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

 

 

Gun violence clues lie in early childhood nurturance and neglect

So long as we dwell on red herring surface issues such as gun control, the underlying issues can never be addressed.

Has anyone noticed that none of the shooters are female?

Rather than rehash old arguments regarding gun control and mental health availability, maybe we should look into how we raise and nurture our sons, our male children in this country such that some of them explode into violence.

A late teacher of mine, Charlie Kreiner, once asked us a question I will never ever forget,

“What do you have to do to a male child such that he will agree to kill and be killed in the name of masculinity?”

I ask: “How do we engage with our adorable, delicious, joyous, and loving male children such that they grow up to perpetrate domestic violence and become killers?”

I suggest that there is a clear connection between gender-related nurturance neglect, developing emotional numbness, and the capacity of any individual to perpetrate violence.

Evidence is emerging in neuroscience literature. Watch and listen to neuroscientist VS Ramachandran speak in the TED Talk The Neurons that Shaped Civilization.

The roots of our capacity to empathize lie in early childhood and in the manner we as young children are treated, or not.

We learn that young children are born with an enormous capacity to mimic, mirror, and to reliably reproduce the world they experience. But the number of mirror motor neurons shrinks by about four years of age and their capacity to learn shrinks as well.

Emotionally neglected children do not develop into adults who have the capacity to feel the consequences of their actions.

It is impossible to feel the pain of another if your capacity to feel at all is stunted or missing altogether. Sometimes it looks like the violence perpetrated on elementary school children; other times it looks like domestic violence in the home.

Gun control is a red herring. The clues to the origins of gun violence lie in early childhood nurturance and neglect of children.

Do You Practice Life-Long Learning?

Learning in encore yearsWhat will your identity be when you leave your full time work world and enter into the encore stage of your life? This stage of life gives baby boomers an opportunity to branch out and explore new ways of being and doing during their retirement years.

One support for clarifying your new identity is life-long learning. If you were totally immersed in your professional world, the learning you experienced over the years may have been focused on acquiring work-related knowledge, skills and abilities. How will learning manifest in your retirement lifestyle?

Expand your expertise

You can build on the expertise that you already have, as well as explore new learning topics, resulting in numerous benefits. Should you want to take another form of employment or volunteerism, you may need to update your skills in order to be relevant and successful. Perhaps you have always wanted to learn about a particular subject and never took the time to do so while you were working. If you plan to travel, you may want to learn a new language that could make your travel experience richer.

There are other benefits you can receive from learning new subjects. Brain science is learning more and more about how learning stimulates the brain cells and can slow the aging process. When you learn about new subjects, you can also become a more interesting conversationalist. And, in the learning process, you will meet new, like-minded people.

Share your expertise

Your encore stage of life is a prime time to share your existing expertise, as well as your newly acquired knowledge. You can teach the subject matter to others, either in the form of employment or as a volunteer. As you teach, you continue to learn more about the subject as well as yourself and interacting with others. Lastly, you will leave a legacy of the value of your expertise with others who learn from you.

How to enhance your expertise

There are numerous ways to refine what you already know and learn about new subjects that fit your retirement lifestyle, such as:

  • Online learning
  • Universities, colleges, community colleges
  • Professional associations
  • Centers for life-long learning
  • Government agencies

How will life-long learning enrich your retirement lifestyle?

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.

Discover Your Family Treasure

Stories of familyThe encore years of life offer Baby Boomers a time for reflection and conversations to discover valuable family stories. When you uncover the stories you hold for your own life you create greater awareness of how you fit into your family. And, when you share your stories with others in your family, you expand their perspective of their own lives, as well as of the family as a whole.

Reflections on your own life stories can help you design your retirement lifestyle. What do you remember as the most important? Are there any repetitive themes? How can they inform your choices for the next stage of your life?

Discovery Process

There are many ways you can discover your family treasures, including:

  • Journals and diaries that you and others have kept, or currently write.
  • Asking other relatives what they remember about events that you remember – their memories may be illuminating.
  • Allow other relatives to interview you with their own questions which you may never have thought of.
  • Record your discoveries to share in the future by writing them down, or by making audio or video recordings.

Sharing Your Stories

Family members may think they know each other well when they have grown up together. Other relatives may know each other superficially because they see each one another infrequently. Instead of keeping conversations on a mundane level, I encourage you to share the wisdom you have accumulated throughout your life when you reach your retirement years. Your stories will allow others of all generations to know and appreciate you more. Your perspectives on life can inform family members of new ways of experiencing life.

