Showing posts with label senior citizens. Show all posts
Showing posts with label senior citizens. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Getting Old: A Retired Baby Boomer Reflects on Aging

We all get old.

Even us forever young Baby Boomers.

As I reflect on aging (and that's what old people do, we reflect), I am inspired by this Clint Eastwood "spaghetti western."

Is there anything good about getting old?

What's bad about it?

Worse, what's ugly about it?

Even Clint got old, though he is not a Baby Boomer.
But he is still a great filmmaker as his new movie "Jersey Boys" will attest (see my review in my post "Kevin Costner Sports Movies and The Week in Reviews"), so that's good.

But now he's cranky...and that's bad.

And did you see that mess at the Republican Convention?

That was ugly.

I am not commenting on his politics. I am embarrassed for his showing his age by being so unaware of how bumbling he appears.

There really are some good things about aging and definitely some bad and ugly things about it.

Let's discuss.

The Good

I asked Hubby what was good about getting old.  He said perspective. 

Perspective means we now have the power to see how our lives fit in.

Then I asked him if he would give up perspective for a 32" waist again.  He didn't answer.

If you were to ask me that question, my first answer would be "nothing." 

But then once I start thinking about it, I can come up with some things.

Senior discounts. 
If I can remember to go to the movies on Tuesday, it's only $6.00.  Likewise, if I rode the bus, my senior discount would also kick in, but, please lord, don't make me ride the bus.

Social Security.
I get paid for doing nothing though I worked my ass off for 50+ years to get an amount of money that no one could live on.  Thank goodness I had the foresight (well, actually it was dumb luck) to work in public service so I also have a pension that also pays me for doing nothing.

If you have the means to do so, being able to retire from an 8-5 job to doing what you enjoy is a good thing.  Now my new job is watching movies and talking to you!

You know some stuff.

You have an endless array of stories and adventures to bore, I mean, share with your friends.

You don't have to worry anymore about how your life is going to turn out.  You already know.

And you ladies will enjoy this one.
No more visits from Aunt Flo!

The Bad

It's a bad thing if you don't have the means to do so or are forced to retire when you don't want to.  Some people are married to their jobs, define themselves by their jobs and won't know what to do with themselves when given freedom.  That's too bad.

There are those who think of wrinkles as something they have earned and they wear them proudly.  I am not one of those people.

Weight Gain.
For some of us, it is inevitable, especially if we are in the "saving our face" camp instead of the "saving our butts" camp.  (See my post "How Not to Look Old" for more enlightenment on that topic)

Aches and Pains.


You are Invisible.
I started noticing this when I hit the dark side of 40.  Wolf whistles (not that I approve) and compliments were replaced with...nothing.  I no longer existed.

Being called Ma'am.
On those few occasions when I wasn't invisible, being called Ma'am was just as bad. This may seem like a small thing, but we Baby Boomers don't like that sort of thing.

The Ugly

Bette Davis got it right when she said, "Aging isn't for sissies."

Bette knew what she was talking about.  She didn't age well.


Yes, there is the physical ugly we have to deal with as we age.

But there is ugly and then there is UGLY.

Yes, Bette didn't age well, but to her credit, she didn't try to stave it off with tons of plastic surgery like so many big-lipped actresses have done who now have 23-year-old faces with 65 year old necks.

But apart from the physical ugly, there is the emotional ugly of getting old.

The really ugly thing is what happened to her relationship with her daughter.

She had to live with the fact that she had an ungrateful daughter who wrote a "Mommy Dearest" book about her. 

That's pretty ugly.

I read the book and from what I can gather, Bette wasn't a bad mother who inflicted the kind of mistreatment on her daughter that Joan Crawford did on her daughter.  She in fact was a doting mother who supported both her daughter and her husband financially. It comes off as a daughter who married a guy who was a born again Christian and didn't approve of her mother while at the same time taking her money. Her daughter then denounced her mother for just about everything and made money off of her by writing a cruel book.

But then Bette let her daughter marry this 20+ guy when her daughter was only 16, so go figure. 

That's another ugly thing about getting old.  We have to live with our mistakes.  

