Baby Boomer Orphan Goes Gray Gracefully

We baby boomers were ready to change the world in our youth and now we’re busy reinventing retirement. But we’re forced to do something entirely ordinary and conventional.

No getting around it. We are getting older. That means we all have to face some inevitable changes.

My guest blogger, Cat Michaels, faced these changes head-on as she became a baby boomer orphan after losing her father this year, “right-sized” to a one-story home and decluttered, altered her writing goals after penning her first non-fiction piece, and ditched the dye to gray gracefully.

Here is her engaging story:


My first year as a baby boomer orphan has been one of emotional ups downs. I took time to grieve and learned to deal with sadness. Then two huge personal challenges clicked into place to alter my personal space.

Adios, Old Friend

My first change reflected new realities of ascending into my family’s senior-member orbit after my parent’s passing: My husband, JM, and I are right-sizing. After watching my parent’s failing health and slowing mobility, we decided to find a home where we could age in place and not wait until poor health forced us to transition.

Yep. We’re leaving our cherished home along the greenway and neighbors of 20 years to build a residence three miles away. Still near the ‘hood and close to all we love, it’s not a retirement community (see next section). Instead, it’s a wonderful mix of generations and families in all life stages. JM and I hope our new neighbors will be as wonderful as the ones we were blessed with for two decades.

Right-sizing was a head decision. not a heart decision. Our new home will be mostly on one level, so if we’re unable to climb stairs in the future, no problem. Its square footage is nearly what we have now, redistributed minus a formal living room and one bedroom. I still have my office, and JM can’t wait to build his O-scale model train layout in his ginormous new game room.

We never had hordes of possessions, but I still dreaded skinnying down our household. Armed with boxes, packing tape and bubble wrap, I started sorting.  Keep. Toss. Donate. I trekked to Goodwill with carloads of donations and filled a rented storage room with books, linens, and other “non-essentials” to make our home look more spacious when staged for sale this spring.

I was surprised at how unburdened and downright buoyant I felt passing along my belongings for others to enjoy. Like that young worker helping us spruce up the front entry, who received a small rug and an end table. His huge smile told me the vintage pieces I purchased at an estate sale years ago found a happy home.

Dad’s old morning mugs

I even unearthed forgotten treasures in a box in the attic, unopened from our last move 20 years ago: Dad’s 1970s-era McDonald’s morning mugs he left after visiting us from Connecticut. These reminders of his sunny disposition and coffee addiction will be featured in our new home.

Hardest has been parting with the 100-year-old pump organ that was connected to JM’s family since it was made by Weaver Organ and Piano in York, PA in 1906. I will miss its beautiful walnut case and Victorian charm, but there’s no room for it in the new house.  I hope we can find someone who will cherish it just as much as we have.

It’s also tough leaving lush woodlands in our established neighborhood.  But we’ll have a wee hill and teeny green copse of trees, leftovers from construction bulldozers razing the old pine forests that once stood where our new community is being built. It will be a tough transition from miles of greenway right outside door to a single, short walking path to our new place.

BUT … we say adios to constant leaf raking, yard work, and copperheads in the adjacent woods (Hooray!). And yes, I’ll take a carload of favorite plants for new garden beds, but most specimens stay for the next family.  Plus, I get to create a whole new outdoor garden space in addition to interior design.  Sad/happy times.

Finding My Roots

Finding a new home hasn’t been the only thing on my radar. I’m piling on another major life transition most women of a certain age face.  Yep. Letting my natural hair color take root, so to speak [winking here].

I resisted going natural for the longest time. I adore my sassy reddish-brown tresses and am over the moon when people under-estimate my age. But it’s time to embrace my baby-boomer status. Spouse JM supports my decision. We’re looking forward to seeing what color (colors?) emerge. Already, a few grays at the temple and salt-and-pepper shades at the neckline give us clues.

New Catly gray peeks at temple and crown.

My biggest fear: this new look could stereotype me as a slow, forgetful senior-citizen luddite. Sigh. I’m not a member of AARP and don’t expect to play bingo at the community center any time soon.

I was offended when a Millennial recently once assumed I didn’t know several cool apps or have a presence on social media. And this was with my sassy brunette look!  Grrr.

I format my own digital and print books, maintain a website and two blogs, plus manage three email accounts and just as many cloud storage platforms, and moderate multiple Facebook groups.

Like any journey, it’s what you make of it along the way. I feel sad as I let go of the past, but I’m ready for my dance with tomorrow.

Author and blogger CAT MICHAELS, M.S., Ed., has more than two decades of experience helping students from kindergarten to college with learning disabilities and Asperger’s syndrome reach their potential. Her chapter books and Sweet T Tales series for beginning readers tell of everyday life with a twist of magic and mischief.  Cat lives in North Carolina with her family, where she enjoys digital photography, graphic design, writing, and designing pocket gardens. Click on the following links to learn more:    Website/Blog FacebookTwitter   |  Instagram

Your Turn  

Have you found it hard or easy to make a major life change? What helps you find energy/courage to move in new directions? Please share in the comment section.

 

A Baby Boomer’s Disappointment: “Just Getting Started” Movie Review

Morgan Freeman, Tommy Lee Jones, Jane Seymour, Johnny Mathis, and Rene Russo – all starring together in the movie “Just Getting Started” set in my hometown – Palm Springs. A baby boomer’s delight, right?

Of course, I was excited to see this movie. The premise had some possibilities. Freeman plays Duke Diver, the manager of a luxury Palm Springs retirement community packed with retirees, who has some mysterious secrets from his past.

Some sight gags in the beginning of the movie, like Christmas carolers dressed in Dickensian clothes wearing flip-flops, made me smile a bit. But then “Just Getting Started” went terribly wrong. This movie was not just boring and unfunny, it slammed us boomers.  Pun intended, I’m just getting started!

