You Know You’re Old When . . .

So a few events lately make me think I might actually be becoming “old.” I refuse that position, but the signs are there. Here are some that I know of:

You're Old

  1. You go to the movies and qualify for the senior discount. If it is more than $.50, I might even admit that I qualify, but for a small amount, that admission is totally not worth it.
  2. You see those “Who Remembers” and “Share if you know what this is” posts on Facebook and you actually do remember and actually did own those things. All of them!
  3. You realize that you were raised without lots of things people take for granted these days, including:
    • No cordless phones, in fact, it was kind of cool to have a really long cord so you could go into the pantry or a close room with a door so you could have a “private” conversation.
    • No party lines. We had a party line when I was growing up. That meant that you had to pick up the phone and listen to see if another household was using the shared line. I feel sorry for the people who were on our party line. There were five of us kids and once we were in junior high and high school, one of us was on the phone all the time.
    • No phone numbers with letters. I vaguely remember when I was young giving your phone number as Woodman 4-1234 (or whatever your phone number was). The “Woodman” were the numbers associated with the “W” and the “O,” which were “9” and “6.”
    • No remote control–like at all–no remote. The only “remote” control was your parents making you get up to turn the channels–all 5 of them (if you count the UHF channels)–with a dial that clicked through one at a time, because if you went too fast, your dad would surely be yelling at you that  you were going to “break the damn TV.”
    • No rabbit ears. When all the TV you had was airwaves, you had to have a set of “rabbit ears” that were inside antennas that you could adjust, put aluminum foil on, and adjust again to get a good picture. Unfortunately, we couldn’t talk my little brother into holding them juuuust so and standing there so they didn’t move and we had a perfect picture, so we usually watched a less than perfect picture.
    • No device to be in contact with your parents. We actually went to school without any contact with our parents (or anyone else) unless we were in the principal’s office or with the school nurse and they called your parents. Then once we got home, we dropped our stuff, did homework if we had it, and ran outside to play. Usually you were expected back home either when you heard your mom yelling your name out the door or when the street lights came on (the universal signal to “get your butt home”).
    • No research materials at home. We had to go to the library to do research for school work. If you had encyclopedias at home, they didn’t include accurate information for very long, so most families did not bother.
  4. You remember riding in cars with no seat belts, including lying down in the back of the station wagon or on the shelf in the back window.

But the inspiration for this list was when I was at Disneyland recently and we were waiting in a very full waiting area for our dinner reservations, a younger (probably in her 30s) woman asked me if I wanted her seat. I declined and looked at my daughter, who was doing her best to stifle a laugh. This was a real dose of reality for me. I like to think I don’t look my age, so when someone obviously thinks I do, it was really painful for me. But at least she had good manners. I’ll have to focus on that.

This list is my no means complete. Another problem with getting older is that your memory really does go. All those years and all those people saying it and I did not believe it, until I started forgetting things. Like a LOT! So I’m sure I’ve forgotten some major signs of getting old. What are the things that make you feel like you’re old? Please list those in the comments.

Disney Love

I just returned from three days in Disneyland with my third set of grandchildren. I take a pair to Disneyland as the oldest of the pair turns 13. It’s worked out to be every other year. The eldest granddaughters kind of actually got screwed because I didn’t have nearly as much Disneyland experience as I have now. It helps to have Disney fanatics as friends. So this trip was with my turning-13-on-July-4th and just-turned-10 granddaughters. We stayed on property at Paradise Pier (because it was the least expensive of the choices). My thinking with staying on property was (a) we were going on a holiday; (b) I wanted extra magic mornings so they could be assured of riding the most popular rides; (c) I didn’t want to drive and pay parking fees every day; and (d) I wanted walking distance so we could go back to the hotel in the middle of the day if it was hot and/or crowded. By the time I added in the costs and value of parking, magic mornings, and distance, it just made sense.Disney Love

We started our trip with a character dinner at the Disneyland Resort in Goofy’s Kitchen. The chef took us around to show us what the gluten free and dairy allergies should avoid. Everyone got enough to eat, and my dairy-free granddaughter even got special raspberry sorbet for dessert. They had autograph ears I purchased on Etsy and I had Sharpies for the autographs. It worked really well and although the glue on the ears stopped working on Day 2, we continued to carry them around and get autographs and when we returned home, I hot glued the ears back on.