It's interesting that she and Joan Crawford were contemporaries who aged at the same time  and even starred in horror films in their later years.  Remember "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?"
Both of their daughters felt the need to castigate them in public.  Joan might have been a "Mommy Dearest," but I didn't get that from the book about Bette.  What I got was an ungrateful daughter whose husband didn't approve of her mother.
What did Shakespeare say in King Lear about an ungrateful child?
"How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is
To have a thankless child!"
That's pretty ugly.
In old age, family troubles are ugly.
Another thing that can be an ugly part of getting old is regret.
I don't trust people who say they have no regrets about how they have lived their lives.  That seems to be the height of arrogance.
Yes, it does no good to dwell on the past, but it certainly helps to have regrets, so that you don't repeat the bad stuff you did in your past or miss the opportunities you passed over the first time.
I have three main regrets and they probably are not what you would think. 
I mean, I could regret getting married young and missing my chance to live in Europe during my junior year of college.  Gee, now that I think of that, I do really regret that.
I could regret following that marriage with a few more, but then if those hadn't happened, I wouldn't have met Hubby or had my children.
No, these are my three main regrets.
I regret not flying to Sweden when my son had an eye injury.
I regret not going to help our daughter through an emotional emergency and sending Hubby instead.
(In those days, I had an irrational fear of not just flying, but of doing things alone).
But my biggest regret, and it should have been the easiest thing to do, was not getting in bed with my mother the night before we had to admit her to a nursing home after she suffered a stroke that brought on dementia.
My sister and I were at her house making arrangements, and I couldn't sleep.  I was sleeping in the basement and then went upstairs to try to sleep on the couch, then back to the basement.  It went like that all night, me wandering around, upset by my mother's condition, and wanting to slip into bed next to her and tell her I loved her.
But I couldn't do it.
I'm not sure why.
Maybe I was reacting to the fact that our family wasn't particularly cuddly.
Maybe I was afraid she wouldn't realize who I was and I would scare her.
Maybe I was afraid she would reject me.
The bottom line was - I was afraid and I missed that last, quiet opportunity to say my goodbyes to my mother because she was never the same after that.
As I've gotten older, the fears have dissipated but the regrets remain.
Regrets are an ugly part of getting old, but a natural part.
So there you have it.
Getting old has some perks.  Getting old is crap.  Getting old can be ugly.
But despite the wrinkles, the fat, the mistakes, the regrets, getting old also means you are still here. 
Because what is the alternative to NOT getting old?
What do you think is good, bad or ugly about getting old?
See you Friday
"Celebrate What's Fabulous
and The Week in Reviews"
Thanks for reading!

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Check your local library for DVDs and books mentioned.

Note:  Next time you are wondering whether or not to watch a particular film, check out my reviews on IMDB (The International Movie Database).
If I reviewed a movie, you can now find my reviews there too.
Find the page for the movie, click on "Explore More" on the right side panel and then scroll down to "External Reviews."  Click on that and you will find me alphabetically under "Rosy the Reviewer."

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

My Retirement Journey - Six Months Later

“Oh the places you'll go! There is fun to be done! There are points to be scored. There are games to be won. And the magical things you can do with that ball will make you the winning-est winner of all.”  - Dr. Seuss, "Oh the Places You'll Go." 

Thanks, Dr. Seuss.  That's what I thought was going to happen when I retired. 

It has almost been exactly six months since I retired (I retired July 1, 2013), so I wanted to assess how it's going since I first wrote about it one week after retiring in my blog "Retirement: First Week in Review and What I've Learned So Far." 

Before I retired,  I did a bunch of research and learned I was supposed to have purpose, structure, and community to have a successful retirement, so I set about making that all happen. 

Here was my plan:
Every day I would jump out of bed eager to begin my new life of retirement.  I would structure my day by reading, meditating and going to the gym followed by other fabulous activities. 

I would take zumba classes, have regular hours volunteering at the senior center, teach the dogs new tricks, take horse-back riding lessons, cook, lose weight, visit my children, travel, play chess, play the piano, join a chorus, redecorate, take golf and tennis lessons, get involved in politics, and take classes.  I would do my makeup and hair and dress up nicely and get out there in the community and make a difference, just as I felt I had done while working.
Six months later, it's not quite working out that way. 

This is the reality:
7:00am                    Zzzzzz

8:00am                    Zzzzzz

9:00am                    Zzzzzz

9:30am (or somewhere in the vicinity)  I get out of bed

10:00am                  Drink tea and read the paper followed by "The View"

11:00am                  Work on blog and other computer stuff

Noon                        Have lunch

1:00pm                     Meditate (maybe), Go to gym (maybe), followed by
                                 errands (maybe)

3:00pm                     Get cleaned up (maybe)

4:00pm                     Happy Hour with Hubby (he works at home 7-4)

5:00pm                     Make dinner

6:00pm                     Eat dinner

7:00pm                     DVD or TV

And what about all of those activities I had listed?

Take Zumba classes? 
Yes, I bought the special shoes and everything, but didn't like having to get up early and my dance moves sucked

Volunteer at the Senior Center?  Nope

Teach the dogs new tricks?  Are you kidding?