Is anyone else tired of the elderly portrayed as horny, desperate, and lonely? The women in this movie are dismally portrayed as dejected, just waiting around for the attention of their male counterparts. Don’t they have anything else better to do?

There was a creepy scene in the beginning of the movie with Glenne Headly (who I remember from Lonesome Dove and sadly discovered died this year at the young age of 62) standing on a ladder with Freeman ogling her and making inappropriate comments.

This is especially sad since it was announced today that Oscar-winning Freeman, who starred in some of my favorite movies like “Shawshank Redemption,” has been accused of inappropriate behavior and sexual harassment by eight women. Freeman apologized to anyone “who felt uncomfortable or disrespected.”

Another disappointment: Although the opening scenes were shot in my California desert, the rest of “Just Getting Started” was clearly not filmed here. I found out later that most of the movie was shot in New Mexico. They even ripped off the name of the famous atmospheric Melvyn’s restaurant here, once a magnet for Hollywood’s elite like the Rat Pack, Bob Hope, Lucille Ball, Marlon Brando, Rita Hayworth, and Jerry Lewis, and slapped it on a building that obviously was not the original restaurant.

Aside from my local umbrage, this movies was just sad. I couldn’t keep watching it. But I hear it only got worse. As a review on Roger Ebert’s website said, the movie “awkwardly evolves from being a horny oldsters on the loose caper to a macho one-upmanship contest and, finally, a crime film about foiling a mob hit beset with dreary car chases, a literal snooze-fest stakeout, a rather tame cobra stuck in a golf bag and perhaps one of the least-exciting bomb explosions ever captured on film.”

In a year that produced Oscar-winning performances of boomers that didn’t fit into the typical stereotypes, “Just Getting Started” is especially disappointing. Last year, Jeff Bridges, 67, starred as a Texas Ranger tracking down a pair of bank-robbing brothers. Viggo Mortensen, 58, played a father devoted to raising his six kids with a rigorous education that challenged his philosophy about life. And Isabelle Huppert, 63, played a woman who turned the tables on her attacker. That seemed like a nice change since we baby boomers are not grumpy, over-sexed, old codgers cussing up a storm like we are often portrayed in Hollywood. We are active, productive, and vibrant members of society.

As I pointed out in a previous blog, “These days, if Hollywood ridiculed an ethnic group, the LGBT community, or the disabled in movies, people would be in an uproar. So why do people quietly tolerate the way movies make fun of older people?”

“Just Getting Started” is streaming now online, but my advice? Skip this one.

 

Spring Allergy Tips for Baby Boomers

It’s been a long, brutal winter and spring has finally arrived. You baby boomers are more than ready to enjoy the glorious weather and ACHOO! Unfortunately, spring allergies are here as well. Suddenly, your nose is constantly running or stuffed up, your eyes are itchy and watery, and the sneezing fits won’t stop.

allergiesAs a matter of fact, it is estimated that more than 50 million people in the U.S. suffer from allergies each year and we baby boomers are certainly not immune. However, spring allergies and commonly used drugs such as decongestants and antihistamines affect us differently as we age.

Here is what you need to know:

Baby Boomer Allergy Complications 

The bad news first. Maybe you’re mystified because you’re suddenly suffering from allergies when you’ve never had hay fever before in your life. Guess what? Allergies sometimes make their first appearance in our golden years.

Wait, there’s more. The supporting cartilage around the nose often weakens as we age, leading to narrowing airways and a a stuffed nose. This annoying problem has a name, “geriatric rhinitis.” In addition, less blood flow can lead to more nasal dryness. These issues that arise as we get older can make allergies feel even worse.

But there’s plenty of drugs to help us out, right?

Hold on a second. Before you start popping over-the-counter decongestants and antihistamines, know that these drugs can be hazardous for those with cardiovascular problems or lung disease. In addition, these commonly used medications can have dangerous side effects like raising blood pressure, drowsiness, confusion, dizziness, and urinary tract symptoms. Allergy medications can also interact with drugs commonly prescribed to baby boomers, causing mood swings, changes in behavior, and insomnia. On top of that, decongestants and antihistamines can dry the nasal passages making symptoms worse.

Okay, that’s the bad news, but not all is hopeless. What can we baby boomers suffering from hay fever do?

Try Natural Solutions

Head off spring allergies by starting to treat them before you feel anything, advises Nathanael Horne, MD, of New York Medical College. One step is to spritz a saline rinse into your nose daily to wash away pollen, an article in Reader’s Digest suggests. This method won’t necessarily take the place of medication, but it could reduce your need for drugs. In one study, participants who rinsed their sinuses twice a day for three to six weeks reported less nasal congestion than those who didn’t.

Neti pots, small plastic pots that look like a miniature tea pot or perhaps an enchanted genie lamp, have been used since ancient times in India. I’ll admit, leaning forward and putting the pot in one nostril so a salt and water solution runs through your nasal passages and comes out your other nostril, feels a bit weird – and gross – at first. However, studies show that it thins mucus and helps flush out the nasal passages of pollen. In general, it is recommended you use the nasal irrigation system daily at first, and once symptoms have subsided, three times a week.

Acupuncture may also help relieve hay fever, according to new research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. In the study, allergy sufferers who were randomly assigned to a dozen acupuncture sessions had more symptom relief and used less antihistamine medication.

Avoid Allergens

Okay, this may be a “no duh” but if you’re allergic to flowers or freshly mowed grass, avoid these allergens. Keep an eye on the pollen count in your area and avoid going outdoors when the numbers are high. Also, on these days, keep windows closed and use air conditioning when possible. If you are having issues with your A/C unit here are some great tips on choosing a good air conditioning repair company.

Remember, pollen sticks to you. So, if you can’t resist going outdoors, when you return home, remove your shoes and clothes, take a shower and wash your hair, and put on some fresh clothes. Do not dry your clothes outside on a clothesline this time of year; use a dryer.

