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Book Giveaway: Jackpot Summer by Elyssa Friedland

jackpot summer

by Leslie Farin

This month’s pick of the month from Andrea Peskind-Katz from GREAT THOUGHTS, GREAT READERS is Jackpot Summer by Elyssa Friedland.

Skip directly to the ENTRY FORM for the Book Giveaway. 

What is Jackpot Summer About?

The story begins with four siblings uniting to help their father pack up their cherished summer beach house at the Jersey shore one year after their mother passes. They are sad to see the house sold considering the many summers they spent there as a family, though understand why their father wants to sell it. He wants to simplify his life and move to a retirement home in Florida. While sorting through the memories, three of the four siblings make a casual decision to go in on a lottery ticket together. They never thought they would win, but, to everyone’s surprise, they did. Suddenly, life changed, as did connections between the family members. 

We follow the characters, Laura, Mathew, Sophie, and Noah, as they navigate their “new normal”. The lottery win leads to a multitude of changes, both good and bad. Life becomes easier, but not necessarily better, and none of them manages their money particularly wisely. The windfall affects everything; family relationships, friendships, living situations, and more. As they say, money can’t buy happiness.

One thing that did not change was how much each sibling misses the loving guidance of their mother, who was the glue that held the family together. Despite their differences, they are close to each other and determined to stay connected through text chains and family gatherings. Without their mom to mediate family relationships, they learn to communicate more honestly and openly. As a result, they get to know each other better. They also each work to forge a new relationship with their father, Leo, as he embarks on this new phase of his life without his beloved wife, and ultimately helps pull the family together. 

My Review of Jackpot Summer

jackpot summer

Elyssa Friedland writes wonderful books about messy and relatable families. She develops the characters well, telling the story from the differing perspectives of various family members. Jackpot Summer is a fun read. It’s an entertaining book that made me laugh out loud, especially when reading the text conversations. However, it also explores much deeper topics that the title and book cover suggest. 

Friedland writes about grief in this story and how it affects the various family members. Though the story depicts the mother as bossy and opinionated, she is also loving and wise. I appreciate the honest way the author described her, noting both her good qualities and bad as none of us are perfect. In this case, she was the matriarch of the family to whom the rest turned for advice. She also mediated disagreements between siblings, and between the children and their dad; they had to learn to find ways to solve their own issues once she was gone. Her passing left a big hole that perhaps can’t be filled, but, as we saw in this story, the remaining family can make it a priority to stick together and create new memories and traditions. Those of us who lost our mothers can likely relate to how life changes when they pass. 

In addition to missing their mother, the siblings grieve the family life they once knew when their father moves to Florida. They did not know their father, Leo, as an individual with his own needs; they only knew him as their dad. And they interpret his lifestyle changes, which include pickleball and dating, to indicate he moved on and doesn’t care as much about their family. The children eventually realize this is not the case, but not without some hard work and difficult conversations.

It’s also clear from this story that though more money is nice, it doesn’t solve all our problems. In fact, it creates other problems. Laura uses the money to move to a nicer home in a more upscale area in New Jersey but is bored and misses her friends. Sophie learns her boyfriend thought her newfound money could help his career and left her when it didn’t. Noah mismanages his money and finds that people take advantage of him. Mathew, who was given a portion of the lottery winnings, was already wealthy but realizes he is unhappy in his all-consuming high-paying job that keeps him from spending time with his family. With the help of their father, the four Jacobson children learn that money and nice things aren’t what’s most important in life, it’s family. 

Conclusion

Jackpot Summer is a delightful fun summer read. It’s a quick read, hilarious in parts, and a perfect beach read. The book explores family dynamics, difficult life struggles, growth and change. It talks about the importance of communication to forging good relationships. I enjoyed Jackpot Summer and highly recommend it!

Enter Our Drawing for a Free Copy of Jackpot Summer

Entry Form

Please enter by 8/15/2024. (NOTE: If for some reason the form is not working for you, please EMAIL ME with your name, email, city, and state and I will enter you in the drawing!)


Submit this form by midnight on AUGUST 15, 2024, to enter the drawing to win one copy of this book title. One person will be chosen randomly. Books can be sent to U.S. or Canadian addresses only. (We will ask for the physical address of the winner once chosen so we can send the book).

