All posts by Alan

About Alan

64 years old, married-divorced-married, 2 adult children: woman and man. 1 step-son at University. Serial entrepreneur, adventurer, publisher, consultant and facilitator. Facinated by transitions, rites, changes and ceremonies. Initiating into the role of Elder, wanting to work with other Elders to assist men (and the women in their lives) through our life-changes.

7 Retirement Expectations You’re Getting All Wrong

 Much of the focus on retirement planning is centered on finances. While grappling with the question of whether you can afford to stop work, little thought is given to what you will actually do with your days, if you manage it. Here are the seven biggest myths, which lead to retirement dissatisfaction:  http://huff.to/1iew6Ss

1) I’ll spend more time with family and friends.
Well, you may want to spend more time with family and friends, but will they have the time to spend with you? You may have time on your hands, but your friends and family members who work are still on the hectic treadmill you just stepped off of.

It can be a real sticky wicket when it comes to family. Are you sure that your adult daughter and her family really want to come over every Sunday for dinner? And conversely, are you going to feel like an unappreciated and unpaid babysitter when she asks you to pick up the kids after school and take them to dance and soccer practices?

2) I’ll get to do all the things I don’t have time to do now.
Fair enough, but just what are those things? Nothing personal, but your garden plants don’t need you for eight hours a day. And once you binge watch “Breaking Bad” and are all caught up, then what? One of the big things that changes when you no longer go to work each day is that your time becomes unstructured. While that sounds terrific in the abstract and may work for a few in the long run, most people find they are bored. Nobody wants to become that person for whom going to the doctor becomes that day’s principal event.

So how will you fill your days? Be honest. Not everyone has the soul of a volunteer. When people associate their worth with being paid for their skills, it’s often hard for them to feel the benefits of working for free — even if it’s for a good cause. Experts suggest making a list of things you genuinely like to do and think realistically about how much time a week you would want to devote to those things if you had the time. No, you won’t really want to play golf or go fishing all day, every day, even if you think you do now. Make a second list of things you could do: take college courses, start a hobby business, learn some new skills.

3) It’s ideal if both my mate and I can retire at the same time.
That’s a “Whoa Nellie!” After decades of only seeing your spouse mainly on nights and weekends, you probably don’t have much experience with the 24/7 thing. And it’s a doozie, say the experts. “Two-earner couples often haven’t spent that much time together at home because during the day they were both working,” Maximiliane Szinovacz, a gerontology professor at the University of Massachusetts-Boston, said in an interview with U.S. News. “Now that they are both at home, one of the issues becomes how much time to spend together.”

She suggests working it out before you actually retire — and write into the plan some time apart where you each pursue your separate interests.

4) It’s fine if I retire and my mate keeps working.
Not necessarily. If both you and your mate have been working outside the house, you probably have an unspoken division of labor when it comes to household chores and errands. She-cooks-he-cleans-up kind of thing. Nothing builds resentment faster in the still-working mate than when the person who is now at home full-time doesn’t pick up more of the chores. It’s worth having a discussion about — before the situation boils over.

5) I’ll still be important to my work colleagues.
Work friendships are a tricky thing. When what you principally have in common is the job, the friendship is going to change dramatically when you leave the team. For one, you no longer will be in on the day-to-day news of the office. And for another, as your retirement life evolves, you likely will care less about what’s going on at your former company. Gradually, many of those friendships that feel close in the office will drift away. It just happens.

The goal, of course, is that you create another situation that replaces the office. It means getting out more in the community and getting involved with something else — and other people. But relying on the camaraderie of your former officemates is bound to lead to disappointment.

