Our Boomer Bloggers are feeling frisky this week! Must be the full moon or perhaps the goblins of Halloween are already emerging early just for us… Tom starts us off.
In his post The 0.3 Solution Tom Sightings brings us the latest news from Social Security, and also relates his latest encounter with Medicare. Instead of raising the premiums, is Medicare stealthily cutting services?
As the finale of the never-ending election season draws near, Meryl Baer of Six Decades and Counting is thinking about life post-election. Not her life – hers will not change – but post-election life for the candidate not moving into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. She has some ideas for one candidate in Ten Post-Election Pursuits for Donald Trump.
On The Survive and Thrive Boomer Guide, Rita R. Robison, consumer journalist, writes about new election scams and a drop in IRS scam reports since a huge raid in India.
On the other hand, if you are perhaps looking for an escape from corruption and scams, go try these links:
Too little kindness floating around, so that’s what Carol Cassara is bringing forward at Heart-Soul-Mind. Kindness. Let’s spread it, she suggests, and has two posts with practical ideas for doing just that. Kill the world with kindness, and an inexpensive way to brighten another’s day.
We all get caught up in busy days and a hectic life style, even in retirement. Meryl Baer of Six Decades and Counting took a couple of days off and decided to, if not exactly smell the roses, listen to the sound of the sea, smell the salt water, and enjoy unseasonably warm, beautiful weather. Read about her mini-staycation in An Autumn Respite.
And, to add a little bit of icing on the cake, don’t miss my new post: The Challenge of Being Fully Present in Your Life. This has nothing to do with the world outside your own mind and heart! In case you’re new here, I just same out with a new memoir. Please go check it out!
“All great changes are preceded by chaos.” – Deepak Chopra
A few years ago I presented a talk to a group of unemployed Americans in their middle years. When I was finished, the first person to raise her hand asked me,
“Do you believe we have to hit bottom in our lives before we truly begin to change?” My answer at the time was, “I did.”
The fact is that most of us will not change until we become uncomfortable enough to admit defeat. Most need to be absolutely convinced that the “plan” they had for their life is simply not working. The way this usually comes about is through a major crisis which demands our complete attention. Divorce, serious illness, the death of a loved one, or long-term unemployment, especially when these occur in our middle years, seem to be the most common stimulants leading to the end of our naïve notion that we somehow can control everything that happens to us. These events become ever more common as we age. These unforeseen and often unforeseeable occurrences tend to inform us in no uncertain terms that changes in our life plan are now in order.
We may first try to defend against the onset of pain and confusion by denying or ignoring this sudden lack of certainty or security in our lives. Most seek to escape into bad relationships, drug addiction, religious faith or even artificially extreme feelings of independence, as they defend against their need to depend on others in their lives.
Even though it may seem completely counter-intuitive at this tough spot, you may discover that accepting and embracing the chaos and uncertainty you feel surrounded by is your first best step towards peace. Stop, sit down quietly, and begin to feel the enormity of this apparent crisis, realizing that this may be one of the most important opportunities of your adult life.
Can you trust in the power of your own psyche to survive this crisis, and in that way heal you?
“Have a sense of gratitude to everything, even difficult emotions, because of their potential to wake you up. – Pema
Know that this is the beginning of your own personal rite of passage into full adulthood. This is a natural, normal stage of human development studied by psychologists like Carl Jung, when he experienced it himself.
Recognize that you are not the first to feel chaos and uncertainty in your middle years. This is a well-documented transition of personal change, growth and human evolution. And the best way to move through this life stage smoothly is to embrace the new information and knowledge you will be given now.
By allowing this in, you have the ability to access the unique instruction this moment has for you. Instead of attempting to run from it, embrace the uncertainty. Begin to believe this moment is giving you access to your own unique brand of power, one you may have never known or acknowledged before. Begin to see that you alone know somewhere inside what needs to happen next. Spend the time necessary to listen to the small, still voice within, the one you may have been ignoring for decades. Recognize this voice perhaps for the first time as your inner guide, brimming with accumulated information and wisdom.
This source knows where you need to go next. It will instruct you in how you must change, grow and evolve into your best self in this moment. The sooner you begin to believe in its power and trust this valuable inner resource, the sooner you will follow its instructions, and find more structure, certainty and peace in your life.
This is a brief excerpt from my last book, Find Your Reason To Be Here: The Search For Meaning in Midlife.
Introversion is a personality trait characterized by a focus on internal feelings rather than on external sources of stimulation. While introverts and extroverts are often viewed in terms of two extreme opposites, the truth is that most people lie somewhere in the middle of the extroversion-introversion continuum.
I’ve always seen myself as borderline between introvert and extrovert. I need to spend quite a bit of time alone, but too much can be, well, too much. I’m also painfully aware when I’ve spent too much time with others, feelings of anxiety and discomfort overwhelm me, and if left unattended, become unbearable.
The biggest bonus to me with retirement is that I can finally CHOOSE how much time I want to spend alone or with others, and also who I wish to spend that time with. Quality becomes paramount. Unfortunately, the people I would most like to spend time with are back in Fort Collins working. So, after moving to a new part of Colorado recently, I have been studying the process of retirement and making new friends after age sixty.
Mike and I are the absolute best of friends, but I know how important it is not to depend too much on your significant other to meet all of your friendship needs. That can be a relationship killer in the long run. Besides, I really am a fairly gregarious person sometimes. I enjoy going into La Veta and hanging out with the women who run The Silk Road. They are so warm and welcoming to a newcomer like me. The women at the new realty in town are also nice, and I have found a few friendly people up in the foothills where we live.