About the Author: Elyssa Friedland

Elyssa Friedland, Photo © Lucia Engstrom.edited

Elyssa Friedland is the acclaimed author of Last Summer at the Golden Hotel, The Floating FeldmansThe Intermission, and Love and Miss Communication. Elyssa is a graduate of Yale University and Columbia Law School and currently teaches novel writing at Yale. She lives with her husband and three children in New York City, the best place on earth.

About Andrea Peskind Katz from Great Thoughts, Great Readers

great thoughts, great readersAndrea Peskind Katz runs Great Thoughts, Great Readers, a Book Salon presented via her private FB group where approximately 5,000 prolific readers and authors interact. To quote Robert Frost, she created her “second act” career to “unite my avocation and my vocation”. After 20 years in high-pressure sales, Andrea retired to spend time doing what she loves best: hanging with her family and reading good books.

 

 

Taking the “Foreign” Out of Retiring in a Foreign Country: Daily Life

daily life abroad

By Edd and Cynthia Staton

“So what do you do all day?”

Over our many years as expats, the question we’ve been asked more than any other is, “So what do you do all day?” Since our lives aren’t all that fascinating we’ve come to realize that what people really want to know is, “What would I do all day??” We understand.

It’s hard to picture what day-to-day life looks like in a foreign country with no clear frame of reference.

Reality Check

Just like you, we go to bed, wake up, shower, brush our teeth, wash and dry clothes, make shopping lists, go to the grocery store, prepare meals and clean up dishes. One’s daily life abroad is pretty much the same as it would be in the U.S.

However, while some parts of living abroad are similar, other parts are very different. Consider the local background noise. Loud parties sometimes go on all night. You may regularly hear dogs bark, roosters crow, and cows moo. Products you take for granted aren’t available. Customer service, well, let’s politely say isn’t what you’re used to. Appointments are actually suggestions.

Once you hang in there awhile, all these once “foreign” situations become part of your “new normal.” But whether you retire abroad or stay right where you are, you still have 24 hours to fill every day. Here are some thoughts about what successful expats do to create a fulfilling daily life:

Making Friends

While living “off the grid” is certainly an option, most people find comfort in being part of a community. For this reason, retirees generally choose locations with established expat communities when they move out of the country. Old timers who remember their challenges adjusting to a new environment are happy to help newbies with advice and recommendations. Initial friendships come easily since everyone, regardless of socioeconomic status or political affiliation, shares a common bond—we’re expats and we live here together!

Our first two years in Cuenca were almost a non-stop party. We said to each other, “We’re acting like we’re in our 20s. And we didn’t act like this when we were in our 20s!” But you don’t have to become party animals. The point is, as an expat you are blessed with the option to be as social as you choose.

Volunteering

Thankful for their newfound financial freedom and release from stress, many expat retirees choose to give back through volunteer work in their new home abroad. Opportunities to do so abound, as many of the most popular destinations overseas are in developing nations where the time, knowledge, and monetary support of volunteers are sorely needed and deeply appreciated.

Orphanages, facilities for disabled children or battered women, and soup kitchens are just a few of the possibilities. One expat couple we know founded a nonprofit foundation to empower local nonprofits to reach their unique goals through workshops and mentorship. Another couple created a nonprofit to provide medical services to impoverished children throughout Ecuador.

Revisit Hobbies and Interests

Retirement is the perfect time to dust off old hobbies and interests that were put on the shelf when life’s relentless demands interfered. Or to pursue new ones because—finally you can! Incorporating satisfying new endeavors into your daily life abroad can prove very rewarding.

These enjoyable activities can potentially turn into a cottage business that provides a nice boost to your cashflow.  We know expats who provide house sitting and/or pet sitting services—offer computer assistance—even make and sell bagels! A few hundred dollars a month extra doesn’t seem like much in the U.S., but goes a long way in other countries to cover expenses or simply to have more fun! 

Final thoughts

Hopefully, our four-part series opened your eyes to the idea that retiring in a foreign country isn’t as daunting or intimidating as it might seem at first glance.

