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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Hobbyist

Most people remember childhood as a particularly fertile period for hobbies.  Before they were introduced to career and family responsibilities, they collected stamps, coins, matchbooks, or model airplanes, and they experienced a flush of excitement each time they the added to their collections or spent blissful Saturday mornings reorganizing them.
   If you've lead a busy life, chances are that you haven't dusted off your old collections in years.  Retirement is a great time to return to the hobbies of your youth--or launch new endeavors. 

Hobbies can involve almost any activity that you pursue in a repetitive or comprehensive way, and you can structure hobbies to your needs and preferences.  Reading, for example can be a rewarding hobby; it you regard that as too passive, you can satisfy your interest in literature by collecting signed first additions of your favourite books.  Regular exercise is a healthy hobby--but if you find an exercise regimen to taxing, supporting your favourite teams can get you involved in sports in a less demanding way. Once you determine the area of interest, it's easy to find an approach the works for you.

One thing to keep in mind as you visit or create hobbies--these pursuits often carry a price tag.  Daily workshops may require purchase of  exercise equipment or membership in a fitness center. Becoming a diehard sports fan may involve the purchase of game tickets, as well as travel and parking costs at sporting arenas.  If your hobby involves renovating cars or other types of equipment, you may have to lay money for parts.  In some cases however hobbies can lead to moneymaking ventures.

Remember to add a line in your retirement budget for hobby costs. Your hobbies don't have to generate revenue for you--creative engagement is the principle purpose here--but if they do, so much the better.

This material  comes from THE DON"T SWEAT GUIDE TO RETIREMENT  ISBN 0-7868-9055-X
Richard Carlson, the author can be visited on his website

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Analyzing Retirement

 The material for this post was gathered from The Don't Sweat Guide to Retirement.     Give Yourself A Retirement Stress Test tells us doing this will help us adjust to being away from work.

Wait until you've settled into your retirement, and then ask yourself this series of questions:

1.  Do I look forward to each day?
2. Am I accomplishing the retirement goals that I established for myself?
3. Do I take the initiative of planning activities with friends?
4. Am I broadening my understanding capabilities, and experience?

Don't take to long to administer your exam.  The sooner  you address stress, the happier your retirement will be

ISBN  0-7868- 9055-X  (Visit Richard Carlson at his website:

Friday, February 27, 2015

Reynold's Meditation

A technique I use when I wish to experience the "here and now" is the verbal phrase "What is this?.”  [“This” means everything in this moment” ]
It makes me stop mental rambling and focus more tightly on what is in front of me both mentally and physically. [It detaches you from metal specifics and you can see the ‘Whole’] I can then go easier into mental control [does this mean widening your view of the moment?] over "this moment". 
Something I have found helps too is to realize that time is really not linear, but an event that is infinite.  [This idea is expressed in other works that I am reading]
I then realize that any portion of time..a second, a minute, or a "moment" is, in and of itself, infinite.  I cannot see either end of eternity [my readings suggest there are no “ends”,] but I can more easily see "all of everything, everywhere" as a moment..not "moment in time" but a "moment in realization". [This is alluded to in a number of the sources I have ]
I guess I am trying to see time as a bubble..a bubble where all the parts touch all the other parts all the time.  Then I try to "see" that bubble. [are you inside the bubble?   Perhaps it is easier to look at it as a bubble than eternity ]
[what do you think of sitting or walking meditaition?
[what do you think of paying attention to your breathing?]
[When I am not doing something like driving, I can briefly look at the “world around me” like I imagine Ella my cat see’s things, she sees the same things I see but there are no labels and no conceptual “meaning”]
Paying attention to my breathing is a key focus. It is always there

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Produced: The only sound[1] A Scenario

It is half past eleven in an old people’s home.  The morning drinks have been taken and the cups collected.  In a small lounge with fire doors at each end, ten old ladies are sitting quietly along two walls.  Some are staring ahead of them and some appear to be dozing.  Through one of the fire doors comes a member of the staff caring a small suitcase.  Behind her is a thin old man holding his hat in front of him with both hands.  In the room she turns, asks him to sit in the vacant chair, places a suitcase in front of him and then goes out the other door.  The old man is dressed in a dark suit with a white shirt, dark tie, and polished black shoes.  The suit is cut in very old style and has been carefully pressed which makes him look as so he is on his way to a Sunday service or a funeral.  He holds the hat very tightly in his lap and his hands are shaking.  Some of the old ladies glance at him then look away.  After several minutes of silence another staff member comes in carrying a piece of paper and a pen, reads an address to him, and asks if that is the correct address of his next of kin.  He clears his throat and says it is. After she is gone he sits forward stiffly in the chair, gazing at the floor in front of his suitcase.  Ten minutes elapse.  The first member of the staff returns with a cup of tea and asks him if he would like sugar.  He shakes his head.  She hands him the cup of tea and then departs again.  And as he sits holding his hat, and the cup, the shaking of his hand makes the cup rattle loudly.  It is the only sound.  He sips quickly at the ten.  Before, he can finish; the staff member returns again, says that his room is ready, picks up his suitcase and goes through the door holding it open for him.  He rises quickly to his feet, holding his hat and half finished cup of tea and looks around.  There are no tables in the room and he balances the cup on the window ledge behind the seat, before hurrying out of the room.  The old ladies who have looked up at his departure return their gaze to the wall and floor.  Now can you see the imbalance of power in the relationship between provider and recipient in an institutional setting and to the experience of being admitted as a recipient of service?

