Take a Taxi – Don’t Walk

Believing that even sad events can teach us something I want to share the upsetting news that hit me this week. Filled with sadness I realized that it was a kind of wake-up call. A wake-up call, not just for me, but it should be for every older person who has been told – and we hear this advice very often – be careful how much money you spend because you don’t want to outlive your money.

A scary thought for sure, but how can we be certain it is not our money that out lives us?

No, nobody knows how long we are here and what the future holds. And keeping this in mind we should be more generouss with ourselves! Don’t deprive yourself – buy that new dress – take that trip – go out for dinner with your friends – take a taxi if the bus doesn’t come – do whatever makes your daily life more enjoyable without feeling guilty. And saying this I know that most of us won’t go overboard, but we do deserve a few extra treats.

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When I got the sad news, and before I could accept the reality, I was sitting again with my friend Joan on her porch during the long weekend I had spent with her just a month ago. Her laughter, her joie de vivre was infectious. She was telling me how she looked forward to her trip to Turkey in September, and had some funny stories about her skiing trip to Whistler, B.C. with her grandson. and that she was going on a hiking trip to the  Adirondack next week. Kayaking was part of her like life too, boundless energy.  We had a busy, physically demanding weekend with parties, time on the beach, walks and debates about life. Her life looked like it had a long way to go; she was only in her early 70s. With her unshakeable optimism she told me that now, being partly retired, she was looking forward to ticking of items on her bucket list one by one.

It was not meant to be – Joan died last week.

 

 

….and all her dreams and hopes for the future are being buried with her today.

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Writing this and remembering the way she was always ready to help others I feel like she leaves us with a message which I want to pass on by telling you a little anecdote

A friend of mine asked her father on his deathbed if he had any regrets about his life and he answered: “Yes, I regret that I didn’t take more taxis!”

Don’t let the taxis in your life pass you by  — instead take the ride while you can.

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Joan – may the angels enjoy your laughter as much as I did.

Brigitte

 

 

 

Embrace A New Reality – Find A New Life

Are you prepared to become 80 years old, or 90, or more? Are you prepared to learn square dancing?

When  we get older and retire how well we adjust to our new life depends on many things, but most importantly on how prepared and ready we are to:

  • learn new skills
  • meet new people
  • go to unknown places
  • let go of the life we know
  • get out of our comfort zone
  • move to a new house or town
  • take risks

Being older and getting older might last a long time. If you are in your sixties or seventies you might have 25 years in front of you. Could you really look out of the same window, at the same world for that long?

Years ago I read an article in which the author advised people to learn a new trade before retiring, giving them a chance at a new life, a new career. But how many of us being 60 or 70 years old have done that? Not many. But maybe we can redeem ourselves by getting out of our comfort zone and start thinking out of the box?

What would be wrong if you moved to another country for a few months of the year. Or followed your desire to paint? Or took a cruise around the world? Or sold your house and moved into a nice new condo?

The kids – the grandkids? Don’t worry about them, they have their own life and just because you spend a few months of the year in Italy you won’t lose them. On the contrary they will be happy to visit you in Italy!

You can initiate a lot of these changes, but also watch out for what the Universe might send your way – let’s say a friend wants to start a business and ask you to be a partner. The answer is not ‘at my age I don’t think I want to take the risk.‘ Instead grab this opportunity. It might sound a little crazy or risky but it will push you out of your numbing comfort zone; giving you a reason to get up in the morning, bringing you back to life, a life which will fill the years ahead.

So are you ready to go to the moon? Image result for photos of the moon

Are you ready to go swimming with dolphins?Image result for swimming with dolphin pictures

Of course you are! Because  – not at any time – are you too old to change and think out of the box!

And never forget – A smile changes Everything!

Brigitte

 

Living Longer: Getting Over Grief

The longer we live, the more likely we are to experience the grief of passing loved ones. We may even have to deal with the death of a spouse. Grief can be physically and mentally debilitating. The pain will feel unbearable for most us. That is why it’s important to be aware of the grieving process and the best ways to take care of ourselves during this time.

What are the stages of grief?

WebMD outlines the stages of grief as such:

 

Denial: When you first learn of a loss, it’s normal to think, “This isn’t happening.” You may feel shocked or numb. This is a temporary way to deal with the rush of overwhelming emotion. It’s a defense mechanism.

Anger: As reality sets in, you’re faced with the pain of your loss. You may feel frustrated and helpless. These feelings later turn into anger. You might direct it toward other people, a higher power, or life in general. To be angry with a loved one who died and left you alone is natural, too.

Bargaining: During this stage, you dwell on what you could’ve done to prevent the loss. Common thoughts are “If only…” and “What if…” You may also try to strike a deal with a higher power.

Depression: Sadness sets in as you begin to understand the loss and its effect on your life. Signs of depression include crying, sleep issues, and a decreased appetite. You may feel overwhelmed, regretful, and lonely.

Acceptance: In this final stage of grief, you accept the reality of your loss. It can’t be changed. Although you still feel sad, you’re able to start moving forward with your life.

