Stevie, the Ice Goddess

Some call Stevie the Ice Queen, but I call her The Ice Goddess. A goddess is distant but knows what is happening around. She knows she is beautiful and loved, but she has a relative restraint that sets her apart from the other beautiful dogs around the cottage. She takes up a position where she has a good view of everyone and pretends not to notice anyone.

While all the other dogs in the neighborhood go to the dock where everyone congregates, Stevie distances herself.
She refuses to lap around for treats. She quietly and subtly comes around to look for crumbs, though never very eagerly.

Stevie’s best friend, our grandson, who wishes his dog would be more loving, picks her up for cuddle training which Stevie takes with alacrity. She doesn’t do anything nor change her facial expression. She remains who she is, distant and beyond any human enticement.

Stevie is a golden doodle, a mix between a poodle and a golden retriever. Our grandson’s wife, who brought Stevie into the family, named her after the pop singer, Stevie.

Stevie thinks she rules the cottage area, including our cottage and our neighbor’s who also has a dog named Millie. Stevie has no choice but to accept Millie, and she does but occasionally still growls at her. There are other dogs around, too. Luna is a new addition to the neighborhood after our neighbor’s dog Lily died. But there is one dog Stevie won’t ever let in, Mollie. She had been roaming the property for years before Stevie came to the picture. She lives in the area the whole year, so she thinks she lords it over every other dog.

Stevie won’t stop barking at Mollie, and the sheer mention of the name makes Stevie bark like hell. She doesn’t want her around, and she gets up from her perch when Mollie comes and blocks her entry. Mollie has no time for Stevie’s barks. She keeps going and does not even bother with it except baring her teeth at Stevie when she has had enough, to which Stevie, the city dog, cowers and takes distance.

Dogs had never piqued my interest before Stevie came into the picture. Although some dogs are regular visitors, we did not have dogs and loved to stay and have some peace in our place. There are no more little children in our cottage, and most of the time, only my husband and I were in residence. We always kept treats for these dogs, and they love to visit, even sharing our company with other dogs who have learned to come regularly.

Stevie came, and she was with us. She lived in our cottage when she arrived. As a puppy, Stevie wanted to play with the other dogs, who ignored her. Now that she is of a substantial size than all of them, she wants to be the top dog that the others would never allow, so Stevie started to take her distance. She became the Ice Goddess, a role she thought of occupying in the neighborhood dog world.

Inside the cottage, Stevie has her place, the only couch in the living area. She takes up position here and pretends not to hear anything nor see anyone until someone stays on the other side of the sofa, and when this happens, Stevie leaves and looks for another place on the floor. She can’t be bothered at all.

Because Stevie has grown much more significant, her old cottage bed has become smaller for her. Also, due to the late nights, we kept at the cottage when everyone was there, Stevie found more extensive beds. She would go down to the bedrooms downstairs and find a place big enough for herself. It could be beside someone already asleep or a new bed she allocated for herself, so when people came to find their beds, they would see they had company for the night. Often, as this is not encouraged, Stevie would be sent back to her bed in her owners’ room.
Sometimes, she was allowed the luxury.

One day, after Stevie spent a weekend at the cottage with a friend, she became reclusive. She only followed me as I was familiar with her. She did not go to her bed but placed herself on the floor between my bed and the wall. I coaxed her but to no avail, so I left her there and went to sleep. When I woke up the following morning, Stevie was on my bed. When I stirred, she came over and licked my face, then stretched and left the bed. That was all the affection the Ice Goddess could ever share.

Stevie doesn’t need much affection or pretends not to. I love it as Stevie is there but not in need of so much attention. She is quiet and allows us to work. Stevie knows the play times, which are in the morning and the evening. She goes to you bringing a toy but does not bark. When Stevie sees you are not in the mood to play, this Ice goddess plays on her own, too. She knows what toys she fancies at the moment and searches for them in her basket.

Stevie is an Ice Goddess, satisfied in herself. She gets involved when she wants to and engages whenever she knows you have the time for her. Otherwise, Stevie is content to perch at a distance to see everyone who matters and observes everything that happens. In that small area of the occupied part of the cottage, she is omnipresent. She keeps her distance as if she only seeks worship and not companionship.

Her distance is annoying to some members of the family who want to engage with her. However, it is her most endearing feature for some of us who often have to work and do not care much for engagement.

So now, if you’ll excuse me, I must end this article and feed the Ice Goddess.

