At 20, we worry about what other people think of us.
At 40, we don’t care about what other people think of us.
At 60, we realize they haven’t been thinking about us at all!
And, I think that’s a very good thing. Happy Friday.
At 20, we worry about what other people think of us.
At 40, we don’t care about what other people think of us.
At 60, we realize they haven’t been thinking about us at all!
And, I think that’s a very good thing. Happy Friday.
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.”
It’s January and like almost everyone else, I’ve been thinking about the year ahead. All day the song 526,600 minutes from the musical Rent has been playing in my head. That’s a whole lot of minutes – a whole year’s worth to be exact. What a gift. And an awesome responsibility as well – to make the most of each and every one of those 526,600 minutes.
Every January I like to take a walk down memory lane, review the previous year (the good and bad and the I can’t believe that really happened) and then set my my intention for the year ahead. I’ve given up making new years resolutions, but I do like to have a goal or two and a bit of a road map. I chose RISK as my guiding word for this year. As hubs and I continue to move deeper into uncharted waters, my willingness to embrace risk will be key to the success of our backpack and rollie retirement adventures. I’ve never been a big risk taker. It’s time. I’m going for it.
If you want to play with your own Wordle, check out their website. it’s easy and lots of fun.
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
Why can’t we all just get along?
Unless you have your head buried firmly in deep sand, it’s hard to miss the sad fact that in this season of Peace and Love to All Mankind, our World is one giant mass of violence, greed and dysfunction. It’s a mess and it seems that even the smartest minds in the free world have not been able to come up with a solution.
A couple of weeks ago I attended a fun and fabulous winter concert put on each year by the Seattle Men’s Chorus. It was the perfect entry into this season of joy for much of the world. This year’s theme – Baby its Cold Outside. It was solemn. It was joyful. It was whacky fun and it was almost three hours of pure musical magic. Loved. Every. Minute.
So what could a gay men’s concert possibly have to do with world peace? Funny you should ask. Toward the end of the show, after shedding their black suits and ties for Hawaiian shirts, shorts and flip-flops, we arrived at the audience participation part of the show. Let me set the stage: Benaroya Hall is a magnificent concert hall. Large and sedate. The audience covered the full social spectrum – parents with kids, hipsters, grannies in Christmas sweaters and hats to match, couples of every strip and dot. Most of these folks would not mingle on the street. The conductor set about dividing the huge concert hall into sections for the singing of their tropical version of The Twelve Days of Christmas and everyone happily participated. When the conductor pointed to a group, these folks – young, old, gay, straight, every shade of skin, leaped from their seats and joyfully (at the top of their lungs) sang their chorus and the refrain “a pineapple in a pear tree”. Up-Sing-Down. Up-Sing-Down. Like a well-oiled machine. Everybody knew their line and valued everyone else’s contribution. We each became an integral part of the whole. Something bigger and better than each of us could be individually. For ten minutes on the afternoon of December 1st we were ONE. We shone brightly and all was right with the World. Sounds like the makings of world peace to me.
Blessings for joy and peace and love and lots of home baked goodies.
And here’s a peak at their 2009 Christmas Show.
Back in the middle of August, after way too many months of procrastination and good intentions that never got me making any real progress, I watched a TED talk about doing something new for 31 days. I decided to use this as my motivator to get myself back in the gym. A place where everybody used to know my name and now all the faces were new. I committed publicly in this blog post.
It’s been almost two months and well past the 31 days so I thought it would be fun (and humbling) for me to check in and let you know how it went down. Some good. Some not so much. Oh, I started out full speed ahead. Every afternoon after work I walked over to 24 Hr Fitness and right in through the big front door. This was the piece that had been eluding my fitness routine for a while. Walking IN the door. I told myself it didn’t matter how long I stayed, I just had to go in and do something. I went. I stayed. I worked out. I loved it. I loved myself for doing it! All was good. Day 1 was a success – days 2, 3 and on through 10 – all good. Then I hit a bump in the road. Work got in the way and I ran out of time. Could I have gone at 7:30pm or 5:30am? Yes. Did it even cross my mind? No it did not. So, I missed a day. But then I got right back to it. The not so good news is that the rest of my 31 days went something like this… gym, gym, something else, gym, something else, gym, gym, and so on. Adding them up, I did 20 days out of the 31 that I committed to. I don’t pretend to know anything about baseball, but I’m pretty sure that’s not a very good batting average.
So, I missed the mark… a little. I only beat myself up a tiny bit because the really good news is that I am still going to the gym regularly. In fact, I’ve settled into a really good routine of Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons. We’ve been doing 6-8 mile hikes on these lovely Fall weekends but, now that the rains are back, I’ll probably add one more day to the gym. Or not.
All in all. I’m calling it a success and I’m glad I took the challenge. I ended up right where I hoped to be. As the hubs says – I’m cranking weights and pounding it on the treadmill – at the gym.
Since we are now fully committed to the Camino de Santiago trek next September, the hubs and I have upped our walking game significantly. Every weekend we’re out exploring the city streets and country roads in and around Portland. It is amazing what you miss when you are whizzing along at 55 mph. Of course, the beautiful Fall weather hasn’t hurt. I don’t know how motivated we’ll be when it’s cold, gray and soggy, but we’ll cross that bridge (on foot) when we come to it.
I’m in charge of mapping our routes and coming up with interesting locations and access to restrooms and good food along the way. So far, so good. Last week a friend of mine who is always off on one adventure or another, mentioned she had gone to the Portlandia Corn Maize out on Sauvie Island. When I asked how much actual walking was involved, she indicated it could be A LOT depending on how many dead ends you took in the maize.
