Category Archives: seniors

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!

 

 

Where Exactly is Costa Rica??

playa pelada

Playa Pelada, Costa Rica

PURA VIDA: Simply translated, it means “simple life” or “pure life” but in Costa Rica, it is more than just a saying—it is a way of life.

 

It’s been awhile, you’re right about that! But the years keep marching by, with or without a blog. Funny how that happens.

And that’s OK. Steeping oneself in the years as they flow by teaches us that sometimes we don’t have much to add to the conversation. But it does takes self-control to stop talking and just listen.

Since my last post, my daughter has married and moved to Nosara, Costa Rica. Yes, you read that correctly; COSTA RICA!

The young woman who grew up in one house, went to school with some of the same people her whole life, and then settled right here in her home town…….she packed her bags and got on that plane to live a saner, slower life.

I envy that. It wasn’t easy, don’t get me wrong. Look around YOUR house; could you get rid of nearly all of it, including your car, and move to another country with only a couple of suitcases? I helped them with garage sales, called in a professional for the rest, and waved good-bye as they disappeared into security at the airport. A bittersweet day. Actually, more bitter than sweet, if I’m being honest.

So, now what? She and I are tight. We had to be, as it was just the two of us here in our little house for all those years. Single mom, doted-on only child making our way through the years. So, what do you THINK I’m going to do about that?

You guessed it: I’m headed to Costa Rica! My first trip will be coming up within about two weeks, so I’m working on travel arrangements–Nosara is NOT on the beaten path, believe me–lodging, pet sitting while we’re gone, all those tiny details that can derail a trip if they are neglected. Age DOES have its advantages that way.

One major change for me is that I now have a wonderful man in my life, one who has my back, something I’ve needed for a very long time. We’re excited to take this adventure together.

Oh, wait. I forgot to tell you: You’re all going with us, so stay tuned! I will be posting from now as we prepare until we return, complete with pictures and video. You may want to visit this tropical paradise, too, and we can pave the way for you.

Get your virtual passports ready…….

Pura Vida!

map
Nosara, Costa Rica

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

18 days……

I think our capacity for life increases right along with our waist line as we age. That’s got to be it, right?

If you had told me six months ago that I would be getting up at 4:50 every morning to get to a full-time job 25 miles away from my nice warm bed, I would have had some choice words for you. It had been over 10 years since I had been in a regimented schedule, one that took me away from my morning sanctuary on my outside patio, complete with pot-bellied stove, visiting birds, coffee, and my newspaper.

But life plays tricks on us. That doesn’t seem to stop, either, as we age. I wish I could tell my young friends otherwise; but let’s look at the rainbow side of this equation.

I am finding new reserves of adaptability and calmness in the midst of this new challenge, and I can’t help but think that my acquired wisdom—the knowledge gathered and stored like a squirrel’s stash of nuts for the winter—is supporting me now.

I have always had issues with depression in the morning. Every day. EVERY. DAY. It is a miracle that I ever kept a job of any kind, if it required rising before dawn, moving with purpose, and getting somewhere on time. I think that’s the definition of most jobs, right? Throw in doing all of that as a single parent from the time my daughter was about 4, and then showing up to face a roomful of teenagers who didn’t want to be there, either, and it’s a miracle to me now that I didn’t allow the depression to win.

But, we do what we have to. That was the mantra in our house, one that my now-adult daughter lives by, too. You just do it. You get up and you move. The depression always lifted after an hour or so, something I came to understand and accept. No thinking allowed, simply face it head on, step into it and then come out the other side. Where the sun is shining again and life doesn’t look so dreary and hopeless. (And stay away from the telephone to call in sick; I would never have gone to work at all if I had succumbed to that quotidian instinct!)

A few months ago I found myself in need of temporary work to escort me through the transition to semi-retirement, something I never believed I would be able to do. But, life also surprises us in other ways, too, especially if we trust ourselves and the organization of the universe. When I was offered a financially sound opportunity to move me through that transition, I embraced it, even though it requires that I witness the sunrise each morning from my car. On the Interstate, in bumper-to-bumper traffic. With no time to read the paper before I go.

It is a struggle. But I am pulling from all those years of “just doing it.” In this case, I know there is a specific end in sight—18 days, give or take—which will make the not doing it any more that much more delectable.

We tend to cherish even more that which is taken from us….and then returned.

“Happiness is not the absence of problems,

it’s the ability to deal with them.”

― Steve Maraboli

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