I’m not going to lie, it was H O T! Even for an Arizona native. Sweat was dripping down my back, my front, my face, everywhere. Our first ride was on the new Guardians of the Galaxy ride in California Adventure. The 10-year-old was nervous because she didn’t know what to expect, but they both loved it! Then we did Radiator Racers, which they also liked. Once the parks opened to the public, we went to Disneyland and they wanted to go on Splash Mountain (since we were all sweaty). I checked my app (a MUST have!) and saw that it said there was a 5 minute wait. We started that direction while I explained that that could be wrong because I had never seen a 5 minute wait. Usually about an hour is the norm for me. But we could have gotten a fast pass if the app was wrong. As we got closer and I saw no line around the attraction, I was getting excited. There was no line! We got on right away and they both loved it. They loved it so much we immediately got in the nonexistent line and rode it again. Apparently one of the Disney Cast Members told us before noon is pretty dead, but after noon was really crowded. They were correct! By late morning/early afternoon we learned the beauty of fast passes. For most of the rides we were looking at, the standby time was something like 35-45 minutes and the fast pass was good for an hour starting in 5 minutes from the current time. So we pulled fast passes, stood at the ride for 5 minutes, and then got in the fast pass line and got right on. Why anyone would stand in the standby line in those circumstances is beyond me.

As my daughter is a celiac (gluten intolerance) and my granddaughter has a milk protein allergy, I knew eating at the park would be an adventure. So we got hungry Day 1 at about 12:30 and headed to Carnation Cafe, one of the places my celiac restaurant app said got good reviews for accommodating celiac customers. They, of course, only had room for reservations, so we were turned away and they suggested the Plaza, which allows walk ins. So we went to the Plaza and had to stand in a special place to get the allergy menu, order, and pick up the food. My daughter was really impressed with the baked chicken she got and my granddaughter loved her spaghetti.

We stayed in the park for a little while, but lines were longer and fast passes were hours away, so we went back to the hotel so the girls could test out the slide and the pool. My daughter relaxed in the room while I went down with the girls.

We ended up going back and wandering around for a little while and then went to dinner in Downtown Disney at Tortilla Joes. My daughter was super excited to have the quesadilla that was gluten free and delicious. My granddaughter had a steak salad, from which she ate all the steak and little of the salad (and all of the dressings had dairy) but she ate it dry.

Day 2 was the 4th of July holiday and my granddaughter’s actual birthday. It was magic morning in Disneyland, and we started (a little later than the day before), at Space Mountain. Then we wandered around getting on rides with a short line or a short wait on a fast pass. We made a lunch reservation at Carnation Cafe and ate another meal that everyone enjoyed and didn’t have a reaction to. We continued riding rides and visiting characters. Since it was Abriana’s birthday, we enjoyed dinner at Blue Bayou, again with no food reactions. We then enjoyed a Dole whip float, which I think was a bit much as Abriana got sick and we headed back to the room. I think it was too much food as she doesn’t have a food allergy, but the Dole whip is gluten free and dairy free so everyone got to have one. We missed the Disney fireworks, but could see lots of them in the distance from our room.

Our last day in the parks started later than the day before and then we got in the wrong line for Guardians of the Galaxy until I figured out we missed the entrance for magic morning. Once we got through, we decided to get a fast pass for Guardians and then got in line and rode it, waited about 10 minutes and got on it again with our fast pass (they loved that ride!). The rest of the day was riding the favorites Grizzly River Run, Splash Mountain, and a few others. We lunched (with reservations) at Wine Country Trattoria. It may have been the best meal we had. They had gluten free noodles, so everyone could enjoy their meals. Then everyone was pooped out so we went back to the room. I gave the girls the option of going back to the parks, going to the movies and dinner, or staying in the room. They chose the option of going to the movies. We saw Despicable Me 3! I didn’t fall asleep and they enjoyed it. We had a very late dinner that I didn’t think they would make it through and then off to bed.