6) My retirement “visual’ is walking hand-in-hand along an exotic beach somewhere.
Wait! Isn’t that the ad for Viagra? While traveling to romantic places is probably on everyone’s short list, don’t kid yourself: Those trips will be few and far between and you should probably be spending more time visualizing what you will do on those days in between trips. How much traveling you actually do will depend on your finances. But as a rule, people on fixed incomes need to make their dollars stretch — and the Great Recession left many midlifers shaking in their boots about their financial security. An Allianz life insurance company study found that 82 percent of respondents ages 44 to 49 with dependents, feared outliving their money more than death. That doesn’t sound like a crowd spending much time at the Four Seasons in Bali, does it?

Finding less expensive ways to travel — home swaps, staying with friends, travel off-season — will enable people to not bury the dream altogether, but having a realistic expectation also helps avoid disappointment.

7) I won’t be alone.
Statistically speaking, if you are a woman you likely will be. According to the Administration on Aging, of the almost 35 million Americans who are age 65 or older, three out of five are women. Projections say that by 2040, there will be 127 women to every 100 men age 65 and older.

So what does this mean except that cruise lines are already hiring “gentleman hosts” to keep the solo-traveling ladies happy? It means that we likely will be forming housing units together, traveling with friends instead of spouses, and relying more on one another to help us through aging’s rough spots.

How will you age?

At 84, Louise Hay is still making a difference about how we see ourselves in old age.

No matter what age we are, we will all grow older. We will also have great control over how we shall age.

What are the things that age us? Certain beliefs about aging, such as the belief that we have to get sick when we get old. The belief in dis-ease. Hating the body. Believing in a lack of time. Anger and hatred. Self-hatred. Bitterness. Shame and guilt. Fear. Prejudice. Self-righteousness. Being judgmental. Carrying burdens. Giving up our control to others. These are all beliefs that age us.

What do you personally believe about aging? Do you look around at the frail and ill and assume that you’ll be that way, too? Do you see poverty among the aging and think that that’s your destiny as well? Do you notice how lonely many older people are and wonder if you will be in the same position?

We don’t have to accept these negative concepts. We can turn all of this around. It doesn’t have to continue to be this way. We can take our power back.

Feeling vital and energetic is much more important than a facial line or two (or even more), yet we’ve agreed that unless we’re young and beautiful, we’re not acceptable. Why would we agree to such a belief? Where did we lose our love and compassion for ourselves and for each other? We’ve made living in our bodies an uncomfortable experience. Each day we look for something that’s wrong with us, and we worry about every wrinkle. This only makes us feel bad and creates more wrinkles. This isn’t self-love. This is self-hatred, and it only contributes to our lack of self-esteem.

What are you teaching your children about aging? What is the example you’re giving them? Do they see a dynamic, loving person, enjoying each day and looking forward to the future? Or are you a bitter, frightened person, dreading your elder years and expecting to be sick and alone? Our children learn from us! And so do our grandchildren.

What kind of elder years do we want to help them envision and create?

We used to live very short lives—first only till our mid-teens, then our 20s, then our 30s, then our 40s. Even at the turn of the century, it was considered old to be 50. In 1900, our life expectancy was 47 years. Now we’re accepting 80 as a normal life span. Why can’t we take a quantum leap in consciousness and make the new level of acceptance 120 or 150 years?!

It’s not out of our reach. I see living much longer becoming normal and natural for most of us in a generation or two. Forty-five used to be middle-aged, but that won’t be true anymore. I see 75 becoming the new middle age (I’m now in my 84th year). For generations, we’ve allowed the numbers that correspond to how many years we’ve been on the planet tell us how to feel and how to behave. As with any other aspect of life, what we mentally accept and believe about aging becomes true for us. Well, it’s time to change our beliefs about aging!

When I look around and see frail, sick, frightened older people, I say to myself, “It doesn’t have to be that way.” Many of us have learned that by changing our thinking, we can change our lives.
I know we can change our beliefs about aging and make the aging process a positive, vibrant, healthy experience.

We can change our belief systems. But in order to do so, we “Elders of Excellence” need to get out of the victim mentality. As long as we see ourselves as being hapless, powerless individuals; and as long as we depend on the government to “fix” things for us, we’ll never progress as a group. However, when we band together and come up with creative solutions for our later years, then we have real power, and we can change our nation and our world for the better.

