Book Club Questions – Part 2

I just spent a delightful evening around a table with a group of women who had read my book for their book club. They invited me to come and talk with them on an “author visit.” I had prepared some questions for the group and, as always, women are great at discussions.  And, being open. And at laughing and, a little bit at this particular Book Club, crying.

Being invited to a Book Club was not something I had anticipated.  But, it was the second book club I have visited. As a result, I started thinking that some discussion questions for Which Old Woman Will You Be? might be well received.

Last newsletter, we posted 5 questions.  Here are a few more…..

  • What is the best part of being a reader?

You are obviously a reader if you are in a book club, right? Except for a few unnamed people I know who mainly listen to their assigned books on audio, book club members are readers. How have you grown from reading? What are you favorite books that we have read (as a book club).

  • How do you draw others out and into a discussion?

I talk in the Which Old Woman Will You Be? about not being boring. And suggest that being interested in others is a good way to stay interesting.  Can you think of a person you met who was fascinating?

My husband and I just spen an evening (too late for us, actually) at a local bar listening to a really talented 70 year old with his band. Dave met Bill Kirchen on a plane and had a very pleasant and personal conversation with him. Who knew that he would show up in Urbana, IL?  It was fun and not boring!

What are your favorite questions to ask people to get them to open up?

  • What would you say your purpose is at this point of your life?

A big way to know your purpose is to refuse to let your circumstances define your life. What ways have you overcome some challenging circumstance? How has that helped your perspective?

We are working on an online course that will focus on Designing Your BEST ThirdThird.  Having a life mission statement will be the outcome of that course.

Even if you knew your purpose in life earlier, retirement will require some tweaking of that!

  • Have you ever been stuck?  

How did you manage to get unstuck?  It can feel like you are stuck when you are caring for someone who is ill. Or, if you are in a job that has become tedious. Or, if an unexpected or sad life situation happens (divorce, death, someone moving away) and for a while you find it hard to make yourself keep moving. What works for you?

What are you curious about that can give you some energy and get you interested in something new?

  • What action have you taken (or will you take) to assure that you will be the Old Woman (or man) that you desire to be?

Celebrate each other!

Did you go to a movie you wanted to see by yourself? Yea for you!!!  Are you opting out of a large holiday celebration to simplify and focus on what is truly important to you?  Yea for you!!! Did you sign up for a class or buy the tickets or burn the letters or make the reservation or have the conversation? Yea!!!!

Whatever you are doing to take steps to choose what will ooze out of you when you are “really old,” share it, celebrate it, encourage it in each other.

Thank you for enjoying my thoughts in Which Old Woman Will You Be?

Book Club Questions Part 1

I just spent a delightful evening around a table with a group of women who had read my book for their book club. They invited me to come and talk with them on an “author visit.” I had prepared some questions for the group and, as always, women are great at discussions.  And, being open. And at laughing and, a little bit at this particular Book Club, crying.

I have to admit that being invited to a Book Club was not something I had anticipated.  But, it was the second book club I have visited. That made me think that some discussion questions for Which Old Woman Will You Be? might be well received.

So, here are some topics to discuss, if you are so inclined.

  • How did you rank on the quiz at the back of the book?

This was an interesting start of the night.  Let’s just say that this particular group of women had some very literal thinkers. (How long has the piece of cake been on the counter? What if you just refuse to discuss politics completely? I plant my garden to share, so anyone is free to pick.)

  • Did you have both kinds of Grandmothers? Share about them.

It is amazing how often everyone has had both. One of mine had a television, but was a bit grumpy (maybe due to health challenges) and only watched soap operas like Guiding Light and could never be interrupted for anything. The other one didn’t have a television, but was nice and always had oatmeal raisin cookies and coca cola (in small glass bottles).

  • How do you compare yourself to other women?My example in the book was a weight lifting class. 

