The gift of friendship - asking tough questions

The gift of friendship - asking tough questions

My friend, a fellow solo-ager (older adult without children), recently asked me some provocative questions.

They were, I think, a sign of the times that people are broadening their thinking around what’s important.

She began by sharing a recent article in the New York Times about individuals who bequeathed assets upon their death to friends rather than family. She asked me what I thought of that concept.

I explained that my best friends have ebbed and flowed through the years and have changed as my life circumstances have.  Friends from school

Monthly planners are an easy way to visualize what's ahead

Monthly planners are an easy way to visualize what's ahead

As one year comes to an end, a new one begins.

I recently received my 2023 monthly planner. Full of expectations for the coming year, I can’t wait to begin to fill it up with appointments, activities, and events.

Each year I spend some time looking for just the right planner, one with a bright upbeat cover and big boxes for each day of the month to make notations.

Somewhere in my growing up years, I was taught to be productive and prepared. My monthly calendar helps me to look forward and visualize my day, week, and month to get myself ready for what is coming my way.

On a practical side,

Showing compassion is always a winning strategy

Showing compassion is always a winning strategy

If you need to be reminded of the beauty of humanity, you only need to look at acts of compassion.

Recently I was eating lunch at a restaurant that plays sports on its TVs. I normally pay little attention to television as I like to read a book during lunch. However, on this particular day, I looked up to see a Little League game in play.

I saw a young player come off his base and walk over to the pitcher, who looked upset. I thought it was odd, so I kept watching as the station reran the events leading up to the moment.

I watched in horror as the pitcher threw a ball that accidentally hit the batter in the head. The batter fell to the ground, holding his head and writhing in pain.

Got a feeling? Trusting your gut can aid in decision-making

Got a feeling? Trusting your gut can aid in decision-making

“Go with your gut” is a piece of advice given to me many years ago, somewhere in the middle of my business career. What my boss was trying to convey to me was to trust or follow my intuition, or instinct, as opposed to only basing my opinion or decision on a thorough analysis of the facts.

The idiom most likely originated from the anxious, or “bad,” feeling you get in your stomach when you know something is wrong.

I can remember thinking through things to make a decision in my 20s and 30s only to find out it was wrong, and instead of thinking with my head I should have gone with my gut. At the time I did not have enough confidence to trust my inner feelings.

The modern world challenges old-school ways

The modern world challenges old-school ways

When it comes to everyday tasks, I’m caught between the modern world and my old-school ways.

The term “old-school” refers to a style, method or device that’s no longer used or done because it has been replaced by something that’s more modern. Think of combing through that huge paper phone book that’s been replaced by a one-second internet search.

I recently saw a Facebook post that asked which old-school items are still in your home. Listed were paper calendars, greeting cards, recipe cards and metal filing drawers, just to name a few.

It gave me pause because I thought to myself, what’s wrong with a paper calendar or filing drawers? Being a couple of organization freaks, my husband and I both have paper wall calendars so we can visualize our day, week or month, and our metal file drawers hold our financial statements, medical reports and receipts.

I can’t image having neither of these items, and I wonder how soon it will be before I can no longer order my At-A-Glance Monthly Planner or find a replacement for my two-drawer file cabinet when I need one.

Aging systems require doing your homework

Aging systems require doing your homework

Maybe it’s my aging home, my aging car or my aging office building, but as the days go by, it seems every repair or improvement that is quoted to me is really expensive.

It doesn’t matter if it is for electrical work, a piece of kitchen equipment or car repair—the quotes are significant, and the devil, as they say, is in the details.

Take my recent car service appointment. I love my car. It has upward of 108,000 miles on it and has served me well.

When I need to buy a new car, I almost certainly will buy the same make and model.

I have been faithful with my scheduled maintenance appointments, using the dealership for the work. It works for me because I have one record of all the work done and I get a free loaner to use.

On a recent scheduled maintenance appointment, 

Shared meal provides much-needed social nourishment

Shared meal provides much-needed social nourishment

Over the last few weeks, my husband and I ventured out to see some friends we had not seen in a long time. It reminded me of one of the things I missed most during the pandemic—sharing a homemade meal with good friends.

I forgot how nourishing it can be for both the tummy and the soul when everyone brings a dish to a host’s house.

At one recent get-together, our dear Indian friends brought shami kabob, an appetizer that I have so missed these past 20 months. Our friend Cathy makes the most incredible selection of Christmas cookies, a tradition she shared with her mother that she continues to this day.

Our other friends brought a salad with fresh pears from their second home in Washington state.

What made this meal special 

Older men sometimes need motivation to find social interaction

Older men sometimes need motivation to find social interaction

Recently I met a lovely 75-year-old gentleman who retired several years ago. I will call him Tim.

As Tim and I talked about his life, I came to understand he had a very small social network. Tim’s day consisted of a lot of television watching and “some puttering around” with his tools.

While Tim did not say that he was lonely, he did say that he probably needed to do something besides watch TV but he really wasn’t motivated to do so.

I began to think there must be a lot of people like Tim in our community, lacking the benefits of a strong social network while at the same time feeling unmotivated or unsure of how to cultivate one, especially after retirement.

Tastes change as we age—so how to adjust?

Tastes change as we age—so how to adjust?

I come from a family of cooks. We associate food with caring for others and pleasant feelings.

Gatherings in my childhood included my mother’s mouthwatering pies, my aunt’s homemade squash-stuffed tortellini and my uncle’s oven-roasted fresh turkey.

There were always too many appetizers, side dishes and desserts. We left the table stuffed and content.

While dining out, I used to get a chuckle out of watching my parents split a meal or snack.

Many years ago my parents were at a cafe, each enjoying a cup of coffee and sharing a blueberry muffin. An elderly gentleman came over, noted how pretty my mom was and told my father, “Sir, if she were my wife, I’d give her a whole muffin.” That story is a family heirloom.

Tell me again, at what point is life supposed to get simpler?

Tell me again, at what point is life supposed to get simpler?

I think I’ve been under some misguided notion that life will get easier as time goes by—at least when it comes to the things I’ve been doing for years.

I’ve been in the workplace for over 44 years, and a homeowner for over 35. That’s a lot of time to repeat activities, learn the ropes and to become a bit wise about some things.

But now more than ever, I feel my attention to detail needs to be spot on for me not to screw things up. Let me tell you about some of things that have become harder.

For starters, hiring an employee. The labor laws are dizzying, and each year brings brand new requirements. For a small nonprofit like ours, just finding a job application that complies with current regulations is a challenge.

Then there’s entering into a contract,