Take horse-back riding lessons?  Nope.  I started to worry about falling off

Yes, but my experimenting has resulted in Hubby getting mad at me for making so much food.

Lose weight?  Nope

Visit my children?  Yes, but I've realized they have their own lives, so frequent visits and long stays from Mom aren't on the agenda

Hubby is not retired so we are restricted by time and money

Play chess?  Nope

Play the piano?  Nope

Join a chorus?  Nope

Redecorate?  Nope

Take golf and tennis lessons?  Nope

Get involved in politics?  Nope

Take classes?  Nope

Get dressed up everyday? 
Nope.  Some days I don't even get out of my pajamas

Get out in the community and make a difference?  Not yet

I am actually joking a bit here.  Well, half joking anyway.  I am doing it to make a point.

“When you're in a Slump,
you're not in for much fun.
Un-slumping yourself
is not easily done.”
- Dr. Seuss, "Oh the Places You'll Go."  

I retired a year earlier than my full retirement age, so my peers will most likely be retiring this year or later.  The point I want to make and the lesson I have learned these last six months is that retirement is not just an extension of what you have been doing for the past 40 years.  It's an opportunity for a new life - a do-over, if you will.

Yes, it's true, I haven't accomplished that much in terms of learning new skills or losing 20 pounds or running for Mayor  - yet - but the last six months have given me that time to reflect, time I didn't really have when I was problem solving other people's problems or putting out those pesky work fires and then trying to fit in all of my personal stuff like going to the gym, spending quality time with my family and friends and running the household. 

“You'll get mixed up, of course, as you already know. You'll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go. So be sure when you step. Step with care and great tact and remember that Life's a Great Balancing Act. Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up your right foot with your left.”  
- Dr. Seuss, "Oh the Places You'll Go."  

Lest you think I am a total loser, I enjoy writing my blog and the blogging community, meditating, going to the movies and going on long walks with Hubby. 

I belong to a book group, and I have been appointed to the local Council on Aging, so I look forward to making a difference working with that group and advocating for seniors. So I feel there is community and purpose to all of that.

As for structure, here is actually what my daily routine looks like now:

Monday -   Write Tuesday and Friday blogs
                  Exercise at home

I started with Oprah's 21 Day Challenge and have since gotten into some of Deepak Chopra's other series of meditations and find them very healing and comforting.

Tuesday - Tweak and publish Tuesday blog
                 Go to the gym
                 Go to a movie
                (Senior discount on Tuesdays - catch my reviews in my Friday blog)

I have rediscovered my love of going to movies.  There is actually a sort of meditation involved with sitting in the darkened theatre, especially at matinees during the week, when I have the theatre practically to myself.

Wednesday - Special Project Day
                      Get some of those pesky projects that have been hanging over
                      my head done such as cleaning out kitchen cabinets, washing
                      curtains, etc.

Thursday -     Gym, Errands

Friday -          Fabulous Friday 

After tweaking and publishing my Friday blog and exercising, get dressed up so I don't look like the slob I look like the rest of the week.  Go out for Happy Hour with Hubby.

Saturday -       Sexy Saturday
I will let you figure that one out.

Sunday -           Day of rest 
"Let the day take me away." Anything that strikes my fancy

“You will come to a place where the streets are not marked.
Some windows are lighted. but mostly they're darked.
But mostly they're darked.
A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin!
Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in?
How much can you lose? How much can you win?”
- Dr. Seuss, "Oh the Places You'll Go." 

I met someone recently who had retired a year and a half ago and we were talking about what retirement felt like. 

She said, "It has taken me this long to realize that this is my life now." 

A simple statement, but I found it very profound. 

 "This IS my life now." 

And like starting one's own business, it is up to me for good or ill to make it successful.   

So now I have that list of things I want to pursue that I can add to my days at any time. 

Six months from now my routine might look very different.  My purpose changed.

But, you know what?  If it doesn't, I am not going to stress about it.  I am enjoying this time with myself.

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go...”   - Dr. Seuss, "Oh the Places You'll Go." 

Thanks, Dr. Seuss! 

How is your retirement going?

See you Friday for my list of
Best TV Food Shows
and my
Week in Reviews.
Thanks for reading!
If you enjoyed this post, feel free to share it and/or email it to your friends.




Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Retired Librarian's New Year's Resolutions


I can't believe that 2014 is almost here.

So once again it's time to make those New Year's resolutions. 

As you have probably surmised, I like to include my dogs in costumes in my blogs, but I realize that is just a way to get a cheap laugh, so my first resolution is to stop using dogs in costumes as a cheap way of getting a laugh, and instead, I will work to be more serious about the topic at hand.