Focus on the Positive

The other day, I got a call from a friend. She asked me how my summer was, to which I replied, we had so much fun with the family together, but it was tiring with so many late nights, drinking, eating, dock time in the sun, and hanging out.

Summer Experience

Immediately, my friend reacted. You had so much fun, but….why the but? I got a bit defensive, but I fully understood her question and her reaction. She waited for my answer, which was a stumbling explanation of something I needed to face within me. I wanted to evade the question, but my friend did not want to let go. 

My friend and I talked about the way our minds work. The judgments we often heard had largely conditioned us and had allowed this conditioning to influence our thinking. We had not freed ourselves from it. We had been unaware of such a way of thinking that we went through life doing exactly that.

This conversation with my friend triggered a reckoning on my part of how my mind worked. Why couldn’t I savour the positive experiences? Why was my mind prone to thinking about the negative?

There were so many positive events that happened in my life which I hadn’t turned into positive experiences. I had experienced these positively but had judged it afterward, and they had become so-so with the negative judgments weighing upon them. When asked about it, that negative judgment was the first thing that came up.

Why was this so? 

Because we never savoured our positive experiences for fear that it would make us less good, it never stayed with us as much as the negative judgments did. We never revisited these joyous moments, so what stayed with us were only the negative comments we made about the experience. Thus, we grew up full of negative judgments.

Even around us, we listen to the news, and we often hear these comments, “too little, too late.”

There is so much focus on the negative as if these negative sell more than the positive. The focus is mainly on the negative.

It’s time we turn this around. My friend and I discussed what we could do about this propensity for negative thoughts. These are some of the things we decided to do.

First, understand better how the brain functions and rewire it for happiness. There are many articles and videos on the brain as people start understanding how the brain works. This development is a significant plus to our collective consciousness.

Second, clean up little by little the traces of negative thoughts we have accumulated. These traces of negativity require a thorough cleaning but not to worry. Face them as they come. I have many of these, and when they manifest themselves, I revisit them and savor the positive experiences sans the negative judgments. Then, I say goodbye to them and never again revisit them. I leave them to the past where they belong.

Third, savor positive experiences. Many of our experiences are fun. However, we remember the negative judgments people around us made or our negative judgments of aspects of that experience because of how our minds worked.

Fourth, build gratitude. Every moment you think about your life, think of the many things you are happy about it. We will always find many things. As we practice doing this every day, gratitude becomes the pervading feeling in our lives.

Fifth, surround ourselves with positive influences and tune out the negative. Some people make you feel happy. Be with them and limit your interaction with people who tend to be negative in their judgments. Enjoy life. There is so much positive around us when we focus on them.

Finally, forgive. Let go of the hurts that we have harbored for years. They have affected us adversely for so long, and that’s enough. We now leave them where they belong. We are new beings now, and these things no longer have any influence on us.

I was glad that my friend brought this negativity to my awareness when telling her about my summer experience. I then revisited my summer experience and savoured the fun we had as a family, the sharing be it of books, music, or movies we’ve watched recently.

I focused on the positive and the fun and enjoyment we’ve had. I realized how rich and satisfying the experience was and appreciated every moment of it.

Being One With You

Being One With Yourself

These four words recently struck me as I spent time during the pandemic watching self-help videos. I have ignored these videos for some time, but I got into it during the lockdown. Some were not helpful, but others opened me to what I needed to do in my life. Because I was devoid of many engagements during the lockdown and was engaged entirely only with myself, I got to know it better.

The value of being one with my inner being became very compelling to me.

The dark side of my inner self revealed itself to me.

I talked to myself. I began to be more aware of what is happening in myself. I started to know it, explored its inner realities and what a surprise it was. I got to know myself better and learned so much about my inner being. This inner world had been waiting for me to know it better, and as I started exploring it, I delved into its dark side.

This dark side greatly influenced my actions and decisions, and I didn’t even know how much it affected me.

I felt its fears, insecurities, deficiencies, sorrows, anxieties, and secrets. It astounded me that I connected to it, got to know it and brought it to light. As I dug deeper, I found my inner self beneath these, a self full of light, beauty and capable of creating a life. I started connecting to this creative self, and my life changed.

Could this be real?

My life became magical as, each day, I welcome the daily unfolding, the unknown getting known. A different pattern unfolded before me, something I created but not with the usual effort of the previous self but with the ease of connecting to power within one’s self.

Now, I love these moments of being with myself, getting to connect to its power to its depth, to its unending capacity. I realize I am not seeking my mission in life which for years I agonize over. I strive for myself, the self that is my gift to the world. It’s my self as it continues in its creative unfolding.

