Tag Archives: positive aging

Daring to seek new opportunities

Entrepreneur and fitness expert, Betty Perkins-Carpenter, 85, has met life’s challenges with dedication, tenacity and persistence, which are hallmarks of conscious leaders. Here, she shares three tips to help others dare to seek new opportunities.

#1 Make a new beginning
At 72, I decided to go back to school and get my Ph.D. to continue my life’s work researching balance as part of my Senior Fitness business. In addition to research, my experience working with babies, preschoolers, elite Olympic athletes and seniors, on land and in water, led me to develop the Six-Step Balance SystemTM.

#2 Take chances and have fun
I started teaching swimming lessons in my backyard pool, which was risky. My business grew from taking chances and having fun. After 55 years in business, I still love getting up in the morning and helping people lead happier, healthier and active lives.

#3 Nothing is impossible
My veterans post commander gave me nearly 300 photos of soldiers taken at the beginning of the Korean War. I wanted to find these veterans and give photos to them or their families. In sharing my story, I found people willing to help. Because of their dedication and hard work, we created the Snapshots from the Korean War Project. Photos can be viewed at koreanwar.democratandchronicle.com.

Posted on behalf of Betty Perkins-Carpenter
by
Paul G. Ward
President, 2Young2Retire, LLC

Living the Good Life Rent-Free

Perhaps you want to explore a new place for weeks or months without paying for a hotel but you don’t like the idea of an exchange where you have strangers living in your house. Consider a position as a property caretaker or house-sitter, which allows you to stay in someone’s home for free in return for providing a small service, such as pet care, gardening, or property management. In addition to free housing, some caretaker positions offer a stipend, while others may even include a salary and benefits.

Caretaking could offer more exotic surroundings than typical tourist fare. A recent issue of the Caretaker Gazette advertised a salaried position for a retired couple to maintain a private lodge in the wilderness of southwest Alaska—some experience with small motors and cutting firewood is helpful. Another gig: three months in Sedona, Arizona, looking after three cats and a garden. Does a five-week housesit in Hawaii, on a property bordered by rain forests, sound appealing? You must be willing to care for a cat, six dogs and fish tanks, and water young plants.

The most comprehensive listing of property caretaker positions is published by a friend of 2Young2Retire, The Caretaker Gazette. Since 1983, the newsletter has been published in print every two months, and is also now online with email updates sent to subscribers. For more information, contact Gary Dunn via the website: www.caretaker.org.

Paul G. Ward
President

Retiring to something not from something

Our identity matters and, at 2Young2Retire®, we strongly advocate a forward looking approach to identity. Kim Potgieter, author of Retiremeant: Get More Meaning from your Money, in a recent interview by Dorian Mintzer, reminded us of the importance of retiring to something not from something. “I am a retired teacher” or “I am a retired salesperson” may reflect our past identity, what we have retired from. But what is your identity now? What are you becoming?

Thinking about being a former something, a former executive, a former teacher, represents the space between who we were and who we are yet to become. Consider the question, “Who do I want to be after this transition from a career just ending?” Here is an exercise that may help with looking forward: Take a sheet of paper and draw line down the center to create two columns. At the top of the left hand column, write ‘How I see myself now’ and at the top of the right hand column, write ‘How I would like to be.’ List your perceptions of yourself now in terms of areas such as ability, competence, relationships, income, roles, etc. Then write down who you would like be in the future. Consider who you are becoming; be purposeful; retire to something not from something.

Paul G. Ward
Principal

Gratefulness

Today is Thanksgiving Day here in the United States of America. It is a day when we remind ourselves of all the things we can be grateful for. As many of you know, my Mother passed away last month. She was 86 years old and married to my Father for 66 years. I am grateful to have been brought into this world by such a wonderful person. I am also grateful for the opportunity of staying with my Father, in the home in which I grew up, for much of the time since her passing. I know he is grateful for the 66 years of married life and is missing his life-long companion more than words can tell. For all of you who have lost loved ones, my hope is that, as you progress through these life transitions, you can feel and express your gratefulness for everything they brought into your lives.