Throughout the ages, and in other cultures, the wisdom of the elders has been highly regarded. I recommend that you gather your own stories and the stories of your family and actively keep them alive by sharing them with one another often.

What family treasures will you discover in your encore years?

Janice Williams, Retirement Coach, www.welcomingretirement.com

Pearl Harbor memories

Where you, your parents or grandparents on the Day of Infamy?

Nothing would ever be the same after that day, December 7, 1941, the day Imperial Japanese airplanes attacked U.S. naval fleets and air force bases in Hawaii.

That day, that would be known as Pearl Harbor Day would be remembered as the day our nation’s view of itself and of its role in the world altered forever and laid the groundwork for the world we know today.

Before the end of the Second World War ended, millions of American would be drafted to serve in the American armed forces and citizens everywhere would join together to support a national war effort.

And it all began seventy-two years ago this week, December 7th, 1941.

How long did it take them to learn of the attack in the days before television and Internet?  How were their lives affected? Did your family plant a Victory garden,  collect tin foil, or participate in scrap drives for the war effort? Do they remember rationing? How did rationing affect your family and community?

Use can ask these questions and find other questions like these on the Memoriesbroughttolife website. Use them as a guide to uncover your parents or grandparents memories of that historic day. These 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 those who not only remember December 7th 1941, but who actually lived through that historical day.

Kennedy assassination memories: Where were you that day?

November 22, 1963 was the day that changed the history of our nation, much as the events of September 11, 2001 did thirty-eight years later.

It was the day that President John F. Kennedy was shot while riding in a motorcade with First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy and Texas Governor John Connally in Dallas Texas.

I was only thirteen years old standing up in the eighth grade English class of Junior High School 145 in New York when the announcement came out over the school public address system that our president had been shot. It was a moment that is forever etched in my memory.

Where were you; where were they the day President John F. Kennedy was shot?

Use the complimentary templates you will find there as a guide to recover and record how you, your parents or grandparents experienced the day President Kennedy was shot, how it changed our nation, our families and communities and add them to your personal Living Legacy Lifebook.

Design Your Encore Years

Unfolding encore yearsWhen you search the Internet for information related to retirement lifestyle planning, what words do you enter into the search boxes?

There are many terms that have been used to describe the age range of 50-75, such as midlife, retirement, old age.

Because people are living healthier, longer lives that ever before, many of these terms no longer seem to adequately describe this stage of life. In the beginning of our lives, we have terms like childhood and adolescence that designate specific age ranges. Why not create a new term for this new stage of life?

With so many Baby Boomers living longer, active lifestyles during the years often known as retirement, it is time to create a new standard term for this period of life that is more positive than retirement which means to withdraw.

Marc Freedman has been championing the use of the term encore years to designate the years between midlife and old age. These are years when you can leverage your knowledge, wisdom, and expertise to live your own fulfilling life, make a contribution that is beneficial to society, and leave a legacy of your choice.

Freedman’s two books, Encore and The Big Shift, include inspiring case studies of people who have applied their life experiences in new ways to help solve some of society’s greatest challenges after they left their full time work world. For more information, please refer to his web site, Encore.org.

I support Freedman’s use of the term encore years to designate the emerging gift of additional active life. Let’s retire the word retirement and all the others so that everyone can look forward to and engage in this vibrant stage of life, rather than feel overwhelmed by the unknown future. You can design your own fulfilling lifestyle in your encore years, which may include continuing to work full time or part time, volunteering full time or part time, a combination of enjoying making a contribution along with living at a more leisurely pace. This stage of life is new, free of prescribed roles and responsibilities. It is your unique time to thrive.

Again, when you search the Internet for information related to retirement lifestyle planning, what words do you enter into the search boxes? Next time, include the term encore years.

Janice Williams, Retirement Coach, www.welcomingretirement.com

For These Gifts, I Am Thankful

Raging storms
That shift minds
And open hearts
Snowflakes falling
Family texting
Simply saying
I’m safe, we’re fine
 
A lingering hug
A loving look
A soul shouting
A kindness
A touch

Drifting to sleep, unencumbered
Chasing fears back under the bed
Waking to whispers, uncharted
Wonder unfiltered, explorer of moments
Dreams forming, shaping futures
Grateful moments, amidst challenging times
Grasping, reaching, achieving, and growing 

In all ways, always growing

Joni Kovarik | www.bizdevbiz.com