Consider using a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter in your air conditioner or heating system which can help ease allergy symptoms. And also having frequent air con repair and servicing to make sure your A/C is working right. Freestanding air purifiers with HEPA filters are also available. If you don’t have a HEPA filter in your shark HV390 duoclean cleaner, you may be making your symptoms worse by stirring up pollen that has settled on your floor and furniture, says Selina Gierer, an allergy expert at the University of Kansas Medical Center.

If Allergies are Severe Talk to Your Doctor as Soon as Possible

If none of these suggestions help, you may need to nip those allergies in the bud with drugs. If you have other serious health issues, your doctor may not be focused on allergies. But if you’re having problems, it’s better to start treating symptoms before they get out of hand.

Because traditional decongestants and antihistamines have so many side effects, talk with your doctor about alternative treatments like a nasal steroid.

You may also want to consider allergy shots. In a study of people between the ages of 65 and 75 with hay fever published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, allergy shots reduced symptoms by 55 percent after three years of therapy and decreased the amount of medication needed by 64 percent.

“Hay fever is often ignored in older patients as a less significant health problem because of diseases such as asthma, coronary heart disease, depression, and high blood pressure,” Dr. Ira Finegold, past president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, says in a news release. “Also, some baby boomers might not realize they have allergies, and their physicians might not suggest allergy shots. The research indicated that allergy shots were extremely effective for this group.”

So, there you go my fellow baby boomers. Try these tips so you can curb your spring allergies and enjoy the spring season!

Baby Boomers: Turn Back the Clock on Your Heart 20 Years with Exercise

I’m loving this latest report. According to a small study, even if you’ve been pretty much a couch potato for most your life, it’s not too late. You can still get in shape now in late middle-age and help your heart function as if it were 20 years younger.

exercise late middle ageThe study published in the American Heart Association’s journal, Circulation, looked at healthy but sedentary people between the ages of 45 and 64.

Individuals were put into two different groups. The first group participated in a program of non-aerobic exercise such as yoga, balance training, and weight training three times a week. The second group, did moderate- to high-intensity aerobic exercise for four or more days a week.

After two years, the group engaging in the higher-intensity exercise saw a dramatic improvement in the function of their hearts.

“We took these 50-year-old hearts and turned the clock back to 30- or 35-year-old hearts,” said Dr. Ben Levine, a sports cardiologist at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and director of the Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital. “Their hearts processed oxygen more efficiently and were notably less stiff.”

Sorry, but walking the dog around the block a couple days a week doesn’t seem to do the trick. Of course, any kind of exercise is better than nothing at all, but if you want to turn the clock back on your heart, a bit more is needed.  A key part of the effective exercise regimen was interval training — short bursts of high-intensity exercise followed by a few minutes of recovery.

The researchers eased the exercise group into its routine with three, 30-minute, moderate exercise sessions a week for the first three months and built up to a regular set of workouts that peaked at 10 months and included:

  • Two days of high-intensity intervals: four minutes at 95 percent of a person’s maximum ability (for example, running at a brisk pace or pedaling fast against resistance), followed by three minutes of active recovery (jogging slower, walking briskly, or pedaling slower), repeated four times.
  • One day of an hour-long moderate-intensity exercise that raised the heart rate and the participant enjoyed like dancing, tennis, swimming, cycling, or a brisk walk.
  • One or two days of 30-minute sessions of moderate-intensity exercise, meaning the participant would break a sweat, be a little short of breath, but still be able to carry on a conversation.
  • One or two weekly strength training sessions using weights or exercise machines either on a separate day or after an exercise session.

The participants were encouraged to use diversification with lots of different exercise equipment (stationary bikes, treadmills, elliptical trainers) and engage in outdoor exercises (jogging and cycling) to keep themselves motivated and interested, Levine said.

The intense workout was important, Levine emphasized, even if it was just once a week. Pushing as hard as you can for four minutes stresses the heart, he explained, and forces it to function more efficiently. Repeating the intervals helps strengthen both the heart and the circulatory system.

Another benefit? “It breaks up the monotony of just the walking,” he said. “Most people really enjoy the high intensity work. You would think that they wouldn’t but they like the fact that it’s short and they like the fact that they feel stronger afterwards.”

The participants tracked their heart rate, which is ideal. But as an alternative, use the simple talk test. During the high-intensity intervals, you should be working hard enough and breathing heavy enough that you can’t talk comfortably in long sentences.

Don’t wait too long, Levine warned. “The sweet spot in life to get off the couch and start exercising is in late middle-age when the heart still has plasticity,” Levine said. You may not be able to reverse the aging of your heart if you wait until after 70 to begin.

But you’ll still see benefits from exercising. A research team at Tufts University found that frail people as old as 89 could tolerate an exercise regime that included walking, leg lifts, and stretching. The participants may not have turned back the clock on their hearts, but they improved in ways that could make a big difference. Exercising helped them maintain their mobility and decreased their chances of becoming physically disabled.

“You are never too old, or never too weak, or never too impaired [to benefit from a physical activity program],” said Roger Fielding of Tufts, who led the study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Of course, before starting any strenuous exercise program, be sure and check with your doctor. Then get off that couch and start moving!

Fun Spring Activities for Baby Boomers

Who doesn’t love spring when longer days brighten the sky, birds sing joyfully, and trees begin sprouting bright new leaves? Even here in the California desert where I live, wildflowers bloom, jacaranda trees explode with purple flowers, and cacti burst with flowers in brilliant colors.

photo springSince a lack of sunlight during short, winter days can adversely affect older adults’ moods,  aren’t you baby boomers ready to celebrate this spectacular time of year? I’ve updated a previous blog to list six fun spring activities baby boomers can enjoy as weather permits, no matter your age.