It was great to have these women who know each other compliment one another in response to this question. “I always wish I was the hostess that Ann is.” “I wish I was as stylish as Shelly.” “I feel like <you> are always put together.” Those comparisons were great affirmations, honestly, with little comparison, in reality.

  • What is one way that you are “brilliant?”  

Ah. One woman said the word, “brilliant” is intimidating. It might sound boastful? Or like too much? Or hard to consider myself as brilliant?  This is simply about being comfortable in your own skin enough that you can share your talents to bless others. I like that my choice of words sparks discussion!

  • Do you think that you could become lonely?

If you are in a book club, there is the assumption that you have friends, right? But assumptions are dangerous to make. Several women in that Book Club said they had done something alone after reading Which Old Woman Will You Be?  And, they enjoyed it. Others said they find themselves staying home from something they might enjoy rather than go alone. A few said they will go to see a movie alone if they want to see it.

One woman commented that she wishes that every book had discussion questions at the end, so I am rising to the challenge. Not at the back of the published book, but here.  

Next newsletter, I will add more.

Take the Fear Out of Retirement

Take the fear our of retirement

Maybe it’s not really FEAR…maybe it’s more like dread or uneasiness of the unknown.  The dictionary definition of the word retirement is “the action or fact of leaving one’s job and ceasing to work.”  Since a large part of our life and identity for many years has been our work, the thought of not having that can make us unsure of the future.  

We “Boomers” should be considering the distinct possibility that we just might live into our 90’s.  To “cease working” for 25-30 years after “retirement” is a long time!

There are steps to take to face the ThirdThird of life (ages 60-90) without fear.  Here are 5 suggestions to combat the dread of the unknown, the uneasiness of what to do with a lot of years, possible another one-third of your life, “post job.”

Choose your words.

If you change the way you look at things,
the things you look at change.” – Wayne Dyer

The first way to begin to move past the fear of what retirement means for you is to eliminate the word “retirement” from your vocabulary.  Don’t think of your life as empty or purposeless or “post-work.” Think of it as your ThirdThird!  If you retire at 60 and live to be 90, that’s a long 30 years.  Thirty years is a third of ninety, so you have the opportunity to build on your first two thirds of your life and make your ThirdThird your BEST Third!

Think of your life in the ThirdThird as OPPORTUNITY.  You have the opportunity to build on all of the experience and wisdom and skill that you have amassed.  

Find a way to invest in a meaningful way.

I have some discretionary time and I have skills that needed an outlet.  I was on the prowl, as it were, to find a way to contribute to our community in a meaningful way.  

I am not really “Board material” as I prefer action to talk. I don’t want to be involved in politics. I have tried mentoring and have found my particular mentees to be less than motivated.  I’ve volunteered at church and Habitat for Humanity events with good success, but in one-time events.

Recently, I was invited to an informational lunch about the Community Health Clinic in our county.  I learned that they have a “Food as Medicine” program, well- funded by grants, and they need a volunteer leader to make it better.  They have an intern who is there daily, so it is a leadership/development opportunity more than a show-up-and-make-it-happen commitment.  I have always thought of nutrition as my hobby, so I jumped in. I’m excited about this “Food as Medicine” program and the monthly pop-up food pantry we will have.   I can see myself doing this for a long while.

There are opportunities that will fit your skills and interests.  If you are looking for them, you’ll find them!

Pursue an interest.

When you are not having to show up someplace at 8:00 a.m. every day, you have some time to follow your curiosity. Don’t worry about finding your passion.  Just find things to be curious about.

A friend of mine has discovered contra dancing and is often housing various other dancers who come to our town for festivals and exhibitions.  Another friend is making “working wall art,” combining wood with antique and vintage door knobs. He and others I know find great enjoyment selling their various wares at the local farmer’s market.

I think it is safe to say that there is a class available for just about anything you might want to explore.  If not in your community, then definitely online. Maybe some travel will help you stir or deepen an interest you can pursue.

Make Health a priority.

