Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Where do You Belong After Retirement?

An important aspect of retirement life is feeling connected. It's important to believe you belong.
I was very concerned about my husband’s transition to retirement. He had worked the nightshift most of his adult life. Because of his schedule, we never developed a social circle of friends. Outside of work and family, he didn’t have a place where he had a sense of belonging. People often don’t realize the importance of being connected, feeling you belong.

For most of the history of mankind, a sense of belonging came from your clan and geographic community. As baby boomers who grew up in the suburbs, much of a sense community based on where we lived was lost. Many of us don’t even know our next door neighbors, let alone feel a sense of connection to them.

As baby boomers became adults, work replaced school as a place to belong. For many, a sense of community is formed by the company you work. Or it may come from camaraderie of a particular profession. For many baby boomers, work fulfills many needs beyond just a paycheck.

For people who do not have a large family, strong church ties or other social group they belong, retirement can be very isolating. It can be a challenge for people to find new ways to connect.

For many, finding a sense of belonging will be based on locating a community based on your interests and passions. I’ve been painting for twelve years. I paint at a studio twice a month. It forces me to paint, no matter how busy I am, but more importantly, it gives me an opportunity to be with my friends, to feel connected others. My painting buddies from my tribe. This is a place where I feel accepted.

My husband is building a plane in our garage. Every day, the garage door goes up. People now stop by throughout the week, checking out the plane and talking about flying. A pilot, who lives up the street, invited my husband to go to the airfield recently. The neighbor introduced my husband to the other pilots. He is finding a new community to belong.

Finding a retirement activity is a way to stay challenged. It also is important as a way to stay connected. Finding a place to belong is an important ingredient to creating a fulfilling retirement.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Finding Love for the Boomers Over 50

When I was researching web sites about retirement life, I concluded that the boomers are just as obsessed with love and sex now, as they were forty years ago.

With the divorce rate still high, many women over 50 are interested in senior dating. The Dating Goddess found herself single at 48. She started dating eighteen months later and has been writing about it ever since. While an excellent writer, she's the 'every woman' self described as attractive but overweight who doesn't match the description of what men say they are looking for.

Dubbed the Dating Goddess by her friends she offers solid advice with a touch of humor and real heart.

When asked what are the mistakes women over 50 make when they start dating, she replied:

They either shoot too high or too low. They shoot too high by having grandiose expectations that their next mate will meet all 100 of their criteria, rather than looking for someone who matches their values and who is attractive to them.

By shooting too low they accept selfish, immature behaviors out of loneliness. They are so desperate to have someone to go to the movies with or cuddle with, they accept loutish behaviors.

You can read the full article at the retirement life matters website.

Wanting love doesn't change as we grow older. Finding help and support along the way is great for anyone.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Senior Health, Senior Diet and Lemons

Eating changes as we get older. I’m beginning to believe that many of our health issues in retirement life could be minimized with a shift in diet. Trust me, I’m not there yet, but I try to be more conscious of what I eat.

Case in point. I’ve had a problem recently with heartburn and acid build-up in my digestive system. This is going to sound counterintuitive, but it was suggested I eat more acid. What? I told my husband and he started eating lemons. Low and behold, his heartburn decreased significantly.

I love lemons. When we walk every morning, we pass lemon trees in people’s yards. Many months ago, I knocked on the door of a neighbor and asked if we could pick her lemons. The lady was delighted and we’ve been helping ourselves ever since.

My husband likes to peel the lemon and eat it raw. I can’t do that, but started putting squeezed lemon in my juice drink every morning. I put ½ lemon in the drink. Guess what? I have less heartburn.

This is obviously not going to change senior health by itself, but I’m intrigued. In researching the lemon, I found it acts as a tonic to the liver, stimulating the production of bile to help digest food if taken in the morning. It is high in vitamin C and can relieve symptoms of asthma, and sore throat. It my also help with arthritis and rheumatism because it flushes toxins from the body. I have asthma and I certainly won’t stop taking my medication because I’m consuming more lemon. Please enlist the aid of your healthcare professional before changing medication. I am finding that eating a more natural and healthy diet helps me feel better.

I want to include lemon in more recipes, but I’m having a hard time finding lemon recipes that don’t include a lot of sugar, milk products or eggs. Does anyone have interesting lemon dishes that are also great for a senior diet?
Note: This is a painting I did of a lemon grove.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Helping Your Community, Retirement Best

The last few months have been bogged down with conversations about people not being able to retire. Or those who have retired, being are forced to go back to work. Certainly this blog is not to minimize the impact and fear people are feeling in their lives. But, there are opportunities to explore in a new retirement life.

