A CALL TO AN OLD FRIEND IS THE BEST CHRISTMAS PRESENT

…..TO YOU AND HER OR HIM!

During this time of the year I always get a little weepy, and the goodwill towards the world in my heart suddenly awakens from its hibernation it went into after last Christmas.

Getting out my address book all the ghost of the pass stand up – Oh, look there is Maureen – wonder what happened to her – going further there are lots of Maureens I have not been in contact with for a while. Actually rather a long while, which makes me impatient and writing a card and maybe not getting one back won’t do. So I make a phone list – I know phones work in two ways and it is tempting to think – well she could have called me too – but she didn’t!

I had a friend who said  ‘if you don’t call your friends after a while  you won’t have any.’ I first doubted that, but through the years it proved to be true.  The reward of making the first step is hearing the delight in the voice on the other end of the line, “Is it really you Brigitte? who would have thought? How have you been? I often thought of you and wondered how you are.”  It is hard to get a word in at first but eventually you get the chance to say how often you thought of them too!

By making the first step you will not  only find your friends back, but also wonderful memories  of the times you shared together.

Always remember – A Smile Changes Everything

Brigitte

 

 

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IT IS TIME TO LET IT GO

Today being Black Friday you might be out shopping  –  so while you are out there this would be a good moment to look for a new coat – saying this I am really talking to one of my good friends who came to visit me a few weeks ago.

One morning while putting on her red coat she said, “Isn’t it amazing – this coat is 24 years old and still holding up” (just barely was my thought) she went on to say, “Amy – that is her daughter – thinks it looks awful, and I should get a new one. But why should I, I think this is perfect. What do you think?”

Since I was in agreement with Amy, and can’t lie, I hid behind Amy and told her, “Maybe Amy is right. A new coat will make you feel and look better.”

My friend is not the only one who I have heard say that a garment is still holding up after x-years. And it is usually said with great pride, making me wonder why some women are so proud of owning old cloth. Here are some considerations that might help to get rid of them:

  •  they are not fashionable anymore (no, not everything comes back)
  •  they have lost their fit
  •  the color has faded
  •  it looks worn
  •  the fabric looks old
  •  it does not suit you anymore

I would like to add to the last point that even if all of the above were not true we have to accept that over the years we have changed – put on some weight, lost some weight, became a little older – and what was suitable 10 years ago is no longer becoming, because our cloth do not change with us. 

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Maybe my friend will read this and realize that the world is full of beautiful coats with which she can replace  that too short, too tight,  faded 24 year- old friend of hers.

And Never forget – A Smile Changes everything!

Brigitte

DON’T TELL THEM YOUR AGE!

Something happened to me this week I would like to share with you – it is about telling people how old we are. I talked about this in my book “Getting Over Growing Older” in the chapter Your Age is Nobody’s Business” and how true this is my recent experience really brought into focus again.

After many months of construction, on November 24, 2019 Nordstrom finally opened its store for women on Broadway and 57th Street in New York. It is a beautiful store and I could not wait to visit and check it out. Needless to say that while checking it out I found a lovely coat I convinced myself I needed for this coming winter.

When I came to the cash register the girl asked me if I wanted to apply for a Nordstrom Credit Card. I usually decline, but this time my answer was ‘why not?’ There were many questions – and one of them was my ‘date of birth.’ Now in a case like this you have to come clean and I thought I had. When the young lady, maybe in her early 30s, pressed the button to submit my application it was rejected after a few minutes. Then the phone rang and the back office who had rejected me wanted to speak me.

“How old are you?” a voice asked. I told them and the voice said, “Ah I know what happened. Your date of birth on the application says 1979 (if only was my internal reaction) and it did not match your social security number, so I will correct it.”

I gave the phone back to the sales attendant. When she hang up she looked at me with great concern and asked, “would you like a glass of water?” What had happened? Did I suddenly look different than 15 minutes earlier? When she thought I was born in 1979 she did not think I needed a glass of water, so what had changed? The number of course. She now saw me with different eyes. The number had changed her perception of me!

So if you don’t feel like you need a glass of water, don’t tell your age unless absolutely necessary, because it is really is nobody’s business!

To all question of how old am, if it is not a legal matter or being put through the wringer at Nordstrom, my answer always is OLD ENOUGH! An understanding smile is the reaction and nobody ever asks me if I need a glass of water!

And Always Remember – A Smile Changes Everything!

Brigitte

IT IS NEVER TOO LATE

So true! But some of us who are older might not think so. They might say, ‘oh at my age it is too late to start’ or ‘I am not up to that anymore’ or I am happy with my life as it is now.’

I hear you, but let me ask you  “do you have something to get up for in the morning?”

Yes, there is the internet, there are your friends, properly most of them on Facebook, not actually sharing real life experiences with you, and then there is your family (who have their own life!) You might even be volunteering. But when all is said and done is there something that you are passionate about? Something you always wanted to do? Something life – your career, your family never allowed  time for?

I will demonstrate my point with  personal experience. Since I am retired I have done all the things I mentioned here and it made me feel good. I was glad that there was no more 9-5, yet something was missing. – I knew what it was. I needed a project. But what? One day, walking in the country an urge of wanting to hang on to the glow of the mountains, the beauty of the scenery, the tranquility of the trees around overcame me. And when I arrived home I had my pockets stuffed with pine cones, stones, pieces of tree bark, and twigs. Spreading them out on the table, moving them this way and that way I  suddenly saw a picture – and I was wondering if  others would too? That was the start and motivation of following a creative urge I always had, but I never had a chance to follow because I needed to earn a living.

