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

Preparing for the Storm

If you knew – for certain – that you would live to be 100 years old, what changes would you make – right now – in your daily life?

 

By: Kendra Brown

 

At this time each year, we Floridians are reminded to prepare for the Hurricane Season.  It technically begins June 1, but, of course, we don’t just wait until then to prepare.  For example, when my husband and I built our new home, we made sure the windows are storm-worthy; shutters handy and easily applied.  We stock up on canned food, candles and bottled water.  We can’t stop the powerful storms, but we can maximize our own power to sustain them.  We can minimize the losses and limitations if we are wise in our preparations.
 
Which brings me to an intriguing subject especially relevant today, when many people are living into their 90’s and beyond.  I routinely focus on – and write about - the positive aspects of aging.  But let’s be honest.  Regardless of how positive aging can be, we all know that aging also brings challenges, losses and limitations.  Just as Floridians are wise to prepare early for hurricanes, am I (are you) preparing for long lives in ways that will maximize our power and minimize our losses and limitations?  If you knew – for certain – that you would live to be 100 years old, what changes would you make – right now – in your daily life so that the days and years prior to that 100th birthday celebration would be the best they can be? 
 
  • Health and physical fitness
  • Financial issues
  • Relationships
  • Future housing
 
About health and physical fitness:  Research consistently shows that daily exercise is crucial to both physical and mental health.  Walking is one of the best remedies for weight control and it’s often a good anti-depressant as well.  Have you talked with your physician (when you get your annual exams and lab work) about suitable exercise for you?  Tai Chi and Yoga also benefit balance and flexibility.  When do you plan to begin enhancing your physical fitness?    
 
About financial issues:  Have you gotten serious about wills and estate planning?    You might find the chapter in Eavesdropping particularly helpful:  “We Leave Behind A Piece of Ourselves:  Tangible and Intangible Assets.”  There are lots of good ideas there.  And check out Appendix B, where the Pages included a handy guide for recording the location of important documents and personal records.  If my will is written, but I haven’t told my heirs where it’s located, I’ve only done half the job. This is comparable to buying hurricane supplies and not recording where they are located.  It’s hard to find those candles in the dark!
 
About relationships:  Are there some tangled “webs” in old relationships that you’d like to resolve, or at least, put to rest?  There are a couple of the wise steps found in the literature and program of Alcoholics Anonymous.  These steps have to do with taking a moral inventory of past actions and making amends to those who’ve been harmed, when appropriate. The material in Appendix C in Eavesdropping is also related to this topic.  It’s about writing an ethical will.  The goal of an ethical will is to answer the question:  “What do I want my loved ones to know about me?”
 
About future housing:  Where do you want to live in case of …?  Where would you be comfortable if you were unable to fully care for yourself?  Have you told your family about your choices?  Have you checked out options?  
 
You may make it easier for everyone if you have an honest conversation with relevant family members and share your wishes. Have you had the experience of having to make all these kinds of decisions for someone else:  having to tiptoe around difficult subjects; making your best guesses, perhaps feeling guilty or lonely in the decisions you had to make?  Open discussion now will help relieve stress and worry for everyone.
 
Have you found this topic thought provoking and useful? You are invited to share your preparations, thoughts and experiences with our community.
 
Join us “Continuing the conversation” at www.KendraBrownPhD.com

 

Continuing the conversation...
 
Reader’s comments and contributions:

Comments from a reader of the June newsletter:

 
Life is good, life is full and golf remains a challenge.
 
I have no problem with you printing tee shirts using that sentence. I am flattered that you think it is worthy to repeat.
 
As far as further contributions to your conversation, I can add that I am currently participating in a weekly duplicate bridge game. Although I learned bridge many years ago, it is like a new game when you need to use all the conventions, etc. that have evolved. There are two goals working here. One is to hopefully hold dementia at bay by keeping my brain cells active and the second is to have an activity I enjoy when my body rebels against golfing, power walking, gardening, etc. The bonus is that new friends can be made which really helps as longtime friends become ill or pass on to better things. This thought does not come out of depression or morbidity, but simply a plan to create the most satisfying life I can as I come down "the other side of the mountain".
 
Best to all,
S

 
What’s on Your Bookshelf?
         

Are you looking for a good book to read? 

Please send us titles and recommendations from your bookshelves.  


Edie’s recommendations:
I am a Baltimore gal so books by Laura Lippmann are favorites. She writes these amazing mysteries with Tess Monaghan as her prime character.  Tess has lots of hang-ups, bad habits and often makes poor decisions.  This just makes her more fun and real.  Choose any of her titles and be entertained as you try to figure out "who dun it".  Another favorite of mine that she wrote is not a Tess book:  "I'd Know You Anywhere".  A rape victim is contacted by the perpetrator and wants to meet with her.  WOW!  This is a loaded story with emotion, fear, courage and empathy.  Keep in mind I am NOT a mystery reader so these have to be good!!


Terry’s recommendations:
I've been enchanted by Barbara Kingsolver since Kendra recommended her as a must read author years ago. Kingsolver has also written non-fiction books including: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life, about eating local and in season and a 25 year computation of essays: High Tide in Tucson.
 
Another author that takes me away to foreign places is Ann Patchett.  State of Wonder will take you to the Amazon jungle and in Bel Canto, you will travel on the high and low notes of life and opera in South America.  Lyric Opera in Chicago will present the world premier of the Opera Bel Canto in the 2015-16 season.
A Change in the Weather
Terry Gray
 
A change in the weather up north means it’s time to switch over the clothes in your closet. As I was doing my spring closet cleaning, it occurred to me that weather is so much like life.
  • It is always changing.
  • When it is good, we want it to go on that way forever.
  • When it is bad, we want it to change.
  • What seems inclement one day, we may wish for in the next season.
  • We cannot control it.
  • We can  accept that it will be changing and prepare for the changes and events.
  • We can change our attitude or latitude.

 
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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