Tag: Aging Abundantly

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

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. 

——————————————————————-

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.

DOWNLOAD YOUR COPY

 

Do You Really Know What You Believe?

Do You Really Know What You Believe?

 “Not all those who wander are lost.”  ― J.R.R. Tolkien
“Not all those who wander are lost.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien

One belief, wrongly held, can cast a shadow over one’s entire life.
What do you believe? Do you know what’s driving you?

Over the last decade in my work with women over fifty, I have heard said countless times, “I don’t feel that way anymore”, and “I don’t worry about that anymore. It’s just not important.” The process of self-evaluation seems to begin in earnest as we begin to feel our bodies entering the “maturing woman” phase of life. There is a clear moment in time when we are forced to accept that we are no longer “young” and in our youth driven society that can come as quite a shock! I see it as a gift.

A shock of any kind can be just what we need to shake us out of our complacency. It forces us to ask the hard questions, to look at what we believe to be true at the most fundamental level. When we ask these questions, when we look deep inside of ourselves and ask, “who am I?” and “what do I believe” we set in motion a tidal wave of change.

Our lives cannot change unless we change…on the inside. This does not always appear to be the easiest option! We think it’s so much easier to just tolerate our discomfort, or change externals to alleviate our dis-ease. We imagine that if we get a new job, a new house, a new spouse, a new blouse all will be well. Has that ever worked for you in the long run? It hasn’t for me.

The bottom line is that to live a congruent, energy filled life as we age it is necessary to line up our insides with our outsides. In other words, we have to get in touch with our fundamental beliefs and values and start living them. I believe we are all challenged to do this, if by nothing else than our pain and suffering, for when we are living and acting in contrast to our fundamental values, we will suffer.

What questions need asking?

Knowing what questions to ask often comes along with whatever difficulty we are facing. When my mother was in the last years of her life a conflict arose in my family as to where she should live. I wanted to bring her home to live with my husband and me. My four siblings wanted her to stay put in the retirement home. My mother gave me every indication that she wanted to live with us, was, in fact, desperate to get out of the retirement home and get back into a more comfortable home environment, but, it was very clear she would not ask directly for this, nor would she advocate for herself. It was left to me to decide whether or not I should act counter to the rest of the family. It was a touch place to be as I hurt deeply for my mother. I understood her sense of isolation and loneliness. I wanted nothing more than to ease her pain, but there would be serious consequences. It was time for me to dig deep and wrestle with what I believed at the deepest level. Here are some of the questions I asked myself:

  • Is it worth creating a rift with my siblings that could cause long after my mother was gone?
  • Was my perspective of the situation of any more value and importance than my siblings?
  • Am I responsible for my mother’s happiness?
  • Is her happiness more important than my own?

I came to recognize that while I value family and doing what we can for those we love to ease their pain, they alone are responsible for their happiness, as am I for my own. Happiness is an inside job. Contentment is an inside job. As harsh as it sometimes sounds, even now, the seeds of my mother’s despair were sowed throughout her lifetime. I could never fix that, nor did I want the responsibility for it anymore.

Asking the question is the first and most important step.

When we look closer at an area of our lives that is causing us distress and pose a question that does not contain the word “do” (i.e. what should I do), or have person’s name attached to it, (i.e. what is Johnny’s real issue), then we are getting closer to the question that needs to be asked. You may want to begin by asking, “what do I believe to be true for me in this situation” and what are my underlying beliefs and values about this situation. Formulating the deepest, richest question you can find will take you in the direction of your answer and your resolution.