Talking the 60 Blog

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If we wait until we’re ready, we’ll be waiting for the rest of our lives.

Hump Day.  The day we must get through in order to see the weekend in our rearview mirror.

Fabulous called.  I answered.  How often do you feel fabulous?  When someone asks you how are you, do you usually answer “fine” or list a variety of ailments and problems?  The world would be a nicer place if we all answered the “how do you feel” question with “fabulous!”  “Couldn’t be better!”  “Just fantastic!”

Just saying those words out loud makes you feel better too, doesn’t it?  You can’t say “Fabulous!” without puffing our your chest a little bit and putting a smile on your face!

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Try saying “Fabulous!” in a hushed voice with bad posture.  Your companion would undoubtedly say “what did you say?” and not believe you when you gave your response again.

We must take charge of ourselves.  What we tell ourselves inside our head comes out in our actions and beliefs for the day.  “I feel like staying in bed today” or “I feel a cold coming on” translates to feeling sluggish and eager for the day to end, so you can get home and crawl under the covers.

So stop negative self-talk to reduce stress.  Positive thinking can even improve your health.  (Imagine telling yourself “I feel great and don’t feel like I have a cold coming on!”)  Do not underestimate the power of negative self-talk. If you are consistently reinforcing low opinions of yourself, you will start to believe them and act as if they are real. You may not even be aware of the full extent of your negative self-talk but when you’re armed with a little knowledge, you can make some really positive changes.

You may already have strongly ingrained destructive self-talk programmed in yourself, and turning them around may seem impossible.  A great way to start on the road to constructive self-talk?  Tell yourself that you can see yourself in a more positive light.  Nip the dysfunctional self-talk in the bud.  Once you get in the habit of observing your self-talk, noting whether or not it’s constructive, you’ll find it that much easier not only to inspire others, but also yourself.

We need to hear a message multiple times before we accept it. So, instead of the negative messages which you have been feeding yourself, choose a kinder, more supportive message which you can give to yourself. Whenever you find yourself being negative, take charge of your self-talk and deliver this message to yourself, repeatedly. Your inner dialogue will grow wiser with practice and your self-talk will gradually become kinder.

It’s true that we sometimes speak more harshly to ourselves than we would to anyone else. Instead, talk to yourself as though you were a loving friend. Seek to be truthful and supportive with yourself.

How are you feeling today?

 

 

 

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Grandmothering the 60 Blog

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A grandmother is like an angel, who takes you under her wing.  She prays and watches over you and she’d give you anything.

I met an older woman yesterday who reminded me of what we can be like twenty years in the future.

We were outside of the Katella Deli, waiting for a table for seven to have lunch.  As we were sitting outside, an older lady (she was probably 80) sat at an outside patio table next to us and started chatting (and chatting) about her day.  She was meeting three other women there–who she had never met!  They were going to have lunch and head to the Performing Arts Center for a concert called “300 Voices.”  She had driven there herself and was waiting for her lunch companions.  She told me that one of the women would be wearing beige, so the group would be easy to spot.  She also told me that she was going to Oregon later this week to visit her daughter and watch the solar eclipse.  Her daughter had sent her some printed material to read about the eclipse because she doesn’t have a computer and “it was so interesting, I read it twice!”   Her three friends showed up exactly on time and they were seated at their table before we were.

When we were finally seated after waiting almost an hour, we had a very nice lunch with lots of deli food (potato pancakes, pastrami, chopped liver, beef and mushroom barley soup!) and a salad (boo hiss!).  Jake (the greatest-girl-on-earth’s boyfriend) told us about his 96-year old grandmother, who they had just visited in Florida for her birthday. Jean picked up Jake and Marissa at the airport, insisted that she pay for lunch, played a few serious games of bingo (no phones allowed!) and Rummi-Kub.  Jean runs the small coffee shop in her retirement community and seems to be as independent as a woman half her age.

After hearing about Jean and meeting the theater-and-eclipse-loving grandmother, I got to thinking about being as active and spry as they are.  I’m not sure I could do half of what these women do.  Can you?

 

 

Commemorating the 60 Blog

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Sometimes I forget to say hi.  Sometimes I even miss to reply.  Sometimes my message doesn’t reach you.  But it doesn’t mean that I forget you.  I’m just giving you time to miss me.

