Friday, September 30, 2011

Memorable Quotes

During a lifetime, each of us will hear an assortment of quotable lines from generally well-intentioned intervals. "Sit up straight." "Don't talk with your mouth full." "Sure, I'll call you again." The statements vary over time but when we hear the lines, we choose to either use or discard the information offered.

Recently I heard a statement from a fellow snappy senior which set me thinking about previous quotes I have heard. Three such proclamations stood out as regrettable on behalf of the person who said each one. I offer the lines here for general review and welcome any comments.

1. "I don't need pretty." While shopping with a friend, I noticed a beautiful nightgown of silky material patterned with dainty flowers of lavender and pink. "Oh, look," I observed. "How pretty." My friend snorted, "I don't need pretty."

I said nothing. But it seems to me that nearly everyone needs pretty on occasion. Who couldn't use a little something special in his/her life, whether it is a special food treat, a splash of delightful cologne or a lovely piece of lingerie? We need to treat ourselves the way we would like to be treated by others.

2. "I've already learned all that I ever want to learn." This remark has been previously quoted on this website. But it is repeated here because of its notable impact. Anyone who truly believes that there is nothing more to learn or experience is setting themselves up for a dull and predictable life. No one -- at any age -- should resign himself to never again experiencing a new food or a fresh thought. Such a person is missing a great deal on the journey through life.

3. "I've already got my man." I once worked with a lovely woman named "Karen" who had been divorced and was raising two sons alone. At the age of 50 or so, Karen remarried and just as she entered her new life, she began to change. She appeared to care less and less about how she looked and dressed and she gained a significant amount of weight. One day some of us were joking about the calorie content of a certain snack food when Karen joined in the conversation. "Oh, I don't worry about that," she smiled. "I've already got my man." Women should never get complacent about their lives. Situations can change in an instant. Make an effort. Care about your appearance, your attitude, your life, if not for the benefit of someone else, then for your own satisfaction. A little effort goes a long way.

Pay attention to those around you. See if quotations such as these catch your ear. I'll bet you will be surprised about the frequency with which such comments surface.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Make an Effort

There are plenty of benefits to being retired. You can chart your own schedule and complete projects when you happen to be in the mood. Feel like cleaning house today? Nope. It can wait. How absolutely liberating! If you have spent decades complying with a work schedule, it's a joy to again resume being in charge of your own time.

However, the downside of having time to do what you want to do is the temptation to do nothing at all. After all, you have worked for many years and deserve to indulge yourself.

Farther down that road, it is easy to become absolutely slothful. At first, I found this chapter of life to be fun. If I chose to, I could wear jeans and slippers all day, go without make-up or attempts to fix my hair. If I was not going anywhere, who was to know? I certainly didn't care.

One day, I started noticing that the majority of women at the grocery store on Tuesday morning appeared to be indulging themselves as well. None wore make-up or made any effort to improve their appearance. As long as they could pull on a sweatshirt or over sized T-shirt and slip into elastic waist pants, they were ready to go anywhere.

Women aren't required to keep up with the latest fashion trends. But there are certain requirements that should be kept in mind: dress age appropriately and cover the most obvious portions of your anatomy.

Whether it concerns fashion or taste in general, all women -- not only seniors -- need to pay attention to whether their choices are appropriate. Just because long, blond hair looked good in 1975 doesn't mean it is the most flattering style for now. Need confirmation of your fashion choices? Ask a friend. Don't trust the opinion of a friend or spouse? Buy a mirror. Some people will wear what they want anyway. The results are visible every day.

As for covering the most obvious portions of your anatomy, this subject doesn't sound like one that requires explanation. If some part of you shows, make sure it is something that you really want to display. Look for fabric tucked into places where it doesn't belong, material which is transparent in any light and styles better displayed on your grandchildren. Simple enough.

Learn to try new styles for a new look. But keep in mind that leggings may not come in size 3X for the same reason that thong underwear often stops at XL. Not all fashions look the same on everyone. Age appropriate means just that. Think before you thong.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Pay Attention

It seems that no one pays attention to "details" anymore. That's a shame.

In this age of instant communication and text messages, widespread carelessness appears to have taken hold. Text messages such as "sending this just to see how u r " have opened the dore to bad speling. Y bothr w/ speling whn the reedr nos what y meen? (You get the idea.)

