Woman Around Town’s Editor Charlene Giannetti and writers for the website talk with the women and men making news in New York, Washington, D.C., and other cities around the world. Thanks to Ian Herman for his wonderful piano introduction.
Twenty times two, thirty times two, and forty times two! Significant numbers only if related to our birthdays. Today’s population values a person’s numerical age when driving, voting, running for public office, job hunting or applying for Medicare. Yet youth is coveted. It is featured in TV ads promoting skin care, cosmetics, indoor/outdoor activities, food choices and even fashion apparel. Older people past their prime are generally deemed less important than they once were. Their opinions are consistently considered antiquated, “square” or boring. After all, what do they know! A lot, in case you had not guessed. But not as much as we hope we will know before we leave this earth.
Shall I tell you about turning 8-0? Hang on, it is not all bad! A few weeks ago I had THAT momentous birthday. When my North Carolina daughter-in-law queried last November how we were planning to celebrate, I was a blank. I knew that I wanted as many as possible of our far-flung family to congregate. I knew that I wanted them to have a chance to be together, to enjoy each other and to meet many of our favorite friends. I wanted to do something “different” than the usual gathering of the clan. And I sure as heck didn’t want to wait for a funeral to be the occasion that attracts precious loved ones.
What would tweak the attention of family and friends of ALL ages? The answer revealed itself early one morning. “I know,” I told John shortly after opening my eyes. “Let’s have a Fifties Sock Hop, with a DJ, poodle skirts, balloons, hula hoops, hamburgers, fries, milkshakes, disco balls hanging from the ceiling…plus “adult beverages!” Let’s create an opportunity for our chicks living in four different cities to be with each other…a chance for us to meld the generations by a common theme of FUN.” “What?” asked John, who wondered if I had lost a marble or two.
Being married to me for sixty plus years, my sweet husband knew my mind was set. He had offered his idea that we go to NYC to see a Broadway show or two. It fell flat. A February birthday is not the best month to head north. (Why didn’t my parents realize that before having me?) Gradually, he agreed, and soon I heard him telling folks that “Joy wants a Sock Hop when she turns 80!” Even as he shook his head in amused disbelief, his eyes twinkled. We were on our way. We had the perfect venue at his golf club, and even the staff was delighted to help plan the party. Admittedly no one had ever suggested such an outlandish theme! Bobby sox instead of golf apparel!
Everything came together. I wrote a fun jingle for the invitation: our party planners did a stunning job. The club was awash with balloons, checkered dance floor, a DJ whose music reflected the Fifties, Sixties, etc. The spirit was infectious…guests danced the Twist, jitterbug and Charleston. John was a hoot-of-a-host in his John Travolta wig, dark glasses, LL bean jeans and faux leather jacket. My purple poodle skirt twirled away, and the event turned out to be one of the happiest, most memorable evenings of my entire life.
All four of our adult children came; three spouses, five of our nine grandchildren, my 86 year-old sister (and only sibling) flew in from Milwaukee as did her two stateside sons….one from San Francisco and the other from Chicago. To complete the list, over fifty local friends also attended. My “cup runneth over.”
Turning 80 is a huge blessing. However, to be sure, it is a milestone also marked by profound losses…ones that are not frequently experienced by people turning forty, fifty or sixty. Since Christmas John and I have lost four very dear friends. Suddenly, close female friends of mine are widows. I look at their faces, try to imagine their pain, and thank the good Lord for each good day that I share with my husband.
If we pause to ponder, living in a retirement community is an omnipresent reminder that the clock is ticking. Doubtless, this is the primary reason why John and I mostly choose to bring our dinners back to our comfy cottage, thus avoiding the sight of so many residents entering the dining room on walkers. When we do eat in The Big House, however, we are delighted to embrace the vibrancy of those who have experienced fascinating adventures, life styles and accomplishments. We are aware we have so much yet to learn. We know that we are sharing a time of life that does enrich and nourish us. We know we did the right thing to move here. We are happy to have the downsizing behind us. But we joyfully celebrate each day we have together. We no longer take good health and well-being for granted. Deep in my bones, I know that Forty Times Two is a wonderfully high-class problem!
Today marks a full four months and six days since my hubby of sixty years and I moved to our Happy-Ever-After retirement community cottage. We are settling in very nicely. Tomorrow the last pictures will be hung in my “office,” and by the end of this week our closets will be ready for winter, with summer stashed snugly in the attic.