Now 9 months later I have created over 30 images made of natural elements and recycled objects. I have a website called  http://www.reflection-of-nature.com and do pop up stores at places like the Pottery Barn, and West Elm. It is a slow start. I have sold only  a few but it is not about sales but about having a purpose. – 

Having heard my story, please don’t dismiss it with thinking something like this is not for you. It is!  Creating art from nature might not be for you , but everyone of us has a talent to be uncovered. A passion deep down in our heart that was never unleashed – now is the time!

And you might have more time than you think. If you are in your 70s and knowing that life expectancy today is  85, 90 plus, you might have 15 to 20 years in front of you. And what will you fill these years with? You can’t rely on the outside world – it has to be with a purpose all your own.

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I want to leave you by remembering my friend Alice who became 100 years old. After she retired from nursing she took up painting – abstract painting – and did this to her last day. Her paintings became less and less sophisticated, but the purpose of painting them never left her. It carried her through all the ups and downs of becoming a 100 – and I suspect that is why she became a 100 years old.

And never forget – A Smile Changes Everything!

Brigitte

MEMORIES ARE THE BEST INHERITANCE

It has been a long time that I have posted something – life has been busy and challenging in the last year – but enough excuses.

I recently had an experience I would like to share with you. It is about inheritance! It might be helpful to those of us who are 70 or older. Yes, we all would like to leave something for our children and grandchildren – we would like to be remembered! Some of us even keep their lifestyle modest, and say ‘I want to leave something for the kids, you know.’
Yes I know! But when I started thinking about my own mortality, and asked myself how I might be remembered, an interesting question came up – ‘am I leaving my children and grandchildren with enough memories?‘ Of course – was my first reaction, remembering all the Christmases, birthdays, and holidays of the past – but what about now?

NOW became a trip to Europe for the whole family. Yes, doing this I gave away some of their inheritance, but being told – how nice to share this time with you – or the children (nearly teenagers) – will never forget the trip to the Jungfrau or this was the best trip ever – I knew that making memories, which nobody can take away, is worth more than whatever an executor can assign.

How full is your family memory box? Is there room to add a few events? They don’t have to be big events – taking your grandchildren for a ride on the Staten Island ferry is one – or arranging (another word for picking up the tap) a picnic with the family on the beach – are memories your family  carries in their hearts long after the sun has set.

And always remember – A Smile Changes Everything!

Brigitte

WRITING THE NEXT CHAPTER OF YOUR LIFE

I Hope you had a wonderful beginning of 2019 and to help you start it off in the right direction here is an excerpt of my new book GETTING OVER GROWING OLDER .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you speak about yourself, you always say, “In my life.” But do you really have only one life? I don’t think so. Looking back, I see that I went through many different phases, which all had a distinct beginning and end like chapters in a book. this phase of your life is a new chapter. Will it be a happy one filled with challenges, new experiences, joy, and laughter?

That depends on you. You are the Author of this new chapter in your life, and you will write the story’s happy ending. Yes, there will be difficulties, and your will have to deal with them, but the story will be happier and easier to write if you stay optimistic, positive, and refuse to let old age creep in between the lines.

The only thing constant is change. How you deal with change determines your future — and if you never give up – the future will be brighter

And never forget – A Smile Changes Everything!

Brigitte

NEW YEAR’S HAPPINESS LIST

This is the moment of the year when we would like to rid ourselves of everything that did not work and make it better next year by making New Year’s resolutions. And with the hope of a new year the list of most people will be is very ambitious.

But is it really something you want to do?  Maybe not! You will ask why not? Because the list for the New Year won’t be so different from last year’s – no, you didn’t lose the 20 pounds this year, no you didn’t visit your brother as you had put on last year’s list, and  while making a new list do you really want to remind yourself of all the broken resolutions?

I have a better idea – how about making a Happiness List. This will record  all the good thing that happened in the last year –  those which gave you  joy and you are proud of. It will be a happy ending to the year that is just leaving us – your list might look something like this:

  • – remembering that you got your degree
  •  – remembering getting married
  •  – remembering the trip to made
  •  – remembering evenings with friends
  •  – remembering sharing time with your family
  •  – remembering how you felt when you were promoted
  •  – remembering shopping trips with your girlfriends
  • –  remembering the warm, fuzzy feeling when holding your dog.

Of course your list will look different and probably be longer. When I made my happiness list I was surprised about all the positive events and happenings the past year has been filled with. It makes me feel  confident and gives me hope for the New Year,  promising that more good things are on the way.

New Year’s resolutions are self-imposed expectations which one probably can’t or won’t keep – so instead of having unrealistic goals start your HAPPINESS LIST – you still have time before the clock strikes 12 – then your glass of champagne to greet the New Year is not half empty by half full overflowing with happy bubbles.

Wishing you a

Happy New Year – Bonne Annee -Feliz Ano Nuevo – Frohes Neues Jahr

Brigitte –

 

And Never forget – A Smile Changes Everyhting!

 

 

NEW YORK CITY IS LOSING A LANDMARK

Going shopping is always fun – but not so today. Today it was not about shopping but about saying  goodbye to Lord & Taylor. How many of my lunch times have I spent there over the last 20 years? – strolling through the isles and roaming the designer stocked floors. The store was just up the street from my office and I used to  call it my second home.

Today empty shelves, empty glass counters and racks half filled with  left overs, stood lost on the only three floors still open.  Well, January 2, 2019 is around the corner, the date the oldest department store in the US will close the doors of its flagship store on Fifth Avenue which opened in February 1914.

I will miss going there, shopping there, spending time there, but more importantly it represents the end of era. A serious reminder when you are over 50 like me. It brings to mind that a  part of my life, something I cherished is gone, and will never come back. I know change is good, change is necessary, but sometimes I would be grateful for a bit more time!

Thank you Lord & Taylor     

And Always remember – A Smile Changes Everything!