Alden died today. The view remains. Rhyolite spires up-canyon. Mesquite here below. Those don’t change. All else changes. Miles from anything. Center of everything. We loved it.
How do you keep your legacy alive while increasing your well-being? Become a mentor. In The New York Times article by Jane Brody, “Want to Leave a Legacy? Be a Mentor,” Marc Freedman, the founder of Encore.org, says, “The real fountain of youth is the fountain with youth. It’s spending less time focused on being young and more time focused on being there for the next generation.”
The first few months of retirement gave me time to reflect on what provides meaning in my life, what I really value and want to spend time on. Then came the month of December, a month filled with three family birthdays in addition to all the usual celebrations. I realized that food plays a most essential role in how I move through my days. Yes, I need food to survive. But food is so much more than physical nourishment for me.
When I was in high school, I was so slim that the history and government teacher took my best friend aside to ask her two questions: 1. Was I anorexic?; and 2. If not, was my family too impoverished to feed me? (Neither was the issue, I was just thin and a dancer.)
“I write because I’m afraid to say some things out loud.” (unattributable)
You know those niggling voices in your head? The ones you try to ignore? The problem is, the more we ignore thoughts swirling around inside of us, the more powerful they become. What do you want to say out loud?
Me, retired? The word ‘retirement’ seems repugnant— dismissive and a relic of old social norms. It conjures up images of shuffling around in slippers, padding quietly through the days, waiting for the end. I'm not quiet. Nor do I shuffle. That’s not who I am. And, I am certainly not waiting for the end!
For each of us aging will be different. For me, the revelation that I was aging was stunning. I say revelation because I had never thought much about age. Each milestone along the path to 80, was met with a shrug and a comment such as “it is only a number.” Now, there are fewer milestones left in my future and the number just gets higher.
Boxing up the last odds and ends of my work life, I sorted thirty-four years of books, papers, talismans and stuff among a few boxes and the overflowing recycling bin. I reached for one particular talisman, a button pin – Fishing for Solutions. Faded from years of exposure to finger oils and sunlight – it was smooth and perfect, nice in the hand to finger and flip while thinking. Given the handling and the dozen office moves during my career, I am not sure how it survived. It both reminded and inspired me – of the chase, chance and opportunity that every day and every challenge presented. I’d been working the last 14 years in fire and forest conservation across the U.S. The wicked fire challenges for people and our forests was both a passion and compulsion – and now it was over for me.
I would be remiss if I didn’t convey my grief over the horrific events of this past week. Normally, I keep my monthly updates strictly related to the blog posts and upcoming workshops, but the massacre in Pittsburgh felt personal. I only hope and pray that we come together as a country to eliminate fear of the “other,” heal our wounds, and find common ground and understanding.
Silver Pen Writing Award Partners, Salt Lake County Aging & Adult Services, Salt Lake County Library, and Salt Lake Community College Community Writing Center, invited all older adults to participate in the 2018 Silver Pen Writing Contest by writing and submitting their own essay or poetry based on JOY . . . read the winning essays and poems . . .
Judy Martin finally retired at age 70 after over 30 years of enjoying herself as a business owner in the financial services industry. Now she indulges herself with her addiction to travel. She continues to be challenged by her on-going pursuit of painting.
From the earliest time, I can remember strands of yarn in my hands. Even before I could manipulate a needle, I held my arms out as my mother laced skeins of yarn around them so she could roll the yarn into balls. That motion symbolizes my life – unravel, rewind, create, unravel yet again . . .
A friend of mine had a severe undiagnosed mental illness. No one knew this, and she didn’t want anyone to find out. Among other symptoms, she would lose time.
I'm not sure when it happened—the first time I looked in the mirror and didn't recognize what I saw. Who was that older person staring back at me?
How should I count them? Which . . . or who . . . qualifies?
Summer is approaching, and I am looking forward to that time of year when life seems to naturally slow down and I get to catch up on books I haven’t read, dip my toes in the water and breathe a bit more deeply.
In order to your get creative aging juices flowing, I'm going to offer writing prompts from time to time. These are questions to get you thinking about yourself in different ways. So, grab your writing tool of choice (laptop, pen, pencil, paper), find a comfortable spot to sit and put your critical voice on hold. In fact, tell your inner critic to leave the room.