Tuesday, May 25, 2021

I read this article that felt sort of ageist to me. The author is 31.

Chatting with Mom. 

This month I've been blogging about Healthy Aging in honor of Older Americans Month, so I've been on the lookout for current media that includes relevant topics.  I've been especially interested in finding communities and articles that change any negative ageist stereotypes. 

I came across this article from Rewire titled:  I Made a New Friend During COVID. She's 60.  I don't know if I'm being overly sensitive since I'm 61, but the title itself seemed mildly offensive to me. Why is it news that the new friend is 60?  

The article is about intergenerational communication and volunteer organizations that help promote connection during Covid, all things I very strongly believe in.  In fact, I even was a volunteer for Love For Our Elders, one of the organizations mentioned.

I get it that the article's title needed to convey a 'hook' and maybe more people will read it than if it simply said something like "Intergenerational Friendships Flourish Through Connecting Non-Profits."  Even just leaving off the "She's 60" would have been much better.  It's as though no one would expect a 60-year-old could be a new friend.  

Another annoying part or this article came when the 31-year-old author wrote:

Gayle is clearly in the 73 percent of older adults who use the internet, up from 14 percent in 2000— she actually got on the video call before me. 

As a 61-year-old software engineer, I was definitely offended at the implication that a 60-year-old was being commended for her technology skills because she "actually" got on the video call before the 31-year-old author.

We, who are in our 60's, may not have been using personal computers in our childhoods, but it's a rare 60-year-old who isn't quite familiar with technology and smart-phones.  This ageist stereotype of "older" people being technophobes is as insulting to me as the stereotype that women can't be engineers.

OF COURSE the number of "older adults" who use the internet is up from 2000! What a ridiculous statistic.  (In fact, I was very annoyed at the referenced article too, but for the record, the "73% of older adults" were over 65 and Gayle is only 60, so, again, too young to be made as an example here at all.)

Even when we're talking about 65 years old, that statistic doesn't mean much. Internet usage is up at every age! Those "older adults" were 21 years younger and weren't counted as "older adults" when the study was done in 2000.  They've been dependent on technology and computers just as much as anyone else in the work-force. 

I'm not saying that there aren't older people who don't use the Internet... many because they are intimidated by the technology and many, because they were already out of the workforce in 2000, when the first study was done.   Maybe they have heard about the negative side and are choosing not to engage. Older people can have "ageist" and unfair attitudes about how younger people use technology.

When a 60-year-old gets on a  Zoom call more quickly than her 31-year-old friend, maybe it's because millennials are "inconsiderate."   While this is a negative stereotype, unlike the positive spin the author was trying to paint in portraying the 60-year-old as tech-savvy, it still seems ageist to me.  Of course, a 60-year-old is going to be able to get on a video-call as successfully as a 31-year-old.  Either age may have trouble (technology difficulties are common in every age group!)

I'm sure the author of this article was not intending to offend or be ageist or disrespectful.  In fact, he's obviously someone who cares about our older, vulnerable, isolated seniors, and was only trying to help spread the word of ways we can improve intergenerational communication.

However, the first way is to not make stereotypical assumptions based on age. 

Maybe I'm also overly-sensitive about this because I love technology. I don't like there to be judgments of others, either on their over-use or under-use of technology.  

I would love everyone, at every age, to feel confident and comfortable in communicating with one another any way they can - via video chat, phone, text, snail mail, or best of all (now that we'll soon be on the other side of Covid), a good old-fashioned face-to-face visit!

Saturday, May 22, 2021

Beauty and Aging: The Power of Friendships


My beautiful friend, Cathy

The other day, I started a series on Beauty and Aging.  When I searched for, "Beauty," in my Google Photos library, quite a few photos came up, including this one, of my friend, Cathy.

I agree that this is a beautiful picture of Cathy and she is such a beautiful friend.  You might find her sweet comments on some of my blog posts under the name, "Catie." She's the author of the poem and the talented artist of Spirit Home.  

She's also a seasoned musician and was the only one of my friends who responded when I put out the word about a musical performance that was being held during Covid for isolated seniors.  Here's a (very bad video quality) recording I made via Zoom of our practice session.  The funniest part is the "blooper" that happens in the first few seconds! 

