Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming – “WOW – What a Ride!” -Anon.
Apparently I am a very late bloomer. Sometime around my 60th birthday I finally got an inkling that grabbing the gusto was what Life was really all about and I’d better get on with it. I found my bravery gene and my adventurous soul finally began to emerge. Oh, I’d had my share of adventures, but the last few years have taught me to look for the joy and the adventure in every experience. Savor the moments, step out of your comfort rut and try new things when the opportunity comes your way. I’m pretty sure adventure is the juice that keep us young. You don’t have to ride a camel across the desert to find fun and adventure. Adventure is what you make it. Close to home or across the globe, there are so many fun ways to enjoy an afternoon, a day, or a long weekend. The list is endless, but here are my current favorites…
1. Start a regular date night practice. It can be with the hubby, significant other or fun friends. Hubs and I started this a few years ago on Friday nights. We take turns coming up with a plan. It’s fun to see who can be the most creative on a budget! I also have regular date nights with “the girls”.
2. Rent a canoe or kayak and go for a paddle. No experience or equipment required.
3. Unleash your inner Beyoncé. Go to a piano bar or sing karaoke.
4. Try Laughter Yoga. It’s good for the body and the soul. Laughter really is the best medicine.
5. Learn a new language. “Hola, mi nombre es Nancy. ¿Atienden vino aquí?”
6. Start a twalking group. My friend Judy came up with the word twalk and I thought it was a perfect! Walking + talking = twalking.
7. Listen to TED Talks and sign up for TEDx if your area has one.
8. Become more tech-savvy. Learn how to use all the features on your iphone or Droid.
9. Take more photos. Carrying your camera helps you slow down and see the beauty is in the details. I recently took a great online class with Tammy Strobel of Rowdy Kittens. Awesome!
10. Go dancing. When is the last time you kicked up your heels on the dance floor? Don’t have a partner? Try line dancing or Zumba.
11. Explore every one of your local museums. Even the button museum can be interesting.
12. Pick up a brochure at your local Visitors Center and spend the day like a tourist visiting the attractions you’ve never seen but always wanted to.
13. Rekindle a lost love. I’m talking about hobbies, sports, and other activities that you loved to do but somehow Life got in the way and you let them go. Why not pick up those skates, the knitting needles or the swim goggles and fall in love again?
15. Spend some time exploring the opportunities on HomeExchange.com.
16. If you are 55+ or better yet 62+ start taking advantage of the senior discounts. Last weekend we went to the Rose City Dog Show for FREE. We might not have gone it we had to pay $20 or $30 to get in. It was raining. It was indoors. It was free. It was a really fun experience. Who knew?
17. Pack up your dinner and take yourselves on a picnic.
19. Seek out and shop at your local Farmer’s Market. You feel healthier just being there.
20. Go geocaching. I can’t wait to try this when the weather warms up.
21. Volunteer at a senior center. Calling bingo is calling to me. I’m going to give it a try this year.
22. Connect with long lost friends. Facebook is a great place to start.
25. Sign up for a creative class. Not everyone is an artist but stepping out of your comfort zone in an easy supportive three-hour class is a great way to dip your toe. Clay, watercolor painting, photography, drawing, card making, lettering…the list of options is endless and its a great way to get out and meet other people. Look up classes through your local college or community center/parks and rec.
26. Spend the night (or the weekend) in an unusual lodging. How about a yurt at the beach, glamping, a vintage trailer, a treehouse, a rustic cabin, a historic hotel or B&B complete with breakfast and a resident ghost? Wherever you live, they are easy to find via the internet.
27. Try out your local vegan restaurant. Vegan food has changed since the 70’s. It’s gourmet good and good for you.
28. Take yourself on a walking tour in your town. This is one of my favorite activities on a warm summer day.
29. Glow in the dark bowling. Yah, baby!
30. Sign up to walk or run a 5K.
31. Throw yourself a birthday bash. Mine’s a biggie this year and I plan to celebrate all month.
32. Wear your tiara. Trust me on this.
33. Meet your neighbors. Invite them to dinner or throw a community party.
34. Not up for traveling across the globe this year? Explore the amazing ethnic communities in your area. Great shops, great food and lovely people. Take your camera!
35. Do something that scares the hell out of you but that you have always wanted to do.
36. If they are old enough, take a mini vacation with your grandkids – one at a time. Give them a list of places and let them choose. Take your camera!
38. Sell something on eBay. Hubs could give a class on this. It’s fun, you make a few bucks and you start clearing out the stuff.
39. Start writing your memoir. Really! There are easy online guides to get you started. You will be amazed at all of the adventures you can recall when you take time and look back. Savor them and share them. The wee ones will think you’re cool when you tell them about that time you rode on the back of a Harley up the California coast.
40. Take a helicopter ride over your city. Or a boat. Or the tram. It’ll give you a whole new perspective.
41. Buy coffee for the person in line behind you. You’ll feel good all day and so will they.
42. Start planning your own really big adventure! Make a list, cruise the internet, send for brochures, explore the options, start saving. Set a date!
What new adventures have you had lately? We’re always looking for a good time!
I’m kicking up my heels and drying out my webbed feet in sunny Palm Springs this week. There is nothing better than hanging with a flock of silver haired snowbirds to make you feel young. Last night we met Betty and her two girlfriends at the front desk. She’s my kind of gal. Sporting a bejewelled pink jean jacket, a crown of silver hair and a hearty laugh, this lovely lady is a role model for living and loving life. Betty is looking for fun and I’ll bet she even turns a couple of old foxes’ heads and gets called out for a whirl or two around the dance floor when they bring out the Tommy Dorsey cover band.
