Saturday, January 20, 2018


Today I am responding to another challenge from Eugenia at BrewNSpew Her challenge was to write a five-line poem with the word changes in it. Here is my effort.

Changes what I have
Changes what I want
Changes my beliefs, dreams and reality

My heart becomes a hazy shade of winter 

Friday, January 19, 2018

Bringing in New Blood

One of the realities of being our age, is that we lose life partners or our partners decide that they want to go on a different path then we do, and there is a parting of the ways. We are social creatures and so we, will after some time after a loss, seek out a new partner.
When we find a new romantic companion late in life, it’s a wonderful moment.  Romances late in life can provide a much-needed source of companionship and love that may be missing if the senior has lost a spouse or is going through their golden years alone.  But it’s common for children to go through some anxiety when they see dad or mom enjoying the company of another romance in their lives.  And getting the kids to accept your new girlfriend or boyfriend, especially if that romance is going to result in a wedding.
Part of your children’s resistance to you dating comes from anxiety about losing their parent which may be just as deep and lasting a grief as you had in losing your wife or husband.  It may seem strange but often it is the children of the marriage who go through the longest grief when a parent passes on.  You may have already moved along in your processing of that loss much more than they.  To children, the parents are a permanent institution and the idea that one of them would go away seems inconceivable.  And this feeling often survives well into adulthood.
So that is the first big adjustment your family has to make when they see you beginning to enjoy the company of the opposite sex.  They must be assured you are not going to replace mom or dad in their hearts and that this romance will never remove the love you cherish for that departed spouse.  To the children, that love must endure forever because it is the foundation of their concept of family which is a big part of their own identity as well, even though one parent may have passed away.
This is the next step in life that calls for you, the senior citizen and the wise old Grandma or Grandpa in the family mix to use some of that sensitivity and wisdom of your years to help your children and even grandchildren accept your new romance and evolve with you to a new phase of life.  If you have the chance as you begin a new relationship, the time to begin the acceptance process is before that friendship becomes a romance.
By sitting down with your children and discussing that this will happen, even before it happens, you begin the acceptance process.  In their minds and emotional systems, they begin to understand your need for companionship and for love and for romance.  You need that as much as they do.  So, you explain it to them.
Then as you begin to see a romantic interest, be open to the family about what you are doing.  Adult children can even get to the point that they will be your advisor and your cheerleaders as you enjoy a new era of dating and romance.  Once that area of life is open, then when you do “bring home the date to meet the family” it won’t be such a difficult thing. 
But by keeping the adult children always in the loop, they can talk with one another, agree that this is the best possible thing for you and even work to help the grandkids accept your new romance.  Before long, he or she will be able to come for dinner, join in the holidays and really become part of the family.  Just as you opened your heart when your kids were dating and finding new loves, you will teach your kids to open their hearts to so

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Becoming Gandalf

In the classic books and in the movie series, The Lord of the Rings, Gandalf was the wise old wizard that guided the heroic party through to success.  While we don’t have real Gandalfs in our lives, you may be able to remember when you were young that wise elder statesman that you looked up to and revered because they were a source of wisdom and caring when you as a young person seemed to be continuously confused and afraid about what was happening to you in life.

As you enter your retirement, it’s a good time to reflect on how that elder in your young life served such a valuable function of helping and guiding you.  Perhaps your reason for being in the place of elder statesman in your family’s life that you too become revered and that you can serve them with wisdom, compassion and love.  So the question might be, how do you fill that role and “become revered” the way the Gandalf was?

You don’t have the magic that Gandalf had to help his young charges through their struggles.  Perhaps the first step of becoming the wise revered elder of your family is to see yourself in that role.  By creating a vision of a wise elder, perhaps using the model of who that person was in your youth, you give yourself a role to grow into.  Picture situations in which you were able to be there for your family and they would turn to you and get just the right advice for the hour.

One such situation might be at Christmas.  Late Christmas Eve, your grandchildren can climb up in your lap to take comfort from you being there for them.  It is this kind of sweet moment where they should be able to ask Grandpa or Grandma anything that troubles them.  You will want to bring the maximum amount of patience and love to that sweet time with your grandchild so he or she knows that Grandma or Grandpa is a font of endless patience and endless answers to their questions.