Sure, challenges, surprises and frustrations come up along the way. But the upside of living a remarkable adventure without financial worries can be quite appealing. And, the decision need not be forever. If your priorities or desires change over time, you are free to go elsewhere or return home.

Throughout our four part series which covered language, culture, health care and daily life issues related to life abroad, we stressed the need for a positive attitude and realistic expectations to be successful in your new life. Most importantly, don’t take yourself too seriously. Guess what? That’s great advice even if you never apply for a passport!

Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below – We’d love to hear from you!

About the Authors: Edd and Cynthia Staton

Edd and Cynthia Staton are the creators of Retirement Reimagined!, a revolutionary Master Course for Baby Boomers facing an uncertain future. Recognized as experts on expat living, they have appeared on network television and written hundreds of articles for international magazines and other media outlets. As featured speakers at large global events, they have shared their expertise on moving and retiring abroad with thousands of attendees.

Each volume of Edd and Cynthia’s trilogy of books, Mission: Rescue Your Retirement is an Amazon Best Seller. The collection hit #1 in 10 categories as diverse as comedy, personal finance, retirement planning, self-help, and travel. Visit them at eddandcynthia.com.

Taking the “Foreign” Out of Retiring in a Foreign Country: Health Care

health care abroad

By Edd and Cynthia Staton

Worried about future health care costs? If so, you’re not alone. Studies show this subject is at the top of the list for most people preparing for retirement. And if you’re out of the workforce before Medicare eligibility, look out! Private health insurance is prohibitively expensive as premiums rose 47% in the last decade.

So could retiring abroad be a possible solution? What’s it like going to a doctor or, yikes, the hospital in a foreign country? Is medical insurance available? What are the costs? Would you feel safe? Let’s dive right in and answer all of those very legitimate concerns.

How Different Is the Health Care?

When we announced we planned to move to Ecuador, one of our relatives asked if we were going to live in a grass hut and ride a donkey. He probably also wondered if we would visit a witch doctor or voodoo priest when we got sick. He, and you, might be surprised to learn that fabulous health care is available outside the U.S. at a fraction of the cost.

Additionally, in Cuenca, the facilities and equipment are modern. And there are lots of internationally trained physicians, many of whom speak English. But that doesn’t mean everything is the same. Those cultural differences we talked about in Part 2 of this series are front and center in this aspect of daily life as well. Shortly after we arrived in Cuenca, Cynthia scheduled an appointment with a dermatologist. At that early stage we were doing well just to get home, so she was thrilled to find the building and happily burst through the door into the waiting room. Except, there was no waiting room. Or staff. She found herself standing right in the doctor’s office as he was interviewing a patient. Oops! She sheepishly took a seat in the hallway and waited her turn.

Is Health Insurance Available?

edd and cynthia staton
Edd and Cynthia Staton…healthy & happy!

As Medicare coverage does not extend beyond U.S. borders, what other options are available? International policies are the easiest and most expensive choice. In addition, after gaining permanent residence status, expats in many countries are eligible for national health care insurance. Many expats choose instead to simply pay out of pocket as needs arise since services, procedures, and medications abroad are so inexpensive,

We found that a hybrid approach works best for us. Medicare provides coverage for our frequent trips back to the States. As members of Ecuador’s national health care system we have 100% coverage with $0 deductible and no restrictions for age or pre-existing conditions. Total monthly premiums- $81. But because members cannot choose their doctor we also pay out of pocket for specialists like our dentist and Cynthia’s ophthalmologist.

What Are the Costs?

You probably did a double take when you saw what we pay for public health insurance. Especially considering the level of coverage.

In the private sector, Edd recently got a cosmetic filling, veneer, and crown for $250. Several years ago Cynthia had cataract surgery and lens replacement in one of her eyes for around $1500. Drugs are super low in cost and most are available over the counter. We could go on and on with examples, but you get the picture.

Is the Care Provided Safe and Effective?

Two years ago, Cynthia had a major health scare and spent an entire week in a private room at the hospital. The doctors followed world-class protocol for her treatment. Edd had surgery in the same facility for a delicate hand condition with a high degree of reoccurrence. He mentioned this to the specialist who replied, “I’ve never had that happen and you won’t be the first.” Nuff said. In both cases we were discharged with follow-up appointments made, prescribed meds in hand, and a total bill of $0.