I read that 70-90% of disease is life-style related.  I believe that. A client of mine in her late 70’s just got her blood pressure under control in six weeks by changing her diet and walking daily.

Falls and joint pain are just two of the common concerns that come along with age. Regular yoga helps with both since balance and flexibility are both addressed. Walking is an easy way to get blood flowing and heart pumping with all the good feelings that a bit of exercise brings along.

I resorted to putting a scale in our kitchen to remind myself and my husband that we have a weight we want to stay beneath. Even our son who has Down Syndrome has been able to get his weight under control with our daily reminder (brutal as it seems, to some).

In our ThirdThird, making health a priority can make our years post-work much more satisfying.

Give yourself a deadline to meet.

Take advantage of the fact that you are in control of your time, now.  Choose one thing that you have said you would do when you retired, or that you dreamed of doing, and set a deadline for completing it.  Or, set a deadline for starting it!

Last year I published my first book and am currently working on the second. I’ve talked about this for a long time and it all came together this past year, my 66th.  I said it would be done in January of 2018 and guess what?  It was!

Just as in your business/working life, there was nothing as motivating as a deadline, so it is now as you are making the most of the opportunities you have in your ThirdThird.  One thing at a time. Set a goal and a deadline.

Build a purposeful life. Make your ThirdThird the BEST Third of your life by fearlessly refusing to think of yourself as “retired.”

What ways have you had to adjust your thinking after your career years ended? How are you planning for your years “after work?” What joy have you found in new opportunities with more discretionary time?

Am I Becoming My Mother?

Am I becoming my mother? 

Have you ever asked the question, “am I becoming my mother?”

I was recently in an appointment at a physical therapist for some weird hip pain. As we chatted, I think we came to the conclusion that my problems have been self-induced.  You see, I spent hours sitting in the “w” (knees together, legs back to the sides) as a child. Usually, I was reading or checking out books on the lower sections of the bookmobile.  I have always attributed those hours of sitting to my slight bow-leggedness. Confirmed…by the PT.

Now, I am remembering that when I was in 8th grade, there were a few innocuous comments made about my mother’s walking that now comes back to haunt me.  Someone commented on how my mother’s feet went out (duck-like) when she walked. It might have been me… I honestly don’t remember.  My mother’s explanation was, “Your Daddy asked me if I can walk with my feet straight, but I told him this is just the way I walk.”  

My response?  In my budding rebellion of the all-wise teenage years, I decided that if my mother could not, I would.  So began a life time of conscious straight-foot walking.

And now, in my ThirdThird, at the age of 66, I am experiencing hip pain that most likely comes from forcing my hip joints into an unnatural angle.  For years.

Sigh. In my intention of not being like my mother at that long ago age of puberty and self-discovery, I set myself up.  Maybe it would have been better if I had aspired to be just like my Mother, instead of determinedly being un-like her. In some ways, maybe.

Last week, I received a text and photo from my sister of her outfit for the day.  “White pants or jeans two days in a row. Am I becoming our Mother?” I laughed out loud, of course, as only sister texts can provoke, thinking that “no, you are not becoming our Mother,” but also recognizing some recurring tendencies in that direction.

In some good ways, I remember my Mother’s influence and am grateful.

I am generous.

I watched my Mother be generous in a number of ways. She always wrote the tithe check first after my Daddy’s weekly paycheck came home. She was ready to offer cookies or a pecan pie to new neighbors. She gave her 25th Anniversary china to a newlywed couple at her church (maybe I shouldn’t bring that one up???).

I clean up after myself as I cook.

Once, when my Mother was visiting, she made the comment, “Debbie, you’re a good cook, but you sure make a mess,” as she was cleaning up behind me. I realized she was right and began a practice of cleaning as I go, so I don’t have that big mess to clean up on my own.

I am aware of areas of waste.

On another visit, again, helping me in the kitchen, Mother noted that milk was being wasted as our 5 children took their dishes to the sink after a meal. “A lot of your milk is getting poured down the drain.”  Wow. We were on a budget and I was happy to find a way to make those gallons last longer. I started filling those cups less full and throwing less down the drain.

