Recapping the 60 Blog

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Nanea Hoffman:  I don’t think I say it enough but I’m really grateful for my friends who live in my computer.  I love that we can bond and be weird together and not even have to leave our houses.  Or make ourselves socially presentable.

In case you missed any of my pearls of wisdom this past week, here are links to each day’s posts.

Monday: Grandmothering the 60 Blog

Tuesday: Slicing the 60 Blog

Wednesday:  Europeanizing the 60 Blog

Thursday:  Protesting the 60 Blog

Friday:  Paying the 60 Blog

Saturday:  Earning the 60 Blog



Earning the 60 Blog

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Dwight D. Eisenhower (November 8, 1954):  Should any political party try attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history.  There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things.  Among them are Texas millionaires, and an occasional politician or business man, and they are stupid.

I recently checked my Social Security statement online (  I think you’re supposed to check it every six months to make sure that your earnings are listed correctly, and to figure out what your prospective retirement sum will be at that magic age.

Looking at my statement, I’m reminded that I’ve been in the work force since 1976.    In that year, I made $702.  Yes, I was raking in the dough at 20 years old.  Granted, I was still living at home and just about to get my college degree, and I don’t recall ever feeling that I didn’t have spending money.  Because, at the time, what did a 20-year old New Yorker really need?  I didn’t own or need a car, so no gas or insurance costs.  I took a bus to school and work, and the bus pass was likely a few bucks a month.

The next year, I made almost $5,500.  Still living at home, still not owning a car, and I must have thought I was rich at the time.  1977 was the year I spent a month traveling through Europe, so I must have used my earnings to pay for the trip ($1,000 total).   Young and stupid, before I had a credit card in my name.

Over the years, my salary has steadily increased, thankfully.  Last year, however, being unemployed for six months, made a dent in my earnings and contributions, but I’m okay with that.

My full retirement age is 66 and 4 months.  Or I could work until 70 and get the big money.  At age 62, it’s a smaller sum of money, but one that looks attractive to me at the moment.

What do you think?  Will you work until 70?  What did you earn during your first year of “official” employment?





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?



Dining the 60 Blog

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Phyllis Diller:  I have so many liver spots, I ought to come with a side of onions.

Yo, it’s Friday.  What are your plans for the weekend?  Leslie has a bee in her bonnet and wants to make homemade spaghetti sauce (known as “gravy” in the old neighborhood).  We invited some friends for a late lunch on Sunday and everyone is just too busy, so we’re meeting at an enormous deli a few miles away.

The Katella Deli, founded in 1964, reminds me of delis back east.  If you grew up or went to school on the East Coast, you know what I mean.  Dr. Brown’s cel-ray tonic.  Black and white cookies.  Kasha.  Noodle pudding.  Oh wait, that’s the list of what I plan to take home from the deli and bakery sections of the restaurant.

The deli serves food from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.  We met there for dinner after the Jewish holiday last fall.  I think we waited two hours for a table, and then they were vacuuming the floor when we were paying our check.  They don’t take reservations, because they don’t have to, and people happily and hungrily wait for a seat with a beeper in their hands.  When that puppy goes off, your mouth starts watering because you know you’re in for some good food.

What’s your favorite deli meal?  I don’t like pastrami or corned beef, so that’s one strike against me.  But I can find plenty of other things to eat.  My go-to meal, if it’s breakfast or lunch, is a LEO omelet (lox, eggs and onions) and it’s something I’ve never tried making at home.  I’m convinced the grease on the restaurant grill adds to the flavor.

Someone said the word “liver” to me yesterday.  I love liver and have never tried to make it myself.  I could have chopped liver at the deli, or I could have a plate of liver and onions.  I know, some of you are grossed out, but too bad.  I need the iron because I’m anemic.  Don’t judge me.

By the way, National Liver and Onions Day is May 10.  You’re welcome.



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?