More Great Things About Being 65

Last week Cathy started talking about what is great about being 65 — think she was trying to make me feel better turning the big 65. But the more I was thinking about what I liked about 65, the happier I got.

1.) Many of the “big calls” (go/stay/choose/reject) have been made and when new choices come up as they inevitably do, I feel I can handle them with serenity and acceptance. Most importantly, I now know what is best for me. Making major life choices as a young woman was daunting. I knew that choices of faith, values, lifestyle, education, mates, commitments, career, and health would have a great impact on my life — essentially define it. But my trust in myself was weak. Often I second-guessed myself and RE second-guessed myself, unsure if I was worth trusting. It took a long time, much introspection, and ultimately recovery from insecurities to feel confident that my choices were and are the right ones for me. tumblr_m41r62T4ZM1rvcjd7o1_500 2.)  I am no longer horrified, shocked and incredulous about bad things happening. There are some surprises, but they are happy, mysterious or silly. It seems like anything “bad”, terrifying, or threatening that could have happened has and we know about it. I am not happy but resigned to evil in the world and won’t let any evil person or event prevent me, and those I love, from moving forward and inward toward peace. viet.911 3.)  Our daughter survived 9/11. My wonderful brother in law died in 2003. I have been assaulted, fired, dumped, lost family and friends, been in accidents, had some health scares, gotten lost, trusted bad people, worked for some bad bosses, chosen poor investments and some questionable friends/partners. I have been alone for long periods of time, hung in for ages to accomplish things I have really wanted and seen people I love terribly hurt (which to me has been the worst). Believing “This too shall pass” is the best advice ever.

4.)  There is a constant wonderful stream of scientific and technical discoveries, ideas, and insights into life, eternity and all its mystery that is endlessly fascinating. AND, I get to choose whether or not to “get on board” or work to adjust. In earlier decades, external changes had to be seriously considered and dealt with – new technology? Had to learn it. Changes in business approaches or new family members? Had to get on board. A wonderful new restaurant or style? Well it seemed important to at least try it. Now, what interests me I get engaged with, otherwise I can happily sit on the sidelines because with very few exceptions my engagement is unimportant if not irrelevant. shutterstock_research-e1381241294977 5.)  My friends and family — especially those my age or older have more time for me – and I, for them. I can talk to a friend midday, shop leisurely for my grandnieces or daughters, write a longer note or letter, or just think about people and life at a deeper level. Work is not the central driver of my life nor in many people’s lives I know. Everyone in my life still works at things (a criteria for being in my life – you have to DO something – even if that is being Zen). Some for needed or ‘luxury” money, some not. But the old hardcore drive and focus on work, career, making this or that financial goal is nearly gone — and with it an openness and relaxed pace more often than not makes life much more peaceful and calm.love-suite 6.)  I am not delighted about thoughts of inevitably dying mainly because I want to have drinks with my granddaughters when they are 40 something and that isn’t likely meant to be. The other biggies – perhaps having to live without Bill, or getting really old and frail and/or losing my mind have stopped being fears. Maybe meditation, prayer or reading 1,000,000 books and thinking about it has just calmed me down. While I am not ready or willing to share all my plans, let me just say I am at reasonable levels of peace and plan to continue to work on this part of my life — mainly, by living in the present moment. That just keeps coming up doesn’t it? If you have no idea what I am talking about google “being present”.

7.)  While millenials are a bigger cohort that is reshaping the world in their own image – as we did – I enjoy sharing aging with boomer stars, celebrities, my friends and other boomers I don’t know but who write, blog, or otherwise contribute — a motley and pretty funny cohort. I can see other boomers, even the stars we thought never would, are aging, or struggling with one or another similar issue, or reinventing themselves again in some way professionally or personally. There are lots of models – good and bad. We never have to feel alone on any issue — some boomer out there is already dealing with it and ready to share. Or some boomer is doing it so badly we can easily see what bad or stupid choices to avoid.