A lady came to me last week wanting to return to work to supplement her diminished funds. She is looking for work where she believes she's making a contribution. She wants to make a difference. Many retirees need to suppliment their retirement income, but also want to do good in the world.

For people who want to start a business, many are exploring Social Enterprise, the quest to both make money and do good. This is an excellent PowerPoint to learn more, from the Social Enterprise Alliance. http://ping.fm/iHbnU

I first learned about David Mills through the blogroll at Boomer Chronicles. David wrote the book 10,000 Days: A Call to Arms for the Baby Boom Generation which he discussed with us recently.

Boomers are exploring ways of doing well and doing good or just plane make the world a better place to live.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Clear The Clutter to Improve Your Retirement

You’ll never guess what my retired husband is doing as I sit down to write this blog. He’s been taking all the loose change we have and is putting it in the paper wrappers to take to the bank. He saves most of his change and we decided years ago to use the money for our grandchildren’s college fund. Of course, when he was working he never had time to wrap it. He also saves aluminum cans and uses the recycle money for the college fund. Yesterday, he took the cans to be recycled and in the process, got motivated to wrap coins. An interesting way to spend your retirement life.

A few years ago, I asked two recently retired friends what they were doing in their retirement. Because I saw both of them in a matter of weeks, I was surprised when they each responded, “Cleaning out closets.”

My first responding thought was, “You’ve got to be kidding me?” While I like a clutter free house as much as the next person, I thought cleaning closets was a silly retirement goal.

While it may not make a great retirement goal, there is a cathartic benefit to clearing the clutter that has grown over the years. Many of us have lived in our homes for a long time. No matter how hard you try, the garbage always comes in at a faster rate than it goes out.

Home takes on a new meaning when you retire. Even the most extroverted person spends more time at the house.

If you’re married, it’s important for both of you have a separate space to claim your own. For many couples, that requires cleaning out a garage or a spare room.

Finally, there is a wonderful feeling that comes from getting organized. We all have papers, closets, photos, books, junk drawers and spare rooms turned into storage space that hang around like an albatross needing our attention.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Healthcare Costs for the Over 50 Looking for Work

We've all heard the stories that one of the reasons older workers don't get hired is because of their higher healthcare costs. Did you know that's a complete myth?

Think about it. The people who spend more time seeing doctors are families with young children. Unless you have a serious ailment, most people in over 50 and into their sixties don't go to the doctor nearly has much as people with young children. My husband and I both get our yearly physicals and that's the only time we see a doctor.

Older people, in their seventies and beyond may have more healthcare costs. If you're looking for a job, don't hesitate to bring up that you are healthy, your children are no longer falling out of trees, so healthcare costs for you may be less than for a younger family.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Retirement Life, Boomer Generation and Lifelong Learning

As a generation who grow up during an educational revolution where college was available to most anyone who wanted to go, lifelong learning is at the very fiber of the boomer experience. Retirement life won’t diminish the quest to learn, grow and discover.

When I completed graduated school, I was eager to learn just for the fun of it. After seven (okay, I took the slow route) years to get my degree, I wanted to learn without the pressure of papers and exams. I signed up for a philosophy class at the local community college. Even though I took the class as pass/fail, it was hard. I didn’t take the exams, but if I was going to learn anything, I needed to read all of the books and complete the written assignments. I also took a creative writing class before I gave up on the community college to explore other options for lifelong learning.

I’ve had the honor of engaging Nancy Merz Nordstrom in an exchange recently. Author, consultant, and speaker, Nancy Merz Nordstrom is an expert on the concept, benefits and opportunities of lifelong learning for older adults, and how keeping minds challenged can enrich and enhance our After-50 years. Returning to school at age 51, after the unexpected death of her first husband, she became aware of the opportunities and challenges facing older adults, and has dedicated herself to the belief that lifelong learning is both empowering and life-affirming, regardless of age.
Using her book, "Learning Later, Living Greater: the Secret for Making the Most of Your After-50 Years," Nancy now gives customized presentations, workshops and courses designed to help older adults develop fulfilling later lives. She also directs the Elderhostel Institute Network, North America’s largest educational network for older adults.

Southern California is often considered an intellectual wasteland, but I’m lucky to have two organizations dedicated to senior learning. Osher provides more academic classes taught by professors, while OASIS offers more leisure types of learning. Almost every community has a senior center with classes in everything from dance to fine arts to political awareness.

In addition to schools found locally, there is an abundance of destination lifelong learning centers found around the country. We’re in the process of researching many of them and will share information in the upcoming weeks.