Cathy and I are both part of a group called GGG for Girls Gathering Greatly.  I think there are 17 members of this group of dynamic women that has been meeting for many years.  All fully vaccinated, we had our first post-Covid gathering last week.  Cathy, who's out of town visiting family wasn't able to attend, but here's a picture of those of us who were able to make it:

By the way, this photo didn't make Google Photo's "Beauty" cut..  maybe because Cathy was missing? (I actually think it was because it was a group picture.)  
We are all women in our 50's, 60's, and 70's.  Sonja (third from the left, top row) started the group long ago and she and Cathy have been the two biggest connectors, inviting women friends who they think would be a good fit in the group to join over the years.  I believe it started when Sonja was going through a divorce and she invited other women who were going through transitions.  Though I think divorce may be a common thread, many of the women are now remarried or in serious romantic relationships.  Others of us are single or dating.   I actually met this group first over 10 years ago, because they invited me as a local author of The Laptop Dancer Diaries!

In my many years post divorce, I've noticed that often single friends will disappear once they're in a romantic relationship. Though friendships ebb and flow based on a lot of things, I appreciate that this group of women remains a supportive clan, regardless of whether or not they're in romantic relationships.

Over the years, we each have gone through transitions with health, jobs, family, boyfriends, and grief. Our monthly get togethers range between deep and intimate to frivolous and funny.  I really only have been able to participate regularly in the past few years (with one of those years being only virtual meetings) so I don't have the deep history that many of these women have with one another.

However, Cathy and I became close friends and I've gotten closer to Sonja and some of the others. I feel so lucky to be part of this lovely tribe.  Each brings unique gifts to the group and such wisdom and creativity.  

As I've been reading about healthy aging, I've found out that social connection is one of the biggest factors in happiness and mental health.  Having the GGG and friends like Cathy in my life make a huge difference in my sense of security and feeling like I have people to help and support me when I need it.  That's especially important for those of us who are single.  

These women are vivacious, bright, and independent.  Maybe one of the reasons why it's pretty easy for me to embrace my age is because I'm inspired by this group.  I know we will all continue to have our ups and downs, and I have peace in knowing that this group of women will be a life-long source of support and celebration.

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Beauty and Aging - Losing the Insecurities of Youth


Michele and Me - Both Pretty and Smart in our 60's

Today I'm going to continue my "series" on Beauty and Aging.  Yesterday, I started the series, by searching for "Beauty" on my Google Photos library and having a variety of photos pop up, including this one of my sister, Michele (62) and me (61).  (This picture was from a couple of years ago, but we still look beautiful, of course. )

When we were young, Michele was labeled as "The Pretty and Popular Daughter" and I was "The Smart and Academic Daughter."

I know our parents were trying to tell us they were proud of us both, but these labels fed into our insecurities for years.

When I was young, I was socially awkward until I got into college.  I loved books and learning and that was considered very "un-cool" at our high school. Michele was pretty and super popular (she was nominated for Homecoming Princess 3 years in a row!)  I was a wallflower, wishing someone would "like me" but completely afraid of dating and boys. If any boys talked to me, it was usually to ask me about Michele.

I was super-insecure about my looks.  My teeth were all grey, discolored because my Mom had taken tetracycline when she was pregnant with me.  Once, some kid even told me I'd look better if I didn't smile.  Because I was so self-conscious about this, I rarely smiled or socialized and was happiest hidden in the library away from the hallways where everyone was judging one another on their clothes, looks, and everything else.  High school was a very difficult time for me socially.

Things changed when I got to college.  It was acceptable to be studious! I finally felt like I fit in and even became a little more sociable. (Admittedly, alcohol helped a lot with that!)

That first year of college, I went sky-diving and broke my front tooth on the landing.  When the dentist went to repair the tooth, my parents agreed to have all my front teeth capped, so I could finally have teeth that looked "normal."  

I still was relatively shy and reserved all the way into my 40's, but the older I've gotten, the more social I've become.  And I really do feel much prettier than I ever felt in High School.  I realize when I've looked at pictures of myself over the years that what makes the single biggest difference in how pretty I look, is my smile.  A genuine smile makes all the difference!