It’s time for our elders to take back their power from the medical and pharmaceutical industries. They’re being buffeted about by high-tech medicine, which is very expensive and destroys their health. It’s time for all of us (and especially the elders) to learn to take control of our own health. We need to learn about the body-mind connection—to know that what we do, say, and think contributes to either dis-ease or vibrant health.

https://www.facebook.com/louiselhay/posts/10152365547069750

 

The Dangerous Myth of Reinvention

Gary Maxworthy spent three decades in business until a personal tragedy prompted him to reexamine his priorities. He left the corporate world behind, set off to find his true calling, and in the process discovered both a new identity and the path to accomplishing his most important work fighting hunger.

In this telling, Maxworthy is an archetypal example of the reinvention mythology that seems omnipresent today, especially when it comes to those in the second half of life. Self-help columns are packed with reinvention tips. Financial services ads depict beaming boomers opening B&Bs and vineyards. More magazine, that bastion of midlife uplift for women over 40, even sponsored a series of reinvention conventions.

Retirement itself, we’re advised, is being reinvented.

There’s no denying the heroic appeal of the reinvention narrative, especially to 50- and 60-somethings confronting uncharted territory and the imperative to forge ahead with a new chapter. And this notion surely beats the counter-narrative that says you’re washed up at some arbitrary age, your best work behind you with two choices: hanging on or the abyss.

Yet for all its can-do spirit, I’ve come to believe the reinvention fantasy — the whole romance with radical transformation unmoored from the past — is both unrealistic and misleading. I’ll even go further: I think it is pernicious, the enemy of actual midlife renewal.

For the vast majority of us, reinvention is not practical — or even desirable. On a very basic level, it’s too daunting. How many people have, Houdini-like, escaped the past, started from scratch, and forged a whole new identity and life? Sure, it happens — but not often, at least outside of Hollywood.

More troublesome is the underlying assumption that the past — in other words, our accumulated life experience — is baggage to be disregarded and discarded. Isn’t there something to be said for racking up decades of know-how and lessons, from failures as well as triumphs? Shouldn’t we aspire to build on that wisdom and understanding?

After years studying social innovators in the second half of life — individuals who have done their greatest work after 50 —I’m convinced the most powerful pattern that emerges from their stories can be described as reintegration, not reinvention. These successful late-blooming entrepreneurs weave together accumulated knowledge with creativity, while balancing continuity with change, in crafting a new idea that’s almost always deeply rooted in earlier chapters and activities.

That’s a clear lesson inherent in the work of the 430 winners and fellows of the Purpose Prize, an annual award for social entrepreneurs and innovators in the second half of life (sponsored by my organization, Encore.org).  In 2007, Gary Maxworthy was one of them.

As a young man, Maxworthy heard JFK’s call to service and aspired to join the Peace Corps. But practicality intervened: He had a family to support, and put his early dreams on hold to work.  And work he did, for 32 years in the for-profit food distribution business. Then his wife died of cancer. That tragedy forced him to reevaluate his life, particularly how he would spend the coming decades. Maxworthy then joined VISTA, the domestic sister organization of the Peace Corps, which in its wisdom placed Maxworthy in the San Francisco Food Bank.

The food bank, he quickly realized, was only set up to distribute canned and processed foods. Meanwhile, his years in the food business had taught him that an enormous amount of fresh food is discarded daily by growers throughout the state, simply because it is blemished. Drawing on his knowledge of how to distribute large quantities of food in ways that preserved freshness, he launched Farm to Family — which distributes nutritious food, that otherwise would have been thrown out, to food banks in California and elsewhere.