How to Get Through Grief

There is no escaping grief. Trying to ignore it or drown it out will only postpone healing and could lead to mental health issues. Mental Health America recommends the following advice:

Seek out caring people. Find relatives and friends who can understand your feelings of loss. Join support groups with others who are experiencing similar losses.

Express your feelings. Tell others how you are feeling; it will help you to work through the grieving process.

Take care of your health. Maintain regular contact with your family physician and be sure to eat well and get plenty of rest. Be aware of the danger of developing a dependence on medication or alcohol to deal with your grief.

Accept that life is for the living. It takes effort to begin to live again in the present and not dwell on the past.

Postpone major life changes. Try to hold off on making any major changes. You should give yourself time to adjust to your loss.

Be patient. It can take months or even years to absorb a major loss and accept your changed life.

Seek outside help when necessary. If your grief seems like it is too much to bear, seek professional assistance to help work through your grief. It’s a sign of strength, not weakness, to seek help.

Grief is a part of life. Everyone will have to experience it. It helps to be aware of the stages you will go through and accept the fact that you might mourn for months or years. Prepare for the stages of grief, take care of yourself, and seek out professional help if needed.

What has been your experience with grief?

What has helped you cope?

Visit the Online Grief Support Forum.

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And never forget – A Smile Changes Everything!

Brigitte

The Easter Egg Hunt

Since my grandchildren have arrived, I don’t only color eggs, but I have also become the Easter Bunny. I color the eggs and hide the eggs. Of course Remy 6, and Cosette 2 really believe there is an Easter Bunny, and this year he came to a place outside the city where trees and hedges provided enough places to hide the brightly colored eggs and the chocolate bunnies that never fail to go with them.

When the children arrived and I opened the door Remy said excitedly:

“Moma there is an egg under the bush outside the house!”

Looking surprised I said: “Really – I think the Easter Bunny wanted to be sure that you don’t go to the wrong house”

“Can I take it?” he asked. When he had picked it up and showed it to me a memory of a moment long ago, in a park far away flooded over me.

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                  I was 5 years old. The war was over but food was still very scarce. My mother and I had come to visit my grandparents for Easter who lived in Frankfurt. On Easter Sunday, all dressed for the occasion, my mother told me that this year we going to the nearby park to find out if the Easter Bunny had hidden any eggs there. It was a warm sunny day and the tall trees standing close together provided shade and subdued the bright April sun. A few minutes after we got to the park, my mother said,

“Muschi, why don’t you look if the Easter Bunny left something here?”

I looked behind a few trees and bushes – then there it was – a beautiful red egg hidden under some leaves. I picked it up and run to my mother, “Give it to me I will hold it for you,” she said. I did and continued to run between the trees in search for more, and I found another egg! Again it was red, and handing to my mother I continued to search. I found many eggs that day, so many that after a while I said,

“Why don’t we all eat an egg now?” She looked at my grandfather and grandmother and replied,

“I think we will wait, but you have one now!”

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Many years later, during another Easter celebration my mother asked me, “Do you remember the Easter when you found all those eggs in the park?”

“Yes, I found a lot of eggs that day.”

“How many eggs do you think you found?”

“I don’t know how many, but I remember there were a lot and they were all red.”

“Yes, you are right red was the color, but” – and she hesitated a moment before continuing – “the truth is we had only one egg! But to make you think that there were many, I had agreed beforehand with Opa (that’s how I called my grandfather) that when you gave me the egg I would hand it back to him and he would hide it again and again, making you think that there were many eggs – but there was just one.”

I listened to her carefully but knowing the truth now didn’t change the truth for me  – as I remember it, and always will – I had found many, many red eggs that day!

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                          HAPPY EASTER – AND MAY YOU FIND MANY EGGS OF MANY COLORS

And never forget – A Smile Changes Everything!


 

 

 

 

REFLECTION – A Good Friend is Forever

friend-are-for-keeps  Friends, old friends, you have not seen or heard from in a long time are like misplaced treasures. I have often heard somebody say, “I had this friend, but we lost touch, I don’t know what happened.”

Where is that friend now? Do you wonder some times? Maybe this is the moment to get on your Facebook and try finding her (or him). She, like you, might be regretting to have lost touch. Loosing touch is nobody’s fault – it’s simply because life gets in the way robbing you of what once was part of you.

But it is never too late to start again, and you will be surprised how delighted your friend will be hearing from you. And having social media to help you will make it a fun project.

One of the reasons I call old friends treasures, especially when we get older, is because we share a history together. We can walk back memory lane and revisit the good and the bad of our past.

Another reason for appreciating old friends is that socializing is not what it used to be. No, not because we are older, but because today it is difficult to meet people – in person.

Therefore, stop wondering whatever happened to Wendy – instead push open the door of your memory and start looking for Wendy.                  friends-are-foreever

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And never forget – A Smile Changes Everything!

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Happy Thanksgiving

Before stuffing, baking, and eating my turkey I just want to say –  the end of another year is near, and Thanksgiving is the day to remind us to be grateful for the blessings in our life, big and small.

And if there are more small blessings in your life than big ones,  just remember – it is the little things that make the difference!

Have a Happy Day

And never forget – A Smile Changes Everything!funny-thanksgiving-images-e1478468298174

Brigitte