The truth was, there were a lot of factors that contributed to my insecurities.  When I was 12, we moved from Kansas City, Kansas to Sacramento, CA. It was a whole new culture and many of the kids were bullies! They shamed me for wearing "little girl dresses" while they were wearing bell-bottom jeans and tube tops.

It wasn't all bad, of course. I found my crowd of other nerdy friends who loved to learn. As awkward as we were socially, we did all end up with good grades and bright futures.

Michele and I have talked as adults about our sibling insecurities. While I was feeling like the ugly duckling, she felt like our parents didn't respect her intellect. Our Dad, who was an engineer himself, was very engaged and excited that I was going into engineering, and I know my parents were very proud of all my academic achievements, undoubtedly making Michele feel inferior.

Now, here we are, in our 60's, realizing that we both have always been beautiful, intelligent and loved and respected by our parents.  These insecurities stem from messages we hear from our classmates and our parents and our friends.  But mostly they come from our own minds! We become our most harmful critics!

I wish I could go back and tell my younger self to have confidence and smile more (despite what that idiot said.) But maybe I had to go through those difficult, insecure times, to gain the confidence I have today.  It's overcoming the challenges that help us grow.

There's no doubt that we lose some things as we age.  One of the best things we can lose are those insecurities from our youth. What we can gain is the recognition that, despite our imperfections, we are more intelligent, more beautiful and oh-so-much-wiser than ever before.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Beauty and Aging - How does Google Photos define "Beauty"?


Beautiful BB on her 70th Birthday

This month I'm blogging about Healthy Aging in honor of Older Americans Month. As loyal readers know, I often use the Special Days  as prompts and it turns out, today, May 19 is Turn Beauty Inside Out Day.

Even though the day is more about instilling confidence in young girls that true beauty comes from within, it's a good reminder for all of us Older Americans as well.  In fact, fear of losing our good looks is undoubtedly one of the big reasons people don't like to be reminded of getting older.

Well, I find this topic very interesting and, as is my usual practice when starting a new blog post, I started out by trying to find a photo from my Google Photos Library.  Unlike yesterday, when I searched for the word "Conscientious" and came up with nothing, this morning, when I searched for "Beauty" there were so many beautiful pictures to choose from!

I'm so curious about what kind of algorithm Google Photos uses to come up with the pictures representing "beauty."  There were pictures of flowers, landscapes, and smiling people of all ages and genders.  Mind you, only a subset of my very large library were chosen..  there are many others that, for whatever reason, didn't make the cut when the filter was "beauty."   

However, I happily perused the many photos that Google deemed representative of "beauty" and had to agree that these indeed were beautiful people and beautiful memories.  How could I choose just one to represent this blog post?

Well, I decided I'd write a little series of blog posts. I'll be having my second cataract surgery tomorrow and will have to be off the grid again for a couple of days, so I'll get a couple in the pipeline.

The Beauty picture I picked for today is one taken of my friend Becky (or BB) on her 70th birthday. I just love how Becky doesn't shy away from celebrating birthdays. She happily wore the celebratory tiara and sash proclaiming her 70th birthday that I'd given her with pride!

Becky is a great example of someone who is bold, sassy, and energetic! She is nothing like the stereotypical "older person" that I think many people imagine.  

I know I shouldn't judge people who don't like to celebrate birthdays..  anyone is allowed to be a "party pooper"..  but I have to say, I love it when people embrace their special day and happily celebrate!  Maybe it's that ability to let out our inner-child and say, "Yay! Happy Birthday to ME!" that helps us stay young! 

I was lucky enough to be with Becky on her 70th birthday, December 7th, and was able to join her on some of her Florida adventures across the state!  Here's a little video that was included in the Google Photos Beauty cut:

And one more that made the cut with BB and me, looking beautiful, getting ready for a Karaoke scavenger hunt challenge:

I just love how Becky has this natural, contagious laugh.  Good job, Google Photos Algorithm! (I'm guessing it might have been the tiara and sash, but ya gotta admit, that laugh is the most beautiful part of all!)

I will continue my series with a few more goodies that Google Photos felt represented "Beauty" (and that I pick as following the theme of Healthy Aging), but I wanted to start with my most loyal blog reader, Becky.

