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The Other Side of Retirement August 19, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Life Balance, Life Lessons.
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45 comments

Pooh-With-MailbagI’m reading letters written by my dad’s dad in the 1950’s after he retired from his rural mail route in Vermont after 30 years of service.

While writing the first of the letters, he was only 7 years older than I am now.

He kept busy with a variety of seasonal interests:  gathering sap to make maple syrup in the spring; planting and harvesting potatoes, beans, corn, peas, and strawberries in the spring and summer; cutting hemlocks for sale to the mill as time permitted; hunting in the fall; and heading south to Florida during the harsh winter months (except when the Vermont legislature sat in session in Montpelier and he claimed seat #87 as Town Representative for Hartland).

His second wife also pursued seasonal interests: dressmaking classes in the spring; canning fruits, vegetables, and meat and tending her flowers during the spring and summer; babysitting for my cousins on an as-needed basis; and traveling to Montpelier and Florida during the winter months, with pit stops in New Jersey to visit my parents as they began married life together, bought their first house, and welcomed my older brother into the world.

Reading about how my grandparents “spent their retirement” caused me to reflect on my own choices and pursuits.

IMGP1800bFor the last 10 years of my working life, I worked for non-profits to “give back to the community.”

Now, my time is my own to spend as I see fit . . . and I love it!

My days are populated with a variety of interesting activities.  I am never bored and there is always more to do than time to do it.

If I get bored or run out of things to do, I’ll volunteer or get a part time job, but for now I’m happy with the status quo.

That was not always the case.

When I first stopped practicing law, I searched high and low for “meaning” and “purpose” ~ convinced that I needed to do something “significant” with my life.

Now, not so much.

Much of the desire “to leave a lasting mark” stems from Ego and its incessant demand for applause, accolades, and approval.  Ego wants recognition for its accomplishments while on life’s stage and yearns for immortality in death.

Mickey-OKUsing an internal barometer and compass to direct and govern my actions has allowed me to embrace peace and happiness in relative anonymity.

I no longer feel any urgency to be more than I am.

Realizing that I have nothing to prove provides meaning enough for me.

Aah . . . that’s better!

After enlightenment, the laundry. ~ Zen Proverb

Related post:  “Just Be” and “I Am” . . . Rocking My World (In The Stillness of Willow Hill)

The Keyboard Awaits August 15, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Humor, Word Play, Writing & Writers.
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45 comments

170px-alice_par_john_tenniel_30What will it be today?

Fiction, Non-Fiction, Novel, Short Story, Essay, Poetry, Humorous Anecdote, Serious Reflection.

The vehicles available to transport our words to the world are as varied as the topics addressed in our musings.

Like a single strand of DNA, reordering the 26 letters at our disposal expands our universe from finite to infinite.

Writing allows us to play with permutations, switch perspectives, and view life through different vantage points and keyholes.

The freedom of orchestrating our thoughts liberates us from the constraining influence of public opinion and even from our own limiting beliefs.

Alone with our thoughts, we step into solitude to carve order out of chaos.  As we edit, we add, delete, expand, contract, and reorder our thoughts until we are satisfied that we said what we meant, and we meant what we said.

220px-PinocchioIf we feel inhibited about sharing our unfiltered thoughts with an audience, we can create a fictional character to act as proxy or puppet.

And we hold the strings.

Everything we taste in life adds to our arsenal, our tool bag of tricks.

The world expands and we expand with it, noticing nuances and using experiences to entertain, persuade, educate, amuse, and spur others to action.

When we share our adventures, readers are inspired to expand their horizons.

The downside to this pleasant pastime of playing with words is that writing is a rabbit-hole.  An endless warren of thought threads distracts me from tackling more mundane tasks.  

Even those essential to survival like eating. And sleeping.

170px-Alice_par_John_Tenniel_02In the Write Zone, the world is put on hold ~ I’ll get to IT (whatever IT is) later.  Or Tomorrow.

Next Tuesday at the latest.

I wonder if I lose track of time because I’m just writing for the fun of it?

At present, I’m not driven by thoughts of fame, fortune, or eventual publication.  I don’t care about “having written” or “making a name for myself” or any other external indicator of success.

