Imagining the 60 Blog

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David Bowie:  Aging is an extraordinary process where you become the person you always should have been.

I recently read an article written by Adam Chester entitled “Seniors Gone Wild:  70 is the New 40.”  I immediately ripped it out of the magazine, with my promise to read it “later.”  Surprise, it’s only been in my file folder for two weeks!

Adam talks about his 76-year old grandmother (“Nana”) being his most active Facebook friend.  He gets daily updates of Nana’s activities via his social media newsfeed.  Nana could be dancing at her favorite restaurant with friends half her age or walking her dog on the beach.  She shares everything she sees online, including dogs carrying umbrellas and 18 hilarious selfies, and she takes every quiz she can find.

Adam believes that Nana’s activities on her “pocket computer” are related to the grieving after her husband of 50 years passed away.  There is no proper way to grieve, but Adam highlights the manner in which his grandmother treats her day-to-day affairs with energy and gusto.  Nana, of course, emotionally suffered after her husband’s passing, but she didn’t allow her grieving to stop her from living life to the fullest.

Adam describes Nana (even before her husband passed away) as a go-getter, world traveler, and enthusiastic social butterfly.  Most of us probably imagine a 70-year old grandmother sitting in a rocking chair with a ball of yarn on her lap and several cats at her feet.  But not Nana!  Because of Nana’s life-long thirst for life, Adam sees a change in his expectations for his future self and the manner in which he views seniors today.

I often wonder how my mother would have adjusted to the idea of a small pocket phone that would do everything she dreamed of.  Would my mother have gotten the hang of email or checking the movie schedule on an app?  What if she forgot to record her favorite TV show, and then could set the recording on the DirecTV app in a minute?  I picture my mother walking around in a daze because of all the new imaginative things we now take for granted.  Do you agree?

Aging is what you make of it.  As Adam states, “Although 70 is the new 40 sounds cliché, I’m certain that Nana and others like her are giving merit to this expression.”  I have several friends approaching 70 and they can run circles around me, a mere youngster only ten years younger.

 

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Returning the 60 Blog

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It’s bad manners to keep a vacation waiting.

Six days.  1070 miles.  211 work emails.  Vacation.  Long-awaited and now over.  The next vacation will be in 79 days, which almost feels like an eternity.

Leslie and I headed out on our road trip on Wednesday and we made our first overnight stop in Bishop, California.  Bishop is a city outside of Mammoth, where those athletic types can ski in the spring and winter.  We stayed at a lovely bed and breakfast (Joseph House) where we met travelers from all over the west and a couple from Germany.

One of the world-traveling couples we had breakfast with told us that they like to stay at the Joseph House every time they’re in this part of California and thought this might be the best B&B they’ve ever stayed at.

Leslie and I had limited experience with B&Bs.  About 25 years ago, we were on another road trip and stayed at a B&B around Monterey, California.  We were naive (no, stupid) and booked one room.  The room was beautiful and would have been ideal for a couple.  Instead, it was two sisters in a queen bed with no television, no radio, and it was pre-cell phone.  We didn’t even have a deck of cards between us!  So we stared at each other and tried to sleep during the one night reserved, and couldn’t wait to move on.

At the Joseph House, Leslie stayed in the Purple Room.  Green and purple linens and decor, perfectly suited for her.  I was assigned the Gold Room and enjoyed black and gold decor, with a beautiful Ralph Lauren comforter that I wanted to steal!  The grounds were gorgeously filled with trees turning autumn colors, and the common room was suitable for reading and drinking wine.  Two perfect afternoons spent there doing almost nothing.

We drove and drove, and saw all kinds of trees with gorgeous fall colors.  We people watched and drank coffee.  We played bingo and Leslie won $27.  We visited with our friend Dee, who retired up to Dayton, Nevada (right outside of Carson City).  She has a beautiful new home and two friendly cats.

