Shall We Dance. Into Summer and Eighth Grade we will go.

The School Year is about to come to an end for many. And for my own daughter, I am happy to know she had a fine year. She would say that overall it was a great 6th grade year. And oh how she grew and changed and learned things about herself.

Funny thing, is I don’t remember 6th grade much. I’m sure I was a good student. I have always been at the very least a successful student with grades. And I believe I had at least one friend…(says the me that loves building community.)

She made herself a “wordle” to express how she sees herself and I think it is AWESOME!:

Check it out! Shall We Dance

Your Year End Checklist

Reflections for Baby BoomersNo matter where Baby Boomers are on the threshold of their retirement, it can be very beneficial to track their transition into their encore stage of life. Before creating visions and goals for your next year, I recommend taking time at the end of this year to reflect back on what you experienced during the current year.

10 Questions for Review and Reflection

Read through your calendar, journal, and any other documentation you may have used to record the events of this year. Give yourself uninterrupted time to do your review and reflections. Ask yourself these 10 questions:

  1. What overall pattern or trend did you discover for the year?
  2. What is one achievement that you are most proud of?
  3. What helped you to make that achievement happen?
  4. What stood in the way of achieving what you had planned?
  5. What do you want to work more on in the coming year?
  6. What will be different next year?
  7. What unexpected gifts or challenges did you experience this year?
  8. What do you wish you had known at the first of this year that you know now?
  9. If you could wave a magic wand, what would you make happen right now?
  10. What title would you give this year to fully describe it? – The year of ____________.

When you take the time to thoroughly review and reflect upon what you experienced in the current year, you honor your time, your energy, and your effort. It can be viewed as the stepping stone for what is to come next and can serve as a guide for you when you create your vision and goals for the upcoming year.

What did you learn from your review and reflection of this year?

Janice Williams Retirement Coach, www.welcomingretirement.com

 

 

Hanukkah memories: sour cream or applesauce?

Lighting the Hanukkah Menorah

“Applesauce or sour cream?” will be one of the most hotly debated issues around family tables this Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights.

The Jewish holiday of Hanukkah begins this coming weekend and will last for eight days. The holiday celebrates the triumph of the Maccabees over the Assyrian Greeks 2300 years ago and of the re-consecration of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.

Families everywhere will soon sing festival songs and light Hanukkah candles on a Menorah, an eight-branched candelabra, adding one candle each night until the candelabra is completely filled with light on the very last night of the festival holiday.

The issue at stake surrounds the humble Latke, a potato pancake, Hanukkah’s signature food. There are a wide variety of opinions regarding how to make latkes correctly, what they should taste like, and whether a latke is best eaten with a liberal application of applesauce or sour cream. Every family has a slightly different recipe and public heated debates have been held surrounding latkes, their use and preparation. I am a sour cream stalwart.

What was Hanukkah like for you growing up? How did your family prepare latkes? Or did your family like make sufganiyot, ball shaped fried doughnuts instead? Has someone actually written down the family recipe?

Did you family give Hanukkah Gelt, spin the Dreidel together, exchange gifts with one another, Christmas-style. Some families give a gift for each night, some only once, and some give no gifts. What are your family’s festival traditions? How has the Hanukkah celebration changed for your family over the years?

Use can ask these questions and find other questions like these on the Memoriesbroughttolife website. Use them as a guide to recover your parents’ and grandparents’ memories of Hanukkah. There are pages you can use either stand alone, or as part of a family Living Legacy LifeBook.

To obtain these free pages, click on the Downloads tab on the Memoriesbroughttolife website and be guided through a very simple process, entering your name and e-mail address to be provided complementary access to all downloadable files available.

These are irreplaceable memories well worth keeping, valuable memories providing a window into the lives of our ancestors.

Can You Celebrate Your Life?

Celebrating retirement lifestyleBaby Boomers may discover that their identity changes significantly when they leave their full time work world and enter into their retirement lifestyle. What will your identity be when you thrive in the third phase of your life?

Have you ever considered what would be said about you in a eulogy in celebration of your life? What aspects of your life would you want people to know and remember? How would they identify you from what is described?

How do you want to be remembered?

Eulogies are given in memory of a person’s life after they pass away to celebrate that person’s whole life. They can include such topics as the person’s:

  • Unique traits and passions
  • Interests, hobbies, activities
  • Professional experience and expertise
  • Accomplishments and achievements

Exercise: Create your own eulogy by listing your specific qualities for each of the topics above. For each quality, write an uplifting story that demonstrates how you lived the quality. Reflect back through your entire life for your stories.

Are you living the identity of your choice?