Becky, I hope you are happy that I think of you as an iconic example of beauty, healthy aging, and birthday celebrator extraordinaire!

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Conscientiousness Leads to a Longer Life

Since this month is Older Americans Month, I've been blogging about Healthy Aging. (Side note: I just discovered that September is Healthy Aging month. Glad the calendar has these topics covered!)

In fact, there are SO many resources about Healthy Aging that I can't keep them all straight.  I searched for a podcast about Healthy Aging yesterday and so many came up that I can't even remember which one I listened to. 

The podcast, for the most part, didn't reveal much that I hadn't heard before.  However, the one new thing that I learned is that the personality trait, conscientiousness, is related to longevity!

This was good news for me because I suspected that conscientiousness is one of my strongest personality traits! I'm a very dependable person!

I wanted to confirm this claim I heard on the podcast, and so I googled it today and found this article from Psychology Today: 

One Personality Trait Predicts Longevity More Than Others—But Why?

High conscientiousness, then, appears to pay off in terms of improved longevity through multiple behavioral and biological pathways. So, how conscientious are you? A brief Big Five trait assessment can be found here . If you’re low on conscientiousness, there is still hope. One can learn to become more conscientious through purposeful practice. Psychotherapy can also help improve conscientiousness. Finally, research has shown that personality in general and conscientiousness, in particular, can change, and tend to improve with age . So, your low conscientiousness could improve on its own over time—that is, if it doesn’t kill you first.

The article is referring to The Big Five Personality Test. Unlike some of the other personality tests, you can take the assessment and get the results very quickly.  Here are my results.

Yay! High in conscientiousness, as suspected! (Of course, it was a self-assessment, so there's a possibility that I subconsciously rated myself higher than I really am.)

Before congratulating myself too much, I wanted to find out exactly what the definition of conscientiousness was and what the downsides might be.  Too much of ANY personality trait can be a problem.

I found this definition of conscientiousness with this description of the downsides:

However, individuals who score high in conscientiousness on a personality test can be compulsive perfectionists and workaholics. They might also be seen as being boring or inflexible. 
I thought this was interesting as "inflexibility" is also a downside of the "Upholder" personality in Gretchen Rubin's Four Tendency model.  Inflexibility is a personality trait that I think I had when I was younger, but my agile training has helped me become much more flexible.

One thing I really think is key is that our personality traits are not fixed

What personality trait would you like to change? I've nailed changing my natural tendency towards "inflexibility"..  now I need to work on being less boring!

Monday, May 17, 2021

Treat Retirement Like a Job: Exercise Every Day!


In preparation for retiring, I read a lot of books and articles. I know people most prepare by making sure they have enough money. However, I wanted to make sure my brain would stay healthy. There are quite a few studies that say retirement can be bad for your brain health!

I drilled down a bit to understand why this might true, and the problem is that once people are retired, they may lack motivation to challenge themselves, continue to learn and grow, or push themselves out of their comfort zone.  All of these things are good for our brain and not doing them can lead to mental health issues.

I also read over and over again, that one primary key to health, both physical and mental health, is to exercise!  In the TED talk I included in this blog post Wendy Suzuki talks about how exercise actually helps our brain grow!

I treat my own retirement like a "job" where my product is "me." Unlike a traditional job, where our measure of success is mostly about money, in retirement, my measure of success is health and happiness. I've been very aware of what keeps me healthy and happy and (good employee that I am) I'm dedicated to putting practices in place to optimize that, even when especially when it pushes me out of my comfort zone.

In retirement, I consider getting exercise every day a big part of my "job."  For "Type A" people like me, this means I'm going to do it, even if I don't feel like it.  I consider it a responsibility to myself and to my "customers" (these would be all the people I interact with).  When I'm happy and healthy, I know I'll be a better person and have better relationships.

I, of course, find exercises that I enjoy, like dancing and hiking, and then I find ways to do them with other people who enjoy them (even during Covid, there were creative ways we could virtually join others.) (BTW, socialization is another thing that's important for brain health!)

The great thing about not having to work at a traditional job is that now I have more time and freedom to set my own schedule! Even though I don't always feel like exercising, I know how important it is to health and happiness, and that even pushing myself to do something that's uncomfortable will keep that brain strong!