Clockwise: Debbie Allen, Richard Branson, Cybil Shepard, Ed Harris, Stevie Wonder, Dr. Phil

Clockwise: Debbie Allen, Richard Branson, Cybil Shepard, Ed Harris, Stevie Wonder, Dr. Phil

I like myself. No, more than that, I love myself. That just wasn’t the experience of most of my earlier life — I drove myself to impossible standards and I frequently suffered from feelings of inadequacy and doubt. While I look worse than ever, make less money by far and am certainly less hot and sexy, and to top it off – often “out of it” in one or another ways, I am OK with it all. Because somehow, with the help of the universal good, critical thinking, smart people and my fabulous women and men friends, I am finally convinced, I am more than enough just the way I am — yes, at 65. Patty

Turning 65: It’s Not All Bad!

This year my friend Patty and I both turn 65. To celebrate, we are meeting in Napa Valley in May to reminisce, drink wine and have a decadent and incredibly expensive dinner at The French Laundry – one of the most acclaimed restaurants in the country.

The French Laundry, Yountville, CA

The French Laundry, Yountville, CA

Reaching this milestone in our life’s journey, of course, might be considered by some to be less than desirable. And, of course we know that this isn’t the age we would necessarily choose to be celebrating (35 sounds a lot better), but it is what it is.

And, to be honest, there are actually some very positive things that come with being “in our mid-60s”. Here are 10 that come to mind:

1.) We can sleep in late and have a leisurely breakfast while reading our newspapers – such a quaint, satisfying tradition.

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2.) We can go to a movie – or shopping, or golfing, or anything – in the middle of a weekday.

3.) Our husbands/partners are less likely to stray. It’s just too much trouble.

4.) We can run errands without full makeup or good clothes since we’re pretty much invisible anyway.

5.) We can read a good book any day – and any time of the day.

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6.) We can decide not to spend time with someone we don’t like without considering the consequences to our careers or families.

7.) Our kids, in their 40’s, are where they are going to be in life no matter what we do. Doting on grandkids is about all that’s required.

8.) We don’t have as many responsibilities to others. Co-workers aren’t waiting for our input or approvals, for example, and responsibilities we continue to have are, for the most part, by choice.

9.) We don’t have to spend any more time worrying about what we are going to do with our lives. We’ve done it. Planning today is about small trips and outings with friends.

10.) We can allow ourselves the great gift of forgiveness – for all the stupid things we’ve done and for the real or perceived slights of others. It’s just not that important anymore.

So, Patty, I think you’ll agree that turning 65 does have its upsides. Let’s focus on keeping our health and our humor and enjoying the year to come!

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See you in Napa, girlfriend!

Cathy Green

Nurse Patty 1969 and 2015

When we fabulousover60 women graduated high school and college (mid-sixties to mid-seventies) the major careers for women beyond homemaker were three: secretary, nurse and teacher. It struck me as I have attempted to “nurse” my husband post his knee surgery on January 7th that so much has changed and will continue to change since I made a decision to definitively NOT be a nurse.

Wearing my white stockings, shoes and shift dress of cheap polyester with a “Peace Now” button I entered the hospital as a would-be nurse’s aide with some trepidation back in 1969. My peace button was quickly removed by my supervisor in the first hour of my shift, and my “career view” of nursing was formed in just a little more time. “The drill” was taking orders from male doctors who you stood up for when they came to the nursing station, and doing tasks of compassion that made you feel central to the patients care, but also isolated from doing much about the overall medical outcomes or the obvious inefficiencies of some hospital routines. This was when nursing joined being a homemaker and/or a grade school teacher as definitely OUT as career choices. Business looked all shiny and new then didn’t it?real1604[1]

What this recent blip in the road of our lives (Bill’s surgery and recovery) has reminded me, is that the most mundane things I undervalued as a nurse’s aide are what is most helping Bill’s comfort and recovery. True, the surgery performed required skills beyond mine, but caretaking and support for the day to day activities of life matter more than I imaged. Making a cup of tea, straightening the sheets, helping him to the bathroom, listening to his complaints about the pain, and drying unreachable places post a shower are very good uses of my time and energy. While certainly not often stimulating, these “chores” are giving me informative reinforcement for my earlier life decisions and helping me make better decisions going forward.

