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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Get Happy, Age Better

Here’s another of these “Duh” studies, but worth repeating, I think.

Of the “8 Things That Make Or Break Your Happiness”--from a AARP survey--I find two really interesting:  Accomplishment and Meaning & Engagement.

Which translates to me as:  continue to actively create your life.  And one of the best ways to consciously do that is through journal writing.  

So several days a week, you get up, get your coffee, sit down, open your journal, and write your way into the day: 

What do you want this day to look like?  Be specific. 

What activities will be most rewarding?  Be specific.

Who do you want to see/be in touch with? 

Today, what will contribute most to your physical, creative, and emotional/spiritual well-being?  
Be specific. 

After all, each of us is in charge of our own happiness.  Keeping a personal journal reminds us of that.

People Who Enjoy Life Actually Age Better, Study Shows

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

In Gratitude for the Life of Pete Seeger

I can think of no finer epitaph for Pete Seeger than one he wrote himself:

“To My Old Brown Earth”

To my old brown earth
And to my old blue sky
I’ll now give these last few molecules of “I.”

And you who sing,
And you who stand nearby,
I do charge you not to cry.

Guard well our human chain,
Watch well you keep it strong,
As long as sun will shine.

And this our home,
Keep pure and sweet and green,
For now I’m yours
And you are also mine.

To hear this song performed--and for more on this amazing man's life, click here:

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Geezer Perks

Yet another article on the advantages of aging.  (Keep ‘em coming, I say.)

When I first saw the headline below, I thought of one particular perk, a habit I’ve recently fallen into:  calling everyone I come in contact with “Honey”—family, friends, the bus driver, crossing guard, customer service people, and clerks in stores, especially the young, cute fellows I once longed for in my misspent youth.

And the best part is no one takes offense, feels patronized or insulted; in fact, it usually brings a nod and a smile, which is, after all, the point.

Here are 20 more:

20 Things We Can Do After 50 That We Couldn't Do At 20

Friday, January 24, 2014

Honor Thy Father & Thy Mother: Tell Their Story

When I first started teaching my memoir and family stories workshops at the Newberry Library (, I was struck by how many people who attended—especially those in their 50s and 60s, and with both parents deceased—so regretted not knowing more about their parents.  Especially who they were before they became their parents.

Some of the participants had found a cache of letters or diaries written by their mother or father or both, which is what inspired them to sign up for the workshop, to finally honor their parents' memory by telling their stories.

At least that’s how I see it, the “honoring” part. 

I thought of that while reading this fun piece about young adults still or now back living with their parents, a survival guide, as the writer describes it.  Here’s the bit that resonated:

This is as good a time as any to find out your mum's backstory. Learning to see your parents as full people and not just personalised hovering emotional life-support machines will make you a better person.

More at:

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Geezer Sex: Not an Oxymoron

Time for "the talk," Kids.  I mean, it's time for you to have the talk with your geezer loved ones.

No, not about their driving, or their money, or their ability to live alone anymore.  No, no, this is the talk, the birds and the bees conversation.  And especially the safe sex conversation.

But before you sit your mother or father or grandparents down for the talk, do read this article, Sex and the Single Senior, by Ezekiel Emanuel.  It'll give you the ammo you need.

Here's an excerpt:

Combine retirement communities, longer life, unfamiliarity with condoms and Viagra — and what do you get? You get an S.T.D. epidemic among the Social Security generation that rivals what we imagine is happening in those “Animal House” fraternities.

More at...

Monday, January 20, 2014

On the Geezer Beat with Enrique Seaus

What I love most about this interview with pasta chef Enrique Seaus--who, at 80, plans to work until he's 100--is part of what he answers to this question:

"Why haven't you retired?"

"Someday I'd like to teach others how to cook," he responded.

It's that "someday" that inspires me.  At a decade younger than Mr. Seaus, I still have lots on my list of Somedays, including walking the wild moors of England.  And with my next husband, whomever and wherever he may yet be.


Read the entire New York Times interview with Enrique Seaus at:

Saturday, January 18, 2014

On the Geezer Beat with Jim Harrison

First, one of his poems:

by Jim Harrison

To remember you're alive
visit the cemetery of your father
at noon after you've made love
and are still wrapped in a mammalian
odor that you are forced to cherish.
Under each stone is someone's inevitable
surprise, the unexpected death
of their biology that struggled hard, as it must.
Now to home without looking back,
enough is enough.
En route buy the best wine
you can afford and a dozen stiff brooms.
Have a few swallows then throw the furniture
out the window and begin sweeping.
Sweep until the walls are
bare of paint and at your feet sweep
until the floor disappears. Finish the wine
in this field of air, return to the cemetery
in evening and wind through the stones
a slow dance of your name visible only to birds.

And then one of his quotes:

“The only advice I can give to aspiring writers is don't do it unless you're willing to give your whole life to it. Red wine and garlic also helps.”