Maxworthy might have been able to do some good as an idealistic young Peace Corps volunteer, but after a significant body of midlife work, he was able to accomplish something truly remarkable, something at the intersection of experience and innovation — qualities long regarded as oxymoronic in nature.  You could say Maxworthy put two and two together, except in this case common sense logic led to something larger: this year Farm to Family distributed over 100 million pounds of food.

I could recount a hundred other tales with essentially the same pattern, and fundamentally the same lessons — tales of reintegration that are not only more pragmatic than the reinvention fantasies but also, to my mind, far more heartening.  They affirm the value of what we’ve learned from life and remind that the seeds of change — even very big change — are often already within us.

Why, then, has the reinvention myth proved so persistent, even as it serves us poorly?  I think the answer lies deep in American character and history. Literary critic R. W. B. Lewis unearthed this cultural vein in his classic 1955 volume, The American Adam.  From the earliest days of the republic, Lewis wrote, Americans were enthralled with the ideal that they could fashion a future liberated from the past. One magazine of the 19th century movement known as Young America wrote, for example, in 1839: “Our national birth was the beginning of a new history … which separates us from the past and connects us with the future only.”

D.H. Lawrence observed in 1923 that glorifying the new and jettisoning the old amounted to “the true myth of America.”  In this narrative, Lawrence writes, America “starts old, old, wrinkled and writhing in an old skin.  And there is a gradual sloughing of the old skin, towards a new youth.”

That perspective has not only influenced our view of youth, but of later life.  The Golden Years retirement mythology was built around the dream of a second childhood, graying as playing. Retirement communities were age segregated not only to avoid school taxes, but somewhat paradoxically, to evade the idea of old age itself.  If everyone was old, then no one was old.

To me that’s the most damaging part of the reinvention mythology: the preoccupation not only with rebirth, but with youth itself, even as it is slipping away. Today 70 is upheld as the new 50, 60 the new 40 or even 30, and 50 practically adolescence.

So as we head into the resolution season, let’s think less about reinvention and more about forging ahead in ways that draw on our accumulated knowledge — what former Alvin Ailey star Elizabeth Roxas-Dobrish describes as “all the things that life has put into you.”

And as the nation enters the year in which the youngest of the boomers will turn 50, and we take another sizable step into the graying century, let’s think about a new myth of America, one that breaks free from the notion of eternal youth, and that learns to appreciate the true value of experience.

by Marc Freedman  |   10:00 AM January 1, 2014    http://encore.org/

The need for a different story of retirement

Retire – the word conjures up a string of endings – and when applied to the end of one’s working life the implication is that we are no longer useful, we have nothing more to contribute, we have no more value that we can add.

  1. to withdraw or go away to a place of privacy, shelter, or seclusion.
  2. to go to bed.
  3. to give up or withdraw from an office, occupation, or career, usually because of age.
  4. to fall back or retreat, as from battle.
  5. to withdraw from view.
  6. to withdraw from circulation by taking up and paying, as bonds or bills.
  7. to withdraw (troops, ships, etc.), as from battle.
  8. to remove from an office or active service, as an army officer.
  9. to withdraw (a machine, ship, etc.) permanently from its normal service.
  10. to put out (a batter, side, etc.).

So – time for a different story – of Eldering rather than Retiring. And where do we find Elders? In the stories of Heroes. Heroes who are guided and mentored by an older, wiser, experienced person. Why have we allowed ourselves to be hidden away in retirement homes when there is such important work for us to do?

The need for a cohesive human connection

The need to move beyond the boundaries of ourselves as individuals and to Bond with a group is so primordial and necessary to humans that it remains the key determinant of whether we remain healthy or get ill, even whether we live or die. It is more vital to us than any diet or exercise programme; it protects us against the worst toxins and the greatest adversity; it is the best drug in the world—even better than diet and exercise.

The Bond we make with a group is the most fundamental need we have because it generates our most authentic state of being: the sense of belonging, of being part of something bigger.

http://www.lynnemctaggart.com/blog/236-the-power-of-connection

Will Boomers collapse the economy or start the next social revolution?