My decision not to do anything for a living that was connected to serving others who were young (school teaching), dirty (everyone – cleaning is not my thing and yet I love cleanliness), ill or disabled (nursing), hungry (cooking) or disorganized (secretarial/clerical work) was absolutely the right one. I live most happily in my mind — and I love to listen to and analyze the quandaries of people’s lives and/or work—and then support efforts to improve the situation. Another good result of not choosing nursing or other direct care/support work was that now, at 65 (January 20, 2015), I am not worn out from years working in these support fields and can experience these roles freshly — rather than as an extension of an earlier career.

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Clearly, whether we did or did not choose nursing, teaching, administrative work professionally — we are going through more of just those things as we age. Our lives, and the people in them dictate that. From spouses, friends and partners needing care, younger family members needing help with young children or teens, or our inevitable downsizing/re-invention efforts requiring more organizational skills and planning we need to be close to the ground executing what we may have thought of as “mundane” or “beneath us” activities rather than working in the relatively detached vacuum of executive and professional work.

This means as fabulous women we need to think a great deal more deeply and realistically about our own abilities and our limits for caring for others, being in an educational role for younger generations or organizing and supporting downsizing strategies (rather than just deciding on them) for our lives. Few of our moms worked outside the home and for many of this “greatest generation” care-giving was natural—or at least extremely familiar. As for being an organizer and downsizing wizard, many of our parents didn’t quite handle these tasks well — some of course did, but not a few of us cleaned out our parents home after one or another crisis, and in some cases made decisions for them on next steps since they obviously, in denial, did not plan to age and/or die doing anything other than what they were doing 20 years before the crisis.

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We know we want to do better dealing with aging – but I wonder if being fabulous is going to help us actually do that or just push us into a different form of denial and inevitably messy if not dangerous situations of being ill-prepared to care for and plan with those we love; and/or become too cheap or poor to pay others to do it well. We all know boomers who are convinced becoming a 24/7 exercise fanatic will eliminate aging for them — or are still holding on to a lifestyle that was getting outdated in 1990 — along with their furniture.

I do not envy those of you who chose careers of care and are now faced with caring for those in your own life. Can’t decide if you are more at peace with knowing that your life’s work inevitably becomes everyone’s job at some point or if now in hindsight wish you too had let others do it professionally. As our mothers often said “time will tell”. But along with other decisions, we have to hurry up and make some decisions on new roles and efforts. It is easy to criticize our parents’ lack of “appropriate” planning, but I wonder if fabulous or not we are sliding into similar tracks of denial and side stepping the realities of being older and having to play nurse.

Patty

A Lesson from Aunt Polly

Aunt Polly would have been 100 in February. She almost made it! Instead, according to the preacher at her funeral a couple of weeks ago, she will be celebrating her birthday with her daughter, sisters and husbands (two of them) in heaven. I hope that’s true, because she would definitely enjoy that party like she enjoyed parties throughout her life.

Happy Birthday cake

I met Aunt Polly – my husband’s aunt on his mom’s side and the mother of his three female cousins Martha, Mary Ella and Gigi – when I was introduced into the family in the early 90’s. I was embraced by all of the Parkers at that time, but none more so than Aunt Polly. With a big smile and hug, she let me know that I was welcome to join in the fun of being part of the Parker clan and that she expected visits to her home whenever we were in town. It didn’t hurt that Ray – Raymond to her – seemed to be a favorite. Her face would light up when she saw him and since I was there, I got to experience her warm embrace, her smile and those mischievous twinkling eyes.