The entire country stopped on September 11th to observe the 10th anniversary of the World Trade Center tragedy and to display for the first time the memorial created on the grounds where the twin towers stood. It was somber tribute to those whose lives were lost and the families left behind. A few days later, the media reported that one of the names appeared on the memorial had been misspelled. Of all the fuss and preparation for the ceremony to open the impressive memorial, something as simple as getting the names spelled correctly seems simple and necessary. The family involved was shocked and disappointed at the error -- as they should be -- and those in charge said the matter would be corrected. If the purpose of the tribute and memorial was to make sure these individuals are honored, does it seem like too much to have the names spell correctly?

Accurate spelling seems to be slipping away as one more of those seemingly unimportant details that don't really matter. Shirley the reedr nos what you meen. But carelessness and inattention are rampant and turn up in the most surprising places. To find them, however, you must pay attention.

I was recently watching "Annie Hall," one of my all-time favorite movies. For decades, I have admired Woody Allen for his quirky humor and entertaining films. Not only are his films delightful, but Allen is known for his craftsmanship and unending attention to detail. As the credits ran at the end of the movie, I noticed that the name of fantastic actor Christopher Walken is actually spelled wrong (Wlaken)! I couldn't believe that such a great film -- an Academy Award-winning film -- had a blatant typo. Perhaps Woody Allen or a member of his crew "planted" the error to see if someone would notice. I doubt that is the case, but wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt. Amazing.

I've always been a fairly good speller, so perhaps I spot these mistakes more easily than most people. A local television commercial has a large graphic typo in one of its ads that runs at least several times a week. (Hopefully they will care enough to fix it eventually.) I was in a restaurant last week where daily specials were listed on a board near the door and included an "avacado" salad. Like I mentioned, the errors are everywhere and obvious. If you watch for them, you will see them.

I sincerely hope that while we are trying to pump up the economy, create jobs and control the national debt, we do not completely ignore the little niceties that we used to value. To me, correct spelling is a signal that the writer/speller/typist cares about the finished product and in completing the task has paid attention.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Something New

Many people I know who have decided to retire did so because, well, they were tired. Tired seems a good reason to retire, doesn't it?

Admittedly, working can be a drag, no matter how much you like your job. The workday schedule can become a real nuisance -- getting up, making your way to a job, returning home again. Oh, and there is the actual job itself and its requirements. It's all rather tedious and tiring to be sure and yes, we all need a rest sometimes.

But don't hit the sofa on retirement without considering remaining a part of the work force again. Try to think about your future in a new and refreshing way.

Some folks believe work is an adventure, a challenge, something stimulating. We probably all felt like that when we originally entered the workforce. Working and earning an income was new and exciting.

Don't think about staying at your full-time job until you can no longer stand it. Some morning they might find you slumped over your desk. What a shame.

Consider working part-time.

When I retired, I suddenly felt that I had lost control over the hours of every day. After all, I had worked for nearly 50 years. Work provided a type of rhythm, a framework around which to schedule and complete daily tasks. Work has a pattern, one with which we are all familiar. Discarding the rhythm entirely can be disquieting. Rather than try to switch it off, try to taper off gradually.

After pursuing one career path for so long, I seriously needed a change and was delighted to retire. As I reviewed the summer jobs and the typical part-time employment during college, there were certain work areas in which I no experience.

I had never worked in the food industry. Now in my golden years, this pursuit held little interest. I envisioned waiting on picky food critics such as I had become. Preparing food and serving me was not something I wanted to experience. Anyway, I could do this at home anytime I chose.

Another area I had not tried was working in retail sales. I had accumulated plenty of experience in customer service and had always liked working with people. So I found a part-time job in retail sales.  Diverse. Interesting. Flexible. Suddenly -- and maybe for the first time ever -- I had a job rather than the job having me.  Although that situation did not last more than a few weeks, it was a very good experience and showed me that I could still endure the workplace pace.

You might be surprised at the offerings available for part-time work, even in the current economy. Don't just read the want ads in the local newspaper. Get out there and look for a job. Contact your friends and let them know you are looking for a part-time position.

Make certain that you have a firm grasp of how many hours you would like to work. Some job listings for "part-time" work really mean up to 39½ hours per week. One way that employers can avoid paying benefits is to consider a position of nearly full-time hours as part-time. If you aren't careful, you might soon find yourself working a great many more hours than you either want or need.

At least investigate job opportunities for part-time work in your area. Such an arrangement will allow you to get out, meet people and remain a part of the working community. You will still have plenty of time to continue with other interests. It's a good way to keep active and preserve your self-confidence.

Happy hunting.