We woke to no alarm that last day, showered, and left the hotel. Even though we checked the room pretty thoroughly, I left my Fitbit there. Luckily, they called me a couple of days later and asked if I had left it there and they mailed it back to me. That was great customer service!

All in all I think the girls had a great time, although I would have liked to have spent more time on rides. It was hot and it was crowded and that was getting to everyone, so I understood their schedule. One more grandchild gets the 13th birthday trip in a few years (although I might move his up just in case I’m not able to take him because I’m as old and infirm as my family thinks I will be).

In the meantime, I need to start thinking about special gifts for high school and college graduations. When do they stop growing?

Suggestions for a successful Disney trip:

  • Get the app and check for wait times and ride accordingly
  • Go before noon FOR SURE
  • Check the fast pass times because it may be faster than waiting in the standby line
  • Make lunch reservations in the app for every day you will be there or eat at the Plaza or in Downtown Disney
  • Do the character meal if you want to get autographs. It’s a good chance to get a lot of them with good pictures all at once.
  • If you want pictures, buy the PhotoPass. It’s a little pricey, but if you want to get pictures from the rides and with characters around the park, it is worth it. Ask for “magic” in the scenery pictures. We got one with Tinkerbell in our hands that they staged perfectly for the “magic.”
  • If you are in a wheelchair or have a stroller, please pull over if you want to stop. Stopping in the middle of the road is frustrating for the people behind you trying to get around you through oncoming traffic.
  • Don’t get frustrated and have a great time.

What suggestions do you have for a great time at Disneyland? Add them to the comments!

 

 

 

Complainer I Am

I was recently given the opportunity to participate in a No Complaining challenge. There was an app we could use (and I’m all about tracking things with apps) and the object was if you complained, you had to go back to day 1. The goal was to not complain for 31 days. Easy peasy, right? I am not a chronic complainer, so I was sure this would be a piece of cake. And then it was Day 2 . . .

Complainer I AmOn Day 2, I found myself complaining in my head about annoyances at the office. At least I was cognizant of the challenge on other topics on which I could have complained and stopped myself. But that damn voice in my head did complain, so back to Day 1 we go.

Day 1, Attempt 2. Again I complained in my head in response to a sticky note left for me on my desk. I call my inner voice Lucy. She is my inner child (not the fun one, but the sarcastic, sometimes mean, and obviously professional complainer child). She is named after Lucy from the Peanuts cartoon because that’s how I see my inside voice. Sweet and helpful on the outside, but would just as soon pull the football away just as you’re about to kick it as take your nickel to tell you how dumb you are to fall for that again.

Day 1, Attempt 3. Lots of internal complaining again. Damn it, Lucy, shut the hell up!

I have since lost count. I still use the app, but every single day I press the “I complained” button so it goes back to Day 1. This shouldn’t be this hard. There were several days when I actually complained out loud. But I also think sometimes you have to vent to someone. Otherwise, it will build up inside you until every single thing that person or that environment does irks you no end. So, yes, I have vented to friends–and complained.

Another thing I found myself doing was once I clicked on Day 1, it was a free for all. I complained like my life depended on it. I was getting the full advantage of starting all over again. And trust me, I know how awful that is to do to yourself. That’s like slipping on your diet for one meal and spending the rest of the day with the “What the hell, I’ll start again tomorrow” attitude and eating everything in sight. Ah . . . I know that stinking thinking well.

I swear I did not see myself as a chronic complainer–and then I started listening to Lucy. Lucy is really not a nice person. She says things she shouldn’t to me about me, things I should ignore, things that make me feel bad about myself, things that may be true but honestly don’t matter. So instead of a No Complaining Challenge, I think I will take the Shut Lucy Up Challenge. I need to learn to calm Lucy down and teach her to say good things. I hope she’s up for it!