Over the years, we visited Aunt Polly from time to time when we were in Gaffney. She always seemed thrilled that we were there and asked us repeatedly as we left to tell her when we were coming back. In recent years, with more reasons to be in South Carolina and after moving to Asheville – only 90 minutes away – we were able to see her more often. We would take her candy – which she loved – and would “sneak” a bottle of wine to her, too. Her girls weren’t thrilled with her having a drink, she told us. She was beginning to get frail as she got into her 90’s and they were afraid she might fall. But that big smile would get even bigger when we opened up a bottle, told her we wouldn’t “tell” on her, and shared a glass during our visit. She loved believing she was getting away with something!

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The stories about Aunt Polly that circulate in the family are legendary – and very funny. She loved to laugh – and was always willing to laugh at herself, too. One of my own stories about her happened several years ago when she had fallen and broken a wrist. We were at a family event and I knew from her daughters that their mom’s arm was in a sling, at the insistence of her doctor. When she walked into the party, I noticed that there was no sling and asked her about it. Looking a little sheepish, she whispered to me that it didn’t match her outfit so she decided to take it off!

I should have expected that response, since Aunt Polly was always a sharp dresser. She cared about her clothes, her hair and her shoes – even wearing high heels as long as she could get away with it!

A little over a year ago, at a Parker cousin’s reunion at our house in Asheville, Aunt Polly played boogie-woogie piano to the delight of everyone. She said that she played piano every day to keep her mind sharp. We all knew that she was in her 90’s, but had no idea exactly how old she really was.  She had decided much earlier in life to keep her age a secret and swore her daughters to secrecy, too. According to them, she even tried to keep the secret from her doctors. Only after her funeral did we actually get the full scoop on her age – even the memorial card at the church listed her birth date, but not the year! She would have been so happy!

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Cathy, Aunt Polly and Ray in 2012

But my fondest memory of Aunt Polly occurred when Ray and I were visiting her at her home and Ray was busy with something – probably opening the wine. I took the opportunity to ask her a question.

Aunt Polly, why are you always so happy?

She smiled that impish smile of hers, put her hand on my arm and gave me an answer that I’ll never forget:

Honey, she said, I’m happy because I choose to be happy!

Thanks, Aunt Polly, for a great life lesson. I’ll miss you!

Cathy Green

14 Reflections on 2014

1.) 2014 went faster than 2013 and it is clear this is an accelerating trend. Skip telling anyone under 60 this “fact” since they will not believe you and just think you are out of it and extremely annoying.

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2.) We recognized every person in the People magazine issue on deaths of famous people during 2014 and extremely few of those in the ‘most famous’ or ‘best looking’ editions. Ouch.

3.) We always heard and believed that it was much safer to fly than to drive — we flew for business and fun all the time before and after 9/11. This year’s loss of three planes – one due to a terrorist act, one extremely mysterious and one due to weather makes us wonder if we haven’t been overly confident and should be considering another means of transportation soon.

4.) The mid term elections gave new meaning to the terms ridiculous, insulting, boring, meaningless and just plain silly. Don’t know if the Republicans should be thrilled or depressed — same for the Democrats — in any case millenials do not seem impressed by any party or candidate. We may be the last generation of voters who even care a little bit about left, right and center.

5.) A lot of FabulousOver60 women are excited about Hillary running — but whether we’re excited or not, none of us understand how she cares that much or has the energy and determination to spend it running the country.

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6.) 60 is feeling younger every day as we near 65.

7.)We actually have had quite a few days in 2014 when we accomplished nothing particular. We hope to increase the number of those days without becoming certified underachievers, slackers and the curse worse than death: BORING.

8.) It is incredibly sad that we are still dealing with so much racial tension in our country. 2014 brought back the kind of strong feelings – on all sides of the issues – that we had in the 60’s. It was shocking to us. Did we think having a black president signaled an end to those problems? Not so.

9.) There were some real people whose names may not be ones everyone knows who made an incredible difference in people’s lives in 2014. Many were FabulousOver60 women: Janet Yellen, Chair of the Federal Reserve, 68; Dilma Rousseff, President of Brazil, 67; Irene Rosenfeld, CEO of Mondelez Int’l, 61; Helen Clark, Administrator for the United Nations Development Programme, 64; and Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, President and CEO Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 60. For the total list see Forbes List of the 100 most powerful women.