Here I am, universe. I am the gift, the mission, the calling. I am as I become and connect to the universe.

I had for years felt the longing for home, not the physical home.

I was restless wherever I was as the longing got even more intense. I moved from country to country, and this longing kept nagging at me. I did not understand it, so I ignored it, but it stayed on. Recently, with time for myself, alone with myself, I have come home. To a world right there inside of me and yet connected to all.

I have come home.

I now realize I have one call, one mission, and that is “to be.” To be the fully developed being that I am. As I do this, I become more connected to the world because I become one with the world as I become one with myself. Oneness. No more division. Wholeness.

What Is Your Best Idea for Retirement?

There are so many ways people engage during retirement. They may spend time with their grandchildren, work on another job, join clubs or organizations, volunteer, travel, or engage in a new hobby. What ideas do you think about now to make your retirement a meaningful experience?

Retirement.

What is your idea of retirement?

My husband is a few years older than I am, so we first contemplated retirement when he could already retire based on the magic 30, which in Canada means that you have worked in total for 30 years. He was only 53 then, but he had accumulated two years of a sabbatical from his job, so at 53, he could retire. Before this happened, we would have long walks in Siesta Key beach each time we bring his mother for her annual trip there and then pick her up again. Add to that the Christmas visit.

On those walks, we tried to visualize how we picture retirement to be.

My husband and I came from two different backgrounds.

His parents emigrated from Europe with their experience of depression but reached higher levels in their chosen profession. My parents were entrepreneurs and started their business after WWII. Not one of my parents earned regular pay. They made their own money by engaging in various business ventures until they found one they could grow. However, I came from a life in the convents where we gave everything, thinking nothing of pay. On the other hand, my husband worked in jobs to earn money for his organization.

We worked out what we’re comfortable with from these backgrounds.

We settled on retiring but still working as we were still young.

My husband, who felt it was his responsibility to provide for our family, negotiated a two-year consultancy with his organization. I registered a consulting company as I had already worked as a consultant, but given that there are now the two of us, it was better to form a company. So, in 1997, we started. I haven’t created a company before. I know which office to bring the forms which I downloaded online. I brought with me a book thinking that I have to wait forever to get my papers back. To my surprise, it only took five minutes that I haven’t opened my book at all.

What am I trying to get at?

Here it is.

When you have decided on a course of action, act on it. Don’t procrastinate or learn everything there is before starting. You will learn in the process. The actual doing of it is more of a learning experience. Just do it. So, for Seniors who are thinking of a second career, there is so much you can do. Identify the expertise you have and get to work. How can you use this expertise once you retire? Do you want to get a new job? Or, do you want to do something else? Perhaps, a hobby you have always wanted to do given the time. Or something you plan to learn once you have the time to do it. This is why you retired in the first place.

You want to move on.

Retirement is the time to create a different life for yourself.

For 30 years or more, your identity has been your job. How do you see yourself now? An avid golfer or tennis player? A comedian? A gardener? A speaker? A teacher? A writer? A painter? What will it be for you?

Exciting, isn’t it?

Give yourself time.

Listen to your inner desires. We have friends who couldn’t wait to retire so they could play golf all day. After a year of that, they started looking for something more meaningful. In their words, they said, “how many golf games can you really play?”

So, listen to yourself.

Listening to one’s self is not difficult. Sit and listen more to your heart as most of us lived in our minds when we worked. Think of the time you enjoyed yourself very much. What was the event? What was in the activity that made you happy?

Retirement is a time to try out and engage in activities you have enjoyed in your life and the new things you want to do. As things unfold, you will discover what it is that truly makes you happy. You have time to do this now, and there is nothing much to lose. Make your retirement a fascinating experience.

Idea of Retirement

What Would 2021 Be Like for Seniors?

Seniors are at the forefront of today’s discussion, given the issue of vaccination. Most of these discussions highlight the vulnerability of Seniors.

A Beautiful Day

While we accept that Seniors are more vulnerable to this Covid virus, let’s take this as a challenge. We can improve our immune system and our health so we can be more potent against the virus. Vaccination helps, but we should not depend on it.

There will be more variants to come and more viruses, so the best way for us to improve our health and our immune system. Improving our health gives us stronger immunity and enhances our life. How do we go about this?