Now, I notice when we are not using produce fast enough or when I have more than I need of shoes or clothing.  Even though our budget is not as limited as when the house was full of children, I value not wasting things I buy.

In some other ways, I intentionally try to be different than my Mother.

I try to only use positive motivation.

Especially with my grandchildren, I intentionally do my best to build them up and never use shaming as a way of motivating.  I am sensitive to a time when people use humor at another’s expense. Making fun in hurtful ways is something I became sensitive to during my Mother’s visits as she was older. She was completely unaware of how her humor did not translate well to a sensitive teen/tween and she was not really open to learning new ways. But, I can be positive and avoid misusing humor.

I do my best to stay up on current events.

In my home, growing up, there was no discussion of politics and little awareness of the world at large.  Part of that was the era of my parents’ generation. Part of it was that neither of them went to college. While they were hard working and intelligent people, there was little academic confidence.  I try to be more aware of what is happening around me and in the world, so I have more to talk about than who is doing what in the neighborhood.

I take risks and try new things.

My parents built a house in 1949 when my Daddy returned from WWII.  My Mother lived there until 2011 when she had to move into a care facility.  Me? My husband and I are building a home at the River and it will be the 18th address we have had in our 45 years of marriage. We have moved, I have started businesses and risked failure, we have tried new things.  Some of that comes from watching my parents hunker down and resist opportunities that came their way. The need for security and the fear of failure was strong in them. I appreciate that. I understand that. But, seeing that has given me the desire and courage to step out into risk.

I grew into being thankful for the parents I had. These days, I sincerely hope that my own children will grow into understanding me and choose the best ways to imitate me.  And, I hope they are wise to see and replace those unpleasant memories of my attempts at being their parent.

Life-long learning and growing is a way
to make your ThirdThird your BEST Third!

Mantra and a Youtube Channel

Wikipedia says that a mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that are considered capable of “creating transformation.”

 

We all have a mantra or mantras, things we say over and over, that have the power to change us…or to keep us stuck.

Not all of the things we tell ourselves are good for positive change.  A lot of them are very damaging:

  • I look fat.
  • I worry too much.
  • I don’t make enough money.
  • Other people are better/ more successful/happier/luckier than I am.
  • I have no control over my circumstances.

When we say the same things to ourselves, over and over, the worst part of negative thoughts and self-talk is that we eventually come to believe what we are telling ourselves.  And when we believe the negative things we say to ourselves about ourselves, we are in grave danger of becoming stuck right where we are.

My mantras mostly come from life moments when it became acutely and frighteningly obvious to me that I was just about to become stuck in a way of thinking, reacting, living, that was making me shrink….instead of growing.  My “mantra moment” was when the things I was telling myself over and over were recognized for what they were… and replaced.

  • It’s easier to keep it off than to take it off.
  • I will no longer be insecure.
  • I know what will satisfy me.
  • Perfection is highly over-rated /Know your limiting beliefs… and replace them.
  • Change something.

As I am working on my next book, Mantras for Your BEST ThirdThird, I am reading through old journals to get perspective and to see the difference that changing the way I was thinking has taken me forward.  It is deeply satisfying to see that I have become intentional and purposeful and satisfied….instead of fearful and worried and sad.

Some of my mantras are already in blog posts at YourBESTThirdThird.com.  And there are more to come, more to share, more to learn.

In the meantime, I am adding to my Youtube channel with stories of women and men who are living their BEST ThirdThird.  

Are you someone who has a story to share that will inspire and encourage others to be designing their life to ensure a ThirdThird that is the BEST Third of their life?  

Or, do you know someone I might meet and interview about their ThirdThird story?

Tell me!  Debbie@YourBESTThirdThird.com

 

 

 

 

 

Photo by Lukas Budimaier on Unsplash

We All Have a Story

We all have a story.

