Tag Archives: 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
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

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

It’s Not That Easy Being Gray

(After It’s Not Easy Being Green, The Muppets)

It’s not that easy being gray,
hair the color of Spanish moss
hanging from the banyans,
absent the silky shine of children,
photographers’ models,
impeccably groomed socialites

It’s not that easy being gray,
hair the texture of wire
springing away from the scalp,
shocked at its own existence,
like it has lost its way
and doesn’t know where to roam.

Gray is hormone-sapped split ends,
dread-locks framing a lived-in face.
People tend to pass you over
‘cause you remind them
of things they would rather forget.

But gray’s the color of clouds before rain,
and gray can feel cool and friendly, like
a ball bearing that broke loose and rolled
free, far from home.  And gray’s what you get
if you’re lucky enough to live that long, and I think
gray is what I want to be.

Elegy: Growing Up is Hard to Do

Every so often, we get a film about aging that touches a nerve in those of us of a certain age.  About Schmidt was one such film.  Savages, another.  Now in new release is Elegy, starring Penelope Cruz and Ben Kingsley, a film that captures what the word elegy means: a mournful, melancholy, or plaintive poem, esp. a funeral song or a lament for the dead.

David Kepesh, 70, successful cultural maven — the film opens with Kepesh (Kingsley) being interviewed by Charlie Rose — is dead inside, or very nearly so.  He teaches, he is interviewed and interviews aspiring new writers, and he struggles to assert the life force, expressed largely through sex or his own ’emancipated manhood,’ as he puts it.  His only friend and fellow writer/academic, George O’Hearn (Dennis Hopper) appears to be similarly stuck: sleeping with available younger students, and in his case, cheating on his wife of many years.  Kepesh is estranged from his own son Kenneth (Peter Sarsgaard), the child he abandoned in a divorce, and unable to give him support in his own marital crisis. He is in a 20 year affair with Carolyn (Patricia Clarkson in a glowing smaller role), enjoying great sex and fending off deeper commitment.

Into one of Kepesh’s classes and his life, steps the luscious Cuban emigre, Consuela Castillo (Penelope Cruz).  At a holiday party for his students, he seduces her with his erudition and worldliness.  They become lovers despite, as he points out, a 30+ year gap in their ages.  But she remains something of a mystery to him.  At one point, they examine Goya’s portrait of the Naked Maja and Consuela blocks out all but the woman’s direct gaze.  Who am I to you, she seems to be asking, a question Consuela will later put to David as they dine in a restaurant. Says George in one of their many man-to-man talks, “Beautiful women are invisible; we’re so dazzled by the outside that we never make it inside.”  The truth is, David and George haven’t truly made it to the inside of anything, and time is running out.

This is a film about growing up, and how it eludes us when we allow ourselves to be captivated by the surfaces of life: youth, beauty, success, sexuality, all of which pass, often before we are ready to let them go and find something deeper to live for.

God’s Waiting Room

Last week, as I visited my mother (91 in June) in a nursing home in Western Canada, the reality of what lies ahead for our elders and perhaps for ourselves was so in-my-face, I found myself hyperventilating (yoga training notwithstanding) and struggling to keep my spirits up, for her sake and mine.

In truth, I have a lot to be grateful for. My mom’s facility is as good as it gets: dedicated, kindly staff (if too few of them in oil boomtown Edmonton); clean, comfortable, well-equipped rooms; carefully calibrated meds for pain and depression; and lots of what we used to call extracurricular activities to help residents be more independent and social. Today, for example, a neighboring animal shelter had brought in puppies for petting. Sometimes, it’s nursery school children who are wonderful with old and disabled people. Last week while I was there, they had pub night when residents enjoy some wine and live entertainment.

When it was clear that my mother’s medical needs had become beyond our ability to provide for (geography didn’t help much), we choose this place also for the mix of age groups and levels of disability. So, my mom can socialize with a lovely 50-something woman named Sherry who suffers from MS, but who is also bright, friendly and also interested in jewelry and clothes. There are residents who play Scrabble and cards. And recently, a beautiful nurse-trainee from Brazil in body-hugging uniform, with fashionable haircut and great personality, was assigned there for a few weeks, and everyone perked up. All this costs about $30K/year, or less than half for a comparable facility here in Florida, and some of the expenses are tax-deductible.

But most of the population there are elderly so you can’t fight the God’s Waiting Room atmosphere, and I’m no better at staring that in the eye than the next person. So I spend most of my time amusing my mom: she adores Scrabble and Rummy 500, pizza and sushi, and a new brightly-colored dress. I can focus on these things because she already has her so-called affairs in order: personal directive and living will are all set; she gave me power of attorney a couple of years ago. I know what she wants for final ceremony and exactly where she wants her ashes strewn. Sure, she would rather be traveling to visit her great-grandchildren and spending the winter where it’s warm. But she has found a was to be happy in the moment. If you think about it, that is all we really have.