“Learn something new every day.” It is amazing how it happens. The other day as we ventured to the exercise room, we happened upon a lovely lady coming down the hall, pushing her walker. She was dressed carefully: hair fixed nicely, a touch of makeup on her face, and earrings completing her “put together look.” She moved at a spry clip, and as we met in the hall, I said, “Good Morning! You certainly look pretty today.” She stopped, smiled, and replied with a twinkle in her eye, “Thank you. Guess I am not too bad for 102 years old!” WHAT???
The remainder of that day I could not stop thinking about her. Learned her name is Helen, and although she attributes her well-being to “good genes,” you and I know that is only part of the story. How eager I am to interview her, if she will agree. How interesting her story must be, and how lucky we are to be exposed to such a remarkable role model. Living in this lovely retirement facility opens doors to realizing that this is not a place where people only come to live out the remainder of their days. No, older age is not about aches and pains, or of letting go of our former lives. Rather it can be a time of renewal, of watching, listening, and embracing life with excitement and enthusiasm. It is a happy choice and privilege.
Spacious grounds around Cedarfield are conducive to wonderful walks. There are carefully maintained paths through the woods, with strategically placed benches for those who choose to stop for a brief rest. There are bridges with handrails on them to steady the more tenuous traveler…What fun to meet fellow walkers and their pups. Lady Pippa Piper, known as Pippa, is our five-year-old Border Terrier who loves meeting new friends. All animals are on leashes, and all owners are dedicated pet lovers. Breeds are gentle…no Pitbulls, Rotweillers or other scary types.
One lady we met last week introduced us to her lovely rescue dog, Gloria. Pippa and she became instant friends, and we vowed to meet again. So, what I am saying is that pets at this stage of life are a plus. They force us outside in all kinds of weather; they are a conduit to meeting neighbors; and they keep us moving forward, so that we don’t freeze up, get stiff and stoggy. Having a pet is caring for another living creature. I am convinced that just as dogs or kitties are important in the development of little children they are equally beneficial to older folks. They help us remember how important it is to love others, be they four legged or two legged.
Returning home this afternoon from a leisurely trek with Pippa, I felt energized, invigorated and grateful for the glorious crispy, sunny fall weather. Bottle it up to uncork during the dark dreary days of January or February. As we finished the walk through the woods, Pip and I met a lady with a fluffy, well-groomed pooch, whose tail wagged her welcome. We stopped, introduced ourselves; I learned that the pup’s owner is a lady also named Joy! We laughed, and she told me there are three of us here at Cedarfield, although the third is a big old dog named Joy!
So, life is good. Stress level is minimal. The adjustment process is 99.0% fini. We are happy. We are more than glad we made this move in a timely fashion, before we started to fall apart. We are glad that we can let go of what once was and embrace a new chapter of life with enthusiasm. And I know deep in my heart that we can give back with gratitude for our many blessings by Spreading the “FunShine” of Living. A small thing to do in the grand scheme of this universe…
Last month, April the Giraffe gave birth to a baby boy named Tajiri, meaning HOPE in Swahilli. The gestation period lasted sixteen months. April was pregnant since 2015. That sounds like an eternity. I think of April because waiting for a house to be sold can also feel interminable. Much uncertainty, much to maintain, and, honestly, much anxiety.
A chicken egg hatches in 21 days, a duck egg in 28 days and a swan egg in 30-37 days. Our house has been for sale since February 20. Now it is May. Do the math. Enough time to have several baby chicks hatch. Each time we receive a call to show our house, we go into Perfection Mode. Every nook and cranny is carefully tidied up, dusted, fresh flowers are picked and arranged, and each room is vacuumed thoroughly. Checking foot traffic on rugs after a showing reveals how much time potential clients spent in each room. Our realtor laughed when I told him, but he agreed it is a good yardstick.
So far, feedback has been positive, but nary a bid. The fact that our house was custom built in 2004 puts it in an “older,” even “dated,” category. No one seems to care that landscaping is beautifully mature, no one seems to care that house itself has been maintained meticulously, nor that the pool is picture perfect. They just seem to care that it is not “Brand New.” All around us, developers are building cookie cutter pricey houses, set on small lots. I call them “Sneeze” lots, because homes are close enough that one hearty sneeze can resonate between homes. My sweet John is a LOUD sneezer, so it is good our house is on a spacious lot.