Click on the photo below to watch an awesome dance number. I think it’s time to dust off my dancing shoes. How about you?
Life is really about grabbing the gusto no matter your age or the color of your hair. To quote the lyrics of a favorite country song ~ “And when you have the chance to sit it out or dance… I hope you dance.”
Since I appear to be the only one working while all around me my peers are, one by one, slipping quietly into retirement, I still enjoy the simple pleasures of knowing which day of the week it actually is and feeling that wee spark of happiness when Friday finally rolls around again. Count your blessings…however small they may be.
Here’s what Mr. Ricky and I will be doing this weekend while hub’s watches football, football and more football – snuggling under the covers to stay warm and dreaming about all of the things that make us happy. Oh, and we’ll probably eat something tasty too.
Happiness is not a goal…it’s the by-product of a live well lived.
The mad march through the month of December is winding down at last. We tried to keep Christmas low-key this year and I think we succeeded pretty well. This blog is in part about re-evaluating our lifestyle as we approach our next adventure – retirement. We’re pondering the deep questions like how all the “stuff” we’ve acquired over the years will fit (or not) into our upcoming new lifestyle. We’re a couple of geezers on a new path and we’re loving the challenge and the change. This year we began the process releasing our attachment to things and instead looking for the magic in the moments of our lives rather than the next shiny thing. The most frequently asked question around our house these days is “Do we really need it? Will it fit in the backpack and rollie?” It’s a very interesting exercise and I highly recommend it, but it isn’t always easy.
This Christmas, after years of piling the presents high around the tree, it feels good to say that all we really need is family, friends, our health, and a few bucks to sustain us in our old age and keep us traveling. It’s been a year of exploring “the new/old ways” and the re-discovering the value of moments and memories vs. stuff. Taking photos with my little digital pocket camera helps me stop and pay closer attention to the tiny details that make our lives richer. You catch the hope in someone’s eyes, the playful smile in the joke, the hundreds of shades of grey in a Portland winter sky. Magical everyday moments I would likely take fore-granted and quickly forget. I’m hoping that in the year ahead both my skill and my camera will improve and my snapshots of our experiences will enrich these posts.
For now, I’m just grateful for the memories. Here are a few of my favorites from the past year. Taking a little quiet time this afternoon, I sat with a cup of tea and my laptop and experienced the magic of these moments all over again. Now that’s a real gift! May your moments be filled with great joy and grand adventures.
Happy New Year!
Cheers ~ Nancy
Ensconced in her window seat in the front of the plane, tray table down, sorting through all of the treasures she had stashed into two cotton carry bags, a most delightful slip of a woman looked up as I moved in to take the aisle seat. She smiled at me and her blue eyes twinkled. Wispy white hair peaked out from the sides of her knit cap and a fringed pom-pom danced on top. The word elf came to mind. I sensed this was going to be more of an adventure than my usual Portland to Phoenix flights and boy was I right.
Her name was Violet and when I sat down next to her on that flight a few years ago, she was 86 years old. She wasn’t an elf at all. She was a treasure and a very special gift.
For the next two hours and twenty minutes Violet regaled me with stories of her life and the wisdom of her years. She talked and talked. I listened and learned. For Violet, life had always been, and still was, one hell of a grand thrill ride. At 19, as a young war bride, Violet and her baby moved to Portland where she found work in the shipyards. Yes, she was the real-deal Rosie the Riveter. Husbands, jobs, kids, moves, grand kids, births and deaths – the daily act of creating a live well lived that often seems so mundane to many of us – came vividly to life as my new friend spun out tale after tale. Just an ordinary life some might think, but oh not so. What Violet knew and what so many of us miss – what makes every life special and unique and amazing – is when we pay attention to the details, embrace the challenges, open to the opportunities. It’s in how we choose to experience each of our moments. Violet chose to see adventure. She chose joy and she chose to stop and savor the tiniest details. She has never stopped exploring or learning. She loved meeting new friends. And, at 86, this beautiful lady was just beginning her latest adventure as she flew across the country to Oklahoma City to take up residence in a new apartment. She couldn’t wait to settle in, get herself a computer and start using the internet.
Opinions? She had (more than) a few – on the health benefits of dark chocolate and avocados. That most doctors didn’t know what they were talking about and nobody would benefit in the long run from popping prescription drugs. She told me she loved people but was pretty much over sex.
Two hours flew by (pun intended), we landed in Phoenix and reluctantly I had to leave. I gathered the paperwork that I not even bothered to look at and stuffed everything into my travel bag. As I stood in the aisle waiting to de-plane, Violet called out “Goodbye Nancy! Goodbye. And say hello, say hello to all the people I haven’t met yet.”
Over the next few days, Violet kept coming into my mind. Not her words so much, just a feeling. You could say this was just a chance meeting with a lovely old lady on a plane. I choose to believe that Violet was a gift to me on that day. A beautiful reminder of things that I often forget in the busyness of being – I forget to remember to PAY ATTENTION. If you ask me what I did last Tuesday, I’m not sure I can recall. It’s all so much, so fast, so busy and it often feels like I’m just sliding through. Getting it done, but not savoring it, not really seeing it, sometimes not feeling it. The magic is in the moment and Violet knew that instinctively. Me? I’m still learning.
It’s that time of year when we pause for a few moments to remember all that we are grateful for. Today I am grateful for the special “elfs” that pass through my life sprinkling the wisdom I need, just when I need it most.
Thank you Violet, wherever you are. I hope we meet again someday.
Happy Thanksgiving to All.