  1. Stay close to your doctor. Have your regular check-up and review the results with your doctor even if you go online.
  2. Read up and learn about your issues. Just don’t accept everything your doctor says. Help him out. If you are borderline diabetic, read up on this. You can use so much information online or even offline (library) and discuss the information with your doctor or a medical practitioner who knows about these things. 
  3. Food Intake. When we eat, it is not to satisfy our cravings. It is to feed ourselves so that this self can function well. Eat a variety of food, so you get all the nutrients your body needs. Value yourself and provide it well. Again, you can read about the food that will make your issues better.  
  4. Exercise. For heaven’s sake, stop giving reasons that the gyms are closed, the weather is horrible, or there is nowhere, and no one to do it with, and your type wants to do it in a group. Really? Recently, I decided to do my exercise in the morning. I accept that walking is a bit hard because of the snow, but you can learn other exercise forms on Youtube. I do the Joints exercises I knew before, and after a week, I feel my body more alive. I have more energy and balance. To do a bit more, I put on music and danced to it. I do it in my living room. Each time I stand up from the couch, I try to do a bit of exercise.
  5. Sleep. The exercises help me get better sleep. It could be something else for some of you, but I know that going to bed regularly helps. So, even if the series I am watching on television is exciting and I want to see what happens next, I tell myself that this would be exciting to know tomorrow and help me look forward to another viewing. If you have a severe problem, it could be something you need to discuss with your doctor. He could recommend other measures to help you.
  6. Engagement. To have something meaningful to do is essential. Have a hobby. Learn a new language. Learn a new skill. Learn to dance the salsa. Join a cause or a group. Whatever takes your fancy, please do it. 
  7. Build and maintain your network. Call people in your family regularly. Or, your friends and laugh with them. Be in touch. Community is so important to being alive. Being in touch helps stimulate your mind and expand your mind from the things that occupy you in your world. Laugh with them.
  8. Share. Brag about the new cake you baked. Share this with your friends or family. Tell them about the books you enjoyed reading. When you make people happy, you become fulfilled, too. 
  9. Dream. There is so much to look forward to once we contain this virus. Visualize the places you want to visit, the food you want to taste, the clothes and fashion accessories you want to try, the people you want to see, and the other things you want to do that you can’t do now. Create the future you love.
  10. Focus on these nine things. These things you can easily do can help get you away from boredom and loneliness, improve your health and strengthen your immunity from any other virus. 

Before you go, here’s a video that will help you create the life you want:

15 Ways to Stimulate Creativity in Grandkids

15 Ways to Stimulate Creativity in Grandkids

Do you want your grandkids trying out things, dreaming of possibilities, poking at alternatives, inventing strategies, digging at problems or just sitting and watching television and shortening their lives with a bag of chips?

You are the leader. Often, your grandchild spends most of their time with you and looks up to you as her/his model. You take charge. They are like sponges drinking in everything you say. And no one else observes them closely as you do. So you know what they’re ready for and what gets their attention.

Grandkids’ First 7 Magic Year

But more importantly, they watch you closely. How you respond to life’s challenges and demands are realities from which they learn. When they see your “go for it” attitude, they will drink it in. If you seem to enjoy trying new things and looking for new ways, the odds are they will, too. So free your spirit of adventure and let your creativity grow.

​You have their first seven years to set lifetime values and attitudes. So, go for maximum impact. They are watching. Here are some tips:

1. Be creative yourself

Develop your creativity first. Your grandchildren will even watch you do that and learn. Do what I do is always more powerful than do what I say. Once you’ve cranked your creative engine, it becomes spontaneous in you. 

Occasions come up suddenly in children’s lives as they do not live with action plans nor organize their day within the 9-5 schedule. Kids love to be with someone who can think out fun things with them. It is the best investment you have for your children.

Creativity kits are so helpful because they offer everything you need for an activity. It is the easiest to open and engage the kids when you don’t have the time or run out of ideas.

2. Spark their imagination

“I can because I can imagine.” Young minds wander and love to dress when they go to parties or even when they play at home. “I am a teacher.” “I am a model.” “I am a doctor.” “I am Superman.” You often hear them declare these. Encourage these, and don’t make fun of little guys acting out roles. Please give them the resources to act the part and be their cheerleader.

Enter into what fascinates them. See what they look at in books and magazines. Start providing the environment and resources they need: books, paints, colours, paper, pens and things they can make something out of.

Forget made-up toys. Or entertainment toys. We all have seen how many fun kids have over a cardboard box. The cardboard box has challenged kids’ creativity in all cultures, more than any toy ever made!