Today, I’m celebrating my tercentenary.  What’s that, you ask?  The anniversary of my 300th blog post.  #waitwhat

I started writing this blog back in the fall of 2016.  Pre-presidential election.  Pre-60th birthday.  Pre-current job.  Reveling (or was I wallowing?) in unemployment.  Pre-blogging mentor.  (Shout out to Steph!)  I didn’t know what the hell I was doing.  Now?  Maybe I know what I’m doing, yet I’m more loquacious about it.

I’ve been introduced the world of blogging.  Some of my colleagues have e-books and products to sell.  Some write beautifully-crafted posts about travelling, friends, chronic illnesses, home life, etc.

I will continue to write this blog and cross my fingers each day that you, my readers, will share my posts with others.  I’m not selling a product; I only wish for more eyes on my blog.  My most popular post was some time last October and I want to do that again and again.

On my 300th anniversary, wouldn’t it be nice if I could reach 300 pairs of eyeballs reading this (or any) post?  I can only do that with your help, friends.  So today, we’ll offer a summary of this week’s posts and hope that we can increase my readership.  Happy Sunday everyone.

Just in case Facebook isn’t showing you my posts and you’ve missed my recent musings, here is my Summing Up Sunday recap.

Monday: Sweetening the 60 Blog

Tuesday: Baking the 60 Blog

Wednesday: Sleeping the 60 Blog

Thursday:  Worrying the 60 Blog 

Friday: Dining the 60 Blog

Saturday: Bloodletting the 60 Blog

 

 

 

Worrying the 60 Blog

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Do not worry about the past or the future.  This moment needs your attention, for this is where your life exists.

Do you spend a good part of every day worrying?  Useless things like:  Will I get a good parking spot?  What if the gas station is crowded?  Why am I the only one to make coffee at the office?  What will I eat for lunch on Friday?

If we didn’t worry about some things, we’d get eaten alive.  However, there are many studies saying that worry is actually good for you.  One study shows that people who worry actually live longer than those who are eternally optimistic. But, on the flip side, worrying can have negative side effects as well. It can lead to high blood pressure, disrupt your sleep, and create anxiety.

Did you know that worrying is a sign of intelligence?  Researchers surveyed 126 undergraduate students about their feelings in regards to anxiety, depression and worry. They were presented with various statements to gauge just how much they worried about situations they’d already experienced and events they would most likely, eventually, experience.  The results were ranked on an anxiety and intelligence scale and found that students who ranked high on the verbal intelligence scale tended to worry more often. It was determined that high verbal intelligence is basically the “analyzing intel” skill, aka what people who worry do 24/7.

“People who are verbally intelligent have the capacity to replay past events and think of future possibilities to a greater extent than other people. This is what leads to the dwelling that causes anxiety.”  On the other hand, people who were stronger in terms of non-verbal intelligence were deemed better at analyzing events happening in real time.

They didn’t see reason to worry as they aren’t replaying previous situations over and over in their minds.  And when you think about it, it makes sense.

How do we know that people who dwell on circumstances are actually on the right track?

  1.  People who worry are extremely and intrinsically well aware of the implications of their actions. They know how things will unfold, which explains why their minds are completely consumed by their anxiety.
  2. You’re attentive to detail.  Worriers are meticulous.  They are never comfortable with uncrossed Ts or undotted Is.  They aren’t rushing through anything and always make double-checking anything they do a top priority.
  3. It puts other things into perspective.   You can tell a lot about what’s important in your life by looking at what you’re fixating on.  If you can’t stop freaking out over something, chances are it’s because it’s currently the most important aspect of your life.
  4. Your plans are always air tight.  You know those people who can never decide what to do on any given night?  Well, for the worriers, that is never the case.  They know what to do and construct a plan around it, leaving little to no room for error.
  5. You never lose touch with people.  You always know how all your friends are doing because you’d never want them to think you don’t value them.  You’d be too worried they’d notice!  You are not the type to let months pass between texts.  You always have your friends on your mind and you’re always concerned about how they’re doing.
  6. You always get sh*t done.  When you’re constantly worrying, you will never leave a task unfinished.  In fact, you’ll go above and beyond to ensure every piece of work is your best work.
  7. You are a positive influence on your friends.  Most people throw caution to the wind, but this isn’t the case when it comes to you. The safe one of the group is the one who always keeps everyone else grounded, and always remains realistic of the prospects in any given situation.
  8. You worry so other people don’t have to (and they love you for it).  No one even bothers to worry because they know you’ve got it covered.  Everyone in your life knows your views and respects them.
  9. Your family trusts your judgment.  When you travel to far off and distant places, your family trusts you enough to skip the safety lecture. These people know you as well, if not better, than you know yourself.
  10. Everyone always feel safe around you.  You worry enough for everyone, so everyone feels at ease when you’re around.
  11. You don’t suppress your emotions.  While others may downplay their insecurities, you couldn’t be bothered with it. You’re upfront with your feelings and completely own your neuroticism.
  12. Everyone knows exactly what you’re about.  Once a worrier, always a worrier.  You feel no shame in how you feel and all of your friends love and appreciate this about you.
  13. It shows you where your priorities lie.  When you’re worrying about one thing, you’re ignoring something else… aka you know exactly what’s most important to you. Regardless of how often you spend your time worrying, at least you know how to prioritize.
  14. It teaches you to learn from past mistakes.  People who are constantly replaying past situations in their minds are the ones who’ll learn the most from the error of their ways.  They’re too nervous to ever deal with whatever unfortunate circumstance occurred to ever make the same decision again.
  15. It helps to plan for the future.  Something didn’t work out for you before?  It’s okay because you know better than to take that route again. Anyone who’s reflected enough on a past problem knows the exact way to construct his or her future. Whoever said worrying was problematic certainly has never thought about it in this light.