At 2Young2Retire, gratefulness abounds. In addition to being grateful for all our family and friends we are grateful for the opportunity to serve those experiencing life’s transitions. I am also grateful for the kind thoughts, cards, and emails coming my way over the past few weeks and look forward to continuing our interactions. Happy Thanksgiving!

Paul G. Ward

Purposeful action by CVS Caremark

The news that CVS will stop selling cigarettes has been received with acclamation and at 2Young2Retire we enthusiastically join in the applause for their action. But there’s more! Here is what Larry Merlo, President and CEO of CVS Caremark, said: “Ending the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products at CVS/pharmacy is the right thing for us to do for our customers and our company to help people on their path to better health. Put simply, the sale of tobacco products is inconsistent with our purpose.” (CVS Caremark press release, February 5, 2014).

This reference to purpose was overlooked in much of the press yet, for me, this was an essential part of the message. The CVS purpose is, “Helping people on their path to better health.” Living life on purpose is vital for people inside and outside of organizations, for people of all ages, and particularly for those of us in the second half of life. I don’t know how much the work of the leaders and employees of CVS is consistent with their stated purpose but I was impressed by Larry Merlo’s reference to purpose in the press release. I will be watching to see how well CVS people live according to their purpose: “Helping people on their path to better health. It’s our purpose, our promise, our passion … every day.”

How have you described your purpose? How well are you living on purpose every day? What does purposeful aging mean to you?

A Mindful Transition Pause

Wherever you are on your journey of transitions, I hope you will find time during this Thanksgiving week here in the US to take a mindful transition pause. Many of us are experiencing or anticipating transitions in our careers and in our lives. These transitions are rarely easy and we can easily fall into a period of depression where we feel disconnected from our past, dissatisfied with the present, and uncertain about our future.

To avoid the mindless transition pause where we feel lost between two worlds, letting go of our past identity without knowing our true identity, or unable to replace the job we recently lost, it is time to become more focused, more intentional, and more purposeful about the future. A mindful transition pause is a time of reflection, letting go of the past to allow space for the future to emerge, a place for you to simply be, in preparation for what is to come. An excellent place to start this mindful transition pause is in the place of gratitude. Expressing gratitude for the past and for the present creates the space for a more conscious, purposeful, and fulfilling future.

My thanks to Madisyn Taylor for introducing me to the mindful transition pause in her inspirational daily OM (http://bit.ly/I2bwpN). Continuing in the spirit of gratefulness, thank you for reading this blog and thank you for your emails and calls. These connections help us at 2Young2Retire to help you, wherever you are on your journey.

I will end this post with a Quero Apache Prayer: “Looking behind I am filled with gratitude. Looking forward I am filled with vision. Looking upwards I am filled with strength. Looking within I discover peace.” I wish you a mindful, purposeful, and happy Thanksgiving!

Dream the Impossible Dream

Congratulations to swimmer Diana Nyad on her successful Cuba to Florida crossing. Diana’s success came on her fourth attempt at the age of 64. Emerging from the water at Key West on September 2, 2013, Diana is reported to have told waiting TV crews: “I have three messages: one is we should never ever give up; two is you are never too old to chase your dreams; and three is it looks like a solitary sport but it is a team.” After three previous unsuccessful attempts, this dream may have seemed impossible but Diane never gave up chasing her dream. Diane is the first person to swim from Cuba to the US without a shark cage. Whatever your dream, and however impossible is seems, today’s message is: dream the impossible dream then make it happen.

Happy Thanksgiving and The Cure

I always knew The Cure as an English rock band originally formed close to my home town in Southern England but now I have learned “The cure is …” a transformational movie not only for those of us too young to retire® but for all ages. This transformational film experience is about how every human body is brilliantly designed for vitality and longevity. It provides inspiration on many levels and many of the important aspects of positive aging such as health, nutrition, and spirituality. Even Napoleon Hill, author of the best-selling book, Think and Grow Rich, makes an appearance reminding us of the natural law he describes as: “What the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve.”