The Bottom Line

Health care abroad is highly affordable and can be excellent. Not in every country, of course, and as in the States, the farther you live from major metropolitan areas the more quality declines. We strongly advise “boots on the ground” due diligence for this important aspect of expat life. Online forums are helpful for feedback and referrals, but before making a final decision you need to show up, look around, and ask plenty of questions to make sure you’re comfortable moving forward.

Our personal experience has been extremely positive. We’ve found the level of care and caring, low cost, and lack of bureaucracy a refreshing change from everything the U.S. health care system has become.

Here’s to your health!

About the Authors: Edd and Cynthia Staton

Edd and Cynthia Staton are the creators of Retirement Reimagined!, a revolutionary Master Course for Baby Boomers facing an uncertain future. Recognized as experts on expat living, they have appeared on network television and written hundreds of articles for international magazines and other media outlets. As featured speakers at large global events, they have shared their expertise on moving and retiring abroad with thousands of attendees.

Each volume of Edd and Cynthia’s trilogy of books, Mission: Rescue Your Retirement is an Amazon Best Seller. The collection hit #1 in 10 categories as diverse as comedy, personal finance, retirement planning, self-help, and travel. Visit them at eddandcynthia.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taking The “Foreign” Out Of Retiring In A Foreign Country: Culture

Foreign Culture in a Foreign Country

By Edd and Cynthia Staton, nationally known experts on retiring abroad and the creators of the program, Retirement Reimagined!  This article is Part 2 of a 4 part series that talks about how to retire overseas affordably and comfortably. Edd and Cynthia currently reside in Cuenca, Ecuador.

Immigration is a polarizing, hotly debated topic these days, and you probably have your own ideas on the subject. But let’s turn the whole issue on its head. How would you feel being an immigrant?

Let’s face it, “expat” is just a fancy word for “immigrant,” isn’t it? Expatriating means immigrating to another country where you are now the foreigner. If you retire overseas, when the plane touches down you’ve arrived in a world where generally people don’t look like you and speak a different language.

 How do you deal with feeling out of place?

Edd Staton and his local friend Sonia in Cuenca
Edd Staton and his local friend Sonia in Cuenca

It definitely feels odd in the beginning. You might feel like locals are staring. For example, Ecuadorians are often short in stature with deep brown skin tone. Edd is 6’3” with blue eyes, fair complexion, and a totally bald head. In his case they definitely were staring!

Many times though it might just be you feeling hyper-aware that you’re a fish out of water.  We experienced a lot of sensory overload when we first arrived, and quickly enough our self-consciousness faded. There was just too much to do! Eventually the newness of it all wore off and we became confident going about daily life.

How you deal with cultural barriers and differences can make or break your expat experience, so let’s dive in and explore what worked for us.

Acclimate to Your New Surroundings and Culture

Here are our four keys to success:

Pick a location with an established expat community

Being a stranger in a strange land is challenging enough without taking on the role of the Lone Ranger. There are dozens of outstanding retirement choices all around the globe where a network of English-speaking expats is already established. Plugging into these groups for answers to your many questions about the culture and everything else will speed up your learning curve considerably.

Learn the cultural basics

We mentioned in Part 1 of this series the importance of knowing the proper ways to greet others and convey appreciation for their assistance. In Latin America, for instance, you never charge into a store and announce, “I’m looking for so and so… Can you help me?” No, you always start cheerfully with, “Buenos días. ¿Cómo estás? (Good morning. How are you?)” To do otherwise is considered downright rude. And that’s not you, right?

But don’t pretend you can speak the language because you memorized words you looked up on Google Translate. We once did that and apparently we were so convincing the clerk responded by unleashing an avalanche of rapid-fire Spanish. We stood there dumbfounded and after a long pause mumbled, “¿Habla Inglés, señora (Do you speak English, ma’am)?”

Befriend bilingual locals

An expat friend who is fluent in the local language is certainly an asset if you have one. Knowing bilingual locals is even better because they are uniquely qualified to help you learn the cultural communication ropes.