When we built in 2004, adjacent to an award-winning golf course, the belief was that this area would maintain, if not increase, its value exponentially. Instead, now that other developers have purchased available land, our value has depreciated. We have lots of competition. Who would have predicted? But buying and selling property is a gamble. Sometimes people benefit, sometimes they lose. Our investment will not reap a financial bounty, but we have adored living here every day of every year. No one can put a price tag on contentment.
You ask WHY are we selling? We are older retirees, and it is time to let go, move on and live in a place that can care for us the rest of our lives. Having watched my beloved mother refuse to leave her home of 60+ plus years, we experienced the agony of her end of life care, in addition to her being 500 miles away from my sister and me. We both vowed we would not put our children through that worrisome, demanding challenge. When my sister’s husband died several years ago, she moved to a wonderful retirement facility in Milwaukee, and now we are doing the same in our city. We have paid every dollar of the entrance fee, and we are now required to pay the monthly maintenance fee. However, since our “cottage” is still being renovated, we will be given a credit for the monthly maintenance fee, until our place is ready. Being financially responsible for two homes is a stretch, especially for most all retirees. The silver lining, however, is that once we do move, we are guaranteed life time care… a blessing of the highest order. It is also the “best gift older people can give to their children.” We are so glad we won’t worry about being a burden to our far-flung family.
We thought our house would sell in a wink, but suddenly market trends have proved otherwise. An article in last Sunday’s newspaper reported that there are bidding wars in counties closer to our city, and many first-time buyers are standing in line to buy “starter” homes. Our realtor says that years ago people yearned for country living, thus creating Urban Sprawl. Now, the trend is to move closer to work, to the amenities afforded by city life: walking distance of the shopping center, various restaurants or the movies. We are indeed creatures of change and unpredictability.
Luckily, nothing lasts forever, and one day before too long this adventure will end. In the meantime, we have learned a valuable lesson:
SITTING ON AN EGG takes patience. We may think we are willing to wait, but we are human and we want everything to happen in our own time frame. Life intervenes. We are reminded once again we are not in control of many events in our lives. Rather, we must be calm, cool and serene. When I start to twitch at the thought of dropping everything to scrub a bathroom or push a vacuum, I think of a mother hen and of April the Giraffe. One can never be too old to find inspiring role models! One must be flexible, undergird endurance and remember the old adage, “this too, shall pass”….either the happy or the difficult times.
BUT HARK!! Can you believe yesterday morning the phone rang with delightful news? Our realtor told us that an offer was made. By the end of the day, we had a contract to sell to a perfectly wonderful couple who fell head over heels in love with our “dated” house. Ironically, the husband is the hand surgeon who meticulously repaired my shattered broken wrist and arm last June. He is one of the kindest, nicest doctors I have ever known….and now, he and his wife, my husband and I share the mutual delight of loving the same house.
Our gestation period of two months and three weeks felt tedious. But hey, it has almost ended. Once the required inspections are complete, I can drop my OCD tendencies, start sorting and planning what goes with us to “feather our new nest.” There is a moral to this story: Sitting on an Egg for however long it takes to produce positive, joyful results is worth the effort!
Older age, if we are lucky to experience it, presents changes. Some are welcome, some are iffy.
Some are necessary, like it or not. Last week, before all traces of Christmas were tucked back into our attic, the phone rang. “Hi, it is Beth from Cedarfield,” the marketing director of the chosen retirement facility. Our name has been on the waiting list for twenty months. “There is a cottage available for you and Mr. Nevin. Can you come see it tomorrow?” Gulp! Torrent of mixed emotions.
We went, we saw, we accepted…it is the right thing to do, the right time to say “yes” and the right time to leave our Happy Ever After til the Nursing Home house. We know it. In March John turns 82 and on February 1, I am 79 years old, although I will swear that my birth certificate is wrong! Thank heavens we are vertical; we do not have urgent health issues since John’s back surgery this past fall. In spite of working many hours last summer with marvelous professional downsizer gals who cleaned out our attic, basement “black hole,” extraneous stuff from the kitchen, laundry room, books from the library, etc. etc. they did not touch the “treasures.” This is the hard part, and will take much willpower, determination and straight thinking to sort, to save or to sell.
