Little Miss Sunshine

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Did you know a smile can increase your face value? Well, not really, but I’ve got your attention now don’t I?

So much can be read in a person’s face – their happiness and sorrow; their shock and surprise. When we attempt to cover up our feelings, we are doing an injustice not only to the person we’re conversing with but also to ourselves.

Even though the world, at times, seems like it’s spinning out of control, just take a moment to breathe… and smile!*

*it can’t hurt…

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Can We Talk?

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The more time I spend with older people the more I realize that their greatest fear is being alone. Not just physically alone but having to fill up to 12 hours a day with something other than silence. 

Many elders are widows/widowers and some are just not very good at socializing. It’s amazing how happy a simple conversation can make someone when there’s not much else going on in their life.

So, next time you see someone sitting alone on a bench or staring off into space, try interacting with that person and you might both feel better!

Savor Every Moment

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Getting ‘old’ is hard work. Not only do you have to think about yourself but, if you’re lucky enough to be in a relationship, you also have to think about that other person.

When you’re young, you’re much more self-centered and tend to feel immortal. As you age and your body fails to keep up the pace, you start to look at things in a different light. Suddenly, life has an expiration date and you cherish things more because it might be your last time doing or seeing them.

So, savor every moment and don’t take anything or anyone for granted!

 

ALL Lives Matter

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As yet another September 11th approaches, with a 3-hour televised reading-of-names, we should be asking ourselves why (even after 15 years) these particular lives seem to matter more than others. Regardless of your beliefs about destiny and happenstance or your definition of a true hero, there has never been an event in history that has been as publicly commemorated as this one.

September 11th is now part of our history and our culture – alongside two World Wars, too many genocides and the Holocaust. But we have never before dedicated a single day, every year, to publicly name those millions of people who have perished. Didn’t their lives matter, too?

Tragedy and heartbreak come in many forms – death from disease, arson, shootings, car and plane crashes. Who are we to decide whose death is more horrific or more memorable? We ALL matter both in life and in death. Isn’t it possible that the 9/11 families are not so much ‘honoring’ their dead as making their own lives (and losses) matter more?

New York has renamed countless bridges and streets in honor of politicians, policemen and even sports figures. The 9/11 Memorial, in its entirety, takes up much of downtown Manhattan. Since when isn’t a ‘moment of silence’ – generally heard around the world – enough?

I’ve always felt bad for people born on September 11th. How do you celebrate your special day when there’s such sadness all around? Do children innocently ask their parents why THEIR names aren’t being read aloud? Everyone grieves in a different way but most observances are kept private.

There’s a time and a place for remembrance of all kinds. But I believe it’s up to individuals to take on that personal burden if they so choose. We will never forget the events of September 11,2001. But isn’t the whole point for us to move ON and look FORWARD to a brighter future?

 

Feel Calmer Today

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I don’t know about you but I’ve always found Classical music to be extremely soothing. Maybe it’s because it’s my livelihood (being a classically trained musician) or maybe it’s just that there really is, in my opinion, no other genre of music quite as beautiful.

Brahms and Beethoven have always been my personal favorites – whether I’m under the weather or upset or sad or just want some calm music playing in the background.

So, next time you’re feeling a little blue or just in need of a little pick-me-up, put down the comfort food and the caffeine, put on a pair of headphones and just chill!

Go For It

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I find it amusing the way some people are hung up on age. I embrace mine. It’s true that age is just a number. And, sure, some days I feel it more than others. But, all in all, I am fairly happy with this new stage of life.

Yesterday I went to the movies. I seldom go because it’s expensive and there isn’t really anything playing that I’m that excited about seeing. And, besides, in a few months time I know I can see it On Demand or, shortly thereafter, I can rent it at my local Redbox.

But this time when I went to the theater,  I just showed them my AARP card* and I got in for less than the bargain matinee price. I could also have saved on concessions but I’m a tried and true sneak-in-my-own-candy kinda girl. So get out that discount card and flash it proudly for all to see!

*For those who think you have to be 65 or older to be an AARP member, think again. The age requirement is only 50.

 

Oldies But Goodies

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Some hit songs of the 60’s and 70’s are being revised with new lyrics to accommodate the aging:

  • Herman’s Hermits: Mrs. Brown, You’ve Got A Lovely Walker
  • The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend A Broken Hip?
  • Bobby Darin: Splish, Splash, I Was Havin’ A Flash
  • Ringo Starr: I Get By With A Little Help From Depends
  • Roberta Flack: The First Time Ever I Forgot Your Face  
  • Commodores: Once, Twice, Three Times To The Bathroom
  • Leo Sayer: You Make Me Feel Like Napping

 

High Blood Pressure

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Few things in life naturally lower our blood pressure – but plenty can raise it. Between worrying about our health, our families, our pets, our friends, our careers, our finances… there’s little time left over to just ‘chill.’

There are numerous drugs on the market that will help keep BP at an even keel. Doctors tell us to give up almost all of the things that give us the most pleasure. “Everything in moderation,” they tell us. Yeah, and we’re also told to ‘just say no’ and ‘you can’t eat just one…’

But these are, literally, words to live by.

We should eat right, exercise, do yoga and/or meditate and all our troubles will magically disappear. Really? Just like that? Yet we continue to abuse our bodies – putting chemicals and additives and artificial coloring and preservatives into our system on a daily basis. We have little if no self control and, when we feel poorly, we blame everyone else but ourselves.

I, for one, do not have high blood pressure. I’m as stressed as the next person but I don’t keep things bottled up inside. I yell, I complain and… you know what? I feel better.

So, do what your doctor tells you and take meds if they’re recommended but the rest is up to you. Find something that calms you – I knit and I color. It relaxes me at the end of a long and stressful day. So does drinking a cup of hot tea and eating a whole lotta chocolate!

The Ultimate Lesson

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I never thought it would happen but it did… I got sick. Normally that wouldn’t be a catastrophic event except for the fact that I am currently my parents’ caretaker and I’m not supposed to get sick.

Who’s gonna take care of ME now?

Of course, all throughout my illness, my Mom kept asking if there was anything she could do for me but the last thing I wanted was for either of them to get sick, too. So, that’s my dilemma.

Mom was always my caretaker. Even after I left for college, she would tell me to come home if I got sick so that she could take care of me (like that was ever going to happen). And when I eventually got married and had a husband to take care of me, she still insisted on being there for me if at all possible.

I understand that feeling all too well because I hate it when my kids get sick. All I want to do is take the pain and misery away. It’s a mother’s curse. So, as I continue to avoid my parents while trying to prevent them from catching my germs, I learn the ultimate lesson… “Once you sign on to be a mother, that’s the only shift they offer.”*

*Jodi Picoult: My Sister’s Keeper

High School Reunions

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Reunions are a great time to take stock of how fortunate you really are. A lot of people use these occasions to see how well (or not) their ‘friends’ fared. We take pride in looking thinner (women), hairier (men) and less wrinkled (both) than our contemporaries. It doesn’t matter the circumstances that brought them to that state – we’re always quick to ‘judge a book by its cover.’

Abraham Lincoln wrote: “In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” Elderly people understand this sentiment. The rest of us, sorry to say, do not. Or at least not yet…

Older people rarely regret things they did. They only regret things they didn’t do. When you’re younger you feel invincible and think there will always be tomorrow. But, sadly, sometimes tomorrow never comes. What then?

You try to live each day as if it’s your last, you try to be kind and compassionate toward others and you never, ever (as my grandmother always said) go out without first applying lipstick and a little blush!

 

FYI… my Mom is the dark-haired beauty in the back row, second from the left!