This is the first generation in history looking at a life span of 77.7 years for men and 82.5 years for women. Boomers, renowned for the civil rights movements, are now being called to create a new model for growing older in today’s world.

By 2047, it is estimated that worldwide people over 60 will outnumber those under 15 for the first time in human history. Longevity is changing every aspect of our lives—from relationships within our families to social security, insurance, education and work opportunities. The 2007 UN Report on World Population Aging sees the ‘graying’ of the world’s population as “a major challenge to the intergenerational and intra-generational equity and solidarity that are the foundations of society.”

John L. Hennessy, president of Stanford University, foresees that in the USA, “By 2057, the combined effects of Medicare and Social Security will be equal to the entire tax revenue of the country, assuming that tax revenue grows as fast as GDP.”

According to Professor Robert Saplofsky of Stanford, aging is a rare event in the natural world — and we, as human beings, are both ambivalent and ambiguous about it. He suggests that current options for addressing longevity are either to accommodate things we can’t change or to “rage against the dying of the light.” There are no precedents for dealing with an aging population at the scale we are facing.

So, will Boomers collapse the world economy or start the next social revolution?

In The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who’ve Lived the Longest, researcher Dan Buettner identified five ‘blue zone’ areas around the world where longevity and high levels of happiness co-exist. In these five locations, aging was not automatically equated with disability. Long life was seen as a gift of time and an opportunity to keep contributing wisdom and energy to the community. Common principles for the centenarians included knowing your life’s purpose and creating a healthy social network, especially with younger family members.

Boomers intentionally creating relationships with Millennials could be the key to our future.

According to the PEW report Millennials: A Portrait of Generation Next, the people who passed into adulthood at the turn of the 21st century don’t see their elders as an inconvenience. They respect and appreciate them. They prefer being connected and having a community of support. They interact as partners, listen to their family and friends as their ‘trusted experts’, confidently ask questions and then make choices. A majority of them say Boomers are superior when it comes to moral values and work ethic. They know that, as their elders age, they may not contribute in the same ways to their lives, but they do want them to contribute nonetheless.

The challenge is that Boomers, on the other hand, were brought up to be self-sufficient and independent. They don’t necessarily expect younger generations to listen to them or to want to collaborate with them.

There is an opportunity for Boomers to have a different relationship with their children than the relationship they had with their parents. Boomers may want to consider shifting their understanding of and relationship to aging and intentionally sharing their wisdom—their perspective, their experience and the best of who they are—in a way that brings out the best in younger generations. Boomers can learn a new way of eldering families and communities such as proposed through the ‘Older to Elder’ organization.

Using our extra years wisely isn’t just about us. Boomers are the role models younger generations have for growing older. In partnership with the Millennials, Boomers could help create a world that is just as responsive to the needs of the very old as the very young. The gift of longevity may actually be an opportunity for us to start the next social revolution, to turn the tide toward a more environmentally sustainable, socially just and life-enhancing future.

© 2011 Shae Hadden. All rights reserved.
http://theelder.squarespace.com/blog/2011/4/13/will-boomers-collapse-the-economy-or-start-the-next-social-r.html

A changing vision of retirement

How is it going to be for you when you retire? What are you going to have to let go of? It could be any or all of – being needed at the office, your status, your authority, your social group, getting a regular salary, believing that you are immortal. Unless you let go of stuff – you are stuck.

It’s one thing letting go of stuff – but where does that leave you? Without your stuff, who are you? You may find that much of what you know about yourself came from what your parents, your schooling, your career and your society has told you – what is good, what is bad, what is right, what is wrong –  some of those beliefs may be very limiting. So we need to go within to discover who the real me is.

Then you need to create a vision for your retirement. Most of the rules have changed. The current models around retirement are out-dated and don’t apply to a new generation who, rather than seeing retirement as a winding down, see a world of opportunity in their 3rd age.