10.) If it were possible to love people more deeply, cherish friendships more completely, forgive and forget more quickly, work with focus and let irritations go more easily — we did all of that in 2014 — and we hope to keep doing more and more of each of these in the future because nothing is more important to us.

11.) People we loved died, people we loved had people they loved die, some were shocking and “out of the blue” while others were “expected” — we wish for everyone more acceptance and peace about aging and dying. There are no other viable options but we continue to look for them.

12.) We have not lost our interest at all in looking good and dressing well, being fit, being strong and most of all mentally healthy and vibrant. Hence we are taking a long holiday vacation and won’t be up and running full strength for at least another week or two.

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13.) Yes, we are forgetting things even though we still do Lumosity or Fit Brains and are keeping current with the world — but the truth is more things we used to think were really important enough to remember simply aren’t.

14.) We are so happy that things are better for women and for people with various “differences”. We have increased our charitable giving and involvement in 2014. We are looking forward to a rainbow world of people filled with peace and joy — and a great plastic surgeon or at least a terrific makeup artist with reasonable rates for the years ahead — not in that order.

Happy New Year! Happy 2015! Continue to be fabulous — we plan to be!

Patty and Cathy

One Last Magical Night with Santa

Growing up in the 50’s, I loved everything about Christmas: the chilly Cincinnati weather; the fragrant freshly-cut tree in our living room decorated with soft glowing multi-colored lights, glass ornaments, tinsel and icicles; the possibility of snow on Christmas Eve; the anticipation of school vacation; Christmas carols on the kitchen radio; sugar cookies shaped like snowmen; the Andy Williams Christmas Show and Santa. Especially Santa.

Such a wonderful, magical man who could fly through the sky with his reindeer, sneak into our homes when we weren’t looking and bring beautifully wrapped presents to us because we had been good — dolls and toys and bicycles and jewelry boxes and musical instruments and more. It was so exciting!

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As the 50’s were coming to an end and my 10th birthday was getting closer, I began to hear rumors that Santa wasn’t real. Some of my grade school friends bragged about knowing for sure that the North Pole, the elves, the sleigh, the reindeer and Santa himself were made-up stories. I didn’t say anything. My 11 year old sister believed. My 6 year old brother believed. I believed, too. Mostly.

But I started paying closer attention.

Christmas Eve, as long as I could remember, started with three hyper-excited kids getting dressed in our Christmas outfits, coats, gloves and boots to walk next door to the neighbor’s house. Hazel, Lillian and Florence lived there – two sisters and a friend. People called them “old maids” at the time… and they were definitely old. At least 45! Hazel was the cook and back-scratcher, Lillian was the drill sergeant with the hearty laugh and Florence was the quiet knitter who made us pink, blue and yellow “booties” each year for Christmas. Because they were alone with no kids and few relatives, Mom and Dad always accepted their invitation to Christmas Eve dinner.

Although we kids were much too excited to eat, we were keen to get to their house because that was when Santa would know that he could sneak into the house and leave our presents. Every year, after dinner, carols and the exchange of presents with the ladies, we would throw on our coats, jump into our boots and run back over to our house. Every single time, Santa had snuck in during that couple of hours and eaten our cookies, finished his milk and left lots and lots of shiny packages under the tree.

Cathy in the early 50’s at Lillian’s house with a new doll and a horn.

Cathy in the early 50’s at Lillian’s house with a new doll and a horn.

That year, 1959, I was watching closely. Just as we were about to leave to go to Lillian’s house, Dad said he’d forgotten to check the furnace and that he would be there soon. It occurred to me that dad was always the last to leave the house. Every year there seemed to be something he had forgotten to do or a call he had to make. Before, it hadn’t been a big deal. This year, I was very, very suspicious. Checking the furnace on Christmas Eve?

I spent a lot of time with Hazel as she cooked dinner that year so that I could keep a lookout through their kitchen window. It was directly across from my living room window and I knew that Santa would have to walk by to place the presents under our tree.

