Month: March 2015

Looking for a Good Book to Read?

Looking for a Good Book to Read?

Aging Abundantly book clubAging Abundantly Book Club Update

The Aging Abundantly Book Club on Facebook is going strong.  We currently have 221 members and always welcome more! It’s a closed group and I monitor it to make sure that there are no unsavory characters lurking about, or spammers.  In the past we have selected a group book and collectively read and discussed it. This month we are enjoying choosing a book individually and sharing it with the group. Mini-groups are forming around multiple books and it seems to be working really well . Some people read faster than others, and tastes vary so there’s more involvement. Thank you all who participate it and keep it a lively and interesting place to visit!

Here are a few of the books we’ve read and have been reading. Join our Facebook book club group and read what members are saying about them. (To join: Follow the link above and request membership. I will add you in!)

Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, death, and hope in a Mumbai undercity by Katherine Boo

You’ll Enjoy It When You Get There: The Stories of Elizabeth Taylor (New York Review Books Classics)

I Will Not Live An Unlived Life: Reclaiming Passion and Purpose by Dawna Markova


Still Alice by Lisa Genova

The Invention of Wings: With Notes (Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 3) by Sue Monk Kidd


The Goldfinch: A Novel (Pulitzer Prize for Fiction) by Donna Tartt

The Girl on the Train: A Novel by Paula Hawkins

Where’d You Go, Bernadette: A Novel by Maria Semple

My Friend the Sea – A Meditation

My Friend the Sea – A Meditation

Meditation

I love the beach. Who doesn’t? Who in their right mind anyway *smile*.  I am so ready to get out into the wide open sunshine, and to pay a visit to my friend, the sea. I know there are some who don’t care for the sand that gets into shoes and beach bags, but I find it impossible not to get lost in the sensation of it squishing between my toes as I walk the beach, flirting with the sea as it rises and falls.

There’s a rhythm to the ocean that lulls me, calls me, rocks me gently and insistently into my soul place. I drift away without effort, getting lost in the magnitude of its ever present ebbing and flowing, rising and falling, expanding and retracting. It beckons me to meld my spirit with it, to learn what lessons it has to teach me, to grow in my understanding that I too rise and fall, expand and contract, ebb and flow.

We are not rigid, consistent, structured, orderly creatures, we human beings. So why do we try so desperately to be so? Endlessly we seem driven to tame our spirits into submission, to create a reliable, solid, predictable foundation upon which to stand, immobile, unflinching. In doing so we contradict our very life force, a force that must breathe, must rise and fall, must know loud expression and silence, bold action and inaction, dancing wildly and praying softly. Our spirit must be allowed to soar to the highest heights and fade away into nothingness. When we remember that we are like the sea we become more flexible in our dealings with life, more resilient, more graceful, more soul driven, buoyed by our connection to all that is, resting in the knowledge that we are not alone.

A MEDITATION: Close your eyes and imagine the sea. Smell the salty air, the breeze on your face as it cools your skin, the sound of the waves as they roll closer and closer, reaching, stretching, longing to touch your toes; then…listen to the release as each wave relents in its effort to come to shore, falling away, the sound growing fainter and fainter until it is gone.  Are the waves sorrowful when they do not reach you? Do you yearn to run after them, to reach out and take hold of their force and power? Just notice what you are feeling. Don’t think. Continue to breathe in with the rise of each wave and breathe out as they fall. Feel your body swell like the waves with each inhale. Then, release your breath. Allow the air as it is released to co-mingle with each receding wave. Notice your breath as it ebbs and flows. Release your stress, your sadness, your striving, give it over to the receding wave and feel it wash out into the sea. Release what does not serve you, give it over to the tides. Lean into the ebb and flow of your imaginary ocean. Notice that you hold the same expansiveness within you, the same ability to release and let go. Take in, let go. Take in and let go.

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GOING GYPSY or How to Escape Old Age & Survive

GOING GYPSY or How to Escape Old Age & Survive

I have followied Veronica and David James of Gypsynester fame since they first flew the empty nest and ventured into the world of life ongypsynester the road. I admired there chutzpah and their sense of humor, not to mention their upbeat outlook on life. It was a breath of fresh air. Life seem more than hard from where I sat and I was curious to see how tossing all one’s cares away would all play out. A very big part of me was wishing I was doing the same thing! I so wanted to escape old age!