[1]  19 years ago Bill Bytheway produced the book Ageism: Rethinking Ageism. The above story is in the book ISBN 0-335-19175-4.  It is inside chapter 6.  I am interested in reading what you think.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

More About Retirement Wisdm

About Retirement Wisdom[1]

Forget how old you are—This becomes more important the older you get.

“ In a study reported in the August 2002 issue of the Journal of personality and Social Psychology researchers claim that elderly can actually think themselves in to the grave a lot faster than they would prefer.  Indeed people with negative views about aging shorten their lives by 7.6 years as compared with their counterparts who have a more positive view of life.   Surprisingly, a positive view about aging can have greater effect than good physical health.   The researchers, led by psychologist Becca Levy of Yale University reported “the effect of positive self-perceptions of aging on survival is greater than the physiological measures of low systolic blood pressure an cholesterol, each of which is associated with a longer lifespan of four years or less.   Our study carries tow messages,” concluded the researchers.  The discouraging one is that negative self-perception can diminish life expectancy.  The encouraging one is that positive self-perceptions can prolong life expectancy.   The lesson here is that you shouldn’t waste too much time and energy about getting older.
         “ There is a fountain of youth,” declared Sophia Loren. “It is your mind, your talents, the creativity that you bring to your life and the lives of people you love.  When you learn to tap this source you will truly defeated age.[2]

[1]  Material for this post was taken from:  How to Retire Happy Wild and Free  created by  Ernie, J. Zelinski  ISBN   0-9694194-5-7
[2]  I heartily recommend this book and I’m going to go now because I have just found and excellent source for a poem.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Wisdom Questions

We are told that wisdom comes with age.  What do you think about the following questions? 

What is wisdom?
What does wisdom mean to you?
What brings happiness?
How have you overcome fear in your life?
Have had to deal with fear of failure in your life?
When do you do your best work?
What advice would you give for success?
What responsibilities do we have to the world?
Do you see yourself as a creative person? 
How do you express your creativity?
What do you think the world needs?
What is the biggest change you have had in your life?
What is the best way to resolve conflicts?
What are our main responsibilities as adults?
What are our responsibilities as citizens?
What do you think is society’s main problems?
What makes marriage successful?
What advice would you give parents?
What are the differences between parents and grandparents?

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Volunteering As We Age

Yesterday, I spent  three and a half hours at the local Senior''s Centre. I have been a member of the Board for more than fifteen years. 

"Volunteering helps your health as well as the community.  Match your interest with the needs of a museum, school or other organization.  Volunteering fights depression by keeping you engaged, it gives you a sense of purpose and identity, which you might not be getting from a job.  Volunteering keeps you physically, helping you stay fit, fighting depression, and giving you more energy." 

This material is reported from "The hundred best ways to stop aging & stay youngISBN-10-:  1-59233-449-0   

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Possible Selves

A quote from William James in 1890

"Not that I would not,if I could be, both hansom and far and well dressed, and a great athlete, and a million a year, be a wit, a bon-vivant and a lady killer, as well as a philosopher, a philanthropist, statesman, warrior, and African explorer as well as a tone-poet and a saint.....  Such different characters may conceivably at the outset of life possible be a man.  But to make any one of them actual, the rest must be for or less suppressed.  So the seeker of his trust, strongest, strongest, deepest self must review the list carefully and pick out the one on which to stake his salvation.  All the other selves thereupon become unreal but the fortunes of this self are real....  [We].... choose one of many possible selves or characters to become."

This material was reported in the textbook Personality Psychology: Foundations and Findings and tells us that we can make a choice as we age.

ISBN  978-0-205-89745-2

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Challenge of Doing Nothing

Though most of our history, retirement was synonymous with idleness.  The reproach to retirement made a lot of sense to people of previous generations.   There work was often physical and grueling and the pay quite low,  allowing little opportunity for retirement savings.  So so when there careers are over, they may have had little energy or money for much more than relaxation.

Many features of the traditional scenario have changed.  Widespread automation  has made work a lot less physically demanding for most people.  Advances in health care are keeping people fitter and active through there retirement years.  The development of pension plans as an enhancement of Social Security has given them the where with all to undertake a wide variety of retirement activities.
These people are raring to go, yet the antiquated notion of retirement as laziness presists.