Who Is Your Hero?

With the craze for Wonder Woman lately, do you ever think about who your heroes are? Think about it–who is the first person that comes to mind as your hero? Is it Wonder Woman? Is it Superman? Is it Spiderman, or Wolverine, or any of the other Marvel or DC superheroes?

Who Is Your Hero

Did you seriously just answer some fictional superhero character? Think about the answer to “Who is your hero?” again. Who do you look up to? Who encourages you to be better every day? Who do you aspire to be? Still a fictional superhero?

Your hero should be YOU! While having others around you to encourage you is truly a blessing, you are lucky to have them. You might have them today and you might not have them tomorrow. You need to learn again to be your own biggest cheerleader. There is nothing like watching a child who is proud of themselves making sure EVERYONE is aware of how awesome they are. When do we lose that? Why is it we decide to downplay our successes and find ways to come up with excuses that the success happened with no thanks to us. Have you ever responded to someone who tells you your outfit looks nice with some comment about how little you paid for it, how old it is, or the lower end store where you got it instead of thanking them and saying nothing more? Just stop it!

You are and have always had the opportunity to be your biggest cheerleader. There is a difference between being proud of yourself and being arrogant about it. Don’t be that arrogant person. But you should be proud of yourself for all the hard work you’ve done to make that particular event happen. When someone comments, just say “thank you.” Don’t give excuses or try to justify why it was successful that have nothing to do with you. If you did it, you worked hard on it, and it was successful, take the damn credit. And then fist pumps and a very loud “YES!” are totally in order. And maybe pompoms, or fireworks, or . . .

 

Travel Lessons Learned

luggageI recently completed a 2 1/2 week trip to Europe. It was definitely as amazing as it sounds. But getting ready for the trip was not the most fun I’ve ever had. Trying to cram 2 1/2 weeks worth of stuff into a suitcase was a challenge to be sure. Plus, like I tell my friends, it takes a lot to make me look presentable. When I travel, and because I always manage to be packing at the last possible moment, I need lists or I forget things (one of the side effects of being 60).

I typically travel at least annually to a meeting for my professional association in addition to a weekend trip here and there throughout the year and a big trip every 2-3 years. For many years, I used a wardrobe matrix and a packing list to help me make sure I had everything I needed. Some of my friends made fun of me for my wardrobe matrix, while others requested a copy. So I thought maybe others could benefit from my years of traveling experience (and forgetting things) by sharing my brand spanking new matrix/packing list. By the way, I also pack my wardrobe matrix so I remember what I had planned to wear each day (and why) so I’m not standing at the hotel closet wondering why the hell I brought THAT! I also generally hang the entire outfit on the hanger together (one less thing for me to think about in the morning on a few hours of sleep). Here is a sample matrix with some information filled in:

Sample packing list2

Some explanations may be helpful:

  • I need to know what is going on every day I am at conference to bring the appropriate clothes. Some things (like actually being a speaker) require a different wardrobe than attending seminars. A social or networking event requires a different wardrobe than an awards lunch or dinner. So this “event” area helps me make sure I’m OK in the “what I should wear” department.
  • The clothes section can be (and usually is for me) much more detailed if I have specific pieces of clothing I want to wear on a specific day.
  • The shoes section should help narrow them down so you don’t have to bring every pair you own. I said “should”!
  • The accessories section is the same thing. If I have a statement piece that goes with a specific outfit, I list it there.
  • The packing list portion is brand new. I used to have one on my phone, but somewhere along the way it disappeared.
  • Some comments about specific packing list items might help:
    • Outlet Strip – I’ve found that if I pack a 6 plug outlet strip, I can charge my phone, iPad, chargers, etc. in one place and only take one room plug. This helps specifically if you are sharing the room with another person or two who have to charge all those same things.

      • Plugs to charge USB devices. While I usually remember to pack the charging cords, I don’t always have a place to plug the charging cord into the electrical outlet.