In our early expat days Cynthia hosted a baby shower for a bilingual Cuencana neighbor. At the scheduled start time she and her mom were the only ones there. As the clock ticked off the minutes, and then hours, the guest of honor kept saying, “Don’t worry. They’ll be here.”  TWO HOURS later the other guests began arriving, brought relatives not on the invitation list, and stayed so late that we had to politely ask them to leave. This behavior is not considered rude, just part of the cultural norm.

Go with the flow

Which brings us to the most important tip of all: No expat has ever successfully altered a nation’s culture, and you will not be the first. Get used to “Tico time,” as they call it in Costa Rica. The repairman will probably be late or may not show up until three days from now. Or ever.  If you’re a woman, don’t be startled when an introduction includes an air kiss on the cheek (both cheeks in Spain). Recognize that your definition of proper personal space, hygiene, or driving etiquette may not apply. And please don’t pontificate about what your adopted home “needs” to do to get its act together. We have a saying: “Go with the flow, or go home.”

The Bottom Line

Relax. Observe. Try not to offend. Apologize when you do. Laugh at your mistakes. You’ll be fine.

About the Authors: Edd and Cynthia Staton

Taking the “Foreign” Out of Retiring in a Foreign Country: Language

retiring foreign country language

By Edd and Cynthia Staton, nationally known experts on retiring abroad and the creators of the program, Retirement Reimagined!  This article is Part 1 of a 4 part series that talks about how to retire overseas affordably and comfortably.

Part 1: Language

What thoughts come to mind about the notion of retiring abroad? Exciting? Exotic? Maybe intimidating? All of those feelings were going on at the same time when we began our expat adventure.

Imagine the sensory overload upon arrival of trying to begin a new life where we knew nothing and no one. We didn’t even know the language. Everything—the sights, sounds, culture, food—was new and different.

We made the decision to retire in Ecuador based on an intuitive feeling that it was the right place for us despite our limited Spanish. We won’t sugarcoat it – dealing with communication issues while adjusting to an unfamiliar environment at the same time is a challenge.

This was an exciting new chapter in our lives, and we made it work. So can you! Below are some lessons we learned along the way which might be helpful in your journey.

Strive for Functional, Not Fluent

Unless you move to a country where English is the primary tongue (nearby Belize being one of them) you’ve gotta be able to communicate, right? Yes, there are smartphone apps now that can serve as your translator. Certainly, helpful in the beginning, but long-term that’s not really embracing the spirit of your expat experience.

 Important tips:

  1. Locals appreciate your effort to speak and will go out of their way to help.
  2. You don’t have to achieve fluency. A functional vocabulary makes daily life so much better.
  3. When you find yourself in an exchange where the basics aren’t enough, prowess in Charades is a big plus!

What does “functional” mean? Just being able to express your needs. Learning a few simple phrases like “I want,” “I need,” “Where is,” “How do you say,” combined with everyday nouns. And, of course, knowing the proper ways to greet others and convey appreciation for their assistance.

Take Language Classes

Having these skills before arrival is an admirable goal. We were studying online like crazy before little things—like preparing to relocate to a new country—moved our lessons to the back burner and then off the stove altogether.

All is not lost if you show up with Tarzan level language skills. Enroll in a local class that emphasizes conversational use of the language. Formal instruction involving conjugation of verbs and past perfect tenses is reserved for overachievers only.

As a bonus you’ll probably meet other newbies there with whom you share this common interest. Perhaps the start of new friendships!

Embrace Your Ineptitude!

You’re going to get confused and make mistakes. Lots of them. We’ve announced we wanted to take a trout when we meant “shower.” Huh? Asked for a prostitute instead of a shopping bag. Yikes!

Are you laughing? Good. That’s exactly what to do when you make such colossal blunders. A willingness to not take yourself so seriously plus a healthy sense of humor can defuse even the most awkward situations. The important thing is to get out there and try.

Final Thoughts

Learning a new language later in life can seem overwhelming. The key is redefining expectations and understanding that a little goes a long way. Retiring in a foreign country is not for everyone, but for us the benefits of retiring with less stress, better weather, and a lower cost of living far outweigh the disadvantages of some embarrassing communication snafus early on.