Local friends with married local offspring say, “Give your things to your children.” Our four chickies, plus married grandchildren are scattered from Seattle, Boston, Connecticut, North Carolina, Delaware…and unless they come here to get what they want, our goodies will be consigned or donated. Moving furniture across the country is costly. Besides, many Millennials are not partial to antiques. They don’t want to polish silver, they don’t want to dust tables loaded with knickknacks. They crave simplicity in their hectic lives. They want uncluttered, wide open, new spaces. A different era than 1957 when we were married.
A few days ago our realtor and his girl Friday arrived to measure the house. A lovely team who worked with us when we sold our other house and built this one. We trust them completely. January is not the optimum time to sell a house, but at least in Virginia the “early season” begins mid-February. Our final payment for the retirement cottage is due in full after all repairs and remodeling are complete… sometime in April. No house sells quickly if it is empty. Data supports that fact. And since this is our 14th move, there are few scenarios we have not experienced. We have not, however, ever moved to a house half the size of the current one.
In addition, we have never worked with a “stager,” that faceless, impersonal person hired by the realtor to rearrange a house, turning it into a blah box with minimal furniture and few personal items. Never suggested to us. “Staging” became popular during the last ten to fifteen years. The concept is to make the “bones” of a house visible without undue distraction. Staging allows potential buyers to see a house as absent of an owner’s personality as possible. Friends have said it feels quite invasive to have a stranger invade and denude a favorite room.
Perchance, the process is the first step in “letting go” of one’s home. Perhaps it is healthy. Perhaps it will force us to realize this edifice is merely a building, rather than a place called “home,” where we have spent many happy years. Perhaps, staging makes it emotionally easier to move forward.
In Joy of Retirement – Live, Love and Learn, I write about Living the Cup Half Full Life. “Taped to the cupboard over my computer is a dog-eared piece of paper…it says:
Attitude, to me, is more important than facts, than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people say, think or do.
It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company, family relationship or home.
The remarkable thing is that we have a choice every morning regarding the attitude we will embrace that day.
We can’t change the past.
We can’t change the fact people will act in a certain way.
We can’t change the inevitable.
The only thing we can do is play the one card we have.
And that is attitude.
I am convinced that life is 10% what happens and 90% how I handle it.”
Thus, when and if the time comes in life for the Ultimate Move, let us assume the very best Attitude we can practice. It is the very best gift we can give ourselves and those we love, and the very happiest ingredient in life for accepting change with grace. May the reward be a path to forever contentment.
Stay tuned: I promise to let you know if I can “practice what I preach!”
As we walk outdoors to inhale the crisp fresh air, we see autumn all around us. Fluttering leaves, gently dropping off the trees, colors fading, shorter days and cooler nights. Change is all around us. It is the one constant in this journey called life. Those of us who have retired, have watched our children grow up and become adults, raising their own families. We have bid goodbye to our corporate careers. Ready or not, we are challenged to look closely at where we live, what our future needs will be, and how to make changes for ourselves that will least impact our adult children.
We may think that we are perfectly capable of managing big houses, yards, pools, and stairs. But that is foolish. Instead, we need to realize that we have too much property and probably too many possessions. We need to downsize. We need to let go of “stuff,” to prepare for the move, and to go through this process leisurely and as painlessly as possible. Waiting until the last minute when the moving van is already in the driveway makes no sense.
While my husband and I consider ourselves healthy, except for a few joint or back issues, we decided to be pro-active. Our name has been on a list for over a year at a lovely retirement facility where we hope to move into a cottage, rather than an apartment. The wait is long for a cottage, as they are fewer and in greater demand. Having observed the frenzy and angst of friends who had to hurry up and downsize after receiving the call to move, we decided to begin now.
Luckily, we hired a team of wonderful young women whose leader founded a business geared to help with the downsizing process. Kristen Zigler, owner of MINIMA in Richmond, Virginia, is a trained architect and downsizing specialist. She has a natural gift for organization, evaluating space, and, most importantly, working with her clients. She is sensitive to the emotion associated with letting go of precious things. She gently leads her clients to make decisions, to evaluate what is critical to their lives. Her competent team can look at a room, an attic, or a basement, and discern how to dispose of heaps of “stuff.” Even after keeping our house for 59 years and moving 12 times during my husband’s corporate career, I have been stunned and awed by watching them work. The day that Kristen gave me a pile of papers to sort from a basement desk produced a surprise – my 1953-1954 College Entrance Exam Practice Test booklet. Now, who would have thought that after all these moves all over the country and even to Canada, this treasure would surface?