Every year I make New Year's resolutions, but I usually don't go back and review them.  I think that's a good idea. 

So, in 2013, did I do what I said I was going to do? 

Let's see...

2013 Resolution #1. Lose weight.


2013 Resolution #2. Exercise more.


2013 Resolution #3. Pay more attention to my husband.


2013 Resolution #4. Watch less TV.


2013 Resolution #5. Stop buying clothes (especially since you will be retiring and won't need so many)
Uh-uh...that's a no for "I can't believe how badly this is going."

2013 Resolution #6. Retire

I did do that.

Maybe that wasn't such a good idea.  But one out of six isn't so bad...
is it?
Most of us don't do so well keeping our New Year's resolutions.  Some statistics say we quit during January!
However, if you want to make some resolutions you can actually keep, why not try

The Library 

Pick at least three of the following and I promise you, your life will be changed for the better.

  • Download free e-books for your Kindle, Nook, IPad or other device from your library's website.

  • Take your child or grandchild to library story times.

  • If you don’t have a library card, get one. It’s free and is your ticket to so much: free DVDs, computer usage, and databases where you can find car repair information, genealogical research, newspapers and much more, all from the convenience of your own home. And you can't find this free on the Internet.  Libraries purchase this information for you.

  • Speaking of DVDs, why pay a service for them when you can check them out for free at the library?  They have the latest releases and you can place your requests online via the web page and check out a bunch at a time.

  • Never got around to learning how to use a computer? Many libraries provide free computer classes and learn how to use a mouse, find what you need on the Internet, use your email effectively, send attachments, copy and paste, all those things that have you stumped. And if you are a job hunter, we have a class highlighting job hunting resources on the Internet, as well as a laptop you can use in the library for as long as you need to.

  • Need help preparing your tax return?  Libraries partner with the AARP every year to help people fill out their tax returns. The service is free by appointment.

  •  New in town and want to meet your fellow residents? The Library is a community gathering place. 

  •  Is your little one just starting to read?  Libraries have books especially focused on new readers. And baby and family story times are designed to help your little one succeed in kindergarten.

  • Have a slow Internet connection or no Internet? Free computer usage is available at the library, and if you have a laptop, most libraries also provide free


This is just a taste of what awaits you at the library if you resolve to make your life better this year.
So get yourself to the library and start on those resolutions!

Now for those other pesky personal resolutions for 2014...


Let's try one more time...

1. Lose weight.
2. Exercise more
3. Pay more attention to my husband
4. Watch less TV
5. Stop buying clothes

But this year, I am going to take some tips from my friend Juhli over at Boomer Girl's Guide, a blog I highly recommend and add these:

6.  Keep learning
     I am working on my meditation practice and reading, reading, reading

7.  Focus on being happy in the present

      I am keeping a gratitude journal

8.  Give of yourself through volunteering

      I have been appointed to the local Council on Aging - my mother didn't have a
      good "end of life." I am passionate about people being able to end their days in
      their own homes or in the care of their loved ones

9.  Fill my days with meaningful activity

      All of the above and more

10. Laugh

      This is difficult sometimes when one is feeling down, but I do tend to have a
      wry take on things and can still find some humor in despair.

What are your New Year's Resolutions? 
(Besides getting yourself to the library, of course).

Best wishes for a happy and productive
New Year!

                                           Old habits die hard.

See you Friday for my Oscar Predictions
and the Week in Reviews.

Thanks for reading!
If you enjoyed this post, feel free to share it and/or email it to your friends

Friday, December 6, 2013

Retirement: Good Days and Bad Days and The Week in Reviews

[I review the movies "Philomena," "All is Bright," "Winter of Frozen Dreams," "Just Like a Woman" and Stacy Keach's memoir.]

But first

We all have good days and bad days.

Retirement is no different, except with all of that time on your hands, the bad days really hurt.

Here are some examples of what I mean:

Good Day:  Your adult child called just to say "I love you."
Bad Day:    Your adult child said, "I love you" after asking you for money to
                   bail him out of jail.

Good Day:  Your adult children are all home for Christmas.
Bad Day:    For your Christmas present, your adult children all chipped in for a
                  week's stay for you at the Rose of Sharon Retirement Home.

Good Day:   Your wine guzzling poodle jumps up on your lap for just a cuddle,
                    not wine.
Bad Day:      Forget that.  Ain't happenin'

Good Day:     You found a volunteer opportunity.
Bad Day:       It involves adult diapers.

Good Day:   You've been to the gym and are feeling a bit slimmer.
Bad Day:      Lane Bryant called.  You left your purchase on the counter.