They will also start rummaging into your things and trying out your clothes. Allow them the joy and show them some things have to be cared for more than others but encourage them to try out and look different.

3. Let them do something for you

When kids know you appreciate whatever little things they do for you, they’ll keep doing this. Ask them to do something special for you or someone close to them. They can make cards or provide them with tools and a challenge, and you’ll be amazed at what these kids will come up with from their imagination.

Once, our two granddaughters organized a birthday party for me and made things I might enjoy.

4. Engage them in stimulating events

Please bring them to craft shows, plays and other stimulating events.You can bring them to trade fairs, musical events, stage plays, dance performances, crafts and cooking demonstrations, science centers, art shows and art galleries. Let them see you asking questions, and they will learn. Let them see you helping others, treating merchants well, being happy in public – you are their model.

You don’t have to spend a fortune on these events. There are many free ones right in your community. Is there a Chinatown/Greek town/whatever town? Get moving! A little research on your part is all you need. Suppose there is nothing much in your vicinity, time to move before it’s too late. You cannot put your child’s growth on hold or remedy it later. Seven magical years to make a difference!

5. Keep them playing with other kids

Children Play

Kids love to play. They can always find ways to play with, and they love to play being in school. They love to play home. They love to play store. These plays do not only help them learn but also nurture their capacity to build relationships. Organize a playgroup so your child will learn new skills and relate with other kids.

When kids are at play, they make various kinds of decisions. They make compromises. They make for win-win situations. They make sacrifices. They get and offer attention. They help. They think. They become strategic. Play is just a wealth of experiences for kids. Ration the TV. Ration the computer. Don’t ration your attention.

6. Provide them with the tools

Get them a camera. You will be surprised at how creative kids are at taking pictures. Their angles are different, and they love to experiment and try out things in their cameras. Taking good photos is a skill they can use in life, and learning how to do this early will give them an edge. Having their camera, they can play with is very important.

Often, many of us find them using our cameras and oh boy, the crap they’ll get when this happens. Encourage your grandkids by getting them an excellent camera. What would even be better is to display in your house the pictures they have taken. Beautifully framed, most pictures look good. More importantly, this builds their confidence. Consider this as an investment in their future.

It doesn’t have to be a camera. It depends on what your grandkids are interested in. Maybe, a fishing kit or art kit. Provide several so you’ll get a sense of what gets their interest.

7. Provide your grandchild with a giant vision board

They can express what they want to be, how they see themselves in the future, their favourite things. They can pin or paste pictures on it and change the images as often as possible. You can both enjoy looking at the changes. A special moment you both could enjoy.

This experience will help the child learn to have direction in life. As they track the changes, they see paths and patterns. They can change if they want to add new things.

8. Tease their imagination

Treasure boxes or other special boxes

Special boxes where they put their tools, costumes, wands, armour, egg crates and accessories are extraordinary in encouraging kids to be creative. Their tools are on the ready, and their resources are accessible. What else do they need?

More so, when these are in pretty boxes that engage their imagination. Fashion jewelry, pieces of wood and plastic, paper, cloth and string-all these work. As they explore possibilities, they start to make the most unlikely reorganization of their box treasures.

Kids love tinkering into boxes, especially treasure boxes. Allow them to do so with your packages. This moment is your chance to talk with them about caring for things and value the things you keep. You might even inspire them to start their collection. They need to develop their imagination on how they can create some of the things they like. They will also develop some craft skills, drawing and painting abilities and organizing skills. They will also see these moments as their particular time with you.

9. Garden with your kids 

It is fun, and you both will learn

When you work on your garden, encourage the child to help you. Give them their special nook. They choose their plants and how to arrange these.

You can encourage them to look at the more extensive garden and how their patch can enhance it. You will be surprised at how well your grandkids can match your design. And if they don’t, your grandchild is more valuable than your garden. Right?

10. Ask them to organize plays on special occasions

Or when the family gathers

At a certain age, kids love to present shows to adults in which they sing, dance and wear costumes and do whatever they fancy. And you know what? There are always parents to watch these shows. And they are thoroughly biased. They undoubtedly will enjoy these. Or cast them in plays in church or school. But there is nothing more fun for them than their shows. What entertainment you will have! You will be surprised at what they can come up with with their creativity.

There are drama schools that offer courses for kids, especially in the summer. You can send them there, so they learn the skills. However, there is no substitute for a supportive and appreciative family always ready to watch whatever shows they present. These shows are where multigeneration times like holidays in the cottage or Christmas are handy. There is a crowd to encourage their creative juices.