Take A Spring Break

Who says college students are the only ones who can take a spring break? We baby boomers get itchy feet too and there are lots of sunny places to visit. U.S. News’ list of top five cheap spring break destinations included Puerto Vallarta, Cabo San Lucas, New Orleans, South Padre Island, and Key West.

This is the perfect time to visit one of the National Parks before the summer crowds hit. According to AARP, baby boomers have seen more national parks than other generations – on average 14. But since there’s 58 in the U.S., there’s plenty more to see!

Need to stay closer to home? A weekend trip to a local beach or lake may be just the ticket. Or simply enjoy a Sunday drive on a road you’ve never taken before. Rent a convertible for extra fun and wind your way to a nearby town or park you’ve been meaning to explore.

Plant a Garden

One of my favorite activities is picking out seeds or plants at the garden center with my grandchildren and planting them when we get home. 

The joy of walking outside, enjoying the beauty of greenery shining in the sun, the sound of bees buzzing nearby, plopping an irresistible strawberry in your mouth, and then gathering vegetables and deliciously aromatic herbs for a recipe – what better way to celebrate spring!

If you don’t have space for a garden, visit a Farmer’s Market.

Eat Al Fresco

Spring is finally here and we have that precious extra hour’s daylight. Head outside, have a picnic at the park or some other scenic area, and enjoy eating fresh food with a view.

Or simply throw a bright and cheerful tablecloth on your patio table, add some fresh cut flowers into soup cans painted in spring colors, and a few floral napkins. Then enjoy a magical spring dinner with family or friends outside to welcome the season.

Feeling lazy? Eat outside at a local cafe. Or invite some friends over, get out your good china, and enjoy an afternoon tea party on your patio.

Bring the Outdoors In

Change out your curtains with a sheer, billowy, or natural fabric. You may even want to paint a room a vibrant spring color or bring new life to old furniture with a coat of fresh white paint (should borrow some nice ideas from painting contractors Chester County PA). If you’re doing some spring cleaning, be sure and wash your windows so you can enjoy your view outdoors.

Install some window boxes and plant some herbs or bright spring flowers. Buy some showy tulips or daffodils with their bright, cheery colors or clip some spring blossoms and display them in your home. 

Be sure and open your windows to listen to a spring shower or simply enjoy a gentle spring breeze. Take a few calming deep breaths and enjoy all that fresh air.

Play Outside with Your Grandchildren

Oh, the fun you can have with your grandchildren during springtime! Ride bikes, play tennis, or jump on a trampoline. Enjoy some gardening or have a fancy picnic in the park.

Explore the neighborhood with a butterfly net in hand. Build a birdhouse together and attract wildlife you can enjoy watching together.

Or introduce your grandchildren to some old-fashioned outdoor games like Kick-the-Can, Red Rover, Red Light-Green Light, or Duck-Duck-Goose. They’ll love it!

Take a Hike

This is a no-brainer, but put on your hiking boots, pack up some water and snacks, and go discover the great outdoors. We all know that baby boomers need to keep moving to stay healthy and this is a fun way to do it.

As I pointed out in my blog, Hiking and Happiness, no big surprise, a new study shows that walking or hiking in nature can bring us inner peace, joy, and happiness. My husband and I have had many pleasant afternoons trying out some local hiking trails. I’d highly recommend it!

If your health does not allow a vigorous hike, take a gentle stroll on a deserted beach with your loved one or take a walk around the block. Just get out there and enjoy the sunshine!

These are just a few ideas, I’m sure you can come up with more. Whatever you choose to do, shed that winter coat as soon as the weather allows, grab a pair of scandals, and get out there and enjoy the fleeting glory of spring!

Reference, local specialists I use sometimes: House Cleaning Houston, TX – Top Houston Maid Service – Ready Set Maids.

Five Anti-Aging Benefits of Matcha Green Tea

photo green teaMaybe you’ve heard all the talk about Matcha Green Tea, the latest “it” beverage that’s on everybody’s lips – literally! What’s all the fuss about? Matcha comes from the same plant as green tea, but since it is made from the entire leaf, it packs in a more concentrated amount of antioxidants and beneficial plant compounds.

The good news is that these powerful properties can help us baby boomers as we age. Guest blogger Erin Young is a health food writer, tea expert, and partners with sustainable tea farms in Japan as owner of Evergreen Matcha in the U.S. and Zen Green Tea Matcha in Australia. She shares five ways this trendy tea can help us stay young. Without further ado, here is her article:

Aches and pains, low energy, forgetfulness – these are just a few of the everyday annoyances and challenges that seem to add up as we get older. And while we can’t stop ourselves from aging, that doesn’t mean we have to accept everything that comes along with it.

If you’re in search of natural solutions, you may want to try matcha, a type of green tea that comes from the whole tea leaf stone ground into fine powder. More than being a delicious drink, it also happens to be packed with numerous anti-aging properties.

Here are five wonderful benefits of Matcha Green Tea:

#1 Matcha helps keep your skin looking young.

Your skin is your largest organ and it’s important to nourish and protect it from damage.

Just one cup of matcha green tea every day can protect your skin from damage because of the high concentration of antioxidants. Antioxidants prevent the collagen within your skin from being damaged by the toxins we are exposed to everyday from things like pollution and sunlight.

Additionally, matcha powder can also be applied as a face mask due to its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.

Try the following formula once a week for noticeably brighter skin:

photo matcha powderIngredients:

  • 1/4 teaspoon of matcha powder
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon moisturizer

Instructions:

  • Mix together in a bowl
  • Apply to the skin and leave on for 20 minutes
  • Wash off

#2 Matcha is a natural energy-booster.