Then I go home and enjoy my introvert room, the room where I write each morning. I have filled this small room with pictures, sayings and mementos from sixty years of living. I love sitting here looking around the room reminiscing, and feeling safe in my introverted cocoon. No one can touch me here, and I am free to let my imagination run wild, a bit like Virginia Woolf’s “A Room of One’s Own.”
Here in my safe place I like to challenge myself with questions like, “What do you want to happen today?” “Who would be fun to hang out with?” “What kind of interactions nurture my soul?” “Who do I know who makes me laugh a great big belly laugh?”
There I can find so much contentment! It sometimes seems I was custom made for retirement, because I don’t need or want much from the outside world. I don’t need much ego-building admiration, just the occasional friendly encouragement.
I’ve noticed that some claim not to have enough money to retire, when in fact their real problem is that they can’t imagine not being around people all day. I never liked most of what happened among my fellow workers. My experience was that of envy, back-biting and office politics, which got me in the end, because I wouldn’t play their kiss-ass games. You have to earn my respect, it cannot be bought.
Being a careful observer of human behavior, and aware of ulterior motives definitely has its drawbacks. Retirement and being a writer suits my character so much better. So glad I finally found my place in the world…
How did I end up here, feeling so fortunate?
It’s a long story, one I can now share with you in my new memoir!
It seems a few major changes are all coming together for me right now.
My new book about our move from Fort Collins to here is out! Please considering buying it to support my writing, and write a review on Amazon to share your opinion with others. What I do here is for me, but also to inform others of the challenges and rewards of changing lifestyles in retirement. And while you’re changing, passive solar is a great way to reduce your bills!
My other major change is the demise of my original blog: Midlife Crisis Queen. To explain what it feels like to remove eight years worth of my writing from the Internet is difficult. Here’s something I wrote back in March of 2015 when I officially switched over to this new blog:
After over eight years of maintaining this blog, not to mention a number of others, I am tired. In those eight years I have also produced a number of books and e-books to help others survive and thrive through what can be some tough middle years.
When I started out as a writer I was full of ideas and zeal for so many different projects. It was like I was finally set free to express myself on a larger stage, and express myself I have. I am proud of my many accomplishments. I am also tired.
I have done what I can to encourage those who struggle with midlife change, those who wish to transform their lives into exactly what they have been dreaming of for decades. In that process I have also transformed my own life into exactly what I wanted back in 2004.
Soon I will be 60, living a new dream in our lovely mountain home. I am clearly in midlife no more, and I can feel a change coming over me. I no longer have the energy nor desire to try and save the world. I have lost interest in that pursuit. I can feel a future of quiet meditation and contemplation coming over me
Changing the way we see midlife was obviously a ridiculous goal to begin with, but you have to understand, I am an Aries, and that means stubborn!
I know I have reached hundreds of thousands of you with my blog posts, and thousands with my books. Some have shared with me the value of my efforts.
Thank you for letting me know I have made some difference in your life. It has been my pleasure. Please keep reading my books, following our adventures and, most importantly, keep making your own dreams come true!
The creation of this volume was no small accomplishment. First we packed up our entire life, moved to a small town in southern Colorado, built a brand new custom solar home in the country, moved twice in one year, and then finally felt sure we were in love with this new beautiful, silent place.
The person who says it cannot be done, should not interrupt the person doing it.
I’m the first to be AMAZED that this all happened, and to me. So many weeks and months of exhaustion and worry. So many tough discussions with people who didn’t want it to happen.
And then, after my second serious head injury last September, I got myself together enough to actually produce this memoir. I am certain this would have never happened without the encouragement, support, and assistance of Mike and my friend Ann Harbour up in Fort Collins. She created all of my amazing covers out of thin air. Three cheers for Ann!
Please write a review. I’d love to hear what you think!
I am now busy copying my favorite posts from my old blog called “Midlife Crisis Queen” as I have decided to close it down soon. I guess my midlife crisis is safely behind me now… I wrote this post a week or so after my bike accident in 2008, where I suffered a traumatic brain injury, fractured ribs, etc. Good advice to those of you who care for those with any bad injuries.
Having recently gone through the harrowing experience of a serious bike accident and its aftermath, I thought you might all benefit from some top do’s and don’ts when someone you love is injured or becomes seriously ill.
Do something. Say something. Don’t do or say nothing! BTW, an e-mail is nothing.
Do encourage your friend’s strength, spirit and efforts as they try to recover. Don’t minimize their efforts by saying trite things like: “A positive attitude is everything.”
Do help your friend communicate with others if they request it. In my case I was not able to communicate with my friends how disabled I was for a few weeks.
Do allow your friend to set the mood and limits around them. If they need to talk, go with that. Don’t impose your mood or fears upon them. Respect their limits in the amount of time they can handle spending with others.
Do bring cards, food, flowers, videos, etc. to cheer the person up, assist them, and make them feel loved and appreciated.
Do include your friend in events or activities they might be able to enjoy. It can get mighty lonely and discouraging spending days on end alone and aching.
Do acknowledge their physical changes or disabilities; don’t just ignore them or talk around them.
Do offer specific help. Don’t wait for the injured person to ask. If they have experienced a serious injury or concussion, it may not even occur to them to ask. Call them and visit when necessary to offer assistance.
Do ask sincerely and specifically about what they have gone through, and allow them to talk about their experience quietly. Listening may be your best skill at this point in time. Severe illness and injury is traumatic, and should be processed emotionally as needed. There are aspects of PTSD related to most serious accidents. Be open to helping your friend recover memories of the experience that they may have forgotten, process bad dreams surrounding their experience, etc.
It seems that many of us boomers may have lost the fine art of empathy and compassion necessary to care for friends who are ill or injured. This will not serve us, as we age and start to need to depend more heavily on our friends and loved ones for assistance.