11. Encourage them to express themselves

In the song, dance, art, or whatever form of expression is their chance to express themselves. They will always think you are a great figure skater, prima ballerina or coloratura.

You can encourage them to invent songs or makeup words. Let them explore things in their minds freely. Yes, when they feel safe to explore with their minds, they will use their mental capacity to the full.

When the grandchildren are around, my husband and the kids talk to each other through songs in our home. They become very creative with their words to make them rhyme. It is sometimes outrageous what they would sing. Be prepared for it!

12. Help them spin stories – Start them at making their storybooks

Telling a story is a valuable skill to develop. When you start them doing it, they will tell their own stories before you know it. Start. When you read a bedtime story, start your grandchild’s imagination by asking how she can make the character more interesting. Or you can create an account and let your child add to it.

They can also make storybooks that will encourage their artistic bent as well. They can create the favourite character and make them their costumes, give them a personality and build their name.

13. Involve them in choosing and preparing not just their activities but that of the family

Let them plan and organize these. They can do some outdoor sports or go for a picnic in the woods. Our grandchildren used to have a favourite rock we can go to, and when there, they just freely give way to their creative expressions.

You can have a campfire. Let them build a fire, roast marshmallows and make s’mores (melted marshmallows and a piece of a chocolate bar tucked between two graham crackers). When the family is at the cottage, kids love to have campfires. What makes it unique is that guests come and enthrall them with their guitars or other instruments. And the kids start thinking, desiring to learn these same skills.

14. Engage them to share

Kids love to create, especially when they are doing this for someone. As you encourage them to give way to their creative imagination, you also provide this direction by creating something for someone. Even as simple as choosing a book to read for someone is a creative process. More so, when they have to read these to someone whose interest they have to sustain. This moment is a joy to watch.

Kids also love to play “teacher.” Encourage this as this develops so many skills in them.

15. Let your child lead – You are their cheerleader

Let them pick the path for a walk or a bike ride or the game to play. I have one grandchild who changes the rules in the game each time she gets bored or thinks she is at a disadvantage. Remember Calvinball from Calvin and Hobbes? There is no way she can bulldoze her way through this. She has to learn how to persuade others and have them buy the new rule book. And maybe negotiate a few changes. You encourage. You are the cheerleader, not the boss.

But you have to be firm around the values you want them to learn. Just remember: Whose skills are you developing? Whose self-confidence? Whose creativity? Yours or theirs? Maybe a bit of each? If something goes amiss, don’t blow them away. Ask questions. Does that seem fair? Are there alternatives?

Creativity is one of the most valued assets a youngster can have as they grow up. You can help by being creative yourself and building the model.

Top 5 Benefits of Travel for Seniors

Travel awakens the spirit. For Seniors, travel makes you feel younger once again. Not only feel younger but look more youthful, too.

I recently met up with a friend who just came back from a trip to Europe, and I was surprised at the change in her appearance. I told her travel serves her well and that she should do it more often.

Rhonda, Spain

I have never seen a group so involved in whatever activities laid out for the day. They approached it with so much enthusiasm, although I’ve observed that this was not a first for them. They were like children on a school trip. But, they look out for each other. Nothing misses them. They help each other find restaurants and the bus after a shopping stop or a visit to one of the destinations.

Today, I thought of the day I boarded with my 81-year-old friend the bus of Mary Morton Tours in Toronto. I was amazed to see that many more in the bus were older than her. They were excited and, from the looks of it, were regulars on this trip. They were all chatty as many have confined themselves in their places for weeks, making this trip a welcome change.

Connection
For many Seniors, travel is a crucial component of their lives. Most of them live on their own after having been widowed or divorced. Their families are primarily busy with kids, and though they love to see them occasionally, they are often alone. They crave for company, for some form of connection.

Some of them develop new friendships on these trips. Sometimes, on these tours, you connect with some people who continue to grow into close friends.

Engagement
Many Seniors have accomplished much in their lives. They want to still be in the thick and thin of events. They cannot stay home and live a quiet existence. For many, age is not an issue. They like silence but enjoy any form of engagement, having involved themselves previously in decisive events. They often raise the most interesting questions when on tour. When you live on your own and have no one to share with your thoughts, impressions, and comments, these trips provide avenues for sharing.

Knowledge and Experience
Seniors love to learn, and travel provides new knowledge about places, persons, events, cultures, and history. It is a very enriching activity, providing new experiences. A unique experience feeds the mind with challenges. It even rewires and renews it.