Whether it’s taking classes online, locally or combining travel with learning, new retirees are finding an infinite variety of ways to expand mentally, physically and spiritually.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Retired Volunteers Help Rebuild Cedar Rapids

Recent news articles have discussed retired electricians and plumbers who are volunteering their time to rebuild Cedar Rapids after the devastating flood of last year. This is a demonstration of retirement life at its best.

While every story needs an angle, I was intrigued NBC Nightly News took the stance of “wouldn’t you rather be fishing instead of volunteering your time?” This clearly shows a dated and most likely mythical view of retirement.

While it’s probably true these gentlemen love fishing and golf, it fails to acknowledge that fishing and golf alone make for very sad existence.

My guess is these men loved dusting off their expertise and feeling like mentors to their community. While they may not want to go back to this work on a regular basis, retirees want to feel like they are connected. Being a member of a larger community is an important aspect of that. People like challenges in their lives. What greater challenge can there be than rebuilding a community after a disaster. Finally, people of all ages want to know their lives have meaning. It’s important to have a reason to get up in the morning; to have a sense of purpose.

This story demonstrates how important it is for us to redefine retirement. No longer a stopping place, the new retirement should be a starting point for a creating and fulfilling new dreams and a bigger vision for life.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Expore the New Retirement

Despite the drop in home values, Warren Bland still contends ‘there’s gold in them there homes’ in his article
Times are tough: How Can I Retire Now?

While not wanting people to invest their life savings, retirees should consider a small part time business. Stan Spector, business broker discusses the
Mini Business for Retirees.

Change and Transition explores specific factors that can affect a successful move into retirement.

Somewhat off topic, but not necessarily, Kat and Curtis Knecht discuss
Expectation or Intention. While the article is specifically about relationships, understanding our own expectation about retirement can have a great impact on our satisfaction.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Am I Crazy to Retire Now?

Recently, a friend voiced the concern of many. “Am I crazy to think about retiring now?”

With the current economic upheaval, it’s been well documented many baby boomers are going to change their retirement plans.

I’m going to suggest the recession provides an opportunity to reinvent the retirement of the future.

Ken Dychtwald, author of Age Power aptly stated, "Today's retirees are social guinea pigs. We are shifting away from the model of learning for 20 years, working like a mad dog for 40, and goofing around for 20. What is evolving is some new blend between learning, working and leisure."

Retirement in the future will consist of more people working. But, it doesn’t have to be drudgery. Retirement in the 21st Century provides an opportunity to push back boundaries, explore new options and yes, find new ways of earning income.

In a recent interview, when asked why he doesn’t hang it all up because he had earned the right, Norman Lear replied, “Yes, I’ve earned the right to do what I want to do. What I want to do is wake up every morning to do something that I think matters.”

What have you earned the right to do?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

New on Retirement Life Website

New on the RLM Website

As you know, travel remains the number one goal of new retirees. Micha Berman shares his experience working on a cruise ship. Not only can you learn about
life on a cruise ship, but did you know that there are opportunities for retirees to find work on cruise liners?

My friend Marty Kaplan, director of the
Osher Learning Institute at CSU Channel Island shares the Lifestyle Changes that accompany aging.

Understanding all of the financial issues can be overwhelming. Colleen King explains the difference between
Term and Whole Life Insurance

Speaking of financial issues, many of us have experienced increased stress over what is going on in the world. Jeff Gero explains
How to Survive These Stressful Times.

We’re always looking for new articles. Do you have information or an experience you’d like to share with the Retirement Life Community? Drop me a note.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Lessons From Susan Boyle on Retirement Living

Along with everyone else on the planet, I’ve been captivated by the saga of Susan Boyle. She epitomizes the story of the ugly duckling who sings like the beautiful swan. While the tale, at the time of this writing, seems to have ended on a bittersweet note, there are lessons we can learn that apply to achieving a successful retirement.

As the story has unfolded, it was revealed that Susan has spent her life being painfully shy. On her mother’s deathbed, she evidently promised to try to get on television.

Regardless of what transpired afterwards, Susan confronted her biggest fear and entered the talent show. How many of us have lived in our little private world and failed to pursue the big dream because it would mean also taking a huge risk?

Susan also shows the value of perseverance. There is tape of Susan as a young woman singing at a local Scottish pub. She never gave up on her passion. How many of us have said the passion wasn’t worth the heartache or effort?

No matter the outcome, Susan is going to be able to look at this experience, knowing she stepped up to the plate, took a risk, stood for a moment in her glory and was the very best she could be. That’s a lesson we can all learn from.