Another reminder in the movie and the three accompanying shorts is about the importance of love. In the season of gratitude, love yourself and everyone. Start by sending love your own way today.

So in addition to wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving, I encourage you to find out what the cure is… Cut and paste this link into your browser: http://thecureismovie.com/?page_id=395/#!/deployment_code=16589227mdswr1

Paul G Ward, Principal, 2Young2Retire

Maturity is…

realizing that the brilliant thought is probably not original but feeling good about having thought it anyway.

OK, who said that?  I found it in my iPhone Notes along with poems I like, poem fragments that might grow up some day, reservation numbers, addresses of hot restaurants, and notes to self about this and that (mostly that).  I put it in  my Commonplace Book.  If you don’t have one of these notebooks that contain scraps of wisdom you encounter and hope to remember and maybe even USE, what are you waiting for?

I’ve Googled this quote and nada.  I know it isn’t original with me.  Well, never mind.  How about you take a turn here and send in some thoughts about what maturity means to you.  Use the comment box below and have at it.  All will get automatically published and maybe we’ll dream up some way of acknowledging the quote we deem the best.

Re-Housing Our(elder)selves

About 15 years ago, we went in search of a new home, and a new type of home.  Somehow the concept of  co-housing had floated into our head space. We were attracted to the idea of  ‘building a better society, one neighborhood at a time,’ to quote the current official cohousing slogan.  This was pre-grandchildren and the appeal of sharing a planned community with people of all ages, including small children, seemed vastly more appealing than the 55+ adult gated communities then being marketed.  So we signed up for a co-housing conference in Maryland where a new community was forming, and the following year we toured four communities, Cantine’s Island, in Saugerties, NY, award-winning  Windsong in Langley, BC, Quayside Village in North Vancouver, and Trillium Hollow in Portland, OR (a city where some of our family already lived).  Of these, only Windsong was completed and occupied at the time.  We attended open houses at all of these, and spent a night at Windsong.  We even joined two of them at the minimal membership level. People were friendly and welcoming, some were close to messianic about their chosen form of living.  Forming a co-housing community is a long and challenging process and a few ‘burning souls’ are essential to sustain the effort.

We supported the living lightly on the planet philosophy of co-housing communities of which EcoVillage in Ithaca, NY, is perhaps the best known example.  We liked the self-governance ideals, the espousal of diversity.  We were attracted to the idea of a neighborhood planned to maximize contact among the residents, a kind of  y’all come, potluck ethos very different from most suburbs, including where we live now in South Florida.

The closest we’ve come to that kind of community sensibility was our eight years in Hoboken, NJ, where everything one needed was within walking distance.   If street life didn’t bring you into contact with a neighbor or two and the possibility of a social event, stoop life — hanging out on a balmy evening on your own front steps — certainly did.  It was a small town in every sense of the word, with Manhattan right across the Hudson River.

For us, the downside of co-housing was governance by consensus.  At one of the just-forming communities we toured, I sat next to one of the members in a meeting.  An open house usually includes a pot luck and an invitation to whatever is happening so visitors can get a sense of community process.  This meeting was about landscaping and it went on and on and on, and finally broke up with no decision.  The woman looked at me very kindly and said, “If you’re serious, get used to it.”  I gather that some communities have modified this form of governance.

Today, as co-housing has evolved and grown (there are communities in 37 states and several Canadian provinces), there is more variation in community aspirations including the introduction of the concept of co-housing for elders (a word I prefer) developed by architect and co-housing in America champion, Chuck Durrett.  I’ve heard Chuck speak at an American Society on Aging session and his arguments (read here) for elders living in a community are starting to make a lot of sense to me…again.  I guess you could say it’s deja vu all over again, but with a sense of urgency that I could not have experienced in a pre-grandchilden, pre-Inconvenient Truth, Union of Concerned Scientists report world.

More reading:

Senior Cohousing: A Community Approach to Independent Living, Charles Durrett

See also: Dr. Bill Thomas’s The Greenhouse Project