The Kia Sorento drove like a champ.  Good gas mileage, no bumps or strange noises….except when the temperature got below 33 degrees.  We took a sightseeing drive up to Lake Sabrina.  Beautiful fall colors and windy roads.  And then, for the first time, we hear three loud chimes and a symbol lights up on the dashboard.  To me, the symbol looks like snowflakes (see number 12 above).  Leslie doesn’t find any information in the 200-page owner’s manual, and we carefully drive back the way we came.  The symbol does disappear after it gets a little warmer.

The same thing happened two nights later in Stagecoach, when the temperature got down to a balmy 30 degrees.  Once the temperature got back up over 39 degrees, the light disappeared.

I did finally find the answer to the nagging “what the hell is that light for?” question.  It means “frost warning.”  As if one needs your car to remind you that it’s cold outside.  I assume that Kia customizes this car model when it’s sold to an owner in the midwest or north.

And you know what?  I managed to unplug most of the time.  Checked emails once a day.  I got my news headlines from Twitter twice a day, and even started reading my book club book…due by this Sunday.  There is surely a lot of reading in the next few days.

 

 

 

Unplugging the 60 Blog

 

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Anne Lamott:  Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.

When was the last time you took a vacation and unplugged?  Literally unplugged your devices and relied on the sky to tell you if it’s raining, or the front page of USA Today in the hotel lobby to give you the latest political news?

We’ve all sat around “on vacation” and listened to our cell phones chirp.  Emails and texts come in and you feel compelled to answer them right away.  And you can see how quickly connecting to the outside world shatters your calm.  It’s easy to work more efficiently, even during time off.  According to a 2014 TripAdvisor survey, 77 percent of Americans work while on vacation.  (That’s three years ago; I imagine the number has risen since then.)

Increasingly, people are starting to feel the need to disconnect.  In 2017, over 100,000 people participated in an event called National Day of Unplugging, sponsored by Reboot.  Since 2010, the group has encouraged people to turn off digital devices on the first Sabbath in March, from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday.  For more information and to sign up to receive a free cellphone sleeping bag, click here.  National Day of Unplugging 2018

Vacation is a perfect time to start on balancing your relationship with digital devices.  Leslie and I are leaving on vacation shortly, and I’m hoping to unplug for the next week.  Here are some ways we’re going to do that:

Designate someone at home to contact in an emergency.  Beth will be cat-sitting and she’ll be at our house watching football.  (Beth claims that Clooney, Leslie’s cat, likes football.  Whatever, my friend.)

Prepare and inform your employer that you’re not available to be in touch.  We can start practicing with mini-unpluggings on weekends or evenings.

Anticipate the possible boredom and having to talk-to-one-another scenario.  Bring board games and puzzles along with you and be aware that your phones are on vacation too!

Be reasonable and agree to check-in online maybe once or twice a day.

These preparations should allow us to return from vacation more relaxed.  And to return to dozens and dozens of emails.

 

 

Refreshing the 60 Blog

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Anne Bradstreet:  Sweet words are like honey.  A little may refresh, but too much gluts the stomach.

It’s another Sunday, and another day to catch up on this week’s posts.  Please feel free to share with friends, families, and enemies alike.

Monday:  Gourding the 60 Blog

Tuesday:  Vacationing the 60 Blog

Wednesday:  Renumbering the 60 Blog

Thursday:  Seasoning the 60 Blog

Friday:  Learning the 60 Blog

We’re taking a break for vacation next week and I won’t have a “best-of” post next Sunday.  Let me know how you spent your extra few minutes.

 

Phoning the 60 Blog

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Friendship isn’t a big thing; it’s thousands of little things.

I spoke with my friend Robin over the weekend.  We’ve known each other since we were 13 years old.  We went to school together, through college.  She attended Boston College for post-graduate study and became an elementary school teacher.  After 30 years of teaching in the South Bronx, she retired and is now loving being a lady of leisure while watching her grown twin daughters pursue careers and make their own lives.

Growing up, we were very close.  I remember when we applied for our Social Security numbers.  We put both of our forms in one envelope and, when our cards were received, we noted that our numbers were virtually the same (except for two digits off in the last four numbers).  I can only recite three SSNs by heart:  Robin’s, Leslie’s, and my own.  How many other SSNs do you know without looking them up?