Help in downsizing, such as the service that Kristen provides, is not cheap, but for most people is worth every penny. In our case, she and her staff have hauled away bags and bags and bags of usable stuff for donating to Good Will and other worthy charitable organizations. So far, we have not opted to sell anything, but that time will come when we tackle furniture. They have put all our CDs and DVDs into binders, thus eliminating the need for the original cases and boxes. Instead of six cupboards of music and DVDs, only one or two cupboards are in use. Eventually, we will digitize all family photos, and make copies for all four of our married children. Twenty six bags of books have found new homes, and we have kept only those nearest and dearest to our hearts.
Whenever family members visit (we have four married children, nine grandchildren and one great-grandson), I tell them to walk around the house and decide what appeals to them. I keep a notebook, a page per person. Together we write down what each one loves and would genuinely enjoy having. So far this is working well. And so far there is not pressure from us to take anything that I might consider a family heirloom. I recognize that the era of sterling silver and beautiful linens has passed, and treasures for one generation may be junk for another.
Recently I read an article in the Wall Street Journal presenting the horrors of baby boomer parents “stealthily dumping” possessions onto their adult children. Opportunity to evoke resentment? Of course! How presumptuous that is, and how thoughtless. Better to donate to the Salvation Army or Good Will where someone will unearth an unexpected treasure that will be truly appreciated. For important pieces, find a reputable antique dealer or collector who will try to sell your unneeded items. Remember, there is always eBay, Craigslist, and garage sales.
But, letting go is hard. Change is hard. All the dynamics of later life and moving into another home are fraught with deep emotion. Adult children should offer empathy for their parents. Perhaps my husband and I are lucky since our children experienced change early in life. We presented each move as an adventure.
My advice is to take advantage of all the help you can find. Gently remind yourself and your families to listen without judging. Don’t fault your adult child or your parent because he or she doesn’t see things through your lens. Instead, reach out with a hug and an understanding smile. After all, if we are lucky and healthy enough, we will all learn how to adjust.
One of the most beautiful aspects of growing older is the opportunity to review our lives to date, with the wisdom of age. We can look back at our many years on earth and think how gradually life evolves. From the naivety of youth, to the reality of older age, we travel a long and winding path. Some of it is bumpy and some of it is smooth, but it is never even. Contemplate “What I Would Tell My Younger Self.” You may be surprised how much you have learned.
Write down your ideas. You may have an opportunity to share them. Perhaps these thoughts will inspire a new reality check. Because we live in an ever-changing world, it is inevitable that youth views life from a very different vantage point than we seniors do. There may be differences, but many similarities as well. Talk to yourself, and see what you would do differently or better or smarter.
Of utmost importance is: Understand that if you are young, you have not lived long enough to accumulate profound wisdom, which comes from living, learning and suffering, whether it be on a small or large scale. You are a “work in progress,” and that is how life is meant to be. You go from being a dependent child, nurtured and cared for by (hopefully) loving parents to being a student preparing to make your own way in the world. You may be filling your head with knowledge acquired from books, lectures, professors, teachers and grandparents. Your experiential life is still just beginning.
After graduating from college, trade school or serving in the military, learn to live independently. Learn to handle your own finances, pay your own rent and taxes, shop for your own groceries, and start a savings plan. Learn to live on a budget and balance your checkbook each month. These basic skills will reap life-long benefits. Save love and marriage for later: in your middle to late twenties at least, if a family is what you want to complete your life. Be cautious in your selection of a mate. Passion is great, but it doesn’t pay the bills or make wise decisions.
Keep your mind open. Youth typically feels they have “all the answers” thus slamming shut the door on experiences of others. Listen respectfully to the suggestions from elders, even if they sound archaic. Ask questions as to how they coped with difficulties encountered during their youth. Listen, absorb, and embrace the sage advice of your elders. Sift through what makes sense to you, engage in a dialogue about what bothers you. You just may gain another perspective.
Welcome a mentor…a person on the job or in another area of life whose values you admire, and whose expertise may help you grow. Always seek people who will enrich your thinking and your attitude toward life in general. Always observe the successes of others, both as people and as leaders. Learn from them.
When job loss or heartbreak make you feel as if a tsunami has slammed you against the shore, give yourself little time to wallow. Instead, pick yourself up, go forward and remember Admiral Farragut’s famous words as he embarked upon the Battle of Mobile Bay: “Damm the torpedoes, full speed ahead!” Teach yourself to be resilient. Do not wallow in self -pity. Look for the opportunity to grow even among unwanted difficulties that are inevitable as we take the journey of life.