These trips involve people from varied backgrounds; some have participated in exceptional experiences, so they see from exciting perspectives. They have much to share that you gain new knowledge when participating in these trips. The experience is very exhilarating.

Challenge
Being on a trip is in itself a challenge. It encourages you to be more involved and be interested. Seniors bring up interesting conversation topics that thin your mind and usually make intelligent observations and comments. By the time you finish the day with them, your mind is complete and working hard. Better be ready.

Fun
Yes, this is the top thing travel brings to Seniors. It is a way of having fun, of getting out of a dreary existence. During the COVID lockdown, many Seniors call tour agencies and plead with them to bring them out anywhere, just out of the house. Out is fun. Seniors need enjoyment and to ensure they get this in their lives. It saves them from being lonely and depressed and makes their hearts, health, and minds lighter. It makes their Spirit dance.

So, take the time and get out. Take a trip even just for the day. Travel provides excellent benefits, and if you’re a Senior, you must put travel as a top priority.

Time for Inner Transformation

Finally, I followed my advice to use our senior years as the time to wake up. So, for weeks now, I have been working on my inner self. I did not realize how little I knew about my inner world. It’s a world on its own.

I realize that I have allowed mostly the external environment to determine my behaviour, action, and view of life all these years. I learned everything I needed to know from this environment to live my life more effectively. I lived this for years, and it is an approach very familiar to me. I know it very well, and I am comfortable with it. Little did I know that this utter dependence on the external environment has deprived me of a fuller life. I can say I had been relatively successful in life, and so this approach worked.

Recently, a friend introduced me to the ideas of Dr. Joe Dispenza. This friend has taken the workshop and found it very useful. At first, I hesitated to get into it myself. I got into Youtube to check out some of his lectures to know what he is talking about and whether it is valid.

This friend, who is now in her eighties but looks like she is only in her sixties, has researched the whole area of spirituality well. When she says something about spirituality, I believe her. So I continued engaging with Dr. Joe Dispenza, and as this friend took the workshop, she shared her experience. I was impressed with the changes in her that eventually, I registered. What impressed me was the way Dr. Dispenza used science to explain spirituality. The scientists are the new mystics. His team has measured what happens as a person enters into meditation. They showed the effects of meditation on the person.

Because I had wanted to develop my inner self, I got into it. I have never experienced such intense meditation before. I used to do meditation, but this guided meditation is new. In this guided meditation, the person undergoes an experience of transformation in which the self transcends itself and creates a new destiny, a new being.

This transformation is what I desire to happen in my senior years. It is happening. I am getting away from being my old self and creating a new person, someone I love and treasure, joyful, and enjoying life to the full.

You can do this, too. Start being the person you want to be, not someone created by your past, your environment, or the significant people in your life. Someone victimized you, so you go around waiting to be oppressed. It feels familiar and comfortable. You know it so well. You can relate to it quickly, but is this what you want to be in the following years of your life? You want to change, and you can do it.

I started reading the book of Dr. Joe Dispenza, Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself. I did the exercises. I also watched the youtube videos detailing what he wants us to understand to become new people. Later on, I registered for the workshop on his website. This workshop brought about a change in me that pleased me much. Here’s a video link to give you a peek at his work.

For those interested, here’s the link to Dr. Joe Dispensa’s book.

Time to Wake Up

Life is a gift of the Universe. Retirement is a time to wake up. Awaken to all the possibilities life brings. Finally, the challenges of raising a family and racing to the top of your career are behind you. Start anew.

How do we do this? Explore your area. Familiarize yourself with all the resources you can find around you. Take a more in-depth look now. Don’t just pass by. By the time you get home, your mind will be full of ideas about how to make your retirement fun.

FUN is the word. Forget all the obligations that tied you down all these years. This time is for you. We live in a time when it is best to grow old. Why am I saying this? We have all the resources to live as fully as we want. If you’re going somewhere, there’s active transport. Uber and Lyft are willing to bring you anywhere. There are discounts for Seniors for the activities you might think of doing, so what’s keeping you from enjoying your retirement?

Ah, many things do this to you. I know it so well because I have experienced them as well. There are countless worries about your health, finances, safety and many more. We can easily list a thousand and one reasons to keep ourselves from having fun.

Time to wake up, to be aware of the things around us. But what is more crucial is to be mindful of our environment and ourselves. With waking up, we are not just talking about fun. Make it fun, but the other result of waking up is a change in awareness.

