One More Trip Around The Sun ~

Well it’s happened again, somehow I’ve managed to complete one more trip around the sun.  My 65th to be exact.

Sixty-five turned out to be a damn fine year if I do say so myself.  I am grateful for each and every moment, for adventures shared with friends and family, and way too many laughs to count.  Life is truly filled with magic moments.  And these days I take every opportunity to look back, reflect and savor my days on this planet.

So… I made a little movie.  It’s how I entertain myself when hubs is watching Mash reruns on ME TV.  Thanks to each and every one of you who made this movie possible by sharing your light, your laughter and your wine with me.  I am truly blessed.

And here’s my birthday gift to you… I gathered a few fun thoughts on being “older”.  Here’s the good, the bad and the what-the-what?

First the good ~

•There is nothing left to learn the hard way.

•No one expects you to run anywhere. (Except for Gil Peters – we expect him to run everywhere)

•In a hostage situation, you are likely to be released first.

•Things you buy now won’t wear out before you do.

•You can live without sex but not your glasses.

•You quit trying to hold your stomach in no matter who walks into the room.

•Your eyes won’t get much worse.

•Your investment in health insurance is finally beginning to pay off.

•Your joints are more accurate meteorologists than the national weather service.

•Your secrets are safe with your friends because they can’t remember them either.

•Your supply of brain cells is finally down to a manageable size.

And the not so good…

•Wrinkled was not one of the things I wanted to be when I grew up.

•In dog years – I’m dead.

•You sit in a rocking chair and can’t get it going.

•You can live without sex but not your glasses.

•The twinkle in your eye is the sun reflecting off your bi-focals.

•Your wild oats have turned to mush.

•At 66 you find yourself at that awkward age – somewhere between desirability and complete senility.

•Everything that doesn’t hurt, doesn’t work.

The silver lining…

•Age is only important if you are cheese or wine.

•The older you get the better you were.

•Old age and treachery trump youth and skill every time.

•It still beats the alternative.

So as I prepare to celebrate my own “sweet 66” (all weekend long – thank goodness Monday is a holiday), I raise my glass to each of you.  Enjoy every magic moment on your own trip around the sun this year – whatever number it is.  Because…Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, wine in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming “WOO HOO what a ride!”

Cheers!

Nancy

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My #WDS2014 Adventure ~

You are never too old to indulge in a wee bit of World Domination!  That was my thinking anyway when I attended #WDS2014 aka The World Domination Summit – a multi-day gathering of 3000+ lively, creative and inspiring souls who traveled from all across the globe to connect in downtown Portland Oregon for the fourth annual iteration of this very cool event.

WDS was on my bucket list and this year I was lucky (early) enough to snag a ticket.  These babies sell out quickly so, you snooze, you lose and that’s what happened to me last year.  This time I jumped the day they went on sale.

Super Hero

Super Hero

When I told folks that I was going to the World Domination Summit, I got more than a few puzzled looks.  “World domination?”  “What the hell are you getting involved with?”  “That sounds…interesting.”  “Well, have a good time.”

And I had more than a good time.  I had a fabulous time.  My creative mojo was re-charged.  My head is swimming with new ideas and my waning resolve to cut the corporate umbilical cord sooner rather than later has been fully restored.  In short, getting out of Dodge has become priority number one (again).  And I have a new toolbox to work with.

For two very full days, Grandma Nancy listened and learned and shared with a whole pack of mostly 20 and 30-somethings and they blew my socks off!

Here’s how it went down.

The Great Namaste.  When an event that starts with the intent to set a new world record for the most people doing yoga in one place, you know it’s not going to be any ordinary rah rah weekend.  On Friday morning 800+ people gathered in Portland’s Living Room (Pioneer Courthouse Square), spread out their colorful yoga mats on the bricks in the 90 degree heat and OM’d their way into the Guinness Book of World Records.  So far so good.

WDS Great Namaste

The Great Namaste

How do we live a remarkable life in a conventional world?WDS keynote

This was the question that attendees were encouraged to contemplate as we listened to a well-curated line-up of inspiring, heartwarming, funny, and very thought-provoking keynote speakers with lots of time for mixing, mingling, exploring, and making connections.  Throw in a 5k run, the Portland Experience in the Park Blocks, a scavenger hunt called the Unconventional Race and the very unusual “Highly Sensitive Person Lounge” located on the mezzanine of a nearby hotel where a dimly lit room was set up with several capsule-like hammocks for napping and you have one hell of an experience.  I didn’t nap, but I did check it out.  When I peeked in, every hammock was full and a very loud buzzing noise was emanating from one in the back corner.