So, as the Nike slogan goes, Just Do It!

What's your favorite kind of exercise? How do you make it fun?

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Perfect Place to Retire


This month I've been blogging about Healthy Aging in honor of Older Americans Month. I know for many people, one of the best things about getting older is looking forward to retirement!

For me, those days are here! Thanks to my neurotic goal-setting habits, (along with good luck and being annoyingly frugal), I have officially reached a time in my life that I no longer have to work!  I am finally free to do whatever I want, where-ever I want!  I can move to that perfect paradise and never have to endure another icy commute or snowy Spring,

The question is, where should I go? Making this decision is much more difficult than I imagined it would be!

Well, thanks to my brilliant daughter-in-law's newsletter, Stellar Recap, I used this handy-dandy tool introduced by MarketWatch to help me narrow down some choices. 

From Stella's newsletter:

  • MarketWatch released a new tool that helps you find where you may want to retire. You can search for characteristics such as temperature, political affiliation, age, and affordability.

When I put in my priorities, Santa Barbara came out as my top choice.  This isn't surprising because on my first pass, I didn't factor in cost.  I'd been looking in Florida because I know how expensive Southern California is.

However, as it turns out, prices are skyrocketing in Florida (or at least in Sarasota, my top choice for a Florida city.) I've also determined, I'd rather rent than buy a place right now in this crazy housing market, and I'd much rather rent a place and get to know a community before committing to buying a house.

My strategy for some time has been to explore different snowbird locations in the winters until I found my perfect spot to retire.  One issue is that snowbird destinations are incredibly expensive to rent!  I've found a wonderful opportunity with my friend, Becky, where we do a house exchange..  She stays at my house in Colorado for summer visits and I stay at her place in Sarasota for winter visits!

I also have been enamored at the thought of 55+ communities or senior co-housing communities. I just haven't found out how one can rent in these communities.  Then there's also the idea of retiring abroad! I attended an International Living Conference in 2019 and that idea is much more affordable than I'd imagined! 

As a matter of fact, I was able to rent a room in an AirBnB home in a gorgeous Costa Rica home for all of January, 2022 for less than $800! I feel confident that I'll be able to rent a room in my house for that same amount, so basically, it's kind of like the exchange I do with Becky! (Having extra room(s) in your house really works out wonderfully!)

The point is, with some creativity and a willingness to share house-space, renting different snowbird locations is affordable.  With the low interest rates, I'd been seriously considering trying to buy a snowbird spot of my own; However, considering all the expenses, fees, and tax implications, I'm now back to thinking renting is a better option. 

At least that's what I think today! I have to stay away from Zillow, InnShopper, and Cozy Cottages listed on HookedonHouses!

Saturday, May 15, 2021

At Home Eldercare Options Available!

One cataract surgery down and very successful! I'm currently pretty blurry-eyed on the computer, so I'll keep my blog posts short and sweet.

I'm going to continue with my May theme of Older Americans Month because... there are just so many articles and resources I want to share on this topic!

Today, I stumbled upon a positive aging story while searching for a franchise! I've been trying to figure out what I'm going to do myself in this next chapter of life and starting a new business is an idea I've toyed with for years.

Well, today I came across the "At Home Eldercare" franchise which provides an alternative to nursing homes for elders who want at home help.  I thought this sounded interesting mostly because I've been checking into these kinds of alternatives for my 85-year-old mother.  Though she's fine now, there may be a time when she needs help, and I know she's very opposed to nursing homes, assisted living, or any solution that would require her to move out of her home.

While I was perusing the site, I came across the blog and was very happy to discover that $400Billion of the recent Biden infrastructure plan is proposed to shift to home care for seniors!

The Wall Street Journal story mentioned in the video can be found at https://www.wsj.com/articles/biden-infrastructure-plan-would-fund-shift-toward-home-healthcare-for-seniors-11618228812 . As the title of the article suggests, "Biden Infrastructure Plan Would Fund Shift Toward Home Healthcare for Seniors."

I decided against getting an At Home Eldercare franchise for myself, but I was really happy to hear about this option!  What great news that more options are becoming available for people like my Mom (and some day, me!) to receive affordable care from the comfort of home.