For me, it’s the journey of writing that holds appeal.  I just want to be happy as the path unfolds before me.  And writing is the best means I’ve found to that end.

Other than chocolate, of course.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related Posts:  Writing and Writers * The Four Horsemen of Writer’s Block & How to Defeat Them  (Raptitude) * 7 Writing Tips From Real Writers

A Quick Hit of Inspiration August 14, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Happiness, Life Balance, Life Lessons.
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38 comments

Sometimes we stall in our tracks and need a quick hit of inspiration to get us going again:

Celebrate your progress.  Sometimes half of success is simply noticing it.

Aah . . . that’s better!

For more by Kathy Davis:  Simple Secrets ~ 7 Principles to Inspire Success

Celebrating Time’s Passage August 11, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Fun & Games, Happiness, Humor, Special Events.
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40 comments

220px-Congrats_bqtRecently, Rainee did a post about Aging ~ The Age Old Questions ~ seeking ideas for how to celebrate an upcoming milestone.

I reflected that age is “just a number that helps us place memories on a timeline from Birth to Death.”

In my younger years, moving along that timeline seemed a matter of greater import than it does these days.  Back then, I celebrated not just my birthday, but my entire birth month!

This year, we planned a low key celebration ~ Happy Hour at the Chart House one day, pizza from Oma’s the next.

Maybe for my 60th, I’ll plan something a bit more spectacular.  More noteworthy.

Like jumping out of a plane.  Or wrestling an alligator.

IMGP1566

Snake charming is out of the question.

Aah . . . that’s better!

What’s your favorite way to celebrate time’s passage?

Teasing Taunts August 6, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Humor, Meditation, Mindfulness.
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30 comments

The-Pink-PantherAs soon as my mind hears the beginning of the Meditation CD (ocean waves or mountain streams), it settles down and takes a time out.

Well, not always.

Sometimes it continues to flit about like a speeding cheetah on steroids.

When it’s acting recalcitrant, I settle back to watch its merry dance . . . without chasing after its teasing taunts.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related post:  Distractions (In the Stillness of Willow Hill)

Give Kids The World August 1, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Gratitude, Happiness, People.
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18 comments

Give Kids The World Village is a 70-acre non-profit “storybook” resort and vacation village in Kissimmee Florida where children with life threatening illnesses and their families can enjoy a week’s vacation ~ all expenses paid:

The village is the passionate vision of Henri Landwirth, a holocaust survivor turned hotelier in Cocoa Beach, Florida.

A man never stands so tall as when he stoops to help a child.                   ~Father Flanagan

To learn more about Give Kids The World ~> visit www.gktw.com.

To learn more about Landwirth’s remarkable life ~> read Gift of Life.

Henri’s autobiography, with a Forward by Walter Cronkite and an Afterward by Astronaut and Senator John Glenn, was co-authored in 1996 by BFF’s cousin, J.P. Hendricks (“John”).

Revenues from the sale of Gift of Life go to Give Kids The World Foundation to help ensure that children and families who need help will always be served.

To find your way in this world, listen to your heart. ~ P.J.  Hendricks (1972) (“Pat”)

Aah . . . that’s better! 

Embracing Opportunities July 30, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Mindfulness, People.
Tags: , , , ,
41 comments

170px-201008241206184375_MI came across this quote the other day:

I don’t believe that we have an *obligation* to help every single person we encounter.

I do believe that there is an *opportunity* to help every single person we encounter. 

Every.  Single.  Person.

~ Paul ((( The Ripples Guy )))

Kindness echoes.  Compassion fills our bucket, drop by drop.

* Do not overlook any good actions, thinking they are of no benefit; even tiny drops of water in the end will fill a huge vessel.  ~ The Buddha

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related Posts:  Making Positive Waves ~ The Ripple Effect (T4D) * Kindness Is My Religion (Streams of Consciousness)

Why Are You So Annoyed? July 29, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Life Balance, Mindfulness, People.
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54 comments

Donald-DuckaSometimes we get annoyed at others because they are exhibiting a trait we have not fully integrated and accepted as part of ourselves.

Sometimes.  But not always.

