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Encouraging women to evolve and create new opportunities at any age.

Remaining Relevant 

 Kendra Brown

When the Pages met, they agreed that remaining relevant and solvent were fundamental aspects of aging well.  Their lively discussion on this topic is covered in Eavesdropping’s chapter titled “When You Have All the Time in the World – What Do You Have Time For?”
“All the time in the world” could sound like heaven to the mother of young children, especially if she is balancing a career with family responsibilities.  “All the time in the world” might also sound good to a woman busily pursuing career goals.  But, in Florida, where I live, I see many women who have come here with (or without) spouses to enjoy the Golden Years, play golf and enjoy the sunshine - only to find too much time on their hands.
 
The Golden Years sometimes come to an abrupt end when these women go through a transition such as losing a spouse, or becoming less physically able to participate in golf or tennis.  Some find their gated communities more suited to couples than to singles.  Or they may simply find that those leisure activities that looked so appealing are not quite enough to be fulfilling – like discovering your buffet table only has desserts and no meat, potatoes, or even salads. 
 
When I’m addressing this issue with patients in therapy, I often urge them to volunteer, get a pet, or even secure a part-time job.  The typical response is “I did that up North.  I came here to retire!”  When they finally realize some changes need to be made, they feel anxious – due in part to simply not knowing where to start.  They have no idea what new project or goals could bring them satisfaction and joy.   
 
Perhaps you, too, are feeling that life is not as fulfilling as you’d prefer, but you’re stuck with no clues as to what activities and goals to pursue. I have an exercise that might help. My patients have found this helpful, and I hope you will too.

Click on this link to download the exercise in a PDF worksheet.
Or you may send an email requesting an email attachment to: info@kendrabrownphd.com


Life is a Gift

 
Edie passed along this beautiful email that has been circulating around the internet called “And then it was Winter”

Here is an excerpt:

"Life" is a gift to you. The way you live your life is your gift to those who come after. 
Make it a fantastic one. â€œ

Live it well!  Enjoy today!  Do something fun!  Be Happy!
 
Remember "It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver". 
Consider the following.
Today is the oldest you’ve ever been, yet the youngest you’ll ever be.
So - enjoy this day while it lasts.
 
The author is unknown, which is unfortunate, because she/he should be credited with these lovely sentiments.  If you would like to read the full version, click here to go to the link on the website.
You know how some conversations between friends are to be kept secret?  Well, the conversations in our newsletter and on our website are not those!
 Contributors and  eavesdroppers are welcome to join in!
If you like what you have read, please pass us on to others. 
They don't have to purchase Eavesdropping book to join us in conversation.
We'd love to have their company.
Terry
Special thanks to, Kelly Turnbull, one of our readers, for "staying in the conversation."
She shared her excellent thoughts and comments in a piece titled Living Long and Well.  We decided it is like a wonderful culinary treat: too good to eat in one sitting.  So, we've divided it into portions to be included in our newsletters over the next few months. But for now, here is a condensed version of her comments on Living Long and Well 
 
The July newsletter’s article about preparing to live well as we reach into our 90's was timely for me.  Although I’m relatively young, last year while I was struggling with my own medical issues, my 94 year old grandmother suddenly went from living independently to being cared for 24 hours a day.  Unfortunately, now – seven months later – she is bedridden and still needs around-the-clock care.  Although these two events taught me many things, two lessons are at the forefront for me now: (1) to be mindful of the present moment and (2) aging can be very difficult.
 
That said, to address the July newsletter’s theme: if I knew for certain that I was going to live until I was 100 years old, and I do believe I will, what would I do differently in my life?    Where would I make changes, right now? 
 
First, I would resolve to increase the time I spend enjoying the present moment! 
Perhaps being mindful of the present doesn’t seem like it should be that difficult.  Many of us probably think we just naturally do this. But – if we are observant, I think we’ll be amazed at how often during the day we are actually stuck in thoughts about the past or concerns about the future. How many times throughout the day do we find ourselves dragged away from the present moment by our feelings or emotions?  
Sogyal Rinpoche (the Tibetian lama and teacher and author of The Tibetian Book of Living and Dying) says, "Western laziness consists of cramming our lives with compulsive activity, so that there is no time at all to confront the real issues."  I began to plan for living long and well with meditation and reducing, to the extent possible, compulsive activity.  Although I began meditating years ago and I intend to make it a lifetime practice, I've made a renewed effort to focus my attention and awareness in the present. By practicing meditation, we train our minds.  As mediators, the fluctuations of the mind are calmed.  We become better equipped to handle life.  I believe it maximizes our power to handle the storms. 


Check back next month for Kelly’s recommendations for health and fitness factors.
 


In the September issue of the AARP bulletin, there is a short item about “housemates and friends.”  What it says is:  “More and more female boomers and older women are moving in together to save money and form a community.”  A community!  Now that’s an idea!  
In Eavesdropping, there is a chapter on transitional living situations.  It was an important topic and generated lots of discussion among the Pages.  I wish we had included the idea AARP encourages us to consider.   
 
As a matter of fact, it isn’t a new idea for me.  When I was a young woman, two of my friends and I used to talk about buying a tri-plex one day, when (and if) we found ourselves widowed or alone.  We planned to each have our own space but be near and handy for each other too. I like this concept especially because it provides space when that is desired, and/or company when that is preferred.  This tri-plex could be in a neighborhood familiar to us and/or one with people of varied ages, rather than a community reserved for older residents.  I like variety and the energy of kids.
 
AARP invites its readers to go to aarp.org/homeshare to see how this idea works for some women who endorse it. 
 
Kendra Brown 

Events:
 
Author to Share Secrets of Aging Well
 
Kendra Brown will be discussing Eavesdropping and its messages at several events this fall.  We’ll keep you posted on the event locations and dates. 
 
October 23, 2013 Glenwood, NM 
November 14, 2013 Elgin, IL

Just visit the website for details www.kendrabrownphd.com.  We’d love for you to attend. 
 
Just as she did with her initial group of wise women (who dubbed themselves, “the Pages”), Dr. Brown will invite her audiences into conversation, talking about subjects such as how to  enhance life throughout transitions, the importance of membership in support groups,  and strategies to form a support system that works for you. 
 
“The Pages and I realized in the process of developing the book,” says Dr. Brown, “that in fact, it is often the process that has the most value. We can gain so much wisdom by talking with others, exchanging stories, and exploring ideas. Not every group will want to write a book, as we did,” says Dr. Brown, “but every group can be empowered---and have fun.”

Events Page
Join the conversation….

Your thoughts and comments are welcomed- send your emails to: info@kendrabrownphd.com

Copyright © 2013 Kendra Brown, Ph.D, All rights reserved.


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