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Eye Style

Can you tell I like glasses? I have a whole bag of funky glasses for every occasion and holiday! However, none of those 'fun' glasses are prescription glasses. And THOSE are glasses I hopefully will soon no longer need!!

I've been blogging about Healthy Aging topics in honor of Older Americans Month. Guess What?  May is also Healthy Vision Month (though, July seems to be Healthy Vision Month, too.) Let's face it. We need to take care of our vision and our health every day!

I'm going to be getting cataract surgeries on May 13th and May 20th. I really don't know what my eyesight will be like, especially during the week between surgeries, so I may take a break from blogging for awhile. (I hate to mess up my streak, though, so I'm having this post scheduled to be published tomorrow, May 13.)

Even though I'm excited about the surgery, I have to admit, I've got some anxiety, too. Signing all those release forms before surgery about all the things that could go wrong is nerve-wracking to say the least. I'm also kind of worried about the post-op weeks when I have to keep all UV-light out of my eyes.  

They'll give me protective glasses, of course, but I'm supposed to wear them every waking moment.  I'm going to pretend like they're super-hero glasses, but I'm guessing the 'fun' of that won't last too long. And it's a bummer that I won't get to wear my patriotic Memorial Day glasses.

It will all be worth it 5 weeks from now when I have super-hero bionic eyes and will have clear vision without glasses at all!

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Sixty and Me: Aging Beautifully Cards


This month I've been writing about Health Aging in honor of Older Americans Month! As usual, once I start blogging about a theme, I end up finding a plethora of resources, often one leading to another.

Yesterday, when I was searching for a photo for my Joyful Aging blog post, I found a video by Margaret Manning of Sixty and Me: The Joy of Aging in a Magnificently Disgraceful Way!

Her message was similar to the Joyful Aging article that I blogged about yesterday. Rather than describing aging in the stereotypical "graceful" way, why not come up with other adjectives that are not so typically associated with aging?  Outrageously, passionately, mysteriously? 

Margaret challenged her listeners to add their own adjective to the comments, and since I'd just written about Joyful Aging, I added a simple comment that said, "Joyfully."

Even though this YouTube video and its last comment was over 6 years old, I got a little notice that my comment had been loved (with the little heart emoji.) How nice!

Well, that prompted me to blog about Sixty and Me today! I'd checked out the community a few years ago, and boy has it grown!  There are all kinds of articles for sassy sixty+ gals like myself!  There's also a YouTube channel and that's where I found the Aging Beautifully Cards!

I love that these cards are reminding us of the many beautiful things we can experience as we age.  Sixty and Me and the resources that I'm highlighting this month are helping to change the outdated, negative stereotypes associated with aging!

I think Margaret Manning started Sixty and Me when she turned 60 herself and look how far its come! She inspires me to maybe do something like this with Carpe Diem Connections..  or maybe I'll just enjoy being part of the Sixty and Me tribe.

Whatever my journey turns out to be, whatever new experiences I have or people I meet - I'm looking forward to "Aging Beautifully!"


Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Aging Joyfully


Riding the merry-go-round with Mom on her 80th birthday

Last month, Ingrid Fetell Lee, author of Joyful, wrote a wonderful article: Forget Aging Gracefully. Here's how to Age Joyfully.

The article is full of ideas of how we can age joyfully and ends with these insightful words:

Our goal shouldn’t be to cling to youth as we get older, but to keep our joy alive by tending our inner child throughout our days, while also nurturing our connection to the changing world. In doing so, we balance wisdom with wonder, confidence with curiosity, and depth with delight.

I love this description of joyful aging.  Lee's words remind us that wisdom, confidence, and depth come with experience and age, yet we can always experience wonder, curiosity, and delight at any age.  When we are burdened with the responsibilities of work and parenting, we may have a hard time finding the time to indulge our inner child.  Embracing my inner-child has never been a problem for me at any age.  I've loved participating in scavenger hunts, dress-up events, and festivals, with or without kids in tow!  However, when I had a full-time job, even when I wasn't physically in the office, my mind was often distracted thinking about work.

I'm finding this time of life as a semi-retired empty-nester full of possibilities! I have more freedom than I've ever had in my life!  There are so many places to explore, hobbies to try, foods to taste, podcasts to listen to, people to meet! 