But it always comes down to the people.

The Poem Catcher came all the way from Scotland.

The Poem Catcher came all the way from Scotland.

This group of adventurers and inspiration seekers were absolutely delightful – full of adventurous plans, brilliant ideas and interesting stories.  I met 29 year old Kat who quit her job in 2008 to work on the first Obama campaign doing social media and has been traveling the world every since.  Kat’s doing in her late 20’s what I hope to do in my late 60’s and she had lots of great advice for me.  I sat next to Tracy from Vancouver Island who at 50+ quit her job and began a new career as a designer of edgy baby clothes and up-cycled art jewelry.

Woody & Alice

Woody & Alice

I raised a glass in the beer garden with Woody from England and Alice from Romania who were extending their WDS weekend into a two week tour of the western United States.  They loved their Airbnb stay in Cannon Beach!

And I swapped life stories and dreams for the future with twin sisters Alex and Jennifer – currently from Boston and Atlanta who were plotting their next great adventures and bought me lunch (and several glasses of vino!).

Brave Bots wearing our invisible super hero capes!

Brave Bots wearing our invisible super hero capes!

We shared our “brave bots” with our waiters and they indulged us with a photo.  We talked and laughed for so long that we totally missed the meditation in the park meet-up, so we made a quickie doughnut run to Blue Star Doughnuts and raced back to find a seat for the final session.  My young friends then partied into the night while I headed home with my mind racing and my butt dragging.

A few take-aways !

The truth is, we are ALL cousins – from the funny and brilliant A.J. Jacobs, author of My Year of Living Biblically and currently gearing up to hold the world’s largest family reunion in NYC next June.

Stop talking and listen – Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant John Francis author of Planetwalker: 17 Years of Silence, 22 Years of Walking.

Don’t be afraid to meet someone – the WDS mantra!

It’s never too late – from all the courageous folks I had the pleasure to share my story with.

You are braver than you think!  – Dee Williams, author of The Big Tiny and Gary Hirsch creater of BotJoy

What do you want to be remembered for?

What do you want to be remembered for?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A huge congratulations and Thank You! to Chris Guillebeau and the entire WDS Team.  You rocked my world!

Aging with Attitude ~

It’s not your age.  It’s your attitude.  Isn’t that what they say?

Well, I’ve got plenty of attitude and some days its not the attitude of gratitude I’ve been striving for.  Some days I just feel old.  And tired.  And really tired of working for a living.  I’m the last of my peers to still be chained to a desk and while most of the time I am extremely grateful for the job and the paycheck, sometimes I think I’ll never get out of the retirement starting gate.  The grass looks greener where my friends are playing, and gardening, and traveling and starting happy hour at 3 o’clock instead of our usual 5:30 meet-up time back in days when we all snuck out of work a little early for attitude adjustment hour.  I’ve got short-timer’s disease for sure and the time feels very long indeed.

But here’s the thing.  While I am ready to give up the desk jockey job, I am not ready to give up some kind of meaningful work.  Whatever work might look like.  So, I’ve been trying on all kinds of hats to see what fits and what feels kinda groovy.  At least for a while.  travel writer – blogger – world explorer – pet and house sitter – walking enthusiast – photographer.  So many hats!  So little time.  And I still don’t know what I want to be when I finally get the chance for my second or third or forth acts.

It's fun trying on new hats!

It’s fun trying on new hats!

Some people seem to float from act to act with ease.  I admire these folks.  And, I love hearing their stories and learning from their adventures.

Meet Barbara Beskind ~

Barbara-Beskind-Aging-With-Attitude

photo courtesy of IDEO/Senior Planet

Barbara is somewhere around her 6th Act.  She is a role model extraordinaire.  Barbara just celebrated her 90th birthday – with her co-workers at IDEO, a Silicon Valley innovation company, where she recently started her latest gig as one of their designers.  A job she won when she competed in the firm’s design challenge for products for older adults.  Every Thursday Ms. Beskind travels by train from her retirement community in San Mateo, CA to the IDEO offices in San Jose.  She’s not an engineer, but she certainly is a real life adviser.   Read more of Barbara’s inspiring story on Senior Planet.

Rock-on older ladies, indeed!

So, my dears, here’s the question of the day. What does aging with attitude mean to you?  Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Cheers!

Nancy

 

Rock on Older Ladies

Rock on Older Ladies!

When I saw this video I knew I had to share it on the blog.  Enjoy!