Other times our annoyance is for other reasons entirely:

* I get annoyed (to use a gentle word) with animal abuse, child abuse, and elderly abuse because those actions are morally wrong, not because I share the abuse trait with abusers.

* I get annoyed at bullies and line cutters and liars and cheats and polluters and litterers because I am acting as “unpaid advocate” for the “little guy” whose rights they are trampling.

* I get annoyed when people are late, time and time again, not because I share that trait, but because they are being selfish.  In essence, they are saying that their time is more important than mine.

A flicker of annoyance, standing alone, does not always mean that the object of our annoyance is acting as a mirror for something we need to work on.

Snoopy2As Don noted in The Clowns Around Us, there are those who hijack what could have been genuine heartfelt productive discussions by deflecting, rather than reflecting.

Instead of staying on point, they derail the intended conversation with a joke or off-color remark.

Saying, in essence, “Look at ME!”

I see any number of people who don’t share that trait getting annoyed when someone presses the *disconnect* button on an interesting exchange.

As noted in the comment thread on Don’s post (well worth a read), many of us are starved for genuine conversation and connection in our daily lives.

We long for opportunities to discuss matters of genuine import, to engage in the civilized exchange of ideas, and to offer compassion to those in pain.

So we may feel a flicker of annoyance when someone derails the exchange.

StreetlightA flicker of annoyance (like other emotions) is a signal designed to get our attention so we can choose how to respond to the situation at hand.

Once noted, we must decide whether to take affirmative action or “let it go” and get on with the day.

The third option (stewing in our own juices while doing nothing to change the situation) is almost always a non-productive use of time.

Aah . . . that’s better! 

 

Am I Showing My Age Bias? July 27, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Health & Wellness, Humor, Mindfulness.
Tags: , , , , , ,
58 comments

The-Pink-PantherPoets and Writers sent the following Fiction Prompt a few days ago:

Some people slow down in their golden years, taking it easy and enjoying the family and friends gathered around them in the comfort of their community, while others try to continue to live like their younger selves.  

This week, write a story about an older person who still has the mindset and physical stamina of a twenty-something. How does this affect her interactions with her peers? What are her secrets? Is she one of those people who wishes to live forever, or does she simply make a habit of staying healthy?

Think about how a person’s biological age and true age are related and what happens when they are in conflict.

As I read “what are her secrets,” I sensed a dose of age bias on the prompter’s part ~ an unspoken message that continuing to “live like [our] younger selves” should be the goal of our golden years.

Why?  Wasn’t that the job of our younger selves?

catlady

What’s wrong with slowing down and taking it easy, while enjoying family, friends, the comfort of community . . . and the occasional cigar?

Do we need to head to the clubs for drinking, dancing, and revelry on Friday and Saturday nights, staying out ’til the cock crows, in order to crow about it to our peers?

Is there a continued benefit to waking with hung-over head on Saturday and Sunday mornings?  If so, I missed the memo.

I am delighted I no longer have the mindset of a twenty-something.  At that age, I was not nearly as content as I am these days.

IMGP3523b

There’s a line in Desiderata that I love:  “Take kindly the counsel of years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.”

I agree with that sentiment . . . One Hundred Percent!

The daily decisions I face are made with accumulated wisdom.  I can’t think of a single one my present self would defer to my twenty-something self . . . not on matters of fashion, food, movies, books, bars, clubs, or how to spend my leisure time.

Gymnastics

That said, having the physical stamina of a twenty-something would rock!

Aah . . . that’s better!

If you knew an “older person” with the mindset of a twenty-something, would you want to know his secret?

Or would you encourage him to get counseling?

Par For The Course July 19, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Fun & Games, Happiness, Humor, Joke.
Tags: , , ,
31 comments

Golf-BallThe owner of a golf course in Georgia was confused about paying an invoice, so he decided to ask his secretary for some mathematical help.

He called her into his office and said, “Y’all graduated from the University of Georgia and I need some help. If I wuz to give yew $20,000, minus 14%, how much would you take off?”

The secretary thought a moment, and then replied, “Everthang but my earrings.”

Aah . . . that’s better!

Source:  e-mail from unknown author (sent by Joe M.)

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