Long live the worriers for they are us!

Sleeping the 60 Blog

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A day may come when I get enough sleep and don’t need coffee, but it is not this day.

I used to brag that I slept through the night without ever having to get up to go to the bathroom, and had no trouble falling asleep. I still can fall asleep within minutes (even after checking my iPhone before lights out), but I now wake up once or twice a night for that dreaded potty break.

According to traditional Chinese medicine, your sleep cycle can reveal a lot about your physical and emotional state.  It can even connect us to messages from a higher power. The time at which you go to sleep or wake up could be sending you a warning message not to be ignored.

If you have trouble going to bed between 9:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m., it could be a sign of stress.  It’s recommended you practice meditation to be able to relax and get some sleep.

Waking up between 11:00 p.m. and 1:00 a.m. could mean emotional disappointment.  According to traditional Chinese medicine, this is the time when the gall bladder is active, so practice mantras and try to forgive and accept yourself as you are.

If you wake up between 1:00 a.m. and 3:00 a.m., it’s because you have built-up anger. This energy is connected to the liver and associated with anger and an excess of yang energy.  Try to drink a glass of cold water and meditate.

Waking up between 3:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. could mean that a higher power is communicating with you.  This time of the morning is related to the lungs and sadness.  If you wake up at this hour, it’s because a higher presence wants to guide you to a bigger purpose.  You can pray and perform breathing exercises to get back to sleep.

If you wake up between 5:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m., it’s because you have emotional blocks. At this time, the energy of the intestine is active and means you have many emotional blocks.  Try to stretch your muscles or go to the bathroom.

If you suffer from insomnia, you know it’s more than tossing and turning and more serious than just not being able to fall sleep early.  Nevertheless, in Chinese medicine, all of these conditions are seen as abnormal sleep patterns that should be addressed as the effects can be debilitating over time.  An estimated 32 million people suffer from insomnia in the U.S., and sleep medications have been shown to have risks of detrimental side effects.  True insomnia is defined as poor sleep followed by daytime fatigue. Because sleep needs vary from person to person, the real issue of insomnia is quality of feeling during the day.

It’s fascinating how the body is capable of sending us different signals about our physical, emotional and spiritual state, and it’s important for all of us to learn to listen and understand these signs to improve our lives.

 

Friending the 60 Blog

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As you get older, you really just want to be surrounded by good people.  People who are good for you, good to you, and good for your soul.

Were you once close to a person or people back in the day, and now you’re no longer friends?  Perhaps it was just a time to move forward, or there was an incident and now you don’t want to have anything to do with each other?

Friends come and go.  It’s part of the plan.  If you stayed friends with only the friends from, say, grade school, you’d never make any new friends.   Four-in-ten Americans have never moved out of their hometown.  It stands to reason, therefore, that if you move away from your childhood neighborhood, you’d have to make new friends when you arrived at your new location.

When we moved from New York to California in 1982, I left a group of friends behind. We swore we’d stay in touch, and that our sofa beds would be kept busy with visitors. This was well before Facebook and email, and we had to pay long-distance charges on the phone.  Cell phones came along in the mid-80s and then you had to be aware of what time of the day you were calling long distance to avoid the roaming charges.