      • This past trip, for the first time, I included one of those travel storage bags that you force the air out of so they are thinner and easier to pack. I put my dirty clothes in there and at least zipped it closed each time. It helped with the dirty clothes smell (especially with the glass of wine that was spilled on my jeans one day) and kept them separated. Something like this is what I used and will be using every time in the future.

    • I included a foldable duffel bag since I knew I would end up with more stuff in my suitcase–which was just under the weight limit on the trip there so I knew I would exceed it on my way back. Since the overweight fee was the same as a second bag, I thought I could check the duffel if necessary. Well, it was necessary. I put all my dirty clothes (in the sealed bag) in the duffel and checked it so I had plenty of room for my souvenirs in my more secure suitcase.

    • Speaking of souvenirs, in my first trip to Europe, I felt the need to bring something back for everyone I knew. My husband (and my budget) wasn’t happy about that and made me promise that I wouldn’t do it this time. And I didn’t. I did, however, have an agenda at each location.
      • First, I have my whole life collected Christmas ornaments. I love putting my trees (yes, plural–that’s what happens when you collect ornaments for so many years) up so I can relive the story of each ornament. On my last trip to Europe, I knew I couldn’t be trusted with the glass ornaments so unless I absolutely positively love it and will be responsible for not breaking it, I started buying keychains. There is always a huge assortment, so I can choose one or two to tell my story of the location. And, more importantly, they pack very easily!
      • Second, my daughter-in-law collects refrigerator magnets and wants them from anyone who travels (while I prefer my ornaments from places that I’ve actually been or that have a story, but that’s me being a little weird), so I collected lots of magnets for her and she was ecstatic. My personal favorite was from Florence and was a David statue with clothes you could add. Magnets are usually very small and most are unbreakable (two extra points for me!).
      • Third, this year my son was collecting postcards for a friend who is using them to teach his daughters about geography over the summer. I’m all for anything that can be used to teach kids and keep them interested and postcards are even smaller and lighter–and, thus, easier to pack–than keychains and magnets, so he ended up with quite a selection.
    • Here are a couple of other things about packing I’ve learned over the years:

      • I actually keep a packing cube with my electronics which includes the outlet strip, extra charging cables, adapters for non-Apple accessories, plugs for charging cables into electric sockets, and extra chargers. I keep that packing cube with my travel stuff and just grab it when I’m packing. It isn’t expensive to buy extra charging cables and plugs, but it is so much more convenient for me to keep them together so I don’t have to go searching them down and hope I have enough while I’m gone.

      • After several trips to the store at different destinations to replace what I’d forgotten, I finally put together a packing cube with hair products, combs, brushes, hairspray, travel dryer, and travel straight iron (and anything else I decide I need). It is an extra set of everything, but bought over time, it didn’t hurt me that much and now I don’t have to worry about forgetting something I need. I keep this with my other travel stuff.
      • I keep a box in my closet with my travel stuff. This includes the packing cubes filled as indicated above, any travel adapters, a travel purse, anything else I need only for traveling. That way it is in one place and I don’t have to search high and low to find it when I’m packing at the last possible moment (yep–that’s me!).

Hopefully this will help you have less stress with packing for your dream vacation. Did I forget something important from the list? Let me know by commenting below and I’ll add it. If you’d like to use the list yourself, check out the Files section of the website (http://60isthenew60blog.com/files/) and you can download it there.

Note that this post includes affiliate links. Please know that I only endorse products that I actually use and love. If you click through any of the items listed and purchase them, I will receive a very small commission (at no cost to you). Thank you in advance!

Living Life FOMO

LivingLifeFOMOI just returned from an amazing vacation. One of the lessons learned is that I have spent the majority of my life living FOMO. For anyone who may not know what that means, it is Fear Of Missing Out. I found that I was pushing myself probably harder than I should have by walking farther, getting up earlier, staying up later, eating more, and just trying to keep up with everyone for fear of missing out on something. What could I have missed out on? Who knows? But I didn’t miss out on anything because I fully participated in everything.