Robin and I have, thankfully, stayed in touch over the 30+ years that we’ve been living on opposite coasts.  And this was back in the day of making long-distance calls at night (after the rates went down) and sending snail mail.

Robin sent me a meme entitled “It’s horrible to have a friend who does not live near you.”  It’s disappointing because we don’t see other nearly as often as we’d like, and phone calls and messages just aren’t touchy and feely enough.

Robin told me she was reading my blog (yahoo!) and asked if I’m truly annoyed all the time.  I guess most of my posts come off as sounding bothered and annoyed.  I don’t get annoyed all that often (Prozac is my friend!) and thinking back, I guess that some of my daily posts are written about things that seem problematic or are, generally, things that might bug me.  Have you noticed that about my posts?

Are you aware, on a daily basis, of how annoyed you might be?  Or perhaps you project being bothered by something, when it’s not really a problem for you.  But others might sense something different.  Perception is everything.

 

 

Sweetening the 60 Blog

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May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year, for a good life, and for peace.

The two-day Jewish New Year celebration started at sundown Wednesday night and continues through nightfall Friday night.

Rosh Hashanah occurs on the first and second days of the Hebrew month of Tishri.  In Hebrew, Rosh Hashanah means, literally, “head of the year” or “first of the year.” Rosh Hashanah is commonly known as the Jewish New Year.  This name is somewhat deceptive, because there is little similarity between Rosh Hashanah, one of the holiest days of the year, and the American midnight drinking bash and daytime football game.

There is, however, one important similarity between the Jewish New Year and the American one:  Many Americans use the New Year as a time to plan a better life, making “resolutions.” Likewise, the Jewish New Year is a time to begin introspection, looking back at the mistakes of the past year and planning the changes to make in the new year.

You may have heard of a shofar.  The shofar is a ram’s horn which is blown somewhat like a trumpet. One of the most important observances of this holiday is hearing the sounding of the shofar in the synagogue, and a total of 100 notes are sounded each day.  The Bible gives no specific reason for this practice. One that has been suggested is that the shofar’s sound is a call to repentance. The shofar is not blown if the holiday falls on the Sabbath.

Several traditions abound on this holiday.  No work is permitted, and much of the day is spent in synagogue, where the regular daily liturgy is somewhat expanded.  Another popular observance during this holiday is eating apples dipped in honey, a symbol of our wish for a sweet new year.  You can also dip bread in honey (instead of the usual practice of sprinkling salt on it) at this time of year for the same reason.

The common greeting at this time is L’shanah tovah (“for a good year”). This is a shortening of “L’shanah tovah tikatev v’taihatem” (or to women, “L’shanah tovah tikatevi v’taihatemi”), which means “May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year.”

I have made resolutions over the years, and certainly am more reflective during these holy days on the Jewish calendar.  I atone for my sins (of which there are many, or not enough) and plan for a better year.  What would you plan for?

 

Happy-fying the 60 Blog

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One of the keys to happiness is a bad memory.

Are you happy?  Every day happy?  Or just when it’s time to clock out for lunch?  Or visit your grandchildren?  I try to be happy every day.  Even for just a few minutes.  Because the opposite of happy can be miserable.

If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands.  WalletHub conducted a survey and ranked all 50 states to find the Happiest States in America.  The website used three different metrics to determine the rankings:  (i) how emotionally and physically well its citizens are, (ii) work environment, and (iii) community gauges such as average leisure time and the volunteerism rate.

Here are the top and bottom rankings (the “happiness” score is out of 100):

Most Happy:

Minnesota:  71
Utah:  68
Hawaii:  68
California:  67
Nebraska:  66

Least Happy:

West Virginia:  35
Oklahoma:  35
Louisiana:  35
Alabama:  37
Arkansas:  37

What do you think?  Where do you live?