In preparation for a book my husband and I are working on, “How to Stay Married,” I have been perusing old journals.  I have a lot of them! I started keeping a journal many years ago when a woman I respected encouraged me to keep a chronicle of life lessons. Her reasoning was that someday, I would write.  I so appreciate her nudging. She told me that when I was ready to write about my journey, my journals would give me accurate recall. To pass along truth is important to me, so I am deeply glad that I took her advice and now have written accounts of experiences and lessons that have brought me into my ThirdThird.

Last week, I spend some time in the 1980’s. The 80’s were full years for me.  Our last 2 children, one miscarriage, a diagnosis of cervical cancer while I was pregnant with #5, our only daughter. After her birth and subsequent surgery, I spiraled into a puzzling physical weakening that was eventually (after 2.5 years of doctors and testing) diagnosed as myasthenia gravis. In spite of those difficulties, those years had some deeply positive results for me.

Those years brought me to several of my life mantras.  

Refusing to be “controlled by others’ insecurities” came from these days.  Other women close to me did not believe that I might actually be sick. I grew weary of hearing others’ complaints and the ensuing competition for who had it harder with their life as wife and mother.  I determined not to talk about my difficulties and went on with my life. I learned to face my own insecurities and to seek health for myself.

Deciding “I would not be insecure” also grew from this time.  I knew my body and my history and I had to be determined to get to the bottom of my weakness…even if my friends doubted me and doctors tended to scratch their heads and suggest another test or specialty. I learned to trust myself and my own experience.

I learned and grew through weakness.  I remember, especially, learning to be thankful for my own experience of being weak because it helped me understand people who are not strong. Weak people had always annoyed me, rather than elicit sympathy. Until I experienced weakness myself. I learned to prioritize my responsibilities and to take “one step at a time” towards learning to live with the reality of the day.

Good things came, but it was a hard time.

Reading through those journals last week took me back to some very difficult and sad times as well as reminding me of all the good and positive.

In the 1980’s, I found myself not in conformity to the organization we were deeply involved with and that led to much angst on my part. I was (am) strong willed and opinionated and a challenger. While I was committed to the stated goals of the group, I often was at odds with leadership because I didn’t naturally or easily conform. I brought my own self and my own experience and my own opinions. But, I was misunderstood, not respected. My stories were not honored.

Interestingly, a few years ago, I stumbled onto a website for people who had similar experiences to mine in that same organization.  It was mesmerizing. While I had been able to remove myself and find self-respect and health long before finding that website, it was a powerful experience to read that others had very, very similar situations to mine.  I lurked…not joining in by posting. I was past needing to express my own painful remembrances. Yet, even with that being true, it was hugely validating to see that others knew my pain, honored my story, even if they didn’t know me.

I felt that my story had been honored.

Fortunately, my marriage survived those years and those people.  Thankfully, I learned during those days to listen without becoming defensive, to look for the truth in spite of the messenger, and to forgive.

Unfortunately, I spent several strategic years in fear and dread. I lost joy and had physical repercussions. Our children were affected by the difficulty that their parents faced.

I have moved on.  

Thankfully, with grit and determination over a long period of time, I rarely consider those days now.  But recent remembering has made me acutely aware of the fact that there are people who have discounted my feelings and perspective then and now.  There are relationships that I think I would enjoy having now, if those people could honor my story.

I would be interested in knowing some of their story now.  I would honor them. Even if they were vastly different from my own. Reading my journal accounts of those interactions long ago, with time distancing my sight, I can honor the stories and understand some of today’s reality.

In the organization where my hurtful story exists, others have a different story. Some have left. Some have remained.  Others have eased away through job relocations or other life changes. Some legitimately do not see harmful practices. Others choose to ignore them.  Still others call them out and suffer the consequences. I believe that there are some who honestly do not see how their actions might be hurtful.

The one thing I would wish for is if we could all learn to honor each other’s story. Not in that organization, but on a daily, personal basis.