This thought came to me as I walked about a mile to the Vienna State Opera House while some of the others took the train. Honestly, I think I was afraid of feeling weak, of missing out on conversations (like those on the train didn’t have a conversation – duh!), and mostly of appearing old (uh, hello, I’m old!).

This got me thinking about the rest of my life and how often I have done things FOMO. More often than not, it was something I would not have done at all except that friends were doing it and it ended up being a great experience. FOMO is the reason I took the NALS and NALA certification exams, it is the reason I’ve attended most of the events I’ve attended, it is the reason I served as an officer and on committees, it is the reason I have traveled to conferences and vacations, it is the reason I have not one, but two (so far) blogs, it is why I’m involved in two direct sales companies, it is, quite simply, why my life has been so amazing and why I’m not currently a hermit with no friends, one email address, complaining about body aches and pains, and living a completely boring life.

I’ve spent the whole of my life trying to fit in and be liked. While I still like people to like me, that isn’t as important as fitting in. I guess I would rather melt into the crowd than be noticed. I know from conversations with others that apparently that theory doesn’t work well and that lots of people notice me and know who I am. I always think that if I’m there and quiet, people might see me, but no one really knows who I am. But when you are active, helpful, and show up to things, apparently people pay attention. It’s really dumb of me to even think that because what do I do at events? Stand back, watch, listen, and figure out who people are. Why would I expect that others wouldn’t do the same?

When I initially thought about this topic, I expected it to be negative. I expected to showcase the things I’d done in life because I was afraid of missing out and the things I’d missed out on because I was more scared than I was fearful of missing out. When I actually sat down to write, I discovered that I really didn’t miss anything because I actually took part in lots of things I wouldn’t have otherwise. I got out of my comfort zone and did things I didn’t think I wanted or was ready to do, but that were really good for me.

So to all my friends and family who used my FOMO (whether you knew it or not) to get me to participate in something, thank you! I think from here on out I will embrace my FOMO and continue to live the good life.

Bitch and Complain or Preach and Sustain

Have you ever listened to yourself in a conversation? Are you positive sounding? If everything that comes out of your mouth is a negative thought, how do you think that makes you feel? And then how do you come off to others? 

I know there are plenty of times that I complain about things, but I’m actually trying to be better about catching myself and changing my words. If you are putting negative energy into your world, what do you think you are getting back? You guessed it! You’re getting back negative energy. Do you want that in your life? Or do you want people around you to feel that energy and try to change it for you? Is that really fair to them? You are the only one in charge of you. 

I’ve known energy vampires throughout my life. Those are the people who suck the energy out of you while you’re trying to help them be less negative to keep your energy positive. Those people are physically and emotionally draining. They truly suck all of your energy out of you. And that leaves no positive energy for you. People with no positive energy are true Negative Nellies.

I’ve spent time with people who were so negative, their energy completely enveloped me, making me believe all of the negative crap they were saying. I then have to make the decision to either get sucked into all that negativity or change the subject (and my outlook) into something much more positive.

The next time you are in a group of people, just listen to the conversation around you. Do you have people at the airport describing in great detail the problems they had getting to the airport, checking bags, making connections, or boarding? What does that do to you? Does it make you worry about the rest of your trip and what things could go wrong? What about the people at work complaining (constantly) about the boss? Does that make you start thinking that those things are true and making you focus on every little thing that goes wrong but may not even affect you? Just stop! When you start hearing those things and you’re not involved in the conversation, turn your ears off. Quit listening to the negativity. If you are part of the conversation, redirect it. Start talking about something else and ask questions of others in the conversation to get them talking about something else. Start making other people feel positive about their own life. 

Life is far too short to be mired in negativity. Don’t participate in it and don’t condone it. Think about good things going on in your life and work to perpetuate them. Preach positivity. Lift people up. Positive thoughts multiply just the same way negative thoughts do, and I would much rather be surrounded by positive thoughts and positive people–and so I am! I’ve made that choice to make my life better. Shouldn’t you?