Next time we’ll explore how to adapt to a different culture. Spoiler alert: the culture is not going to adapt to you!

Until then,
Edd & Cynthia 

About the Authors: Edd & Cynthia Staton

Stop Missing This Important Aspect of Successful Dating at 50Plus

Amy Jones, Dating

by Amy Jones

The Good, the Bad and the Mediocre

In the eight years since my divorce, I think I subscribed to just about every dating site ever created. I had a few good experiences, some bad ones, and lots I would describe as mediocre.

Over the holidays and into this New Year, I actively used both Match.com and OKCupid for three months. I figured the holidays are when people are the loneliest and that might be a good time for me to connect with other lonely hearts. Much to my surprise, I found exactly the opposite. I received an extraordinary amount of “likes” which resulted in a few conversations that led to meeting only 9 men. Out of these nine men, I only had a second date with two of them, a third date with one of them, and nothing beyond that.

Now, I know what you are thinking, “Meeting nine men in 90 days is GREAT!” Now, let me put it into perspective with actual numbers:  On Match.com, I received 673 likes resulting in 37 online conversations leading to 12 phone conversations with six actual meetings. I’m a statistics person and so the outcome of 90 days on Match.com translated to meeting .009% of the people that “liked” me. On OKCupid, I received 1,239 “likes” resulting in 56 online conversations leading to fifteen phone conversations with three actual meetings. The outcome of 90 days on OKCupid translated to meeting .002% of the people who “liked” me.

Try, Try Again

Because I am the eternal optimist with a rose-colored-glasses perspective, I thought, “Maybe I’m on the wrong dating sites.” Keep in mind, that I was on these two sites over the holidays. Isn’t that the absolute best time to be online?

I wasn’t invited to any holiday parties that year. Not one single one. Not even New Year’s Eve. Many people resolve to find a new love in the new year so why should I be any different? I decided to try one more site to see if the results were any different and chose Bumble. This site is where the woman contacts the man first to begin the conversation. He has 24 hours to respond before the communication expires. After two weeks, I received 186 “likes” and attempted twelve conversations. I received only two responses and met one man. The outcome from Bumble for two weeks was .005% however based on the above stats, I assume that number would decrease if I continued my membership.

keep romance alive

Time to Try Something Different

The interesting thing about all of these sites was that I was “liked” by a few guys that I’ve spoken to and some I’ve met. I know people who meet online, and I do think it can be a great platform, especially for busy people. One of the conclusions I reached though is that some people, both men and women, use it as a distraction from boredom, at a stop light, in line at the grocery store or bank, etc. It is a scroll-and-swipe technology that feeds the need to constantly be entertained and do something. The more we touch something, like our phones, the more emotionally attached we become to it. Another conclusion I’ve reached is that I’ve given online dating enough, time, energy, and effort to realize, that, I need to do something different.

As I shared my dating woes with my girlfriend and her husband of more than 20 years, she made an incredibly insightful and bold statement. She said, “You are trying to put everything into a box. You are looking at a profile online and seeing how that man fits into this box you’ve created. There is something incredibly important that you are missing.” I looked at her husband who nodded his head vigorously; he knew what she was about to say.

Missing the One Thing You Will Never Get Online

Think about how people used to meet before social media, cell phones, and email. They made eye contact, smiled at each other, and then started a conversation; the senses were engaged. People develop feelings during the conversation as a result of the laughter, light-hearted talk, occasional serious subjects, and a physical connection with that person,” she explained. Suddenly, a lightbulb went off and I began to recognize a repeating pattern with myself.

I seemed to always create a story around who the person was before I ever met them based on their photos and what they had written in their profile. From the small percentage of men that I met; I was a bit disenchanted that they did not live up to the story that I created. To further complicate things, there was a huge disconnect between what they said and what they did. Their actions did not match their words. There are certain nuances you can pick up on when you meet someone in person, especially for the first time. I continually found that something was amiss when I met the man in the photos. Thinking about what my girlfriend said, I looked back at the men I met and asked myself, “Would I have wanted to meet this person if I saw them in person?” I would have had the opportunity to observe them; watch how they interacted with other people and then make the decision whether to introduce myself or not. Out of the ten men I met, there was only one that I would have wanted to meet.