Hubs and I are lacing up our walking shoes and heading out to the Columbia Gorge for a birthday weekend celebration and lots of walking at the Columbia River Gorge Biennial Classic Volkswalk event  at Cascade Locks.  With 600+ walkers from all over the world, 13 different walks and 1 bike ride, plus fun social events, and lots of new people to meet I know it’s going to be a great time.  Now all we need is some sun.

Enjoy this toe-tapping tune and share it with women everywhere!

Cheers to weekend adventures and older women.

Rock on.

Nancy

Ducklings ~

Last week I took an after dinner camera stroll along Lake Oswego.  I sat for a long time watching a mama and her ducklings.  Some days I feel just like these little guys.  The pond looks deep and the water murky.  It feels safer to just sit on the rock and bask in the evening sun.  ducklingonarock

Or hang with my bestie… ducklingpair It all looks a little too scary… ducklingtestingthewater But, what I (finally) know for sure is that when I close my eyes, hold my nose and dive in… I bob along just fine.  Sometimes better than fine.  I find joy in the adventure every time I flex my bravery muscle. ducklingswimming Maybe that’s why they call it getting your ducks in a row.

Have a happy weekend.  I’m off to play with my Colorado besties.

Cheers!

Nancy

Not Your Mother’s Retirement ~

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Last Fall I was invited to be a contributor in yet another book on retirement.  Goodness knows I’ve done enough research to call myself an expert on ways to retire and live La Vida Cheapo, but when the good folks at Seller’s Publishing came calling on this new book, Not Your Mother’s Retirement, they seemed to think maybe I was one too. They asked me to contribute an article called Just a Backpack and Rollie Retirement.  I loved their title, so of course I said yes.

Not Your Mother’s Retirement is a user-friendly collection of 20 essays by distinguished retirement experts, aimed at women in their 40s and 50s, to help them prepare for a successful retirement while they still have enough time to do so. It’s packed with valuable information on financial planning, housing, work, travel, health, volunteering, lifelong learning, caregiving, spirituality, being single, and staying active in retirement.

The impressive list of contributors includes Sally Abrahms, Marci Alboher, M. Cindy Hounsell, Julie Jason, Suzanne Braun Levine, Kali Lightfoot, Dorian Mintzer, and Shirley Sagawa, and ME.  Someday, I’ll be listed on the cover too.  Right now, I’m thrilled to have 1200 words on the inside.  I hope they inspire lots of women to go for the gusto now and in retirement.

This is the perfect book for anyone who wants to begin planning now to make the most of her later years! Check it out, it should be in a bookstore near you around March 1st.  My retirement would look a whole lot different if I had any kind of guidance or information like this twenty years ago.  That, I know for sure.

All contributors generously provided their essays on a pro-bono basis as all the royalties from the sale of the book will benefit cancer research and prevention.  The book was edited by Mark Chimsky.   I’m proud to be in such good company.

Cheers!

Nancy

 

 

What Makes a Great Partner ~ the sequel

This video says it all about being a partner and a friend.  And, if you read my earlier post on partnership, you’ll agree that these two have #4 (comedian and straightman) down pat.  Go girls!

And to my dear sister…may we be our own version of Irene and Alice 30+ years from now.

Cheers to best friends and partners everywhere,

Nancy

And thanks to Steve Harvey for sharing two amazing women with us.  They are truly an inspiration.

60 Things Every Woman Should Know By 60 ~

Well, in case you were wondering.  It was NOT my 64th birthday yesterday.  It seems the gremlins at WordPress spontaneously sent out an old post (August 2012).  I have no idea how or why this happened.  I apologize for any confusion, but I was thrilled to receive all the birthday wishes and the online card.  Thank you!  It made my day.

With age comes wisdom and experience.  Or so they say.

Wind-Up Granny

Wind-Up Granny

There’s a book titled 30 Things Every Woman Should Know How to Do by Age 30.   Well, that ship sailed a long time ago, but it got me thinking about all of the valuable knowledge and bits of useless information I’ve acquired over the past 60+ years.  So… I thought it would be fun to start a list of at least 60 Things We Should Know, Have or Have Done by the time we’ve reached the Magical Age of 60.