Since discovering Ingrid Fetell Lee and the work she does on joy, I've become much more aware of what brings me joy.  The Joyspotters Society Facebook page is an active group where people post photos of things that bring them joy. I now notice my surroundings and see what a difference it can make to my mood when I witness joy... in a beautiful sunset, a smile, a flower, a puppy. 

I also have learned that we can do more than spot joy..   we can spread it. We will naturally spread it with our smiles and positivity, but we can also spread it by listening and being empathetic with others.  Our experiences over the years have taught us lessons in how to cope with challenges and how to come out stronger and more resilient.  As we age, we become more self-aware, and are able to have stronger, more authentic relationships.

This month I've been blogging about Older Americans Month. My goal has been to highlight resources for healthy aging. On top of that, though, I'm hoping anyone who reads these posts will recognize that aging is not something that we should dread, it is something to anticipate!

Monday, May 10, 2021

Music and Healthy Aging


This month, in honor of Older Americans Month, I've been learning more about Healthy Aging.  The other day, I attended the AARP CO Virtual Healthy Living Conference and one of the presentations was about music and how beneficial music can be for our memory!

I remember seeing an example of music therapy in video on Facebook about a woman who had Alzheimers.  She'd been a ballerina and when she heard music from one of the scores that she'd danced to, it seemed to trigger her memory.

In the AARP conference, the presenters talked about the many ways that music can contribute to our brain health.  Learning how to play an instrument challenges our brains, which keeps them strong.  They also talked about music being used to trigger memories, as is the case with this ballerina.

One of the presenters played the piano and the other sang, "My Favorite Things" from the Sound of Music. Then they asked those of us in the audience if the song triggered any memories.

For many people, it triggered memories of watching "The Sound of Music."  For me, it did trigger one of my earliest memories of a time when my mother sang me that song when I was crying about something. (Very appropriate memory seeing as it was Mother's Day weekend!)

In fact, one of the things I like to do to exercise my creativity with music, is to rewrite lyrics to well-known songs.  I decided to go ahead and rewrite the lyrics to "My Favorite Things" to be about being a mother to my grown up kids!  

I love how music triggers memories and when I was doing my 60-until-60 project, I created a 60-song playlist with songs that all the special people in my life picked out.  Now, whenever I hear a song from that list, I always think of the person with whom its associated and it brings me a happy feeling.

Whether playing music, listening to music, singing, or dancing, music really brings so much joy to our lives.  After attending the AARP conference, I have even more of an appreciation of music and how it helps our mental health, our memory, and our overall well-being.

Sunday, May 09, 2021

My Favorite Things: Mother's Day Rendition


Megan and Stella, Matt, Chris and Scotty

My perfect kids, not a tiny bit naughty

I sing their praises to all who can hear

Thanks to these kids, I’m the Mom of the year.


They’re smart and they’re sweet and they’re naturally humble

It’s crazy that Scotty’s had no luck on Bumble.

Now that they’re grown, they’re no trouble at all

I hear only good news whenever they call.


They work hard and play hard and help all their neighbors

At parties they’re known for the best party favors

Creative and witty and clever and fun

That’s why I know they are all number one.


When their job sucks

When their car breaks

When they’re feeling sad

I simply remember that they’re all grown up

And then I don’t feel so bad


Tough and tenacious, these kids are resilient

They solve any problem, they really are brilliant

As old as they get,  I still want them to know

A Mom is a role that I’ll never outgrow.




When their job sucks

When their car breaks

When they’re feeling sad

I hope they’ll remember I’ll always be here

And then they won’t feel so bad

Saturday, May 08, 2021

AARP CO Healthy Living Conference

This month, in celebration of Older Americans Month, I've been blogging about Healthy Aging topics. One of the best sources of information about Healthy Aging is AARP! This morning AARP CO sponsored a free Healthy Living Conference which turned out to be awesome!

There were a lot of great tips about Exercising, Mindfulness, Nutrition, Music, and even a Cooking Demonstration.

Since I was sent an email with the recording information, I'm assuming it's OK to share!  Full information and links are below!  Thanks to AARP CO for this awesome event!