If you feel tired throughout the day, it might be because of the coffee you drink. Coffee contains high levels of caffeine, which can initially boost energy levels and then cause them to crash afterwards. This leaves you feeling fatigued and often reaching for sugary snacks – which causes energy levels to spike and crash, yet again!

Unlike coffee, matcha releases energy slowly and sustainably. It contains amino acids which help your body absorb the caffeine, gradually. That means you won’t have jitters at the onset, nor an afternoon slump. It’s really been a game-changer for those looking for a sugar-free coffee replacement.

Matcha promises a four to six hour energy boost that’s just enough to perk you up. If you often feel tired by afternoon, try swapping your coffee for a matcha.

#3 Matcha improves mood and combats memory-loss.

If you find yourself forgetting where you left your keys or even the most important appointments, Matcha Green Tea has properties that can help in this department.

How? It’s the amino acid L-theanine in matcha, which stimulates the production of dopamine and serotonin and improves concentration and memory. According to a study published in the journal Phytomedicine, regular consumption of green tea may even offer protection against Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia.

As an added benefit, matcha has been known to reduce stress levels and even used to treat people with anxiety.

#4  Matcha detoxifies your body and can help you lose weight.

Matcha’s vibrant green color comes from a high level of chlorophyll, making it a detoxifier that helps your body get rid of heavy metals and toxins.

Apart from being a natural cleanser, matcha may also help you lose a few pounds. The major antioxidant in green tea – EGCG – is linked to potential weight loss benefits. Matcha can crank up your metabolism, helping you burn more calories every day and process food more effectively. In fact, researchers conducted a series of studies on dieters and found that those who drank green tea lost more weight than those who didn’t drink it.

Since matcha has more of EGCG than regular green tea, that makes it a unique, antioxidant-rich beverage you may want to incorporate into your weight loss plan and fitness goals.

#5 Matcha helps fend off diseases.

Matcha, loaded with antioxidants, is also known for its immunity-boosting and disease-fighting properties. According to Healthline.com, “including matcha in your diet could increase your antioxidant intake, which may help prevent cell damage and even lower your risk of several chronic diseases.”

What makes matcha such a super food? Once again, its key component is EGCG, a catechin linked to lowering risks to cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and liver disease, among others.

Janie Zeitlin, a registered dietitian in White Plains, NY and New York City, says matcha is a “nutritional powerhouse,” and “a valuable addition to any diet,” but adds that moderation is best because of the potency. Most experts recommend drinking a cup or two a day. Since one cup of matcha contains the equivalent of multiple cups of green tea in terms of antioxidants, you’ll still reap all the health benefits.

PHOTO erinErin Young’s company, Evergreen Matcha, ensures buyers that they source 100% authentic, high quality Matcha Green Tea grown from sustainable family-owned farms in Kyoto, Japan. If you’re interested in trying matcha, she is offering  readers 10% off their first purchase and free state-wide shipping.

To take advantage of this special offer, visit Evergreen’s website and use coupon “1MATCHA” at checkout. If you’d like a free Matcha Recipe book with over 30 healthy recipes delivered to your inbox, click here.

 

 

Bloggers Unite! The Mystery Blogger Award

Thank-you to fellow author and blogger, Pearl R. Meaker, for nominating Baby Boomer Bliss for The Mystery Blogger Award. Be sure and check out her great blog, appropriately titled, Pearl’s Pearls.

blog award

As anyone who has tried blogging knows – it is not an easy road to travel. Writing a blog is a wonderful creative outlet and a rewarding opportunity to inspire others in a meaningful way. But finding an audience and building up your readership can be frustrating.

Although Pearl is a mystery writer and author of the Emory Crawford Mysteries, and despite the name of the Mystery Blogger Award, this award is not meant only for writers of that genre. Blogger Okoto Enigma, created the award “because there are a lot of amazing blogs out there that haven’t been discovered, yet…and most of these blogs deserve recognition.”

I agree with that. According to the rules, nominees are asked to reveal three things about themselves. So, here are three things you may not know about me:

  1. I hate hot dogs and Coke.
  2. I could have died while going white-water rafting in a five-plus river in New Zealand when our family’s boat flipped tossing us into the frigid raging water. In Mexico, I almost swung into a building while para-sailing. Taking a boat ride under the waterfalls in Brazil, I discovered too late that there were piranha in the water. Therefore, being the klutz that I am, I have wisely given up all thrill sports. I hate to think what might happen to me if I went sky diving!
  3. I love to dance (much safer) and can do a mean ballroom swing with my hubby.

Nominees are also asked to do a short interview for the person who nominated them. So without further ado, here are my answers to Pearl’s five excellent questions:

Does your blog have a theme? If yes, why did you choose that theme?

Yes, the theme is helping baby boomers find happiness. I chose that theme after discovering that studies show younger boomers are the unhappiest age group. I wanted to know how we could change those statistics around and maintain inner peace and happiness through what can be a challenging time in life.

Where is your favorite place to go for a vacation – or where you would like to go if you could go there?

I’ve been fortunate to travel to all the continents with the exception of Africa and Antarctica. Some of my favorite places are the Iguassu Falls on the border of Paraguay and Brazil, London, Florence, and Paris in Europe, Sydney in Australia, the Great Wall in China, and I loved recent trips to the Florida Keys and Chicago here in the states. I dream of going to Africa.

Has your favorite subject in school stayed a part of your life? 

Oh yes. Writing was my favorite subject in school, so it’s no surprise I eventually chose it as my career.

When was the last time you played a board game or a card game using real cards? 

Last week. I have three grandchildren ages 10, 8, and 6. They still like some of the games we boomers played as kids including Twister. And yes, I played it with them – and lost!

Do you read to relax? If you do, do you have a genre that is your go-to relaxation genre?

Yes indeed! If I want to truly escape, a good thriller that keeps my attention is just the ticket.