Good Day:   The Christmas tree is up and you didn't get into a big fight with
                    Hubby over the lights.
Bad Day:      HUGE fight with Hubby over the lights.

Good Day:   You have three darling dogs whose cavorting amuses you.
Bad Day:     Three dogs are a pack and their cavorting knocked you down the

This is what a pack of dogs looks like.
What constitutes a good or a bad day for you? 
Well, sometimes we can't control how the day is going to go. 
But here is something you can count on. 
Rosy the Reviewer's
Week in Reviews.
***In Theatres Now***
The true story of an Irish woman, who as a young girl became pregnant, gave birth in a convent and was forced to give up her son.  Fifty years later, with the help of a disgraced journalist, she goes in search of him.
Steve Coogan is not that well-known in the U.S. but is a huge star in the UK, known mostly for his comedic work.  Here he wrote the screenplay (based on a true story) and plays it mostly straight. 
But this is Dame Judy's show.  Supposedly Dame Judy's eyesight is failing and she has to have her scripts read to her.  Whatever is going on with her eyes, it doesn't affect what she can do with them to rip at your heart strings. If you can keep from crying, especially if you are a mother, you have it over me. Have your hankies handy.  Loved it!
Rosy the Reviewer says...Ring!  Ring!  Dame Judy.  Oscar calling. 
Movies You Might Have Missed
And some you will be glad you did!
(I see the bad ones so you don't have to)
Dennis is out on parole and bands together with old friend Rene to sell Christmas trees so he can buy his estranged daughter a piano.
A small film that didn't have much impact on me, probably because I am not a big Paul Giamatti fan.  Hubby liked it better than I did.
Rosy the Reviewer says...I give it just a couple of Christmas trees.
A college girl turns to prostitution and things don't go well.
A low-budget Thora Birch vehicle (remember her from American Beauty?") that is all very frozen and dreamy and a step way down for Birch from "American Beauty."  It proves once again, I must not put films in my DVD queue based on a preview.  Repeat after me.  "I must not put films in my DVD queue based on a preview."
Rosy the Reviewer says...I usually like films about the underbelly of life but as Charles Barkley used to say, this one is "Turible, Turible, Turible."
Marilyn (Sienna Miller) loses her job and comes home to a cheating husband so decides to hit the road and enter a belly dancing contest in Santa Fe.  She is joined by her friend, Mona, who has a secret.
Think of this as a belly-dancing "Thelma and Louise," without the suicide at the end (and if I just spoiled "Thelma and Louise" for you, where have you been?)

And for every woman who thinks her mother-in-law is a dragon, get a load of this one. 
I couldn't help but wonder how Sienna Miller avoided becoming a big star like Julia Roberts.  She has the looks and the acting chops.  I also couldn't help but remember that her then boyfriend Jude Law cheated on her with the babysitter.  Jude, you idiot!
Rosy the Reviewer says...a fun diversion especially if you like belly dancing. 
***Book of the Week***

All in All:  An Actor's Life On and Off the Stage by Stacy Keach (2013)
This acting memoir begins with Keach's arrest for cocaine possession and then backtracks to his early life and career.
Though Keach has had acting success in films such as "Fat City" and "American History X" and as Mike Hammer in the TV series of the same name, he never attained superstardom.  He clearly preferred the stage and dreamed of being the next Olivier.  He is candid about his drug addiction, which could perhaps explain why his career didn't reach the heights but the book is surprisingly dry.
Rosy the Reviewer of Keach might enjoy this, but acting students should take note.  He has a whole chapter on acting techniques at the end of the book.


Hooray, hooray.  "Come Dine With Me" has come to the U.S!
Come Dine With Me is a British competition TV program where 4 or 5 strangers get together at each other's houses to cook each other a full meal - appetizer, main course and dessert.  After the meal, the visitors rate the meal on a scale of 1-10.  Naturally the groups of people are disparate and often over the top, lots of alcohol is consumed and sometimes there are costumes which is all part of the fun, and the voice over commentary by Dave Lamb is hilarious.
Now Lifetime is offering its version, which if the first episode is any indication is a Canadian import.  It mirrors the British version down to the theme music, but I miss Dave Lamb's commentary.  Also the British version is usually 30 minute segments over five nights and here we have all five nights wrapped into one hour.  One thing on the positive side, it moves quickly.  On the negative side, there is not as much coverage of the actual cooking as we see in the British version.
Rosy the Reviewer says...Foodies and fans of humorous reality TV will love this! 

That's it for this week.
See you Tuesday!

Thanks for reading!
If you enjoyed this post, feel free to share it and/or email it to your friends.