Dad finally arrived and it was time to take the turkey out of the oven and sit down to eat. I decided to sneak one more peek and… there he was! A big man dressed in red in my house, bending over to place our presents under the tree. I shrieked! It’s him! There’s Santa!

My brother and sister and mom and dad came running to the window. Brother Tom saw him. Sister Chris wasn’t sure. Mom said she couldn’t see anything. But, my dad saw Santa. Yep, that’s him, he said.

I was delirious with joy. Santa was real. He was in my house. I ran outside to see if I could spot the sleigh and reindeer …I must have missed them, but it didn’t matter. I had seen Santa!

When we finally opened the door to our house that night, the presents were piled everywhere. The cookies were gone. The milk glass was empty. It was an evening full of smiles, exciting new toys and presents for everyone!

By the following Christmas, mom and dad had told me that Santa wasn’t real. They said that I should keep the secret so that baby brother Tom could still believe.

But I saw him! And so did Tom. And so did you, Dad! I protested.

Dad explained that he and mom had figured it out later that night. Apparently, Hazel – a heavyset woman who wore a bright red dress that year – had been bending over the oven to remove the turkey just as I looked out the window. The right timing, the right lighting and my 10 year-old desire to believe produced the reflection that became my miracle.

Now, so many Christmases later, I remember how clearly I saw Santa that night and how magical it was. Who knows, maybe dad and mom were wrong. Santa still seems to know where I live because gifts keep showing up under my tree every year!

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Cathy Green

Speaking of Being Right

If you are new to FabulousOver60 or have been reading it for a long time, you need to know we do not believe that 60 is the new anything other than “the new 60″.

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But while this is something we have gotten “right” Cathy and I often feel we are missing the mark on various minor or even major cultural trends that we don’t “get” but obviously have made it to main stream behavior and thought to be absolutely fine. Think of these examples: changing plans with one’s parents at the last minute; NOT writing a proper thank you note; NOT working for a living and taking personal responsibility to support oneself even if that income is REALLY modest; NOT getting dressed up a bit to attend someone’s graduation, wedding or school event; NOT RSVP’ing to an invitation – or worse – accepting and not showing up — and the list goes on. Common conversation among us fabulousover60s which we just keep to ourselves since we know we are no longer the protagonist of life’s story.

Well, lo and behold (remember that one?) we have had a break — and now a GIFT to give that actually we agree with and can say (if we were obnoxious enough to do so and we are not) “told you so”.

Age 20, according to popular psychologist Meg Jay, is NOT the new 30. The 20s are actually The Defining Decade.

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Now everyone fabulousover60 knows a niece, nephew, grandchild, client offspring, colleague’s son or daughter that is not working, living at home or on their parent’s dime or otherwise not paying attention to what we used to think of as growing up. The most radical thing some of us did was not having children or becoming a lawyer or doctor when virtually no women were. Well perhaps that is a bit of revisionist self-serving history! Like previous generations we “forgot” our “transgressions” — like the reefer we smoked and inhaled along with that commune in 69 and Woodstock. But I digress.

From the Great Recession, to Gen Xers or young boomers and their children being “friends” rather than two different camps the way it was when we were 20 something, reasons abound for the less than fully employed and under committed.

To be fair, and, as a life coach, I certainly know making anyone feel really bad about not doing or achieving can risk their self-esteem — but we fabulous women would tend to agree most younger people have “too much” self-esteem by our standards.

Remember that our parents no matter their background, race or primary language never learned the words “what do YOU think you should do?” So we wanted to say that but NEVER did. Maybe Dr. Jay can say it for us — either by gifting 20-somethings, or their parents the physical book. Or, if they really never read paper books, send them an e-card with a talking animal saying something witty plus the link to Meg Jay’s TED Talk. Good advice seems to be coming back in style — and just in time for the holiday giving season. That’s at least one or two people you can gift with confidence.

Patty

‘Tis the Season! Let’s Hug!