That lasted for a few years and then the visits and phone calls dropped off.  It was okay.  New friends replaced old friends and time marched on.  I still enjoy the friendship of some school friends, but I wonder where some of my old law firm work friends are nowadays.  Over the years, here in California, I’ve made friends with several coworkers, but it’s the friends who are there day-in-and-day-out.  The ones who just know when something is wrong.  Or when something is right.

Whether you choose to move away from your childhood neighborhood is largely determined by what state you grew up in.  For instance, in the Midwest, more than 70 percent of residents stayed in the state where they were born and nearly half of all adults in this region spent their entire lives in their hometown. Meanwhile, less than a third of those who have grown up in Western states have done the same, with Californians among the most likely to move around more frequently.

If you liked your hometown as a kid, there is no way to predict your happiness if you never move away. Seeing new things is amazing, but being able to see your mom anytime you want is amazing as well. Contentment largely rests on aligning one’s traits with one’s situation.  If you’re a 22-year-old from Indiana who wants to get married soon and grew up on a farm, well, Chicago probably isn’t a good bet.  That said, you’ll never know what could have been if it never was.

I recently read that it’s healthier to be close with friends than family:  A report in Personal Relationships that included 270,000 people worldwide found that having close friends in old age was a stronger predictor of physical and emotional well-being than close family connections.  What do you think?

 

Knowing the 60 Blog

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Awesome life tip:  Take responsibility for your health by connecting with your body.  Start by tuning in and asking what it craves, desires, or needs in this moment.  Rest?  Hydration?  A big salad?  Some sunshine and fresh air?  As you begin to listen to your body, you’ll start to make healthier choices, both in and out of the kitchen.

Every summer since 2001, Leslie and I watch Big Brother.  It’s like our summertime crack.  CBS puts about 15 strangers in a house to live together for up to three months, with cameras and microphones everywhere.  Over the years, we’ve seen our share of idiots, geniuses, people who shouldn’t have passed the mental exam, over-the-top clowns, savvy players, and a large portion of just plain stupid people.

I will talk about the whole Big Brother drama/comedy/saga at another time, but today it reminds me of something one of this year’s contestants said on the show a few weeks ago.

When you watch reality shows and the contestant gives his or her little confessional speech, their name and job appears under their picture.  Didn’t last season of The Bachelor cast a guy whose job was “balloon artist”?  I mean, really.  Anyway, this season of Big Brother features a contestant named Christmas (as if that isn’t fake enough…) whose job is “fitness superstar.”

This woman’s body is amazing, and she does look like she works out hours a day.  She also competes in competitions, which became a discussion point when she broke her foot.

With nothing to do in that house but work out or gossip about other players, Christmas was horsing around and fell in the backyard.  On the soundbite that the show plays over (and over and over), you can definitely hear a cracked bone.  As she later explains, she broke several bones and needed to have major surgery to repair tendons, bones, and other painful things.

After the incident, in her confessional, she stated that she just knew she broke bones and it was something very serious.  It’s because she knows her body so well.  When you’re so body conscious because all you do all day is work your body (remember, her job is “fitness superstar”), you sense when even the slightest thing is out of whack.

I confess.  I know when some things are wrong and what works for me (sometimes) to fix it.  A doctor once told me years ago that her colleague was so in tune with himself that he could tell you what his blood sugar reading would be prior to testing, and was always within one or two points.  It’s like he could hear the sound of his own blood streaming through his body.  And Christmas, the reality contestant, probably counted how many cracks she heard in that split second she fell on the ground.

Are you that in tune?  Have you always been that way?  If you’ve recently become more in tune, I’d like to know how you did it.

 

Complaining (again) the 60 Blog

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Benjamin Franklin:  Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain, and most fools do.

I read a blog last week written by Mary Carlomagno, a self-proclaimed constant complainer.  She tested herself for a month.  During her trying month, she realized that smartphones and other computers are the ultimate complaining enablers. These devices make it far too easy to launch a text blast or even call a friend to gripe about the cable guy not showing up during the projected four-hour window.

If you join in any social media conversations about sports or television or, just-say-no, politics, you multiply your chances of complaining by a gazillion.  Then, if you go to the grocery store and start reading labels, you’ll soon be complaining about the sugar content in bread or the price of cereal.  Complaining not only loves company but is also contagious—and self-fueling.

Once Mary started complaining, she couldn’t stop: forgotten passwords, misplaced homework assignments, those widowed socks that never find a mate, to name a few.  After struggling through much of this 30-day challenge, a light bulb finally went on for her:  If I don’t start complaining, I won’t have to stop. If I moved through the perfunctory tasks of the day concentrating on finishing them quickly, I reduced the window for whining.