Let’s play together, shall we?  I’ll list the first 50 Things  and you add the rest in COMMENTS below.  Here goes… in random order because that’s how my brain works these days ~

1.  Own a passport

2.  Say No.  Mean it.  Not feel guilty

3.  Order your credit report and be able to understand it.

4.  Get over it and move on

5.  Change a flat tire

6.  Do your own taxes (even if you choose not to)

7.  Plunge a toilet or unclog a drain

8.  Find the breaker box and flip the switch

9.  Light a grill and cook something

10.  Take yourself out to dinner or a movie – alone

11.  Get around in a foreign country

12.  Program and operate the TV (I’ll probably die still trying to learn this)

13.  Mix a classic cocktail or even a modern one

14.  Laugh at yourself

14.  Take a compliment with ease and grace

15.  Look good in a photo

16.  Open a bottle of champagne

17.  Read a map.  Fold a map.

18.  Hail a cab

19.  Jump a car battery

20.  Paint a room

21.  Ask for a raise

22.  Tell at least one really good joke well.

23.  Beautifully wrap a present

24.  Make small talk with just about anyone.

25.  Know CPR

26.  Ask for what you want

27.  How to keep your information secure online

28.  Where to find the best deals

30.  Buy the right sized bra

31.  Think for yourself

32.  The art of self-defense

33.  Do a breast self-exam

34.  How to talk to your doctor

35.  Have a retirement strategy

36.   Book your own travel

37.  When to throw in the towel

38.  Put together at least one piece of “some assembly required” furniture

39.  Make peace with your mother and/or your daughter

40.  Who ya gonna call

41.  Have an emergency fund (grandma had one in the cookie jar)

42.  Say I Love You

43.  Be able to converse in more than one language – even if it’s just basic greetings

44.  Own a pair of kick-butt boots or slinky heels

45.  Make a fire

46.  Count your blessings

47.   Know your numbers – blood pressure, cholesterol, weight, pulse etc.

48.   Whip up a signature dish that’s not meatloaf or turkey

49.   Own your own hammer, screwdriver, pliers and tape measure and know how to use them.

50.  Say yes to opportunity when it comes knocking.

51.

52.

53.

54.

55.

56.

57.

58.

59.

60.

Okay – Now it’s YOUR turn.  Whatcha got?   Add one thing not on the list above that every woman should know, have or know how to do by the time she’s 60?  

How many can you check off this list?

Nancy

5 Tips for Going the Distance From a 94 Year Old Champion

It’s dark.  it’s cold.  it’s raining.  And Nancy is not out there walking in it.  Just a few months ago, I was putting  in 20-30 miles a week.  And now?  I’m walking from the couch to the refrigerator in my toasty new UGG slippers.  I admit it.  I’m a fair weather exerciser.  The gym is my back-up, but I don’t love it.  Okay, I do love Zumba, but this time of year the classes are so full it’s almost a combat sport.  I haven’t done a downward dog in many moons either.  Yoga is great for your body, but where’s the cardio?  That leaves the hamspter-wheel, I mean treadmill.  BORING.  Mind-numbingly boring for me.  Last weekend’s long hill walk in the bright winter sunshine was a tonic, but we don’t have many days like that in the months ahead.  I need to get my walking mojo back.  Pronto!

So, I munched the last of my Fancy Nancy’s Tropical Toffee and went looking for some sorely needed re-motivation.

I found exactly what I needed in a Parade Magazine article by Bruce Grierson who shared the inspiring and very motivating story of 94 year old Olga Kotelko.   A retired Canadian school teacher, Olga entered her first masters track and field competition at 77 and is still bringing home the gold.  She is the only woman over 90 who competes in the long jump and high jump.  Makes you feel like a bit of a slacker doesn’t it?  Well it did me.  I found the perfect role model in Olga.

I’ve read all the statistics about healthy longevity and exercise.  If the current science is correct and longevity is 75% about lifestyle, then we could all take a few pages from Olga’s book.  Will I be doing the high jump at 94?  Probably not.  Heck, I didn’t do the high jump at 14.  But, I will do everything in my power to be walking and dancing and kicking up my heels for as long as I can.  Olga is what researchers  call  a”super senior” – folks who are remaining sharp and healthy deep into old age.  Who doesn’t want that?  Besides, I’m somewhat of an over achiever so any title with “super” in it title really appeals to me.

How do Olga and other super seniors defy the odds?  Here are five of Olga’s habits that are well worth making your own:

1.  Put down the paper and lace up your sneakers.  Yes, it is that simple (and that difficult), but here’s a little added incentive.  We already know that exercise is important to your body, but Increasing evidence suggests that it is also great for the brain.  Want to fend off dementia?  Of course you do.   Well it might just be that taking a walk or a zumba class is better for your brain than completing every square in the New York Times Crossword.  Well then, what magic might happen if we did both?