Back then, when boomers everywhere were trying to figure out the next phase of life, the internet created an opportunity for us to be privy to some really awesome adventures, and courageous folks telling their stories in vivid detail. If you weren’t one of the lucky ones to read David and Veronica’s blogs along the way, you’ll love their new book, Going Gypsy: One Couple’s Adventure from Empty Nest to No Nest at All. Humor always prevails in their world and they both have the gift of the story teller. It’s a delightful, page turning adventure complete with pictures.

Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy. Then scurry on over to their website and sign on for further adventures. I promise you, you won’t be disappointed.

Going Gypsy: One Couple’s Adventure from Empty Nest to No Nest at All

by David and Veronica James

AVAILABLE ON AMAZON

FOLLOW David and Veronica on Twitter and Facebook. 

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DO YOU HAVE THE TRAVEL BUG?

You’ll enjoy learning about Carefree RV Resorts

 

Carefree RV Resorts – An Affordable Vacation

Carefree RV Resorts – An Affordable Vacation

Thank you Carefree Resorts for sponsoring today’s post and giving me the opportunity to talk about your new lifestyle program in CA, TX, and FL! 

I was more than excited to discover Carefree RV Resorts and their new Carefree lifestyle program when they contacted me to participate in this campaign. I don’t accept every offer I receive. In fact, I accept very few, but this one hit a nerve. My husband and I have talked endlessly about traveling one day. We don’t have high expectations or long for expensive overseas adventures, we just want to spend some serious time exploring our own beautiful country at ground level. Taking to the road with a small RV trailing behind seems like nirvana. Carefree RV Resorts are both affordable and appealing.

Carefree Resorts

Carefree RV Resorts are not your cookie cutter RV Parks. They’re customer focused and each resort has a unique flavor tied to the local community and nearby attractions.  Enjoy creek fishing at Florida’s Homosassa River RV Resort and Shell Creek RV Resort or live it up in at the luxurious 5-star Horseshoe Cove RV Resort with its private island park and lighted fishing pier. For us, a vacation on the ocean at one of Carefree’s seaside parks sounds like a slice of heaven, such as Pelican in the Florida Keys or Campers Haven on the Nantucket Sound in Massachusetts.

No matter which park you choose, the Carefree lifestyle program provides plenty of activities, amenities and opportunities for learning, social involvement and an active lifestyle.  Opportunities to learn something new are available at each resort, like how to use your new iPad, or learn to play the guitar. If you love meeting new people, community opportunities are abundant.

Carefree RV Resort Daytoa Beach Walking The Dog-78ff8a30

Carefree Resorts just launched the Carefree Lifestyle Program designed especially for active seniors, which is why they came to me to spread the word. It sounds amazing. A complete new line up of activities, classes, events and clubs, there’s something for everyone. Back in the day when we were hard at work all we wanted to do on vacation was sleep and read a book. Now, we’re looking for a little more action and involvement. We’re eager to learn new things, meet new people while still enjoying some downtown away from our routine at home.

Carefree Lifestyle

Carefree Communities has over 21,000 sites at 79 properties across North America, and they’re still growing. While the majority of the communities are located in Florida, Carefree also has properties in Ontario, Canada, Texas, North Carolina, New Jersey, Massachusetts, California and Arizona. In addition to their RV parks, they have manufactured homes to rent or purchase. If you vacation with your children or grandchildren you will enjoy their locations that are family centered.

Experience Carefree Resorts yourself by taking advantage of their “Start Your Journey with a Passport to Savings” offer, stay 3 nights and get one free! We plan to, and I’ll let you know all about our experience after we do.

Carefree Communities

Carefree offers fun and engaging events, such as Carefree’s Got Talent in Lakeland Florida, that is held every March. Each park in Florida has the opportunity to participate and the winner of the talent show wins $250 and a ticket to the finale show for the chance to win $5,000. A free event, it includes lunch and drinks. Leading up to the event they raise money for Disabled American Veterans, collecting over 15K this year and hoping to reach 25K in donations!