My Favorite Grandchild

GrandchildrenDo you have a favorite child or favorite grandchild? The answer to that question is (or certainly should be) NO! Unless, of course, your child/grandchild is an only child, it is unfair to the children to show favoritism.

I have what we call 7 1/2 grandchildren. Four of them belong to my son and three of them to my daughter. The 1/2 belongs to my son’s ex-wife and her husband. With that many children, it would be really easy to pick favorites. Each one of them has a very different personality–even in the same family. They are each their own individual with their own blessings.

So how could you possibly choose one? They each offer something to your life. Mine offer me intelligence, sportsmanship, kindness, beauty, personality, friendliness, sweetness, bravery, and the list goes on and on. They each bring their own piece of themselves into my life and I am incredibly proud of each one of them for different reasons.

There may well be some things about each of them that I like better than others, but I would not ever let that be visible to them. My greatest hope is that in each of their eyes, they see that I love them all equally and unconditionally and that I love ALL the parts of them.

Can you imagine how obviously favoring one child over another feels to the children? It is definitely a form of bullying. How can you possibly bully someone you love so much? Bullying is bullying and is NEVER OK. When your children start having children, you will not believe that you can possibly love as many of them as much as you can. As my son likes to say of the day my second granddaughter was born: “Her heart grew three sizes that day.” (My son is a bit of a smart ass.) One way that I like to treat them equally is that I take them each out for a day near their birthday. Once they are out of a diaper and I can understand them fluently, we go out alone for lunch and shopping wherever they want to go. Until they meet that criteria, a parent has to come along to translate (AND change the diapers). For many years, we all ended up at Build-A-Bear. These days, we all end up at Dave and Buster’s. It is one day a year that they all look forward to. A day spent with just them and me. They don’t have to share my attention with anyone else. They get it all. It was  a tradition I started with my own children when they were small. My son’s birthday happened to fall during Spring Training season here in Arizona, so we usually included a trip to a Cubs game on “Brent Day.” He still talks about it and it made him a lifelong Cubs fan (and he was ecstatic when they won the World Series this year). I’m sure you could ask him what he got for his birthday when he was 10 and he wouldn’t remember. But ask him what he did on Brent Day when he was 10 and he probably remembers that.

Another tradition is taking them in pairs to Disneyland (with a parent). It started as a way to celebrate when they turn 13. My children were very kind to space their children very conveniently for me. My first granddaughter was my daughter’s first child; the next year, my son’s first daughter was born; the following year, my daughter’s first son; the next year, my son’s first son; the following year, my daughter’s second daughter; then they got off sync and I lose count without some research for my son’s last two children. Since I couldn’t afford a big Disneyland trip every single year for five years plus, we pair them off. The two oldest girls have been on their trip and the two boys have been on theirs. This year it is time for the third pair of kids to go. The girls have been counting the time to their trip since their brothers returned two years ago. Arrangements have now been made, some swag purchased, and excitement is building for our trip this summer. The one thing that always entertains me is that they are all oh so worried about the last little brother/cousin and who will accompany him on his Disneyland trip. I think he will have plenty of volunteers.

Next year we start a tradition of celebrating high school graduations. I haven’t figured that out yet, but am thinking it will be memorialized by jewelry that will last their lifetime so they will know that I am with them (and watching them) every day of their entire lives.

My life is truly and deeply blessed because I am able to keep these traditions and love on all my grandchildren as individuals. And why shouldn’t I? They are individuals–each their own amazing person. Since I can’t make them stop growing, I’m excited to see how they each live their unique life. And then if you’re lucky enough to maintain some kind of relationship with the “ex’s” in your children’s lives and share your heart with children who share not one single drop of your DNA, you are lucky indeed. There is no child on earth whose life could not be better by being loved. All of them. Equally.

 

To Retire Or Not To Retire, That Is The Question.

RetirementWhy do I feel guilty that I am not planning to retire? It seems like everyone looks forward to the day when they can retire from their long careers and stay home and die. I love my job (most days), feel like I’m making a contribution, love making my brain work, and enjoy interacting with really intelligent people. What do I hate? I hate sitting on the porch watching the sun beat down. I hate thinking about all the projects that a retired person would get done that are still sitting and waiting for me. I really hate the thought of just waiting to die.