After completing the exercise of listing your specific qualities and their supporting stories, what did you discover about the life you have led so far? Is it one that you would have chosen? Everyone’s life is filled with highs and lows and the unexpected. What is important is how you choose to respond to the events in your life. As you enter your retirement years, what is your identity at this time? What changes would you like to make in the third phase of your life?

Your retirement lifestyle gives you an opportunity to refine and enrich your identity so that you live your life with greater fulfillment, make new contributions, and leave a legacy of your choice.

My experience

When I completed my eulogy to celebrate my life, I saw my identity as someone who has always been focused on self-discovery and transformation. I continue to search for new ways to live my life with creativity and ease. And that energy creates the foundation for my retirement coaching practice at www.welcomingretirement.com.

Janice Williams, Retirement Coach at www.welcomingretirement.com

 

Me, MySelf and I Conquer New York City

It’s been over a week since my return from a trip to New York City for the first time. I’m still processing what was a wonderful trip with my 12 year old daughter, hosted by a dear friend who loves New York City and his East Village address only slightly less than living in Hawaii. We were in capable hands and saw a good many sights and neighborhoods. Once upon a time I didn’t have the desire to visit so large a city for my thought was I would be afraid for my safety in so crowded and urban an environment. I understand now why I would have been in a state of fear had I ever been expected to visit New York City before now. My Sense of Self was not developed enough so I couldn’t feel safe to express myself or explore new territory.

We all have some sense of who we are but the question is where does it come from? What is it based on? Who are we trying to please?

For decades, I have heard that New York was an exciting place to visit, a city that never sleeps, that offers everything for the resident and visitor, and a place that is rich with art, culture, food, music, theater, and more. I wanted none of it, till this year. Previously, about twenty years ago, I visited a friend and her family in upstate New York and loved it for its rolling naturalness. The small town of Rome was walkable and lovely and quaint and safe. The rural New York I imagined living in, tucked away “safely” in a town where I would attend school to get a masters degree in Creative Writing, set up myself to be an editor and write for myself as well. Nice pipe dream, yes it was.

But today in reflecting how I felt about finally going to New York City itself and tackling the subway system, braving the crowded streets, and coping with the summer swelter, I am compassionately laughing at my ridiculous former self; the immature, uncertain and frightened of crowds me that occupied the me I am for 46 years. Somewhere long ago I developed the idea and belief that I wasn’t enough to make it in a big city. I dreaded how it would swallow me up, take advantage of me, leave me fearing for my safety as the sky grew dark.

I didn’t take that kind of attitude to New York with me. I took a strong and curious and enthusiastic person (two of us actually) to New York City and I enjoyed every part of the ride. I enjoyed the occasional racing for the subway, the endless walking, the dodging of oncoming human traffic on sidewalks as well as cabs charging through crosswalks. I enjoyed crowded museums and even a busy urban promenade known as the Highline that were each in their ways an Oasis and Respite from the humming and thrumming city. I appreciated the mixed atmosphere at the 911 Memorial Site honoring the 2900 plus who perished in 2001 and had a chat with the Survivor Tree, “the Callery Pear” that for the last two years has been on site again and had small pears growing in her shimmering branches. I was convinced I could feel heat coming off her as she held the memories of all the lost ones from 2011.

I got a clear message at that site visit that “Life is Precious” and we each deserve to be a full expression of our Selves. Without a Healthy Sense of Self, we don’t live a fully expressed life. We live a life that is for someone else. As the Creator of this theory says without a Sense of Self our own life skips us by. And so I realize being in New York for the first time that I lived for decades without a full natural sense of self. I saw that my daughter of twelve is in touch with her Natural Sense of Self  though that I have encouraged as her mother all her days, AND it really showed up while we were in New York. She was downright fearless most of the time.

She took on understanding the subway system and understood what to watch for within a day. She walked ten feet in front of Nate and I when we were touring neighborhoods and only hung back as the crowds of Time Square got overwhelming for she didn’t want to get separated and lost in the crowd. She enjoyed the buzz and vitality and the never ending activity.

We saw a bus drive by advertising a New York College for Film and TV Acting and she said, “I want to go there!”

I did a double take. “You want to go to school in New York City?”

“Sure, why not?” she said without a moment of hesitation.

“Well then let’s see what that would take,” I replied neutrally.

And on she walked as though she was unstoppable. I felt like crying but I smiled instead. Here was evidence that she was getting to be her own Self and that I was not expecting her to live for me. Or so I chose to interpret this moment.

What being in a big city offered me was a chance to see how much I have restored or discovered my Sense of Self. I am comfortable in my own skin, FINALLY, and so I can be comfortable wherever I am. I need not limit my experiences and I can enjoy myself for the pure sake of it. My young Self was not able to imagine surviving in such a bustling place with so much of everything. My evolved Self saw it as adventure and enjoyable despite the crowds, the heat and the way that natives can disregard you on the sidewalk (smile). In truth, there were plenty of helpful and friendly people and I took it to be a reflection of how I was feeling inside. They were friendly because I was. They were comfortable with me because I was comfortable with me.