On average retirement has extended from 10 – 15 years to 20 – 25 years. We have an extra 10 – 15 years of old age and that has some major implications for us.

  •  Our physical state in that extra old age– will, to a large extent, be a consequence of what we are doing now – a no exercise, bad diet lifestyle will translate into ill-health and lack of mobility later – unless your name is Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones. The good news is – 50% of all health conditions in old age are lifestyle related – so we can eliminate those conditions by changing our lifestyle now.
  • Related to this is alcohol abuse – when the days stretch out before us, it’s easy for that sundowner to turn into sundowners and a beer at lunch-time can turn into a party.
  • The incidence of Alzheimers increases rapidly as we age but mental stimulation and exercise – like learning a new language or following a new intellectual interest,  stimulates new neural pathways and reduces the onset. Basically use it or lose it!

We are the Baby-Boomers – those people born between 1946 and 1961. We are the most goal directed, action orientated generation to have graced and disgraced the planet. For us, what we are going to do when we’ve got nothing to do, is a real issue. Research at Boeing and elsewhere shows that our post-retirement life expectancy drops when we have no sense of purpose, and it drops from 20 years to less than 3 – we die of boredom. So what will give our life meaning in retirement?

Related to this is the world’s need for Elder Wisdom. We need to step up as society’s moral compass – and we can do that by holding the question “But should we?” We have the technology to keep someone alive on life support for years – but should we? It is interesting that Norway called upon a group of elderly philosophers, not economists, to advise them on what to do with their wealth from North Sea oil – and we can see Desmond Tutu’s influence in world affairs as Chair of  The Elders.

International travel – the up-side is that we have the opportunity to travel to all the magical places we have ever dreamed of. The down-side is that our kids are scattered all over the world. So where are we going to live in retirement. Moving will take us away from things that are familiar and away from friends – and….

Loneliness – is a killer – Do you see friends at least once a week – do you have an active circle of friends or have you been so busy at work that you don’t have time? How’s your relationship with family – not just your kids and grand-kids;  siblings, cousins and random other relatives? They are your ultimate support structure – and we all have branches of the family that don’t speak to each other. Retirement is an opportunity to fix that.

The nature of grand-parenting is changing – we used to be a ready source of baby-sitting, knitted socks and grumpy ol’ gran’-dads. Not any more – we’ve got places to go – things to do! And  our kids get pissed off when we’re not available for baby-sitting every Friday night.

Your relationship with your spouse – for most of us that relationship is based on a 4 hour day – 1 hour in the morning while we are getting dressed for work and 3 hours in the evening over dinner and our favourite TV programmes. What is going to happen when that increases to 16 hours? We have to re-negotiate our relationship – what will be the balance of ME and WE time? And there is another issue. Baby boomer men are looking forward to working less, relaxing more, and spending more time with their wife. Baby boomer women view the liberations of an empty nest and retirement as new opportunities for career development, community involvement and continued personal growth – so we are going in opposite directions.

We remain sexual beings, but performance changes so it essential for us to talk about sex. If you are single, divorced or widowed take care. Retirees have one of the fastest growing incidences of STDs in any population group. As a generation we didn’t really use condoms, we had the pill and anyway, since menopause condoms weren’t necessary. But AIDS hadn’t been invented when we were young and now, kids use condoms to protect themselves from STDs – we need to do the same!

Last one – how do you want to die?  In Florida, the US retirement state, 50% of old people die in ICU. With good medical cover we are going the same way. Is that how you want to die? If you don’t, prepare a Living Will – and appoint someone to talk for you if you cannot talk for yourself, and specify what you want that person to say.

Retirement isn’t for sissies.   This transition is a biggie and with change of this magnitude, often comes depression. We all know someone who knows someone who went into a deep spiral shortly after they retired. We need to recognise the signs and get professional help. But, get all this right and we have an opportunity to live the life we’ve only been able to dream of.