Wonderful stories of healing and acceptance.

    Difficult stories of pain and struggle.

         Happy stories of reconciliations and forgiveness.

        Moving stories of abuse and distrust.

         Redeeming stories of self-acceptance and solid understanding.

I heard Brene Brown say in an interview that she believes in the goodness of people…but that it is hard work to stay out of fear and to stay good.

Hearing and honoring another’s story is a way to do the good, hard work that will make us better. To face our own fears and to look for the good.

Let’s honor each other’s story.

 

 

 

 

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Love to Read

Your Best Third Third

I love to read. And I love to encourage others to read.  

Here is a short excerpt from my book, Which Old Woman Will You Be? from the chapter on Be A Reader.  

Today, my top five novels are:  Jane Eyre, Christy, The Chronicles of Narnia, Memoirs of a Geisha, The Kite Runners.  

From these, I discovered that …..

I actually can be a romantic.

    I want my home to be a refuge and place of comfort.

         I can enjoy fantasy, even though I am more naturally a realist.

              There are unbelievable obstacles women can overcome.

                   Cultures are deep and full and very multi-dimensional.

I said five, so I won’t go on to mention Three Cups of Tea, The Lacuna, The Hobbit and George McDonald novels……or Grishom and Patricia Cornwell (Scarpetta) and Maeve Binchy or The President’s Lady and Mr. Audubon’s Lucy.

I have nonfiction favorites, too.  Like any of John Maxwell’s books on leadership, One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard, Five Dysfunctions of a Team Patrick Lencioni, When Fish Fly by Joseph Michelli and John Yokoyama.   The Purpose Driven Life would be #1 on the non-fiction list if I had to choose.

BIG life-changing books for me have been The Dip by Seth Godin. That book actually was a catalyst for major adjustments for my husband and me. Including (but not limited to) changing jobs and relocating 11 hours away.  

Younger Next Year (and Younger Next Year for Women) by Chris Crowley and Harry S Lodge, M.D. has prompted significant daily alterations for me and my husband. Moving from casual to intentional daily exercise and getting serious about our diet so that we can stay fit and active into our 80’s and beyond came from this book.

These books helped us imagine our lives differently.

One of the few regrets I have is that I have not kept a list of all the books I have read.  

Be discriminate with your time. Read books that teach good lessons that are well-written.  

                 Not to escape, but to explore.  

Reading will keep your mind sharp.  It will give you something to talk with others about.  It can get you thinking about larger issues. It can make you smile and weep and empathize and wonder.

Some studies even show that reading reduces stress and can slow our heartbeat. Take a “reading vacation.” You don’t have to go anywhere or spend anything. Just block out some time to “go somewhere” by reading a book.

So…a short excerpt from Which Old Woman Will You Be?  To encourage you to read!!!

What books are on your summer reading list? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo by Emily Marie on Unsplash

Seven Ways to Make Food Prep Exciting

Eating at home can be better and more fun than dining out every day.  Here are seven ways to make home food preparation interesting.

For many years, it was my responsibility to feed our family of seven three healthy meals a day.  I decided to approach meal preparation as a hobby to keep myself engaged. Now, my years of others relying on me for meals are gone.  

BUT, eating out presents some challenges to maintaining the healthy approach to life my husband and I are intent on following.  A focus on nutrition and some food allergies and our slowing metabolism that seems to accompany the accumulation of birthdays make eating out a lot a challenge.   

Cooking for fewer people has required some adjustments. But, I am finding that cooking at home for most of our meals is not only better for us but it can be fun and give us some new shared interests.

Here are some ways we keep meal prep from becoming boring.

Find new recipes

Cooking shows on television can inspire new recipes. Themes, slants, approaches, points of view….any time of day on multiple channels, there are cooking shows to inspire.  