Doing nothing all day long is perhaps the greatest challenge--and the greatest danger--faced in retirement.  It is difficult to be idle for lengthy periods without feeling antsy--even isolated or abandoned in more serious cases.  People are social creatures who need to contribute to human endeavor throughout their lives. Thats one of the ways that we valitdate our own worth.

Yes you can lounge around all day if you choose,  and yet can sleep in as long as you want, but chances are that this approach to retirement will get stale pretty quickly.   A better plan might be to think of retirement as an opportunity to create your own daily daily schedule, focusing on those activities that bring you the most satisfaction.

When you ask retirees why they are doing what they are doing at a given moment. all to often the response is: "I'm just killing time."  Your time is to precious to kill. Enrich time.  Ennoble it.  Enjoy it.  it may be a challenge to use your time effectively, but that's insignificant compare to the challenge of doing nothing.

Material of this comes from "The Don't Sweat Guide to Retirement  ISBN 0-7868-9055-x The Author is Richard Carlson, Ph.D

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Strategies For Combating Ageism

Individual Actions

1. Inform yourself so you have the facts to combat the misconceptions and stereotypes.
2. Examine your own attitudes and actions and try to eliminate those that express ageism.
3. Inform your relatives, friends and colleagues about the facts, especially when some prejudice is       expressed or  implied.
4. Do not tell ageist jokes and refuse to laugh when you hear one. Or change the ageist joke to one that is age neutral by specifying the subject's age.
5. Do not use ageist terms like "old fogy" and "old maid."
6. Do not use ageist language such as equating aging with deterioration and dying, or equating youth with health vigor, and beauty.
7. Point out to others when they are using ageist language.
8. Refuse to go along with discrimination against adults of any age, young or old.
9. Write letters to editors of newspapers and magazines pointing out and protesting ageism in current events.
10. Write letters to local officials, state and federal representatives, and executives pointinf out and protesting ageism in government.  Also write letters that support legislation against  ageism.
11. Boycott products of companies  that use ageist advertisement or discriminate against elders in employment.
12.  Join groups that oppose ageism and work with them.
13.  Vote for political candidates the oppose ageism
14. Testify before legislative committees and commissions about instances of ageism and show your support for legislation to reduce ageism.
15.  Become a candidate for political office or get appointed to commissions that can reduce ageism

The material above was gathered from the book Ageism: Negative and Positive by Erdman Palmore
ISBN  0-8261-7000-5

Monday, February 2, 2015

Who Am I

       "Who am I ?   "Our selves are made up of self concepts (ideas of what we would like) self-esteem.self- esteem (how we feel about ourselves) and social identity (the parts of ourselves we show to to others).  
     " Culture has a huge impact on how we think about ourselves.  People who live in more individualistic cultures, such as Canada develop an individual self concept, where as people in more collectivist cultures develop an inter-dependent self-concept."
      " No doubt feeling  good about ourselves is a good thing, but is low self-esteem the root of all social ills?  Although people think that those with high self-esteem are smarter, more likeable, and more physically attractive, do better in school, achieve more on the job, have greater life satisfaction and happiness than those with low self-esteem, this is not supported by research.  Similarly, it is not true that low self-esteem is problematic, causing relationship problems, aggressiveness, alcohol  and other drug abuse, premature sexual activity, unwanted pregnancies and other social ills."

    Material found in Personality Psychology: Foundations and Findings  Canadian Edition
ISBN  978-0-205-89745-2

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Meditation, A thing I love

The source of this information is;  Personality Psychology: Foundations and Findings (Canadian Edition) ISBN 978-0-205-89745-2;  Chapter 8  The Neuroscience  of Personality.
For the last 10 years or so, since my retirement, I have become an active user of meditation.  Aside from doing  it during the day sitting inside I meditate when I go for my morning walk and when I go to bed at night, where I meditate until I fall asleep.   So it is very interesting to explore the information in the textbook named above.

"What if we told you there was a way that you could be healthier and happier?  It's not a drug, it doesn't involve massive psychotherapy, it's not painful, and its totally free.  What is the miracle cure?
Believe it or not it's meditation."

"In one study, participants who wanted to learn  meditation as a from of stress reduction.  The meditation group went through an eight week training, compared to the control group.  The training group.  During the training the ones who received meditation training practiced staying in the here and now instead of planning, worrying, thinking of, or fantasizing about the future, what most of us do when given a few moments to sit still.  The meditation group members tuned  in to their breathing  and practiced regulating their attention to not thinking about these things--to think about nothing in fact."

"Overall, the data suggests that regular meditation  fundamentally  fundamentally changes how our brains work and this activation is related to both the emotions we feel and how we respond to stressful events.  The researchers surmised that meditation makes people more open to experiencing positive emotions and less reactive to negative emotions with the overall effect of decreasing their anxiety and improving immune functioning."

And this is just a small part of a very interesting book