 

A New Retirement for our modern age.

You might have been the CEO of a multinational, or a teacher who impacted the lives of thousands of children, an entrepreneur who created employment for hundreds of people or a loyal employee who made a point of providing superior service to colleagues and customers – and now “retirement“ is telling you that you no longer have anything of value to add. “Step aside ‘granddad’, let the whizz kids through!”

We’ve been having the wrong conversation about retirement.

Our conversation has been about the money and how we are going to sit back and enjoy our retirement years – but there is so much more we should be talking about.

First, we need to define our purpose in this, our 3rd age of our life. What contribution will we make, what legacy do we want to leave, how do we want to be remembered?

Second, we need to design our retirement to meet that purpose – from where we live, to how we spend our time. Do we want to travel, study, start a new venture? How do we stay fit and healthy, what lifestyle behaviours do we need to change or adopt? And if our Pension is insufficient, how do we fund the things we want to do?

So retirement is no longer sitting back and watching the world roll by – it is about creating a life-style that makes a difference and brings us joy and fulfilment.

How is our retirement going to be different to that of our parents?

Retirement has evolved – until the early 1800s there was no concept of retirement. You worked until you dropped or until you were too weak to be useful. Then you died.

With the Industrial revolution came the idea of pensioning off the older employees to create opportunities for younger ones to move up the ladder. If one is cynical, it also got rid of less productive older people. They then had a few years of “settling back”. Then they died.

Since the 1970s our parents went into retirement. They were funded by generous pension funds, had enjoyed a life of more income than expenditure and they lived for 15 or more years post-retirement. For them the dreams of travel to exotic places, leisure time to enjoy their grandchildren and following their hobbies, was a reality. And if you couldn’t afford all of that, it was understood that you would sit in the sun and enjoy your twilight years. Then you died.

The fourth age of retirement has just begun. The Baby-Boomers are starting to retire – (2011 was the first year of Boomer retirement) – we are the generation that created the world the way we now find it – both good and bad. We have been a goal orientated, driven, take-no-prisoners generation and, with modern medicines and treatments we are likely to live ‘till 90!

So what does this New Retirement look like?

The most significant change is an internal one –to create a life of purpose. If you live for only 5 years post-retirement, golf every day is a very attractive option. If you live for 25 years post-retirement, golf isn’t going to sustain you. So the question is  – “What is going to get me out of bed every day and what is going to fill those hours before I get back into bed?”

Related to this is another question – “How do I add value? One way is to keep on working. Another is to be of service. Depending on your circumstances this could be paid or unpaid. For some, payment might come through consulting, for others, through a hobby or skill that has developed over the years. For those who don’t need payment, their value may come through volunteering or charity work. Already, retirees add Billions to world economies. And for the rich, there is philanthropy.

What will be my legacy?

That legacy can be tangible, in the form of a trust or a foundation. It can be in the form of support for others and the creation of a better life for one or for many. Or it can be intangible – and therein lies our greatest value – to demonstrate a different way of being in the world.

In the world we have created, there is poverty, greed, corruption, starvation, slavery and every kind of human misery. There is climate change, pollution, resource depletion and waste. Family is under threat with absentee fathers, ill disciplined youth, drug abuse and violence. All this, in the name of growth and increased consumption – driven by our Ego! To be better than the Joneses, to have the latest, the best, the most.

But for our generation, our need for Ego-pimping is over – if it ain’t pimped now it’s never going to be. We’ve made our mark, demonstrated that we can make things happen, so we don’t have to prove anything.

We have a different role to play. In Aboriginal society the Elders hold the wisdom of the tribe, they are the mediators and its moral compass and they carry the power of ‘blessing’. It isn’t that they “do” things, they simply hold the energy of the tribe by who they are Being.

So who do our modern-day Elders have to be to halt the madness and turn things around? At one level, we need to sit at the side of the next generation of “movers and shakers” – we need to hold the question “Just because we are clever enough to do something, should we – is that the best way?”