As is the tradition for this award, I nominate the following bloggers and ask that they answer the same above questions if they choose to join in:

Cat Michaels, Carmela DutraRosie RussellJames MilsonKristen LambRebecca Lyndsey, Sandra Bennett, and Tracy Bryan.

The Rules:

  • Put the award logo/ image on your blog
  • List the rules
  • Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog
  • Mention the creator of the award and provide a link to their blog as well
  • Tell your readers three things about yourself
  • Nominate 10-20 people
  • Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog
  • Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify)
  • Share a link to your best posts

Thanks again to author and blogger, Pearl R. Meaker, for nominating me! To check out my best posts from last year, click here. Want to participate? Tell me three fun facts about you in the comment section. I’d love to hear!

 

 

 

Baby Boomers: Should You Move Your Retirement Funds Out of the Stock Market?

Earlier this week, stocks took a free fall. The Dow plunged almost 1,600 points, the worst decline in history during a trading day. At the time of this writing, the stock market had recovered about half the losses. But did that alarming drop make you baby boomers wonder if you should stay invested in the stock market?

photo stock market

 

If so, the short answer is that it depends on your age.

The good news: Younger baby boomers don’t have reason to worry about the correction, says Kyle Woodley, senior investing editor at Kiplinger.com. Remember, the 2008 stock market crash had a recovery time of six years.

“If you’re between 50 and 60, there’s still time to recover,” Woodley says in a MarketWatch article, At What Age Should You Be Most Worried About a Stock Market Downturn? “Fifty years ago, life expectancy was much lower. You’re not investing for the next 5 or 10 years, you’re investing for the next 20. You have room to grow your nest egg and participate in that growth. Half a century ago, you would have been in two-thirds bonds in your 50s. That’s not the case anymore.”

Financial guru Suze Orman agrees. “If you are saving for retirement or another goal that is 10 or more years off in the future, you should be happy stock prices are down,” she says. “When stock prices are lower, your money buys more shares. And then you own more shares for when stock prices rebound.”

One rule of thumb for your retirement money you might consider is to keep your age in safe investments, she adds. “So if you are 60 you might have as much as 60% in CDs or short-term Treasuries, and the rest can stick with stocks.”

Keep in mind, because the market has soared the last eight years,  you may need to rebalance your retirement portfolio to ensure your investments are aligned with your risk tolerance. Otherwise, you could lose a lot more money if the market crashes.

What if you’re older and plan to retire in the next five years – or perhaps you’re already retired and drawing from your retirement funds?

Some older boomers may have more reason to worry: Jared Snider, senior wealth adviser at Exencial Wealth Advisors in Oklahoma City, says that your risk depends on how well you have prepared for a downturn. “Those folks who have not prepared are most impacted by it. It can do irreparable harm. They sell out of fear or out of necessity because they don’t have any other assets to liquidate.”

Experts generally agree that you shouldn’t invest anything you’ll need within the next five years. That way you’ll avoid pulling out all of your money during a market downturn which historically has always come back up again.

“If the market crashes, you’ll need to be able to ride the storm out rather than selling everything in a panic,” writes Katie Brockman in a CNN Money article, How to Protect Your Retirement Savings from a Crash. “By only investing money that you know you won’t need for at least five years, it will be easier for you to leave those savings untouched until the market recovers.”

 

10 Ways Baby Boomers Can Be Happier in 2018

How can you live your best life and be happier in 2018? I’m sharing 10  tips from Baby Boomer Bliss’ most popular articles in 2017 to help you do just that!

woman lighted umbrellaChange Careers

Studies show that up to 80 percent of baby boomers plan to do some sort of paid work until age 70 to stay mentally sharp, keep engaged socially, and achieve financial security in retirement. That leaves a couple of decades after 50 to work.

Perhaps that’s why more and more boomers are contemplating an “encore career” to pursue their passions and create a fulfilling life they can enjoy.

Which job should you choose if this is your dream? To read my list of the happiest and unhappiest careers to narrow down your choices, check out the full article here.

Enjoy Life’s Simple Pleasures

In 2017, International Happiness Day and the first day of spring coincided. How often does that happen? But do we really need a special day to find some bliss? I say that any ordinary day will do.

In 2018, let’s pause and enjoy all of life’s simple treasures and treats we look forward to throughout the day. Yes, we all have them! You know, the moment you open up your drapes and sunlight fills your home. The aroma of coffee in the morning. Those delightful blueberries on your cereal. The hot shower in the morning that awakens and refreshes you.

If you’re a baby boomer still working, instead of grumbling about it, enjoy your favorite song on the radio as you drive to your job. Don’t just sit there, sing along! If you’re lucky enough to be retired, enjoy some creative leisure time.

Experience happiness from the simple act of giving. Take a moment and write, text, or call a friend. Give someone a big smile to brighten their day and perk up yours as well. Make it a point to do something nice for a stranger or give someone a sincere compliment today. When you get home, give a loved one a big hug. Make your dog’s day with a walk around the neighborhood, a treat, and an extra pat on its head. Relish each bite of dinner. Watch the sunset. Enjoy your favorite comedy and laugh loudly. At the end of the day, remember each blessing and thank God in prayer.

If a gloomy thought dares to enter your head this day, usher it right out and replace it with a happy, positive thought. No groans or gripes allowed. Mentally shout “next” in your head and move right along. Relish every day of simply being alive.

Break Through Barriers

Oh, the wonderful things that can happen when we break through our self-imposed barriers!

When I wanted to become a writer, I put a lot of barriers on myself. I was afraid that people would laugh at me because I didn’t have a college degree. That my submissions would sit in a huge pile and be ignored by literary agents and editors since I didn’t know anyone in the publishing business. That friends and family would roll their eyeballs if I dared to express my dreams of becoming a writer out loud. That I would become so discouraged by the countless rejections sure to come my way, I would give up and watch my precious dreams slowly fade away. Doesn’t everyone want to be a writer, but how many actually make it?

