Category Archives: senior citizens

Make a list, check it twice….maybe three times

Last minute toiletries bought: CHECK!

Keys to the pet sitter: CHECK!

Suitcases semi-packed: CHECK!

Passport located: CHECK!

Mail delivery stopped: CHECK!

Cash obtained from the credit union: CHECK!

 

I think I’m ready!

Maybe…..

It seems the older I get the more tentative I am. I guess that’s normal; us AGED to PERFECTION folks know what can go wrong, even when you think you have planned well.

So, we tend to over-prepare and fret and focus on disaster. And then as soon as we leave the house, we’re thinking of all the things we forgot to pack. Or did we?

We leave the house at 3:30 AM tomorrow morning for a flight that leaves at 6:15 AM. It’s kind of like planning for a field trip with a bunch of 8th graders when I was teaching: once I get on the plane, I can relax!

I’ll check in on the flip side, from the rain forests of Nosara!

 

 

 

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A closer look at Nosara…..

I’m one of those people who has to see where I’m going before I get there. Maps of the area, photos, local blogs and news outlets. Compulsive, maybe? Whatever it is, I like to know what’s in store for me and words alone just don’t do it.

My daughters moved to Nosara, Costa Rica in mid-August, and now it’s time to visit. The fact that Sara contracted Dengue Fever a few weeks ago has nothing to do with me flying from NE Florida to Central America. Or that, even though I sometimes didn’t see her here in Jacksonville for weeks at a time, I kind of miss this adult child of mine. In any case, my plane leaves in about 40 hours or so, and I need to know what Nosara looks and feels like.

One place I’ve heard a lot about is The Salty Pelican, a meld of bar, restaurant, and hostel. Owned by a couple from Georgia in the U.S. (kind of in my back yard), the owners bought the property early this year, renovated, and reopened in July. My daughter told me that their Brunswick Stew is the best she’s ever eaten, even if it is served up in a tropical paradise. Read this recent article from the local Nosara newspaper to find out more about Kyle and Terri Christopher and The Salty Pelican!

salty pelican

 

One of the things Costa Rica is known for is their highly protected environment. There are no huge hotels built right on the beach. You have to take a short walk to get to the beach, but from what I hear, the walk is worth it. You might even see the arrival of the turtles, which must be happening right about now. Look in the background of this fantastic photo; no hotels, just lush tropical foliage.

See more fantastic photographs from the area on the website of the SalveMonos Association, an organization dedicated to protecting the monkeys and other wildlife and fauna in the area.

 

turtles in costa rica

Stay tuned for more before I leave this Sunday morning and as I stay in Nosara for the next week!

 

 

A……Haiket?

 A Haiku*—or two:

Being older means

looking back and wondering

which wrong turn mattered.

 
 

Would it have mattered

if I had not turned away

from this road—or that?

 
 

Or if I had let

my head-strong will and my heart

have equal footing?

 
 

Would it have mattered

if I had taken control

and embraced MY dream?

 
 

Being mature means

seeing with clearer vision,

what truly matters.

 
 

It can also mean

embracing a new vision—

Embracing one’s heart.

 
 

Today, I look back

and see that multiple paths

rose up before me.

 
 

Some say “no regrets.”

I say we don’t learn the truth

by ignoring it.

 
 

Being mature means

Finding peace from knowing

My life is…as is.

_________________________________________________________________________________

*Haiku is a very structured form of poetry that originated in Japan. I choose to write in the traditional style of Haiku for the discipline demanded from its structure:

First line = 5 (and ONLY 5) syllables

Second line = 7 (and ONLY 7) syllables

Third = 5 (and ONLY 5) syllables

Traditionally, also, Haiku is meant to be a snapshot of something in nature. A butterfly resting on a rose. The sunrise. A flower dancing in the evening breeze, awash in its mysterious scent. Any Haiku I have written to date follows this dictate for the most part.

For a writer who normally runs on and on (meaning me), this is first an exercise in being succinct and precise. I love it! In most cases, though, Haiku is simply ONE set of three lines: 5-7-5. Being me, though, I have chosen to string together a series of “Haikus” into one cohesive “Haiket.” There….I invented a new form of poetry!

I have also been indulgent here, and used this beautiful art form to reflect my soul as I move into–and through, because we are never done– the status of Active Master. We do not stop desiring or hoping or striving as we age. People who say we do are, well, boring and have probably always been that way.