Then at the micro level, if each one of us gave our fullest attention to our grandchildren, if each one of us listened to the needs of a single mother trying to bring up her children, if each one of us used our connections and influence to bring awareness to our politicians and business leaders, if each one of us held our leaders accountable for their actions –  and we gave them our blessing, then we are modern Elders and we can bring hope to our communities.

So the big question is “how do I Be that?”

That is the conversation we need to be having about retirement!

Alan Maguire September 2013

How to Prevent Memory Loss, Alzheimer’s/Dementia, and Parkinson’s Disease

The primary cause is brain Inflammation caused by Free Radical Damage

Free radicals are highly reactive, sub-microscopic particles that bounce around inside your cells like red-hot coals, burning everything they touch. In the beginning, the damage they do is small and insignificant. But over time, if free radical activity goes unchecked, the cells’ function becomes impaired. It’s a lot like water dripping on a stone, slowly and continually chipping away at it.

The Triggers for Brain Inflammation and Free Radical Generation Include . . .

  • Pesticides and herbicides
  • Harmful ingredients in foods and beverages
  • Toxic metals in the air, water, and consumer products
  • Various sugars and sugar substitutes
  • Omega-6 fats

Parkinson’s disease is caused by brain inflammation, specifically by an intense activation of the brain’s immune cells, the “microglia.” What causes an over-activation of the microglia? Mostly,  infections, trauma, obesity, ingestion of certain harmful ingredients in processed foods, and exposure to toxic metals, pesticides and herbicides.

  • Unfortunately, it’s difficult to avoid exposure to pesticides. You can avoid spraying your home, and buy certified organic produce. Or, if buying regular produce, wash it thoroughly before eating.
  • A good way to go is to take some natural supplements as well as antioxidants to neutralize the free radicals and avoid the flavour enhancer monosodium glutamate (MSG), and the artificial sweetener Aspartame. Your safest route is to eat fresh, natural foods, rather than processed packaged foods.
  • If you use fluoridated water or toothpaste, even in small amounts, it will increase your aluminium absorption and trigger a dramatic destruction of the same brain cells we see destroyed in Alzheimer’s patients. Mercury is also highly toxic to your brain and immune system, and it’s the main ingredient in amalgam dental fillings. If you still have this type of filling, see a qualified dentist for their proper removal and replacement. And stop getting vaccines, especially flu shots, which contain mercury.
  • Cut back on sugars and fats, and high-glycemic carbohydrates, such as white bread, white rice, white potatoes, pasta, cakes, cookies, and chips and maintain regular Vitamin D and Vitamin B-12 intake
  • Omega-6 oils are widely used in cooking, baking, and salad dressings. Here are the ones to avoid: Soybean Oil, Sunflower Oil, Canola Oil, Safflower Oil, Corn Oil, Peanut Oil. The effects of Omega-6 oils can be offset by Omega-3 oil in modern cod liver oils, Just one tablespoon of high quality cod liver oil a day, will give you a big boost in brain protection by reducing inflammation.

Exercise – but don’t over-exercise

While a complete lack of exercise can cause many health problems, numerous studies have shown that moderate exercise, such as a brisk 30-to-40-minute walk every other day, is protective against Alzheimer’s/dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases.

What’s also protective is to exercise your brain by reading, writing, memorizing facts, and participating in mental-skill games such as bridge, chess, or crossword puzzles.

Why Too Much Togetherness Can Ruin Retirement

In general, spouses in their 50s and 60s are much more adventurous than previous generations have been, as well as much more independent and comfortable with change. They have fewer rules about everything. They are less judgmental, and more accepting of people who are different from the norm.

It should be no surprise, then, that couples in retirement are becoming less tied to each other, and more interested in parallel play. That model meets our needs for both freedom and involvement and is quickly becoming the system in which many older adults are thriving.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324879504578601912107485252.html