2.  Stand Up!   Or at least get up.  We all sit too much.  I sit for hours every day at my desk – working, blogging, doing research, doing homework, writing articles.  Whatever. Then hubs and I hunker in front of the TV and sit some more.  Like most Americans, we are active for 1-2 hours tops and sedentary for the other 23 hours a day.  Desk jobs are unhealthy.  Extended periods of sitting can lead to serious problems like high blood pressure, blood clots and perhaps cancer.  Even in people who are deemed fit.   As the Parade article states “The painless act of rising from your chair pumps blood from the feet to the head, it helps tune your vestibular system, which helps maintain blood pressure and keeps you steady on your feet”.  Well, okay then.  It’s time for a few laps up and down the stairs.  I’ll be right back…

3.  Eat real food – most of the time.  If it comes from the ground, eat it.  If it comes from a can, bag or box, think twice.  Allow for the occasional really good indulgence.  That has been my motto for quite a while and I hope it’s working.  Like Olga, I don’t skip meals and then fill up on junk food at the Jack In the Box drive through.  Thankfully, I gave that up years ago.  Olga eats four or five times a day and not much in the evenings.  I like this simple approach.

4.  Become a creature of habit.   Olga’s point is that it helps to make exercise a routine and stick to it so that eventually it becomes a habit.  Easier said than done for me, but I have the perfect role model right here at home.  Hubs, goes to the gym 4 or 5 mornings a week, plugs in his ipod, climbs on the treadmill and listens to the same 20 songs over and over again.   Olga does the same thing at the track, but instead of Meat Loaf, she’s plugging in to Mozart’s Piano Concerto.  Whatever works.  They are both in it for the long haul.  I am too, but I need to change things up or I get restless and slack off.  It’s the “Just Do It” motto that creates the exercise habit.

5.  Give yourself a High-5.  On the 80’s TV show Coach, Luther was the bumbling assistant whose motto was “set the bar low so you will always be successful”.  It got a laugh on the show, but it’s not such a bad idea.  We tend to set lofty goals and then beat ourselves up when we don’t reach them.  Sometimes the goal can be as simple as “take a 10 minute walk” or “just go to the gym for 15 minutes”.   Easy goals get you going and you will probably walk longer or workout more than you planned once you are out there.  Give yourself a mental High-5 when you’re done.   Even better, find a workout buddy and cheer each other on.

Here’s my favorite part of Olga’s story ~ Recently she was at an airport going through security.  As usual everyone began removing their shoes but Olga didn’t.  A sign said that you didn’t have to if you were over 75.  “Excuse me, ma’am” the security agent asked.  “How old are you.?”  “Ninety-three,” Olga replied.  The agent was flabbergasted and asked her again.  “How old?” “Ninety-three” She said again.   “What’s your secret?”  the skeptical agent asked.  Olga’s reply?  “Enjoy life.”   A huge grin spread across the agent’s face.   She nodded her head and turned to her supervisor somewhere behind the barrier and announced, “I quit.”

And there’s the motivation I needed to get out in the cold, damp, dark and walk, walk, walk.  Even and especially if it’s walking to the gym.

Thank you, Olga, from a former Canadian and brand new fan.

See you on the road.

Nancy

Bruce Grierson has a new book What Makes Olga Run?  The Mystery of the 90-Something Track Star and What She Can Teach Us About Living Longer.  It hits the bookshelves January 14.  I can’t wait to read it.

 

Happy New Year Resolutions!

I resolve to ~

~ Do better

~ Be smarter

~ Lose weight

~ Make more money

~ Save more money

~  Stop eating chocolate

~  Give up the glass (or two) of wine

~  Make friends with my inner child, my wrinkles and those damned age spots on my hands

Or not…..

Like a lot of people I know, I’ve pretty much given up on all the “resolving”.  It’s futile to say the least and frustrating at best.  Maybe I should tell all those folks who crowd the gym in January so you can’t get on a treadmill or find a tiny piece of floor space in Zumba.

Don’t get me wrong, I have big plans for 2014.  I’m setting my sites on new adventures, exploring more retirement options, discovering hidden travel gems close to home and across the globe.  I’ll be looking for information and inspiration to share right here on the blog.   But, here’s the deal.  I don’t need to resolve to fix me or make a better me to enjoy the life I have and the future I’m working on creating.

Here’s my very simple plan ~

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And know that sometimes its okay to just relax and get on the bus.

And to put my feet up and enjoy the ride…

Wherever it takes me.

Cheers and Happy New Year!

Nancy