Instead of taking action, I was comfortable just dreaming about becoming an author one day. It was fun envisioning my novel on the shelves of Barnes and Noble and my first book signing. Until a woman at a writer’s conference asked me a simple but profound question. What are you waiting for?

With the woman’s words echoing in my head, I took the first step and began submitting my short story to magazines. Of course, I received the standard rejection letter which stung, but I continued on my journey, taking writing classes and submitting my work. The road wasn’t easy. Many of my fears came true during that time. I gathered enough rejection letters to wallpaper a room. Many times, I became discouraged and swore off writing. But I tenaciously pressed forward. Six long years passed before my first short story was published. Am I happy that I persevered and finally faced down all those nagging self-doubts and fears?

You bet! I’ve been writing professionally for over 25 years now. Over the years, I’ve been published in national magazines, authored three books (one of which was published by big time publisher McGraw Hill), landed an agent, won three journalism awards, and even had my dream come true with a book signing at Barnes and Noble.

What helped me accomplish my goals? I was honored to share my story in Marquita A. Herald’s  book, Women Breaking Barriers. How did 13 other courageous women overcome their fears, persevere, and find the power to become the driver of their own lives and personal journeys? You’ll have to check out the book to find out! Each tale will give you hope and encourage you to reflect on who you are and what matters most to you in life. You can get your free copy by clicking here and subscribing to my blog.

Become Happy-Go-Lucky

The Urban Dictionary defines happy-go-lucky as a person who is cheerful about most things, has a positive view on life, and annoys the you-know-what out of their friends. Haha! Seriously, think of all the benefits of lightening up. You’ll be less stressed, have more fun, take more risks, step out of your comfort zone and because of your positive attitude have more friends and better relationships.

If you can become more of a happy-go-lucky person, I’d lay bets that you’ll find life more enjoyable and even more fulfilling. This popular article lists five ways to get you started on the path of that devil-may-care attitude.

Take a Trip

It’s no secret that I love to travel, so a new survey from AARP last year that listed baby boomers choices for top bucket list travel destinations caught my eye.

Of the 12,000 boomer participants, a whopping 99 percent said they planned to take one leisure trip last year. About half planned to travel domestically on multi-generational trips, weekend getaways, and holiday travel. Bucket lists inspired 43 percent of boomers to say they hoped to travel internationally as well.

Which places topped boomers’ bucket lists for travel? Hawaii topped the list for a dream domestic destination followed by Alaska, California, Arizona, and Nevada. The top international destinations were Australia, followed by Italy, the United Kingdom/Ireland, France, and the Caribbean. Are any of these places on your bucket list? No time like the present!

Interestingly, boomers enjoy dreaming about their trip almost as much as experiencing the trip itself. Part of the fun is planning!

Stay Positive Despite Adversities

is it possible to be happy when persistent, scary, and frustrating problems keep rising to the surface and smacking us in the face?

Adversity can make us feel stressed, upset, disappointed, powerless, angry, and depressed. Even when some or even most other aspects of our lives are going well, we tend to focus on things that are going wrong.

What can we do to change that? This popular article listed three simple ways.

Get Rid of Clutter

Whether we’ve become empty nesters or are following the latest trend of decluttering, many of us baby boomers are downsizing.

Two years ago, we moved. As I was filling up trash bags and putting aside things to donate and sell, I felt incredibly FREE. Why hadn’t I done this sooner?

Conquering clutter can clear the way for a more productive life.  Without physical obstructions like piles of unopened mail, old clothes, and Tupperware without lids in the way, you’ll be amazed how much you can accomplish in your life.

Want some tips on how to get started? You can read my full article here.

Aim for Long-Term Happiness instead of Instant Gratification

Instant self-gratification rules the world today. Think about ATM machines that provide instant cash, fast food supplying instant meals, the Internet with its access to instant information and entertainment – all of which has turned us into impatient beings that can’t tolerate waiting for anything.

According to a CNN article, there are two types of well-being. One relies on self-involved instant pleasure and requires continuous action to constantly feed positive emotions. This type of satisfaction typically leaves as fast as it comes. For example, buying an expensive pair of shoes creates a temporary high but to keep that euphoric feeling we must keep shopping for the next quick fix. If something threatens our ability to seek out this kind of personal happiness – for example, all our credit cards are maxed out – our entire source of well-being is threatened.

The second type of well-being is a kind of happiness that comes, not from consuming products, but from working toward something larger than ourselves that gives true meaning to life.This type of well-being can bring long-term happiness.

That’s not to say that we should never reward ourselves with a bowl of ice cream or a great pair of shoes as a special treat every once in a while. We don’t have to wait to enjoy the present or our lives.

However, we’ll all be happier if we develop some self-control and avoid the habit of wanting everything right this second. Constantly giving into momentary desires can actually make us feel depressed in the long run. Advertisers have become experts at convincing us that instant gratification is the key to happiness. Don’t buy it. Shoot for long-term satisfaction and fulfillment instead.

Embrace Hygge like the Norwegians 

Despite frigid arctic temperatures and months of darkness, the happiest people on the planet apparently live in Nordic countries, according to the 2017 World Happiness Report

Norway jumped up three spots to claim the title of “world’s happiest country” for the first time. Denmark, the previous winner for three years in a row dropped to second. These countries were followed by Iceland, Switzerland, Finland, Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Sweden. In case you’re wondering, the U.S. came in 14th place, dropping down one spot from last year.

Could the reason Norwegians are so darn happy have to do with the Danish term hygge? If you want to learn what this word means and how we can adapt some into our lives to feel more joyful, check out my blog.

Retire in a Happy State

My childhood friend was visiting me last year when she asked, “Where do you want to retire?”