When before, we were always busy about many things, now is the time to go deeper and inward into ourselves. Now, we have more time to listen to ourselves as there are not a hundred things to do on our list. Sometimes, there is nothing to do.

With the recent lockdown, you had so much time because of the limited social interaction. Many of you were upset that you couldn’t see your families, especially your grandchildren. You miss all of them. But now, it is the best time to go into yourself and become a better person so you can be a gift to your families. Imagine their wonder when they see you – your newly transformed self, the New You.

Waking Up is not a significant activity at all. It will not take too much time. All you need to start is allocate a few minutes every morning upon waking up. Spend a few minutes in silence, listening to your inner self. You will be surprised at what you’ll discover. Look at yourself closely and learn to appreciate it. Maybe you’ll find something you may not like at all. Look at it. Know it better and transform it. Right now, at your age, you already have the resources to deal with anything you’ll find. Your experience managing your life successfully for over 60 years is enough qualification. You are certified by experience to handle any of your discoveries. Embrace all – both the positive and the negative. These are just sides of the whole, opposite sides of our single self.

Wake up and have fun. Start Now.

Do Something WOW at Retirement

Retirement

Seniors, what is that WOW you so desire? This is your chance at living it. Some of us may think this WOW is beyond our means. Maybe it is. But this is the challenge and having one at retirement makes life more exciting. 

We are now retired for 20 years the joy of early retirement) and each year is an adventure. Some are fun and easy and smooth sailing. Others are more challenging but all these contribute to what retirement is all about.

Before we retired, we struggled about what we will do. We had options laid out. We were clear about what we did not want but for what we want to do, we had no clue at all.

I can clearly remember the many walks we had on Siesta Key beach in Florida talking endlessly of what we want to do, each of us often left with thoughts on what the implications of these possibilities are.

We were concerned. We were uncertain. We were afraid of what the future held for us. We were afraid of where our dreams would bring us or how the dream of one of us would affect our lives. We hesitated to think as we did not want so many changes to our already happy existence.

But we knew that we could not just sit and watch endless streams of movies on television. We had to explore opportunities out there. We were still too young not to be engaged.

Once we started, we just kept going. We used our experience to start our own consulting and we just did this for 20 years. We cannot even tell you how much we enjoyed it. Until now, we have friends and colleagues all over the world with whom we worked and shared life.

We would take contracts only scheduled for the winter months which we wanted to avoid in Canada. Summer months were reserved for family. Our families lived in different parts of the world so Summer became our special time with each other.

Enough of my own experience. Now, back to you.

What image comes to you when retirement looms in your horizon? The end of fun? A quiet life? A trip somewhere? A life with family? Live your dream?

Most of us think of that day when we can do what we really like. Often, we associate this with retirement. But I tell you honestly, many of us who are now retired sometimes feel that we still are not able to do this. 

Yes, we find that our days are spent in countless little errands that by the time the day is over, there is no more time to do what we really like other than stretch out and have that glass of wine. Does this count? Most of our friends will definitely say yes. 

Of course, it depends on your own goal.

Many retirees enjoy doing little errands and taking care of grandchildren. Full-time grandmas fill up their time and this is their life. 

I know many of my friends do this and they enjoy it. They go with their grandchildren to their swimming practise, piano lessons or bring them to school. it depends on what you enjoy doing. 

My husband is not the only one. We just worked with someone who is 73 years old and had already 3 heart attacks. He loves to collect rare ceramics in blue and he works to be able to buy the more expensive ones which may overstretch his retirement pension.

Younger people now work harder and smarter to reach a much younger age to retire and be able to live the lifestyle they want. Others, just declare early retirement and live it NOW.

The style you choose to live your retirement depends on you. Many people now retire early. Once they have achieved their commitment and goals, they’re gone. But many, continue to get engaged. My husband retired when he was 53.

He was one of those lucky ones to have that freedom at such a younger age but he continued working until he passed on at 75. This time, he was doing what he really likes. He was no longer responsible for an organization so the stress was less and he enjoyed what he was doing.

How will you live your retirement?

The quality of your retirement will largely depend on the plan you have laid out not when you’re about to retire but early in your life. 

There are retirement concerns you can plan for but there are others you will only discover when you are retired.  But planning for the ones you know will help you deal with those concerns that you only find out as you live your retirement.

The good news is you have more wisdom to deal with these challenges so look forward to these as opportunities to expand your life. Having these challenges may still be the best thing that will ever happen to you.