Well, thanks to Lois, I thought this would be a great way to try something new and get our walk on at the same time. What a hoot! Yes, it is mostly for families with kids and somehow that brought out the kid in us too. We walked, we laughed, and we got lost over and over again. But, we enjoyed the fresh air, acres of corn stocks at least ten feet tall, answered silly questions that helped us find our way through the maize, and of course, I sang a chorus or two of “I’m as Corny as Kansas in August”.
I am so excited I can hardly contain myself! If I’m dreaming, please do not pinch me.
I have been thinking about walking the Camino de Santiago for a while now. But, in my heart, I knew I was way past that stage in my life where I wanted to walk all day and then sleep on the ground or in a hostel with the smelly, partying masses of young folk. Not to mention carrying all my belongings on my back. Don’t get me wrong – I love young people. I used to be one. Truly, some of my best friends are young. And, I still like a good party! I do not think of myself as old and crotchety, no matter what my kids might tell you. But, when it comes to SLEEP. Now that’s a different matter entirely. Let it be known here that I am not nice (and might even be considered cranky if not downright crotchety) when I don’t get my full eight hours – preferably in comfort and relative silence. So, I wasn’t sure how to make this particular dream a reality. It was definitely a conundrum.
I firmly believe that there is always a way and a brilliant solution came to me in the form of an article written by a woman who had completed what I like to call the “relatively civilized, not too hard but still challenging, with support if and when you need it” version of walking the Camino. Marly Tours was our answer! This discovery made it all seem do-able. All we needed was a little time, a moderate amount of money and good walking shoes. As it turned out, I mentioned our idea to a few friends and now we are a party of six. Hubs, me, my sis and three women friends. It’s a big year too – my 65th birthday, my sister’s “something that ends in a zero” birthday, hubs and my 10th anniversary. Definitely a year worth marking in a big way. We’ll walk about 10-12 miles a day at our own pace and meet up along the way. Then we’ll gather together every evening for wine, dinner and story-telling before bed. We’ll be a small group of no more than 14 Pilgrims + our Marly “wranglers” who will make sure we don’t get lost, carry our luggage, provide snacks, first aid and sag wagon support if needed.
So… we’re off. Well not until next September. Exactly twelve months from this week. Call me a light weight, call me soft, call me old, but do not call me between September 17 and 24, because I won’t be home. I’ll be in Spain, crossing one more item off my bucket list – walking at least a small portion of the Camino de Santiago.
Staying in small hotels like this…Sleeping in a comfy bed like this…Walking along roads and paths like this…Now, I just need to find a home exchange so we can stay an extra week to explore the rest of Spain. I’m working on that too.
It’s September and everyone around here is knee high in ripe tomatoes. My friend and I got a jumpstart a few weeks ago and already canned 40 pounds of Early Girls. Lovely little jars of sweet/tart red juicy goodness. I’m planning on picking a bunch more now that the local heirlooms are down to 85 cents a pound. One night this week I’ll be steaming up my glasses and cooking up a big batch of spicy salsa!
All kinds of ripe deliciousness is happening, and for some reason that reminded me of a book I read a couple of years ago called “Juicy Tomatoes – Ripe Living after 50”. Since I’m well past 50 and it is my plan to live juicy well into ripe old age, this book called to me from the shelves of Barnes and Noble. It’s filled with stories of women in their 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and beyond who have discovered their own juice later in life and are changing the landscape for the rest of us.
Sometime in my mid-50’s I started asking myself “What’s Next?” Not so long ago most women my age would have been putting on their support hose and sturdy shoes and settling in to retirement. Shrinking into a smaller life. Instead, like so many other women I know, I’m enthusiastically searching for new adventures. I’ve been auditioning Second Acts for the past ten years. I read a great blog post a couple of weeks ago about the joy of being a “flitter”. That’s exactly what I’ve been doing, but I’ve decided to see myself more like a pollinator. I’m learning from each endeavor and sprinkling my new-found knowledge as I go. For many of us, somewhere around 50, our lives begin to transition. We become restless and some of us feel a deep yearning. (I’m talking to the women here. Men, you’ll have to speak for yourselves.) We know that there is something more; we’re just not sure what that looks like for us. We need time to explore, to learn, to look closer, to test the waters, and of this can be a wee bit scary. Treading into uncharted territory doesn’t feel safe and let’s be honest, most of us (me for sure) spent our lives building safety and security for ourselves and our loved ones. Why rock the boat now? I’ll tell you why. Because we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Because Life is short. Because there is still so much left that we want to try, to do and to become. We’re not done yet, dammit! As for my own flitting – some of you know that at 57 I decided to become a certified personal fitness trainer. This, after years of being a certified professional couch potato. I joined a gym, was inspired, and wanted to share what I learned with other women. From there I moved on to creating an organization for mid-life women to connect and learn and share in a fun social environment – in short to flourish. Flourish grew into a great network enjoyed by hundreds of women each month. I loved every minute of that time and all the amazing women I connected with. Then one day I woke up and I was done. Time to flit on. Lately, I’ve been researching retirement and travel on a limited income and I’m trying my hand at blogging. Who knows what’s next? I don’t. And I’ve stopped worrying about it. With each new endeavor, I’m discovering “juice” I didn’t know I had. I’m keeping my mind active. I’m feeding my creative spirit. I’m becoming the ME I always wanted to be but didn’t know it when I was so busy being what I thought I needed to be or who everyone else wanted me to be.
Tomatoes are hardy. They don’t require a lot of pampering. Give them a little water and encouragement and they always deliver, even in bad dirt. If you add a dash of salt and a pinch of pepper, they really come alive. The longer they’re on the vine – the sweeter, saucier and tastier they become. All the green tomatoes want to become them. That’s my definition of a Juicy Tomato. I ought to know. I’ve spent enough time on the vine.