I found a quick quiz online to figure out how happy you are.  Check all that apply to you or that you agree with:

  • When you think about people in your life, you tend to think of those you care about and love.
  • You think life is getting better all the time.
  • When it comes to work or school, you enjoy a challenge.
  • You rarely compare your clothes, money, or possessions to those of your friends.
  • You enjoy giving to others, unconditionally.
  • You enjoy being around people.
  • You feel like your life is on the right track.
  • You aren’t afraid to stand up for what you believe.
  • There is enough time in your life to take care of yourself.
  • You have a strong positive attitude that has gotten you through tough times
  • When you feel confused, you just step back and remember that things will work themselves out.
  • If you fail at something, you try to make the most of the experience anyway.
  • You are proud of who you are.
  • You don’t take yourself seriously. Not at all.
  • You believe that finding meaning and happiness in life is something you have to do for yourself.
  • Even if things are bad, you can find a reason to laugh.
  • Even when your life changes drastically, you are able to thrive.
  • You would rather give a gift than receive one.
  • You feel like you can be yourself around your friends.
  • You let negative feelings go quickly.
  • You rarely feel lonely.
  • You feel like you have control over your life.
  • Over your life, you’ve learned a lot – and grown emotionally.
  • You could lose people you love (or be out of work) and still feel secure.
  • Life is good. You truly appreciate what you have.

 

What was your score?  I marked “yes” on 15 out of 25 statements, which makes me 60% happy.  I have some work to do.

For more information, visit Happiness Quiz.

 

Reliving the 60 Blog

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Michael Landon:  Sometimes I wonder if we live life by reliving life, rather than by living life.

As I was engrossed in hurricane coverage on TV, and as my computer ran out of battery power on Sunday (not at all comparing myself to those without electricity in Florida), I didn’t get to post my Sunday recap.  In case you missed my daily posts, here’s a handy way to catch up on what’s been happening.  Please share with your friends and enemies.

Sunday: Rewinding the 60 Blog

Monday:  Affiliating the 60 Blog

Tuesday:  Returning the 60 Blog

Wednesday:  Humanizing the 60 Blog

Thursday:  Naming the 60 Blog

Friday:  Globetrotting the 60 Blog

Next week, you won’t want to miss my posts on noise, prioritizing, sleep, and other surprises.

 

 

Naming the 60 Blog

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I do not want my children’s names to ever become a trending hashtag.  I do not want them to fear for their safety every time they leave home.  I do not want them to question their life’s value and significance.

The Class of 2025.

I have a friend whose daughter started fourth grade this week. Carly’s daughter’s name is Emi, which I don’t think is terribly unusual given (a) her half-Japanese heritage and (b) because I’ve known her since she was born.  Emi’s best friend is Gianna, which to me isn’t all that unusual either.

Gianna’s mother posted a photo of Gianna standing in front of a poster board with the names of everyone in her fourth grade class.  Where on earth did some of these names come from?

Now, I don’t have a problem with giving children unusual names or common names with unusual spellings.  (Hello?!)  Some of these names may have familial or religious meaning, yet some just strike me as odd.  What do you think?

Abby, Adilene, Annette, Brian, Clarissa, Darwin, Devon, Dominic, Eric, Erika, Gianna, Koa, Mairin, Marlene, Tatanka, Yosgart

Tatanka is a Lakota word meaning “Big Beast.”  For the Northern Plains People, Tatanka means life.  They relied upon the bison for food, clothing, housing, tools, just to name a few.  Extra trivia? Tatanka Means is a professional actor, comedian and boxer from Chinle, Arizona.  And we remember Kevin Costner and Tatanka in Dances with Wolves.

Yosgart means “a strong need for freedom, physical, mental and spiritual.”  It ranks No. 9180 on the list of boy’s names, down 79% from 2015.  This fourth-grader is possibly named for Yosgart Ernesto Gutiérrez Serna a.k.a. “El Pájaro Loco,” a Mexican goalkeeper.  He currently plays for Necaxa in the Liga MX.

Mairin is an Irish diminutive of Mary.  Looking at the name, I was saying MAY-rin in my mind when it’s actually pronounced MOI-reen or MAW-reen.  Either way, I wonder if she adds the accent marks over the two Is.

Remember these unusual names.  These kids will graduate college in 2029 and could potentially be running for office or taking over Facebook.  What I wouldn’t give to see a U.S. president named Tatanka in or around 2038!