While there is no way to tell whether I might have to retire because of illness or something beyond my control, what I will probably do when I’m closer to a decent retirement age (like 70) is reduce my work schedule so I can take more long weekends to visit my grandbabies, so I can actually finish some of the projects that need to be done (all my old photographs are not going to scan themselves!), and so I can relax for a minute.

The issue I’m having right now is that my husband is talking about retirement, and he’s talking about it like I’m going to retire even though I’ve told him many times I have no plans to retire. Unlike me, he LOVES sitting on the porch doing nothing, he actually gets projects done and would love more time to do that, and I think he’s just tired of working.

I have too many things I want to do that a Social Security income–even enhanced with my retirement plans–won’t cover in addition to a house payment, car insurance, medical insurance, etc. I want to continue to travel. I want to be able to attend events like concerts and plays. I want to keep my housecleaning service at least part time because I really don’t like scrubbing baseboards and toilets.

One thing that keeps me excited about all of this is my circle of friends. They are 10-20 years younger than me. Other than the extended time it takes me to get out of a sitting position, I keep up pretty well. And that forces me to keep up. I can’t imagine my life without them. I would be old. My hair would probably be gray, my nails wouldn’t sparkle, my clothes wouldn’t be stylish (at least to me), and I wouldn’t have been so many places across the country and around the world.

My husband is a homebody–I am not. During our 42 years of marriage, we have traveled some to family events, but he’s not a fan. I love it. So I’m very lucky that he’s willing to stay home and take care of our animals while I’m jetting off to Europe, or to a conference, or for a girls’ weekend. Really lucky. I realize that and am very grateful that we met 45 years ago and have had such an amazing life (so far). It wasn’t always rainbows and unicorns, but with perseverance, hard work, and lots of patience, it has turned out to be pretty amazing.

If someone else has plans to retire, more power to you. I really don’t envy you because I’m happier being busy. Which is why every person should do what they want to do. Do you want to retire when you’re 62 1/2 or 65? Go for it! Do the things you want to do when you have the time to do them. I’m trying to do the best of those things now–taking grandchildren to Disneyland, traveling to Europe, walking in a Disney 5K with friends, attending conferences to increase my knowledge and make new friends, and getting involved in outside sales opportunities and blogging. While I should have started some of these things many years ago, there’s no time like the present!

Quit Quitting

DONT QUITI’m totally stealing this topic from a good friend’s recent blog post. I’m stealing it because her post made me think about my life and all the times things got hard or boring and I quit.

Most of my quitting has to do with weight loss. I’ve been very successful–and quit. I’ve been not so successful–and quit. I know all the right things to do and all the right things to eat because I’ve done it all–and then quit.

I’ve quit creative projects because I ran out time, patience, and desire. What do the half finished projects do for me? They make me feel guilty and like a quitter. I even have a baby blanket that I was cross stitching for a good friend who was pregnant–OVER 20 YEARS AGO! I should bring that out, finish it, and give it to her for her grandchildren. It has obviously been weighing on my mind for over 20 years. Time to quit quitting!

I’ve also quit a bunch of things before I could even get started. I have lots of ideas in my head for social media things to do for my other blog (proofthatblog.com) and my DS side businesses, but I quit before I even do them. Why? Because I’m scared. I’m scared of not being good enough, of looking dumb, of coming off like I don’t know a damn thing. Does it really truly matter what other people think? I like to think it doesn’t, but deep, deep down, I always think it does. So I quit. I’m getting better (and braver) day by day, but I can’t guarantee I will be comfortable doing new things with social media, but I would like to think I won’t quit.

Think about the times you quit. Was it because you were afraid? Or bored? Or “been there, done that”? It’s time to quit quitting. It’s time to actually do something productive. Life is far too short to waste time on something not worth your time and to keep quitting things that were (at least at some point) important to you. Make them important again and quit quitting.