.  Try harder.  Try harder.  And what would the Coach say?  “Peace, be still.  Wait on me.”

You may laugh, but I finally learned this lesson through Posh.  Instinctively, I’m a try-harder-kind-of-gal, a make-it-happen-if-I-die-trying-kind-of-gal.  But Posh isn’t like that.  Posh gives me out of the park products.  All I have to do is relax.  Offer samples.  Let the product sell itself.  The products themselves whisper the same refrain, like this self tanner.  Excellent product.  Put it on and wait for the results.  Be patient.  The blessing comes.

Posh grace notes transfer over into other parts of my life as well.  Relax.  Wait.  Just connect with the blessing. Be humble and patient.  Yes, who’d have thunk it?  Sometimes life’s lessons smell good and look good, too!  Posh and Little League.  That’s my summer.

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When Wars Rage

One of our nation’s most horrific wars cemented awareness of a phenomenon little understood for centuries.  The Civil War resulted in catastrophic numbers of amputees, and phantom pain–in which sensation, often painful, is felt despite a limb’s absence–became a clinical diagnosis.  Dr. Silas Mitchell, who was the “father of American neurology,” treated hundreds of these patients and dedicated his life to alleviating this after effect of war.  He actually named the illogical sensation, and his memoirs trace his elusive pursuit of a cure for phantom pain.

That ghostly sensation of knowing a leg is gone, yet feeling the need to scratch a missing foot, simply cannot be reasoned nor willed away.  Current researchers believe the pain originates from a more primeval site, like the spinal cord.  To date, no specific treatment stills the shooting pain of loss.

  • As a teacher in a nursing home can close her eyes and smell chalk dust…
  • As a chef late in life can close his eyes and feel the texture of pastry dough…
  • As a mother can close her eyes and still see her son’s blue skin in death…

Loss brooks no reality.  The passages create a phantom pain in the primeval tendrils of the heart.  Not every day.  Not all the time.  Yet seeing sons of other mothers at church triggers the guilty sensation of not envy, but of wanting more, of wishing it wasn’t my cross to bear, of fighting against reality.  The quiet war rages again.  In its wake the casualties of peace and acceptance induce a very real soreness in the heart for which no real treatment suffices.  Reading the Word.  Trusting the Healer will bring the promised comfort.  Learning to live with loss.  Slow, steady bandages must be reapplied.

Phantom pain describes the heartache I feel when I open my eyes and reach out my arms…to emptiness.

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Boomers Need Change less than their Children need Remembrance

If you’re staring at the gaping maw of 70, change is no stranger in your life.  I first discovered the insignificance of science when I learned that the human body has 48 chromosomes.  A few seasons later I learned that the normal human body has 46; the original data came from studying individuals with Downs syndrome.  And just like that, it hit me!  Science is fallible.  These all-knowing researchers spout their hypotheses like little gods wielding truths, but their “truth” changes with each new discovery.  As a population of oldsters, we doubt just about everything and believe in conspiracies everywhere.  Eschewing the establishment became a way of life for many of us.

I bring this up because I see with growing alarm the idolization of knowledge, an infatuation with innovation, the marriage of our lives with technology.  We boomers remember the mighty pen and paper; we still write in cursive, for goodness sake!  We came in peace, but have been met with the constant and utter destruction of simple pleasures.  The unfolding of a crisp newspaper with well-written support of profound truths has supplanted by sensational snippets on Yahoo masquerading as journalism.  A simply brewed cup of coffee now requires a dictionary at Starbucks.  I still haven’t mastered the art of brewing Folgers in a Keurig machine.  I admit I meet each new change with dismay, no doubt a sign of my age.

But I firmly believe the nobility of science will one day cause the downfall of our way of life, and where will our children be then?  Listen, I read One Second After, and I believe it!  Pass on your anachronisms.  Your children may need them sooner than they think.  Bill and I often lament the loss of knowledge when Aunt Grace and Uncle Paul died.  They knew so much about surviving on the land, and we didn’t harvest that knowledge responsibly.  Mom and Dad died knowing things about living through the depression, little quirks we found charming, but now we really wish we’d .paid more attention.

So my message is simple.  Be strong in the face of ridicule.  Wear your age proudly.  Relish being out of step with this plastic world surrounding us.  Our quirks may one day save our children’s lives.  Remember how to live a simple life.

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Are Boomers Getting a Solid 8?

Retiring Boomers face a world with fewer parameters, so my question is, what happened to sleep?  Research deems restorative sleep, cycling through all five waves of the sleep cycle, as essential for brain health.  And that’s the big cheese we’re talking about here!  Make way dementia, because sleep’s gonna’ kick your butt!

According to the REST (Retirement and Sleep Trajectories) study, Boomers go to sleep about 30 minutes later each night post retirement.  Their wake times increase by 60 minutes.  In other words, the Boomers’ golden years, on average, appear to be restful.

So why are they napping so much?  Admit it.  You know an aging parent who naps off and on all day long.  Or you’re looking at a retired spouse napping through a program on TV.  Being a Boomer and married to a Boomer, and being part of the burgeoning Boomer population, I know things.  Uncorrected napping threatens to become a Boomer national pastime.  Let’s rule out sleep disorders and chronic diseases.  SeniorHealth365.com sums it up in one word.  Ever watch Never Cry Wolf?  My favorite line, “Boredom, Tyler, boredom!”  That’s right.  Too many Boomers lack meaningful engagement.

In a world crying out for help, opportunities abound.  First and foremost, find a side gig.  Your wallet will thank you. Then start with service to your family, neighborhood, or circle of friends.  And finally, look at our dysjunctive, dysfunctional, disturbed-bordering-on-pathological world, and fix something.  Every week our home rocks with minions who need our love and attention.  They take a lot of time, sap our energy, leave messes in their wake, and we love it!  I immerse myself in a side gig that lends income as well as a lot of pleasure and influence in the lives of others.  Find that purpose in your world and in return, earn a solid 8.  You’ll rest better, I promise.