This week, I found myself hugging my hair stylist, my nail tech and a friend of a friend who I had met for less than one hour. Last week, I hugged my personal trainer to wish him a Happy Thanksgiving. At a cocktail party about a week ago, I hugged at least 20 people. While the other person often made the first move, I did my share of moving in for the body grab myself.

I admit it — I like all of this hugging. I always loved hugging my parents, aunts and uncles when I was growing up. I love hugging the grandkids and their parents now. Of course, I love hugging Ray and my dog, Lexie, every day.

These days, there is a lot of hugging going on outside of funerals and immediate families. In fact, over the years … the last 10-15 especially, I think – we have gotten used to seeing hugging in all kinds of new situations. Here’s a case in point:

Former U.S. president George W. Bush embraces President Barack Obama during the inauguration ceremony in Washington

A little awkward, perhaps?

Yes, more hugging can lead to more awkward moments. I’ve had a few of those myself.

  • The guy who had a little too much to drink at the cocktail party and decided to give me a full body hug that lasted a little too long. I don’t think his wife was amused.
  • The friend who likes to run his hands up and down my back when he hugs me. Next time, I’m going to ask him what he’s searching for.
  • The friend who hugged me sideways and began to fall … almost taking me with her.
  • The woman I didn’t know who hugged me and gave me an air kiss and then realized she didn’t know me either.
  • And, the guy who planted a big wet kiss on my lips along with the hug. I sincerely hope that doesn’t become a trend.

Hugging old and new friends at parties is one thing. Business environments are a little more confusing. Is it now OK for men and women co-workers to hug? If so, when? What about customers? Are they in the OK “hugging zone”? Who initiates a business hug? What’s the protocol? And what about group hugs?

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We seem to need some new hugging rules! Emily Post, where are you?

Speaking of Emily, when I googled “hugging” this video below popped up. It’s about the first hug given to Roger Goodell, Commissioner of the NFL, during the football draft in 2010. Social etiquette history in the making! Emily Post’s great, great grandson, Daniel Post Senning, gives his opinion in the video. (Hint: a “bro hug” might be better than a full-on hug).

Hugging isn’t going to go away any time soon. For those of us who like to give and receive hugs, that’s a good thing. But, if you happen to be a hugger hater, or a hugger over-thinker, or an Only When Someone Dies hugger, you might want to reconsider.

Some research suggests that there are health benefits from hugs … reduction in blood pressure, strengthening of the immune system, boosting of self-esteem and relaxation of muscles, to name a few.

And, as we head into the Christmas season, remember:

“A hug is a great gift – one size fits all, and it’s easy to exchange”

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Happy Holidays! Hugs to all!

Cathy Green

 

Photo credit: here

Celebrating Gratitude

This Thanksgiving:

  • Bob and Genny (names changed) went to Las Vegas – with their 2 young adult single children – and shopped and golfed.
  • My cousin had 10 of her 14 grandchildren over her house with her own children and their spouses — and yes, cooked the dinner and had them all stay multiple days!
  • My fabulous girlfriend Karen and husband Brad had her granddaughter, her granddaughter’s husband and their two little boys under 3 for nearly a week. It was madness at some level with two tiny little ones, but special and necessary.
  • My sister came and stayed for a week — the longest we have seen each other in one visit in more than 30 years.

It was very much Thanksgiving as it was a unique holiday surrounded by some (and in some cases NONE) of the traditions like football, cranberry sauce and turkey dinner.

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A less traditional Thanksgiving

I felt especially grateful not to be young this holiday because it gave not just me, but many of my friends and family, the freedom to custom design their Thanksgiving holiday.

Genny still works full-time and in her time off wanted to be just with immediate family not an extended house-full. As an apartment dweller driving hours to an event totally food-centered with a multi-hour drive home just didn’t make the cut.

My cousin is a family-centered woman — always a working professional she loves the hustle and bustle of all her children and grandchildren with her at Thanksgiving. She has kept moving to smaller homes – but there is always room at her house when it is Thanksgiving.