Thank you for participating in our virtual event - AARP CO Virtual Healthy Living Conference, Online, Colorado Springs, 5/8/2021. We sincerely hope you enjoyed connecting with AARP. Please find the links to the presentations below. 

Healthy Living Conference: Strength & Flexibility, Mindfulness Apps, Empowered Wellness and Music Therapy sessions:

Passcode: U+3!@Wtx

Eating for More Energy with Culinary Nutritionist, Michelle Fox - Curry Turkey Bowls over Riced Cauli session:

Passcode: pUR^p2+?

Please find the keynote speaker's presentation, Empowered Wellness, linked below.  You will find the link to the recipes she mentioned on the last page. It will take you to the Center for Healthy Living website, then look under the nutrition tab. You will also find other resources included in her presentation. 


The recipe to Michelle Fox's Curry Turkey Bowls with Cauli is also linked below. 

Curry Turkey Bowls over Riced Cauli

If you'd like to register for her next webinar, Eating for More Energy with Michelle Fox - Who Needs Takeout? on Thursday, June 3, 2021 at 6:30 p.m. please click here. We will be making Orange Sesame Chicken over Rice Cauli.

To find out what else is happening in your state visit aarp.org. We look forward to seeing you again soon!

AARP Colorado

Friday, May 07, 2021

CIRKEL and Live Q&A with stars of hit new film: Duty Free


Yesterday, I let you know that I was excited about the opportunity to view a showing of Duty Free. The movie was awesome! The film was presented by CIRKEL, an organization that connects people of different generations for mentorship and wisdom-sharing.  It makes sense that they would sponsor this inspiring documentary about a mother and son who work together to overcome the challenges the mother was faced with when she lost her much-needed job at the age of 75.

It was very cool that, after watching the movie, we were able to interact with Rebecca Danigelis and Sian-Pierre Regis (the mother/son duo) real time over Zoom!

If you missed it, don't despair! The link to the discussion as well as how you can watch the film is included below.  This is a perfect feel-good Mother's Day activity.  It also raises the awareness of ageism and the challenges that many older Americans are faced with.  You can also find out more about CIRKEL from the message below.

Email from Charlotte at CIRKEL:

Thank you to the 300+ amazing people who came to our screening of Duty Free last night. It was a CIRKEL event record and a really eye-opening conversation.

Here is the recorded discussion between Sian-Pierre Regis, his mom Rebecca Danigelis, and myself.

DUTY FREE is now available for streaming and in select theaters nationwide! For more information visit: https://www.dutyfreefilm.com/watch-the-film

Let's all do what we can to support the film's success. Tell your friends and families to see it, and discuss the film with them.

To learn more about CIRKEL, check out our website and consider joining our community of professionals 20-70+. We want to create a future where workers like Rebecca do not have to worry about being pushed out of their careers.

CIRKEL members are matched each month to someone outside of their age bubble for two-way career support. We're offering a special Mother's Day gift deal: $99 for 3 months of membership. Give back the love and support to someone who always supports you (or gift it to yourself)!

Have a fantastic Mother's Day weekend,

Thursday, May 06, 2021

See Free Movie Today: Duty Free


This morning's blog post in honor of Older Americans Month is to let you know about this opportunity to check out the movie, "Duty Free" for free!  But hurry and sign up. It's today!

The movie is SO up-my-alley!  It's about a 75-year-old woman who gets fired from her job and her son helps her make and fulfill a bucket-list of dreams. (Very much aligned with my whole Carpe Diem Day message.)

I originally got a notice from AARP about a showing today at 6pm MT.  (I just love AARP's Movie for Grownups series.)

However, I had a conflict for tonight (It's the second session of my Agile Workshop that I blogged about all last month.)

I was disappointed for about 5 minutes until I continued reading my emails and saw that Encore.org was also offering a free viewing earlier in the day - at 3:30pm MT! 

So, to recap, there are TWO opportunities TODAY to see Duty Free for free!

At 3:30pm MT: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/cirkel-presents-a-pre-release-screening-of-duty-free-tickets

At 6:00pm MT: https://local.aarp.org/aarp-event/movies-for-grownups-screening-duty-free-wzn83s63gg2.html