 

Not Doing

Not Doing

Photo by Allison Trentelman
Photo by
Allison Trentelman

We are miserable not-doers in this increasingly fast- paced world. No wonder old age terrifies us! We can’t imagine “not doing”, so programmed to do, do, do. Most of our lives have been spent focused on activities of one sort or another. Even with our offspring, most parents of our generation and our parent’s generation were bound and determined to make them exceptionally good “doers”.  Indeed, doers were honored with degrees, monetary wealth, and a resume the length of your arm. We’re still doing it. How many over-fiftiers are desperately searching for something meaningful “to do”?

How does one get comfortable with not-doing? Do we even really see any value in it?  In my last post I talked about the in-between times and not-doing is exactly what’s required of us during those important times when we just don’t know who we are or what direction to head. Our inclination to do leads to filling up our time and space with random activities and endless mental gymnastics, most of which, if you’re like me, amount to beating ourselves up for not doing.

It’s a conundrum. It is inevitable, if we choose to be realistic, that the older we get, the less up and at ’em doing we’ll be doing. There are those who are revered by the media and those of us who read and spread the news, like the seventy seven year old Ernestine Shepherd who lifts weights like a thirty year old man, or Diana Nyad who swam from Cuba to Florida at sixty four. Most of us will never measure up to these women with our physical prowess, but the underlying message is prevalent among aging women in America and beyond that if we are not “doing” we are not of value.

If we are not doing in some form or another, how do we value our existence? What if we sit in a chair and stare out of the window for an hour, or a day, does that not have value? What if we never bake another cake for a charity event, or gather food for the homeless, is it possible for us to still have value? I bore witness to the last half of my mother’s life and she was relentless in compiling and executing to-do lists. She didn’t feel right in her skin unless she had a project under way. My father the same way. Both died feeling in many ways unfulfilled and not good enough.

I run into women every day, online and off, who are unhappy, dissatisfied, restless, uninspired, anxious, despairing and totally convinced they have no value. They deride themselves because they don’t have a degree, or an important job, or their art hanging in a gallery, or a published book, or three grandchildren, or enough money in the bank. How many of us live every day dissatisfied with who we are and what we have?

We get a little smarter as we get older. We care a little less about the kudos and accolades that we sought after in our youth, but I’m pretty sure most of us feel, at least from time to time, like we’re not “measuring up” in the way we are handling the aging process. How should we be measuring ourselves?

At the first of the year I posted my Windows to Wisdom. I’ve been writing and re-writing this little piece for a couple of years. I don’t know that I’m settled exactly on what I have down now, but it’s a summary of the things I’ve come to value as I age, and yet each and every one of them is a kind of “doing” thing, but the kind of doing whose results can’t really be measured by anyone but ourselves. They are non-doing doing things that require no particular physical skill or worldly outcome. They are non-doing challenges that help us improve the quality of our lives on the inside.

If we have to do, if we just can’t stop doing, and I’m not altogether sure that we can or should, let’s measure ourselves not by externals, but by what we are doing on the inside. Furthermore, let’s measure our success by how regularly we focus our attention on developing our wisdom, not on outcomes. Wisdom, like love, spills over. It just can’t help it.

Aging Abundantly Blogs in a Book

Aging Abundantly Blogs in a Book

Best of Aging Abundantly BookBlog posts can pile up and get lost online. I’ve had many requests for an ebook version of the blogs I’ve been posting since 2010 anReleasedd I’ve finally managed to put one together. It’s the first of two volumes. At some point, depending on the length, I plan to make it available as one volume on Kindle and if there is a demand in paperback as well.

It feels as though I’ve come to the end of an era. It’s not that I’ve written everything there is for me to write on the topic of aging, but I’ve gotten past the shock and awe of the midlife adjustments. I’m pretty sure I will never stop questioning and evaluating the process of getting old, but that something significant that happens at midlife, when you change from being young and looking toward the future with hope and anticipation, to someone who values congruence, wisdom and depth in all things seems to be complete, insofar as anything like that is ever complete. My thoughts and writings on the process between then and now are contained in these blogs. Now, I will be leaning into the process of what is next to learn on this part of my journey.

If you are entering midlife, or anywhere along the continuum of becoming a bearer of wisdom, you may enjoy reading this book blogs. Perhaps it will give you food for thought for your own journey, or at the very least, provide you with a companion along the way. I always welcome feedback and alternate perspectives. These things are a work in progress, always.

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