My friend’s granddaughter has a troubled relationship with her own mom and my friend often is her “real mom”. While tiring, my friend just knows how important it is to support her granddaughter and great granddaughters at holiday time.

My sister and I spent relaxed time together – we had our nails and hair done together – cooked and watched The Roosevelts on TV — it was just what we needed with both our 2015 packed with some major changes.

I didn’t miss doing what I had done in the past: picking up my suitcase that I had brought to the office so I could work till the last minute before jumping a plane to either my sister’s or my parent’s house for Thanksgiving. While I certainly enjoyed seeing my family, I was often worrying about pressing business and personal issues that I allowed to continually bother me no matter the occasion. I celebrated holidays when young — but I never enjoyed them in quite the same way I do now where each holiday is slightly or in a major way different and related to what is happening in my life right now.

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Something I didn’t miss

This is absolutely one of the best parts of being over 60. Maybe younger people do not feel all the obligations we did — but life WAS different for us. Our families had dozens more rules and expectations of our role at holiday time. One didn’t suggest bagging the turkey for a roast, much less decide to skip one’s aunts and uncles houses. While I have truly wonderful memories of the Thanksgiving while growing up and being a young adult in the 50s, 60s, and 70s — I truly love the freedom of modern life and being less pressured. There really is no perfect photo anymore that says ‘here is what a happy Thanksgiving looks like’ — it really is whatever you can dream of, afford, need to do just this year and have energy to do — and even in tough times that’s a lot of leeway.

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Let me suggest you take the opportunity to make every holiday unique – filling it with what you know is the absolutely perfect thing to do – but only for the current holiday in front of you. Being fabulous means being flexible and open to celebrating in ways that open our hearts and let us sleep longer and more soundly – who isn’t grateful for that?

Patty

Special Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!! What could be more important than reflecting on our blessings and sharing with our families and communities?

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Like every fabulous woman the list of my blessings is long and of course includes my husband Bill, and every one of my family members and all my dear friends. Throw in health (the greatest blessing in many ways – my mother said that 100,000 times and it turns out she was right again) and every person who supports my life in any way from my wonderful hairdresser to amazing house keeper … you get the idea …

But this year I decided to scour my calendar, reflect and then select 5 (of the dozens) of really different things, events, or people that touched my life this year and for which I am particularly grateful. Let me suggest you do the same — you won’t stop smiling!

1. Read Finding Your Way in a Wild New World, took an online course with the author’s company (inexpensive and great) and kept re-reading it. When some bummers happened – including a serious energy dip in the late summer/early fall, and walking through the journey of a close friend losing her husband – the wisdom of the book kept reappearing and supporting me.

2. Kept up a co-coaching session every 6 or so weeks with a friend/fellow coach. Rebecca and I each got 30 minutes at each phone session to get input from each other on our professional work (we choose this as our topic of choice). Simple to implement — worth a try with a friend, colleague or person you just admire and respect. Keeps you on your toes – the call is always coming up sooner than you think it will.

3. Stopped half-heartedly doing anything related to work. Starting attracting great new clients once I became “fully in” to my decision to do life coaching. Made a fun video about life coaching.

4. Realized a few family events were really worth it (will skip those that were not) — including my granddaughter’s first communion, a first visit to our home from a semi-new relative (discovered in the last number of years and a great addition to the family), spending time with my grandnieces which I rarely do – and finally a trip to my sister’s to help her with some surgery that turned out to be full of fun and giggles.

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5. Stayed committed to writing and experiencing my 60s — especially to this ‘Fabulous’ blog and new Facebook page which makes my eyes, ears, and heart more open to seeing what’s new, what’s different, what brings joy and what annoys in my 60s. It’s a new lens on life that makes all of life more fun. Cathy and I are already planning our co-celebration of our 65th birthdays in 2015 — we are going first class on this one! For sure the celebration will be on next year’s special thanksgiving list.

It was hard keeping my list to 5 — hope you have the same challenge and as many blessings.

Patty

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