Mary found a way to manage her now-reduced urges.  She replaced her complaining with something therapeutic, the music of Buddhist monks.  Her days started off better and became a happy after-school mom-chauffeur “amid the chanting of om, namaste and shanti with zero complaints.” The mellow sounds served as a relaxation device and as a reminder that neither Buddha nor Krishna nor Gandhi would scream at someone who cut them off in traffic. Like these spiritual teachers, she was living in the moment.

Finding that contented state enriched her life. And the month of no complaining had a bonus for her family:  They were happier, too.

So what do you say?  Want to join me on this 30-day no-complaining plan?

P.S.  An update from yesterday.  Monster (aka the two-inch bug at our house) is still missing.

Acquainting the 60 Blog

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Acquaintance:  A person whom we know well enough to borrow from, but not well enough to lend to.

What differentiates a friend from an acquaintance?  In this age of social media, how many “friends” do you have on Facebook?  Are they really all “friends”?

I remember a brief conversation I had with my mother when I was a young girl.  I came home from school one day and started talking about “my friend did this” and “my friend said that.”  My mother asked me if this girl was really a “friend” or an “acquaintance.”   She taught me the difference between the two and, fifty years later, I still see the value in her words.

I have over four hundred friends on Facebook.  A hundred of those are probably people I can picture in my head.  What they currently look like, and maybe even what they looked like when we were kids.  The other three hundred are people I went to school with or met through jobs throughout my career.  And of those hundred whose faces I can recall, maybe fifty would be considered friends.  And then maybe twenty of those would be good friends.

The root of acquaintance is the Old French word acointer, a verb meaning “make known.” Being the acquaintance of a person or topic means that you know something about it.  An acquaintance is less intimate than a friend, like a person in your class whose name you know, but that’s it.  (vocabulary.com)

It has everything to do with perception. Webster gives words a definition, but not meaning.  The evolution of social networking has changed the understanding of the word “friend.”  Someone becomes an acquaintance because you’ve had some sort of forced or passing interaction with them.  A friend is someone that you seek out; whether it is for comfort or pleasure is irrelevant.  Even still, this is certainly not an all-encompassing definition.  Each of us provides our own definition that suits our psychological needs.  (quora.com)

Supposedly, telling the difference between a friend and an acquaintance is quite easy. However, there are still many individuals who easily get fooled by others that make them believe they are their real friends, when in fact they aren’t. To prevent this, there are actually some hints that will guide you in discerning a friend from an acquaintance.

Foremost, you can gauge the level of your relationship with someone in terms of the depth of your interactions.  Acquaintances are those people who, even if you see them everyday, like those who work in the same place as you do, talk superficially with you.  A friend, on the other hand, is someone who shares a deeper level of interaction or communication.  Deep communication doesn’t imply frequent.  In fact, the truest of friends are those who, despite distance, still manage to catch up with each other once in a while and talk as if time has not passed by.

Secondly, a friend and an acquaintance have different levels of support for your interests.  A friend would most likely support you no matter what your endeavors are, whereas an acquaintance will just hang out with you whenever you have the same interests as them.  For example, if you are a painter, and you happen to open your own art gallery, you can spot your friends because they are also happy when you are happy; even if they aren’t fond of visual arts.  Oftentimes, those who only like you because you paint well are merely plain acquaintances.

Thirdly, with regard to the provision of favors, a friend is someone who either asks for one, or gives favors.  He may contact you because he needs you for something, or ask you about your problems so that he may be able to assist you.  Acquaintances are those who ask one-sided favors from you, and nothing else.  They are the ones who want to benefit the most from your relationship.

Lastly, an acquaintance or a friend can be identified in terms of physical presence. However, this does not mean that whoever is seen to be more physically present with you is already a friend.  Sometimes, people happen to be there by chance when you’re also there.  Most likely, these people are just your acquaintances.  True friends are those who really spend time with you, like having a long one-on-one talk with you some place else, or simply visiting each other’s homes and acting as if they actually own your house.  (differencebetween.net)

Can you name a few friends who can fill out these categories?

  • Friends are those with whom you share a deeper level of interaction.
  • Friends have all out support for your interests and happiness, unlike acquaintances.
  • Friends don’t do one-sided favors, unlike acquaintances.
  • Friends like to hang out with you on a much more personal level.