Always remember to say “thank you.” Always remember to reach out and away from yourself. Always remember to imagine how someone else might feel, and be compassionate. Always give of yourself, and always find time to do something for someone less fortunate than yourself. Always “give” without expectation of receiving anything in return.
And if you are a parent or a spouse, love selflessly. Remember that babies grow up all too quickly, and that your children are yours only for a brief time. Kindergarten is the first step to letting go; realize that your baby is exposed to many other people who will influence her or him. Love your children with understanding, a sense of humor and always, always try to be consistent with your affection as you strive to set meaningful limits.
Imagine how your words can impact another person before you say them. Never be mean. Give sincere and heartfelt compliments when deserved. Don’t be stingy with them. Remember that superficiality is readily discernible. Be genuine in all your interactions with family, friends and co-workers, and if someone annoys you, try to ignore the reason why.
When someone is hurtful or unkind to you, recognize that angst may be generated by a deep seeded hurt in that person. Forgive. Follow the Golden Rule even when your feelings are hurt. Practice good manners and never be rude, in thought, word, or deed. Open the door for a person in front of or behind you. Never let it slam in their faces.
Enjoy your youth. Exercise regularly….all your life. Keep your mobility, your desire to stay fit. Being young is a uniquely beautiful time of life, and it only comes to you once. Don’t be afraid to take a risk. Do the best with it that you are able. Take off your blinders of innocence, open wide your eyes to growing better every day of your life….even unto the end of it. Count your blessings every single day. And never take them for granted. Love and be worthy of love.
Sooner or later when you near retirement, the subject of where to live pops up. So many things to consider. Perhaps for the first time in many years you have a choice rather than a mandate of where to live. Those working in some professions may have been able to chose their home city. Big corporations, however, are notorious for selecting where employees live…and it may not always be in a city or town of our choosing. Because jobs are the key to earning a living, workers are compelled to follow the paycheck trail.
Happily, the Retirement Era opens many doors, allowing us to make our own decisions. But it is up to us to give serious thought about our Happy-Ever-After location. Take your time and contemplate the whole picture. Make a list of the pros and cons of making a move or staying put. Think carefully about what you want to gain or what you are willing to sacrifice if you move. Remember, for most people, retirement is a big adjustment in itself.
First thing to consider is how much income you will have each year. Compute your annual expenses based upon where you currently live, such as the cost of maintaining your house or condo, the cost of living, your taxes, your insurance costs, etc.
If you decide that you can afford to stay put, decide if you like the weather. Many “Yankees” head south during the winter months to Florida or Arizona or even the Caribbean. Some lucky people can afford to buy another house and keep their main residence where they may have lived for many years. However, many retirees do not have overflowing bank accounts.
Carefully consider the future as you age and realize that your health may become a problem. Do you live in a place offering excellent medical facilities and retirement homes that are well staffed with trained professionals? When you are newly retired, you may feel young and vibrant, and that is great. However, times change, hips give out, knees may need replacement, to say nothing of requiring heart surgery or cancer treatments. A healthy mind and body are paramount to quality living.
Many people think that if they move closer to their grownup children their lives will be easier and simpler. Never forget that as much as parents and children love each other, our adult children have busy, active lives of their own. In today’s world, they are not meant to be our caretakers. They are meant to enhance our lives and live their own lives. We are meant to provide for ourselves as best and as long as we can. Decide if your supportive network of friends can nurture you BEFORE you sell your home, uproot your life and zip off to live next door to your daughter or son.
Choose where to live according to how it can impact your interests. If you love the theater and the symphony, don’t move to the hills of Montana or the backwoods of Maine. If you love to learn, consider auditing classes at the art museum, a city college or university. If you like to volunteer, be near good hospitals or charities that will gladly welcome your services. Consider how vital it is for you to remain independent and vibrant for the foreseeable future. Concentrate on how important it is to give of yourself and your own talents as long and as generously as possible.
Remember how blessed you are to have earned the freedom and flexibility of retirement years. Appreciate how lucky you are to have the option of making choices. Embrace how exciting it can to be to continue to Live, Love and Learn. Mostly, remember how wonderful it is always to help Spread the Joy of being alive!