From my Point of View

It's Lonely up Here!

I  have been a professional counselor for more than 20 years.  Lately I’ve seen more and more clients presenting with issues related to aging.  Some are reinventing themselves as they transition into retirement or are just beginning encore careers.  Some are struggling with grief after the death of a spouse.  Others are reeling from the shock of an unexpected divorce they didn’t see coming.  I see those who are overburdened with the responsibilities of caring for dependent loved ones and the awful guilt they experience when they privately admit their feelings about the situation.  I know there are many of us boomers in the same boat. 

The media ads would have us believe that the boomer boat resembles a large private yacht where fit, tanned and beautiful people stand with the wind in their abundant manes of hair while looking adoringly at each other as they bask in a Caribbean sunset.

Reality check.

This blog is for those of us who did not climb to the pinnacle, literally or figuratively.

Those of us who did not win marathons—or much of anything else.

Those of us who still have some disappointments and even shame when we look back and some fears when we look forward.

Those of us who worry about running out of money before we run out of time.

Those of us who are caring for parents or spouses and who have nightmares about the time we might become dependent on others.

Those of us who are reinventing ourselves either by choice or necessity.


“If you light a lamp for someone else it will also brighten your own path.”

—Buddha


Mike and I once spent 6 months cruising the Gulf coast in our sailboat.  It was a wonderful experience but one of the best things about it was the other cruisers we met along the way.  It was common practice for people sailing one direction to swap charts with people going the way they had come.  We’d spend hours listening to each other’s stories and gathering advice about what to expect along the way. That’s my vision for this blog.  I want it to be a place for real people to share knowledge and life experiences.  The key word is share. I want to know what you want to talk about so I’m asking for your input.

Tell me the topics that are of the most interest to you.  Just 1 or 2 words in the comment section will do but if you’re inclined to write more I won’t mind a bit!  I dislike having to register for blogs because my e-mail inbox begins filling up with spam so I’ve made it easy for you by not requiring you to enter your e-mail to leave comments.  But if you should decide to register so you’ll get updates I’ll make this pledge: I promise you will never see anything from me in your inbox unless you’ve asked for it.  And you won’t be hearing from advertisers, either.  This is our blog and I want to be as much a part of the community as anyone else.

So what do you want to talk about?  Don’t leave me out on this ledge alone. Let’s hear it!

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

13 thoughts on “From my Point of View

  1. finances and medical issues seems to be the heaviest burden. It’s hard to not panic but of course panic doesn’t help much unless you needed some motivation!!!!!

    • Thanks for your comment, Brenda, and I agree, these issues are huge, especially because there are so many more variables for us to think about than there have ever been in the past. I’ll be talking about both of these topics soon so I hope you’ll stay tuned.

  2. I found that everyday is Saturday at my house. And that’s a problem when I’m still pursuing freelance writing. So, I’d like to hear your spin on that one, Janet. Thanks!

    • I’d be delighted to keep you in the loop, Ingrid. Just go to the home page to sign up and you’ll receive my monthly newsletter. And no spam from advertisers ever, I promise.
      Glad to have you with us!

  3. Thank heaven this blog will be different from the financial planners’ ads on TV! I am enjoying spending a few years leading up to retirement just learning to appreciate what I DO have. It’s said that true contentment is wanting what you have. So I hope through your blog, Janet, we can all learn to design our own unique ways to retire!

    • I agree, Amy. This is definitely not going to be our parent’s retirement! I hope this blog will be a useful forum for those of us trying to navigate new territory. Thanks for your comment and I’ll look forward to your input in the continuing conversation.

  4. Hi Janet-

    I have several things on my mind today.

    I’ve considered selling my house so I can travel around the country. What are your thoughts on owning a home -vs- renting?

    Do you have suggestions for women traveling alone in the US, Latin America and Europe?

    Thanks.

    Linda

    • Wow, good questions, Linda! Traditionally we have been taught that home ownership provides security in later years but after the recent real estate collapse we see that isn’t necessarily so. Our economics and our expanded life spans are creating some interesting new trends–like shared housing (especially among women) and co-op neighborhoods. I plan to do some future posts on these options and would love to hear from anyone currently living this way. Our bonus years have given us more opportunities for adventures, too, so I say go for it. I’ve known a number of women who say they have met interesting people and had the best trips of their lives traveling alone. There’s an abundance of articles and blogs that share safety tips and advice for women traveling alone. Just Google “solo travel for women” and you’ll find all you can read. Be safe and have fun!

  5. My husband and I are searching for a community in the south central area that would be appropriate for someone who wants to be able to walk to the grocery store, shops, restaurants, etc. We want to be in a neighborhood with public transportation to theaters, hospitals, doctors, etc. We would like a “walkable” downtown area. A community that has other “older” residents that can form a friendship circle to support each other and watch out for one another. We would like to have this place for our later retirement years. We wonder why more developers are not looking at this type of community for the future aging population with smaller homes and little to no exterior maintenance.

    • Excellent question, Irene, and I wonder the same thing. I miss sidewalks! Unfortunately there seem to be very few walkable cities in the south–we do love our cars down here. I think it’s a positive sign that people are talking about walkable communities, though. Maybe the developers will take notice. If anyone knows about a good walkable community in the south, please share it with the rest of us.

      There are some other interesting housing alternatives that seem to be growing such as the Village Movement that began in the Beacon Hill neighborhood in Boston. There’s an interesting article on this topic on the Next Avenue site: Village Movement. The tiny house movement is growing as people want to downsize. AARP has more on that at Tiny Houses Good luck in your search!

  6. My husband and I were having a wonderful time in early retirement. I taught high school and had to be at work by 6:30, and he was up at 5:00 headed to the airport for some destination related to his job every Monday working his way home by Friday. We couldn’t wait to have fun times. We liked socializing with friends, golfing with buddies, traveling with family, and boating with boating friends. That all came to a halt when he was diagnosed with early Onset Alzheimer’s at sixty two. Friends began to disappear, family rarely call, and of course the boat he loved was sold. At first, I became angry about everything. Now, I am just sad….for him…for me. I am not throwing in the towel, though. I keep pushing him and trying new things. We have a very small circle of friends who continue to invite us over, take us to dinner,and keep him as engaged as possible. If you know someone in our shoes, stay present in their lives. I understand that people just don’t know what to do to help. As we all age, it is quite likely that we will need a helping hand. The Golden Rule is everlasting and always applicable.

    • The Alzheimer’s Association reports 47 million people worldwide are afflicted with Alzheimer’s and they predict that number to rise to 76 million by 2030. Last year more than 15 million caregivers provided an astonishing 18.1 billion hours of unpaid care. June is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. I encourage everyone to reach out, get involved and if you know someone struggling with this terrible disease, remember the Golden Rule. Thank you for sharing your story with us, my friend.

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