Websites can help!  Pinterest is a great source of recipe inspiration.  Have coconut milk in your cabinet and need the inspiration to use it?  You can find a multitude of options there.  Want to make gluten-free, vegan brownies?  There will be a number of recipes to choose from.  Want a new take on meatloaf or spaghetti or need to know how to use that mystery ingredient that your gardening neighbor bestowed?  Find it online.

My daughter has almost replaced me with AllRecipes.com.  She has found family favorites there that for me were hand-written on 3×5 index cards.

We subscribe to at least one food-related magazine at all times.  When it comes, I sit and peruse all possibilities and tear out the pages with foods we might like to try.  If we try it and like it, it gets filed.  If it is forgettable, out it goes.

Try new foods  

By “new” I don’t necessarily mean “weird.”  (Unless weird sounds good!)  

Growing up, the vegetable choice was pretty much green beans, peas, corn, or carrots.  I remember broccoli showing up when I was in my 20’s as a “new” veggie.  Zucchini came a little after that.  Now, with improved refrigeration and shipping and preservation methods, you can get all sorts of foods that were unknown to you even a few years ago.  

Try something new!  You might like it!

Explore different cuisines  

When we moved the small-ish “micro-urban” community we live in, more years ago than I can believe, there were 3 restaurants in town, not counting the common fast food places.  One was a chain family restaurant, one was locally owned and had good burgers and sodas and soups, and the third was a more-upscale Italian-ish place.

Now, same town, we can choose from a long list of places to eat different cuisines. Thai, Indian (from different regions), Mexican (both authentic and Tex-Mex), Chinese (buffet, sit-down, carry-out), Korean (especially if we are willing to brave the campus area), and others that I am sure I am not currently aware of.  

So many options for so much fun and exploration!

Buy unusual (to you) ingredients

My husband is an avid runner.  As he has had more birthdays, he has gotten more interested in the mechanics and technology of long distance running. Several books he has ordered have opened us up to new ingredients.  We now have several types of miso in our refrigerator. Seaweed. Tahini. Quinoa. Agave syrup. Chia seeds. Various types of “milk.”  And we are learning how to use them successfully.

Turmeric is a new spice to us.  We now have Garam Masala and Cumin on the spice shelf. I discovered Ginger Juice that I use regularly. And the oil and vinegar stores know me by name. (Wild mushroom and Sage Olive Oil are my favorite. Balsamic fig vinegar is all I need on a salad.)

Learn new techniques  

Back to television, watching competitive cooking shows has taught me a lot.  PBS has great cooking shows for techniques, as do other broadcast channels.   Even simpler television cooking shows have introduced me to smashing garlic cloves with the side of a knife to easily remove the skins and having a “discard bowl” nearby to save time when chopping and preparing.

Googling recipes for gluten-free bread has given me the information I needed to have a measure of success in baking yeast bread with flours that are not made from wheat (which required me to buy and learn to use unusual ingredients).  A simple technique I ran across online made my bread go from flat to raised, actually resembling the wheat bread I made for years.

Remember old favorites

Don’t forget those family favorites.  I remember once when I was on a roll to make meals interesting to our children that my husband requested spaghetti—at least once a year.  I had gotten so into meal prep that for one whole year, I never repeated a recipe.  Variety being the spice of life and all that, he just wanted an occasional “comfort” meal (even though he did assure me he enjoyed my creative efforts).

Now, with me being gluten-free and us both watching our caloric intake, we can substitute spaghetti squash with a favorite sauce. Chili is easily accomplished in the crockpot. He has perfected nachos that are healthy and tasty.  Sometimes the old favorites hit the spot.

Divorce yourself from perfection.

Food prep and dining at home should be fun and nutritional, not perfect.  When you are trying new ingredients, or preparing new recipes or learning new techniques, sometimes it comes out less than what it looked like on television or online.

No worries!  If it is edible, then that is a success.  If it is not (which will happen rarely, I promise!) then, don’t eat it.  It’s as simple as that.