Interestingly, we both reside in places known to be popular for retirees. My friend is from Asheville, North Carolina. She enjoys mountain biking in the scenic Great Smoky Mountains, the robust arts community, and the live music scene that ranges from bluegrass to classical. Asheville consistently receives great rankings as a great place to retire for those reasons as well as its typically mild weather (with the exception of this winter!). In fact, recently US News & World Report named Asheville one of “10 Best Places to Retire.” My friend is currently retired and active in her volunteer work. Although she likes living in Asheville, she is considering whether that’s the spot she wants to settle in for good.

Me – I’m from the Palm Springs, California area, which has long been one of the most famous retirement communities. Snowbirds love this place with over 300 days of sunshine a year. Golfing, casinos, hiking, and cycling are popular activities. Places to shop and dine abound. In addition, a fairly strong economy and low unemployment rate make the Palm Springs area a popular destination for baby boomers and retirees.

But do I want to retire here? Not especially. Some people love the heat, but I’m not a fan of the long, hot summers with temperatures that exceed 115 degrees. However, I have time to consider my options. Like many boomers, retirement is nowhere in sight for me at the time being. But of course, a girl can dream, right?

So, what are the the best and worst states to retire? The results from a Bankrate.com’s survey last year were interesting. Traditional retirement spots like Florida and California didn’t make the top 10 while other states, not usually considered as premier places to retire, like South Dakota and Wyoming, made the top five.

Click here if you’d like to check out the ten best and worst places to retire according to the survey and why.

There you go! Hope these 10 tips help you find your bliss in 2018! How do you plan to live your happiest life in 2018? I’d love to hear! Please share in the comments below. If you enjoyed this article and would like to join my tribe of baby boomers to be the first to receive my latest blogs, be sure and subscribe.

Wishing you all the VERY best in 2018!

A Baby Boomer’s Look Back at 2017

An old friend, who sadly passed away, used to say: “Life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer you get to the end, the faster it goes.” Now that I’m getting older, I realize just how much truth there is in that statement! Can it possibly be true that another year has quickly slipped by?

2018Before moving on to 2018, why not savor our milestone events and, since we’re never too old to learn from our mistakes, look back at 2017 to gain a bit of wisdom?

With that goal in mind, my writerly pals and I are sharing our personal moments from last year in the Looking Back at 2017 Blog Hop. 

What was my happiest and saddest moment in 2017? Most embarrassing, most challenging, most fun? Read my answers below and share my year with me, then be sure and visit the other #GR8Blogs linked at the end of this post for more memorable moments.

I encourage all of you to answer these questions as well so you can reminisce, count your blessings, and remember what you learned along the way!

So, what were my most memorable moments from 2017?

Happiest Moment

Johnni and Chris PregnantDiscovering my daughter-in-law, Johnni, was pregnant with our fourth grandchild. It’s been six years since we’ve had a baby in the family and we’re all excited! It’s a girl and is due in February 2018.

Saddest Moment

When it dawned on me I couldn’t share the happy news with my Mom. She died two years ago. Time may heal all wounds, but while the open, gaping wounds close up, the scar remains. No matter how old you are, sometimes you just want your Mommy. I love the quote by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, a Swiss-American psychiatrist and author of On Death and Dying, who wisely said: “The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same nor would you want to.”

Most Embarrassing Moment

ScalesAt my overdue check-up, the doctor informed me that I’d gained 10 pounds since I last visited. “Weight can sneak up on you after menopause and start adding up fast,” he advised. Really? I never would have guessed. Actually, I wrote a whole blog, My Menopausal Middle, on this very subject. But, all right, all right. Then I got a mammogram – where I learned that my once dense breasts are deflated now that I’m post-menopausal. My ego deflated a bit along with my boobs.

Most Challenging Moment

After experiencing my most embarrassing moment as described above, I decided to tackle my weight. After years of stressful caregiving for my mother, I weighed a whopping 172 pounds and was edging toward the “obesity” category. Anyone over 50 can tell you what a challenge losing weight is as our metabolism slows down and muscle mass decreases. I’ve lost 11 pounds so far and am still on my journey. Of course, because I’m a writer, an eBook is in the works sharing all my secrets. Stay tuned.

Most Interesting Moment

Every once in awhile you get to enjoy perks from writing a blog. I was asked to do a book review of Bobby Rydell’s autobiography. This led to an interview, free tickets to his Golden Boys concert with Frankie Avalon and Fabian, and a backstage pass to meet Rydell in person. After listening to him sing a couple of my favorite songs, Volare and Sway, I may have swooned just a little bit!

Most Fun Moment

Family BeachAt a Billy Joel Concert, flashlights lit up like stars in the sky, and thousands swayed joyfully as Billy Joel belted out “Piano Man” at Dodger Stadium. I got goose bumps!  Thankfully, there were many fun moments in 2017. All the days spent at the beach, sailing, kayaking, watching the grandchildren catch sand crabs, and using our year-pass at Legoland were all joyful moments.

Most Romantic Moment

I have a great romantic husband and it’s a toss-up! We spent a weekend in Big Bear for our 39th anniversary. We rode bikes, drove go-carts like kids, and drank wine by the lake. Lovely. In September, we found a delightful winery in Temecula where we had a relaxing lunch, strolled through the vineyards, and then topped the day off with a couple massage.

Most Successful Moment

Don’t get me wrong, I love writing and don’t have any regrets about making my passion my career. However, it’s one wild roller coaster ride full of ups and downs. So, I was so honored when this blog was selected by Feedspot panelists as one of the top 75 baby boomer blogs. Perks like that keep you going as a writer!

Thanks for stopping by and sharing my most memorable moments. How was your 2017? If you’re so inclined, share your most memorable moments in the comment section below.

For more look-back moments, visit the #Gr8Blogs below:

Carmela Dutra

Rosie Russell

Sandra Bennett

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.