We are simply more wrinkled as we do it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Retirement 101: Who ARE you?

retirement flip flops

What is your immediate response when someone asks, “Tell me about you”?

Go ahead. Answer that question. Quick! I’ll wait.

I bet the first piece of information you share–and probably the first one you even though of–was your job. You are a teacher, or an attorney, or a DJ, or a retail clerk.

But what happens when that magical, golden moment called “retirement” arrives at the end of your driveway….the one you no longer have to leave at the crack of dawn? Even partially, when you have the ability to leave your primary profession and cut back a bit? Maybe work just enough to keep fun money in your pocket for travel, bird watching, or dance lessons?

Who are you then?

I am about to find out. Join me as I enter this new world, the one where I will find out if I have an identity apart from my work.

See you tomorrow! After all, I don’t have anywhere to go.

Retirement is wonderful. It’s doing nothing without worrying

about getting caught at it. ~Gene Perret

 

 

Parts A, B, C, and D: It can’t be!

 There isn’t any funny way to say this. And I’m not really laughing too much myself right now.
I applied for Medicare the other day.
Oh, my……
How did this happen? I’m about 25 in my head, complete with fantasies of all kinds as well as a full work load and an active life.
I can remember (yes, I DO remember most things) when any discussion about people over about 45 resulted in an inner shudder, thinking about all those OLD folks, decripit and wizened gnomes who could hardly get from armchair to the potty much less from the gym to a country bar. (Fill in the blanks as to why I chose that comparison, which only extends my point.) To be 65 must be practically dead, for pete’s sake!
And now, here I am, a few months shy of that dreaded year myself.
Oh, my……
The application process wasn’t bad, once I opened all the envelopes that had been arriving in my mailbox for months now. First, I had to read long enough to get into the zone of bureaucratic lingo, you know the one where they use 25 words to say something that really only requires about 10, and includes enough acronyms to sink an alphabet? But once I was there, and knew the difference between Parts A, B, C, and D, I went onto the official website and registered in about 15 minutes. I do think they need some nursery rhyme-type jingle to aid in retaining it all, though. It works for little kids, and I’ve heard tell that senior citizens often revert to the behavior of children, so maybe it would help? Just a suggestion……
There isn’t any way possible I can be eligible for Medicare, though. There just isn’t. This is going to take some getting used to.
I’ll let you know how it goes.
  We’ve put more effort into helping folks reach old age than into helping them enjoy it. ~ Frank A. Clark

No one warns you…..

OK, what’s with the chicken skin? I’m serious.

Nobody warned me about this, just like they never warned me about the Independent Fives when my daughter was growing up. She was the sweetest two year old and never terrorized anyone at three, either. But a little prima donna emerged when she was five who simply didn’t need ME anymore, thank you very much, a blonde dynamo I didn’t recognize. Anyway, someone stores all this information in a virtual vault somewhere, and then snickers gleefully when we topple over into a chasm of some personal ignorance we didn’t even know existed.

One night I was reading in bed, holding the book up so my arms were subject to gravity a bit. And there it was: Chicken skin hanging from my forearms, striated and loose and pale, and just plain disgusting. I might as well have been holding a dead fowl over my head; you know how it looks when you take the wrap off before you put it in the oven for your Sunday dinner?

Nobody tells you these things.

I put my book down and the skin returned to its un-disgusting shape, smooth and….well, normal. If I raised my arms up again, there it was: Loose, flappy skin marked with long lines like someone had driven furrows into my arms with a knife or something. And the thing that is so maddening about this is that the rest of my arms are in better shape now than when I was twenty. OK, maybe thirty. I’m buff from hours of working with free weights in the gym, and the underarm flab is gone, so this stuff hanging from my arms isn’t due to being out of shape. That’s the scary part of the whole discovery. Does that mean that I’m stuck with arm poultry for the rest of my life?

If I allow myself to think about it long enough, I have to admit that I probably am. Stuck with it, I mean. I’m not a Hollywood star with unlimited funds to do whatever it would take to get rid of this drooping flesh. There must be a way…..although, we don’t really see those stars when THEY’RE laying in bed at night, so I’m not sure. Maybe I can hire some paparazzi to look into for us.

Just consider yourself warned. And lay on your stomach when you read at night.

“If we spent as much time feeling positive about getting older, as we do
trying to stay young, how much different our lives would be.”  
Rob Brown