Do you enjoy cooking at home?  What have you found to be successful for at-home meal preparation? What new ingredients have you tried?  What will you never try again?!

 

 

 

 

 

* This was originally posted by Debbie at SixtyandMe.com

 

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

Less Stress and More Joy

I’m in my ThirdThird now (ages 60-90) and I find there are things I used to care a lot more about than I do now.  Priorities, experience, wisdom, adapting… whatever the reason, I am much more flexible in my thinking.

The result? Less stress and more joy. A greater appreciation for each day, each opportunity, and each interaction.

Here are five ways that I can be much more relaxed now that I have lived long enough to recognize what is truly important to me:

 

Fashion “rules.”

 

Rules that try to dictate details like you have to wear brown with navy or that you can’t wear white after Labor Day (or before Easter) or that after a certain age you “shouldn’t” wear leggings or high heels.  While I care about my appearance and want to be (relatively) stylish, I am much more inclined to be motivated by comfort and common sense now that I am older.  Put myself together in a way that I feel confident and off I go.

 

Grocery store attire.  

Continuing on with a clothing theme, I care much less what I wear to the grocery store, even though I have lived in our town for a long time and there is a good chance I might run into someone I know.  If I know them, they should not be distracted by my casual attire and we should be able to enjoy an exchange of pleasantries in the aisles, with or without makeup.

 

Other people’s opinions about my family.  

Once, my husband and I made a decision that (evidently) seemed rash to outsiders without much information. We both quit our jobs and headed in separate directions, temporarily, to take opportunities we were excited about. Pretty soon, there were all sorts of rumors. One of us was dying. We were splitting up. There was trouble brewing. None of it was true. We were just taking advantage of the trust we had built over many years that allowed us to each seek our own for a period. Since then, I don’t try to explain.

 

Keeping up with the latest.  

Technology, slang, exercise, diet. Trying new stuff that is going to disappear or be replaced before I fully understand it is an exercise in futility that I no longer am tempted by.  I am dependent on technology, but try to make what works for me last as long as possible. Slang, I just try to avoid so I don’t misuse, much to my grandkids’ amusement. Exercise and diet, I know what works so being consistent is the best approach at this point.

 

Everyone agreeing.

Ha! In the current political climate in the US, there is obviously little hope of everyone agreeing. But even in a family or social or work environments, I am much more willing to adapt to someone else’s idea than I used to be. For years, I have been considering a family vacation that involved passports and planes and trains and mountains and beaches. Our kids, however, asked if I would consider, instead, a week at a Florida beach. 17 people. No passports. No train. Just sand and sun and relaxing. They all agreed, so exchanging my plans was simple.  That they all want to be together AND they want their parents there, too….that was a fine adjustment for my thinking to make.

 

Life is simpler now that I can let go of a lot of the rules and expectations and assumptions I had when I was rushing around and holding things together in my FirstThird (ages 0-30, mainly focused on learning) and in my SecondThird (ages 30-60, mainly focused on earning).  

This is one key to me making my ThirdThird my very BEST Third.

 

 

 

* first published at Sixtyandme.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Luca Upper

It’s Here!

I’ve been telling you about my new book and now it is ready! 

I’m excited to share with you that my ebook is available for purchase on Amazon for just $2.99!

 

 

I’ve been gathering content for a long time by keeping journals to record life lessons and significant moments. This book, “Which Old Woman Will You Be?” is my first. It takes a practical look at ways to be sure you are becoming the person you want to be in your ThirdThird of life, ages 60–90.

As we age, two things happen.
1. We have less energy to pretend, and
2. We care less what others think of us.

The result is that who we really are, who we have been at our core, is what comes out. By living on purpose and determining who we want to be when we are younger, we can intentionally become the “Old Woman” (or Old Man) that we want to become.

I think you will enjoy the book and I am thankful for your support!  Purchase your copy here: http://a.co/9FEn4bg

If you enjoyed the book, write a review on Amazon or share with somebody you know who would benefit from this book.