BABY BOOMERS, FACTS AND FICTION

Some people, mostly women, of a certain age have determined that they prefer living alone and that being in a relationship is not something they yearn for. As my grandmother put it several years after my grandfather died, "I already cooked and cleaned for one man. I don't want to cook and clean for another one." And that's just fine because those people are making a choice and the choice that pleases them. Still, there are many seniors who would like to have a partner and do want to fall in love again. In fact, there are plenty of seniors who will fall in love, and hold hands, kiss, make love, and fall asleep next to someone who makes their heart happy. Unfortunately, there are certain mythologies about seniors that circulate as fact when they’re actually fiction. Many seniors don’t have any expectation that there is a special person for them. So they don’t look, they don’t hope, they don’t aspire to anything but they do feel lonely and depressed. If a senior believes that the only thing to look forward to is going to church to pray to whatever god they believe in that they go quick and without...

Read More ›

SUFFERING

“The foundation of all mental illness is the avoidance of legitimate suffering.” -Carl Jung No one who is suffering wants to be told that their suffering is legitimate suffering. Mentally Healthy people want the suffering to stop, want to return to a mental place where they are no longer suffering. That makes sense. Emotional suffering can be just as awful as physical suffering. I can tell someone that their suffering won’t last, that even if they do nothing a better day will come or, at the very least, they will grow and learn new ways to be that are more rewarding  but no one has ever skipped out of my office praising the virtues of suffering no matter what I say to them. Still, Carl Jung, the founder of analytical psychology, made a good point with his statement. Suffering is part of the human condition. No one escapes suffering. The question is what is legitimate suffering? Here’s a partial list: 1. You lost a loved one to death, divorce, or illness. 2. You lost something you valued, a job, a home, a pet. 3. You have become a caretaker and, even though you want to do the caretaking or feel...

Read More ›

NOT A GOOD DATE?

Dear MJ, My friend likes to take the bus trips to Reno for a fun time out. We live in an assisted living complex so I like to get out too but I don’t always like to go on bus trips, especially when it’s always to go gambling and have a few drinks. I wouldn’t mind going with her sometimes but when I ask her to do other things with me she says she’s too busy. Is she really my friend? What should I do? Sincerely, Not a Good Date Dear Not a Good Date, You’re probably are a good date, and I bet you’re a lot of fun to be with on the bus trips, otherwise she wouldn’t keep asking you. In any friendship, the hardest thing to do is talk about things that might make you or the other person uncomfortable. You need to change the way you think about “uncomfortable situations” and realize that “fact finding” conversations don’t have to be uncomfortable at all. First, it’s important that you come up with more than one thing you like to do so you can offer your friend a “menu” of other fun activities. Maybe you like longer trips...

Read More ›

FINDING YOUR VOICE AS YOU AGE

Of course, finding your voice at any age is great, as many people are too focused on what other people think and not what they feel or think. For seniors, however, finding one's voice is especially critical because so many assumptions are made about seniors today. Here are some common one: All seniors prefer to be with their families over all other activities. All seniors have nothing to talk about but their aches an pains. Seniors have given up being sexual. Seniors are grateful for the things others take them to or invite them to and are happy with that. Seniors don't know how to flirt, be silly, joke around, dream about the future, have great desire and passions. These are just a few of them. I could list many more. We, as seniors, need to find a collective voice that tells this country who we really are, not just tax phobic, insulated, half bathed elderly people who hope someone will invite them somewhere to get their minds off of worrying about their health. We were young once and have a lot to share, we have stories about the history of this country, about the history of where we live,...

Read More ›

A SENIOR THOUGHT

After we've raised families, or retired, or completed "middle age," and moved on, we sometimes feel sad and depressed or empty and lost. An important aspect of aging is that, as we age, we still need to "matter." Mattering to someone isn't the same as being needed because we're better than the bank (no interest loan that never gets paid back) or are convenient baby sitters. Mattering means we count, we're wanted at the family gathering because we're interesting and enjoyable, not that we're "parked" at the family gathering because, oh well, what else are they going to do with us? Mattering means seeing someone's face light up at the sight of us or hearing the phone ring because someone wants to talk to us or someone wants to come and visit or someone wants us to come and visit. Becoming irrelevant in our lifetimes is a sad state of affairs and doesn't happen in many other cultures. In other cultures Mom and Dad live with the family as they age. Sometimes two or three generations all live under the same roof or in very close proximity to each other. Mom and Dad matter, they are wanted and appreciated, not...

Read More ›

TAKE TIME, MAKE TIME, SHIFT THOSE PRIORITIES

It looks like summer is finally here so getting outside for a nice brisk walk in the morning is easier and pleasant. Get out and get that blood moving. It will affect your entire day. Just throw on some sweats and take a spin around the block, then next week another block and so on until part of your walking up routine is your walking routine. Do it before you do anything else. If you delay it in order to do "important" things first, you're much less likely to do it. If you have to get up a half an hour earlier, do it. The pay-off to your body and your sense of well being is worth it. Start your day by doing something good for yourself. Love yourself, take care of yourself, first. There's only one of you and you're worth it! You don't have time you say? Yes, I can hear the protests and groans. If you don't have a half an hour a day to take care of yourself, you're not making time and you're allowing the pressures of every day living take you away from what's really important. If you don't love yourself enough to take...

Read More ›