This is the way you become revered.  The psychological results of just that short time with you can be powerful in a young life.  Just knowing there is an elder in their lives who is always there, never too busy for them and with whom they can talk about anything and who will probably know the answer gives a child the confidence to face life with courage and calm.  That is a wonderful gift you give to your grandchildren and its something only you can give them that is a gift even their mom and dad cannot provide.

As you fill that role, your children and their spouses too will start to see you in the role of wise old Gandalf and someone they can always turn to.  When you were in the role of parent, they may have looked to your parents for that role.  But now that you are stepping into the senior role, you may get late night phone calls from adult children who just need a caring ear to listen and a soft loving voice, slightly deepened with age, to just assure them that they can handle the crisis and that they will be all right. 

It will take courage for you to not panic and to fill that roll of comforter and adviser but it’s a crucial role that only a grandparent can provide.  But probably the most important thing you can do to become the one they turn to when they need Grandpa or Grandma is to always be there.  This is harder than it seems. 

A friend of mine tells of a call he got from a teenage granddaughter at three in the morning.  She needed love, advice as well as emotional counseling.  And as dearly as that senior citizen needed his sleep, he was there for her and guided her through the crisis until she was sleeping peacefully in her bed.  And why was that child able to weather a crisis in her young life?  Because Grandpa was always there for her.  And if you make sure that there is no situation that your kids or grandchildren cannot interrupt to come to you for help, advice or comfort, you will capture a revered place in their hearts that will be yours to keep forever.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

A Time Consuming Hobby

When you are raising a family and involved in a demanding career, if someone asks you what your hobby is, you probably would answer “Who has time for a hobby?” That is why retirement and your senior citizen years give you the perfect opportunity to get involved in a time-consuming hobby and be able to throw yourself into it with gusto.
The purpose of a hobby is to allow you to explore an interest and even build an expertise in a facet of life that you follow for the sheer joy of learning and engaging in that activity.  You have no interest in making your living at that hobby and for most of us that do build up a hobby life, to earn money at it would ruin the fun of it.  You want to be able to go after that hobby at your own pace and “do it your way” without the nuisance of a boss or someone telling you that you are doing it wrong.
Many hobbies are recreational activities.  Golf, bowling, pool or playing poker are such hobbies.  And each of these is the kind of pastimes that require dedication to get good at them.  And once you have your expertise up, you get a real gratification from competing in that sport and demonstrating that your years of devotion and the time you put into that hobby were worth the effort.
There is just a certain satisfaction to become so completely lost in a hobby that time disappears and before you know it, a day can go by and you didn’t even know it.  That kind of mental absorption keeps your mind sharp and functioning which is good for your health in many ways.  And many hobbies are just that time consuming and just that fascinating.
If you have a flair for the technical and mechanical, Ham Radio is a hobby that seems to become a passion for those who become enthusiasts.  The joy of Ham Radio is being able to communicate around the world through this private network that anyone can join.  And Ham Radio operators have at times proven valuable in communications during a time of national crisis when perhaps other forms of communications were not available.
To find that perfect hobby, look within at areas of fascination that you never got a chance to express and explore.  If you cannot get enough of history, the civil war or the renaissance, reenactment and renaissance fairs give you the chance to all but travel back in time and enjoy the feel of being part of that era in history.  If theatre is your passion, dozens of local theatre groups will take all the time you can give even if you don’t have an acting bone in your body.  And enjoying even a simple level of involvement in the theatre like putting together posters or painting sets can be just as exciting as getting out in front of an audience.
The key is to find something you love and find others who love it too. This is the great thing about hobbies.  There is almost always someone out there who is just as fascinated by this field of interest and probably a whole society who are just as able to see a day or a weekend disappear becoming absorbed in their hobby.  So throwing yourself into your passion also opens doors of social interaction with others who may not be senior citizens and that is refreshing. 
The benefits of getting involved in a time-consuming hobby are many.  You do need to use some common sense and balance so you take care of your health and spend time with family and friends.  But that leaves plenty of time to be obsessed with your hobby and have all the fun that this kind of pastime can bring to you.