*****

I didn’t go to New York with a great list of expectations but I did go with a bucket list of sights to see and experience. The surprise I found waiting for me was how much freedom to be I felt while there: Enjoying all of it with a confidence and Sense of Self that looks forward to returning.

 

TEAM of One

TEAM of OneI was having lunch with a colleague of mine the other day and he asked me how my latest project was going.  After lamenting about how much I have left to accomplish.  I felt compelled to add something that made me feel really strong.  I said, “Never underestimate the power of a great team behind, beside and in front of you.”

As “Father’s Day” has come and gone and I am knee deep into the process of publishing a book based on some of my father’s infinite wisdom he imparted on me when I was young.  I can’t help but think about the day he retired for the last time (and yes, he has retired twice).  I was asked to speak and before I uttered a single word I looked out over the audience and saw the faces of the people my father had touched and those who were with him along the way during this part of his journey.  I’m not sure what possessed me to say this, but as I  thought about him and where I was in life, I said.  “Each of us walks a path that at times that was paved by those who come before us.”

So as I am knee deep into publishing this book I wanted to say “thank you” to everyone who has helped make this dream possible.  Continue reading “TEAM of One” »

For Father’s Day.

Jack Reingold

It is a genuine mind-bender to realize that I am older than most of the photos I have of my father.

This photo was taken when he was 36-38 years old sometime around 1952. I may have been two years old when he worked for Bell Telephone labs in New Jersey. Doesn’t he look good? (I wish I looked as good today.)

It has been 20 years since my dad passed away and I still remember my struggle to come up with a gift, some gesture, some way to honor him each Father’s day. What did he need or want? Another tie? Another wallet? Really?

I couldn’t see giving him yet another object that he really did not need in a color he would never have chosen for himself – and then have to thank me for it.

Eventually, I stopped giving him gifts altogether; when I moved away the best he could hope for was a phone call (if I remembered)

I wish I had his LifeBook here to remember and celebrate him this Sunday.

Offers Paul  (http://www.livinglegacy-lifebook.com/)

 

At Mid-marriage? Opportunity knocking!

You’ve been married for a while, you awake one morning, look over at the other side of the bed and begin to wonder, “Who is that?”

This is a pretty good indication that the two of you have reached “mid-marriage,” the curtain is ready to rise on the next act in your relationship.

If you were to take a marriage and family inventory you would notice that children are mostly grown and flown, the sacrifices you are making on behalf of family and career are growing less valid, and you are seeing renewed availability of time and money to spend on yourselves and on each other.

You have something else as well.

You have an extraordinary opportunity to recreate your marriage and lay a new foundation for the next stage of your relationship.

Mid-marriage is the ideal time to take a moment to:

  • Take a look back at who you have been for each other
  • Acknowledge your achievements
  • Hold a party to celebrate accomplishments
  • Close the book on the past and go on to
  • Lay a new foundation for the next decades of your lives (together or perhaps apart)

Relationship Literacy counseling will support you help you do all of this, and more.

What do you ant, who do you wish to be over the next 20 years of your life?

asks, paul@relationshipliteracy.com

 

Last Night I Dreamed of a Dead Woman from Long Ago

Six nights ago I dreamed about a long-dead friend and have felt obsessed about it ever since. Just finished looking at old pictures of her I found in dusty high school yearbooks. She graduated in June of 1976 a year ahead of me. Her name was Jo Anne.

We didn’t hang out much at all in high school. We became friends many years later after she tracked me down to Richmond, the capital city of Virginia, where I lived and attended grad school in the mid-1980s. She wasn’t my girlfriend. We were never lovers. More like I was her confidante – Continue reading “Last Night I Dreamed of a Dead Woman from Long Ago” »

…but, this is a Love story

I recently sold a condo to a couple, their first home together but, this is a love story.

A true story that got this old dried out sales guy, to well, get all sort of warm and gooey. Kind of resorted my faith in the younger generation, in right wins over wrong and in, yes love.

My buyers were young newlyweds. Not only that but both were foreign born coming from different parts of the old Soviet Union. Both after finishing old world “University” training, had decided to leave the security of their families and move solo to Seattle hoping for the promise of a better life with more opportunity.  Not so very different than many others before them, like my own Pappa who made the trip when only 17.

Traveling so, halfway around the world, they found each other in the very strangely different and wonderful world of Seattle at a coffee bar. Sometimes we locals forget just how lucky we have it and need a fresh view from another’s prospective. A view full of awe and wonder. The same is true of love, after all this is a love story. Continue reading “…but, this is a Love story” »