Meeting the Old-Fashioned Way

Interestingly, a few days later, I was able to experience this revelation in person. I met my girlfriend out for a happy hour after a tough day. That night I wore my normal work attire, running pants, and a matching jacket with a ballcap. I wasn’t paying attention to who was at the bar or what was happening. I felt sorry for myself and just needed some TLC from my friend. She looked across the bar and noticed an attractive guy looking at me. She pointed him out and I began to observe him; and how he interacted with the other patrons and the staff. After a few times of our eyes meeting, I asked him to join us. During our conversation, I was able to get a feel for who he was; funny, polite, engaging, and, most importantly, he spoke to both my girlfriend and me with respect. He had similar experiences with online dating and, like me, decided to try meeting people the old-fashioned way. After a brief conversation that evening, we exchanged numbers and he asked to see me again. WOW!  Success!!! We’ve had a couple of dates and have discovered that we have quite a bit in common including similar life and relationship goals.

No More Online Dating for Me

Based on my experiences, my girlfriend’s advice and recommendations, and this recent encounter, I canceled my online dating site subscriptions. I plan to bravely and boldly work to meet men in person to increase my odds of finding that special partner. After all, how can I utilize my senses to engage, connect, and communicate with a man unless we are up close and personal? There are so many things I didn’t even realize I missed in the online dating world, especially how I want to feel in a relationship. In a way, I had to relearn how to date, recognize what I’m willing to do to meet that special man, and continue to make dating a priority. Another piece of valuable advice my girlfriend gave me was about not assessing during the date. She advised me to focus on having fun and not think about what comes next. She told me that continually assessing my date takes away from the joy of the moment. She’s a wise woman, married for over 20 years. I’m taking her advice and starting again with a new and fresh outlook!

I’d love to hear any stories, feedback, and perspectives you may have from your dating experiences as well!

About the Author: Amy Jones

Amy Jones

Amy Jones is a personal growth visionary, international speaker, and author who lives and breathes one simple philosophy:  live in the moment. For over two decades, she has inspired thousands of people; intent on helping facilitate their personal growth and self-healing process by creating opportunities for significant and lasting life changes through personal interactions, workshops, and writing found on TheAmyJones.com

20 Things For Bored Seniors To Do Alone

things for bored seniors to do alone

by Ellen Blake

While our senior years are full of wisdom and experience, they can sometimes feel a bit slow, at least to me. When I was younger, I looked forward to the time I would have more time to do things I couldn’t do while working and raising children. What I actually found is that I’m bored. I thought I would find my passion in this phase of life and the hours would fly by. Unfortunately, that hasn’t yet happened. I miss the hustle and bustle of my former life.  I also have fewer friends around these days, so I often find myself alone. Some moved, others are busy taking care of loved ones whether it’s a spouse or a grandchild, and a few others passed away.

I know that staying active and engaged is not just a lifestyle choice; it’s a powerful prescription for maintaining optimal mental and physical health. Regular physical activity not only strengthens muscles and bones but also contributes significantly to cognitive function. Social engagement, whether through friendships, community involvement, or family connections, provides a crucial support system that combats feelings of isolation and depression. Mental stimulation, be it through hobbies, learning, or staying curious about the world, acts as a safeguard against cognitive decline. Together, these elements help create a fulfilling and vibrant life.

I know I’m not alone in wanting to kick boredom to the curb and integrate moments of joy and excitement into my life. Many of us have older loved ones who are bored too; for them, I look for simple activities for the elderly at home. After exploring different options, I realized there are many choices for all of us in terms of activities. The key is finding the activities that provide satisfaction and work with our lifestyle and budget. Consider the suggestions for things for bored seniors to do alone.

Exploring the World of Reading and Writing

For those seeking engaging solo activities, diving into the world of reading and writing is a captivating venture. A good book becomes a portal to new worlds while writing offers a creative outlet. Whether discovering new narratives or crafting personal stories, literary exploration can be a delightful way to pass the time.

Rediscovering the Joy of Books

If you like to read, but your busy life didn’t allow much time for it when younger, maybe it’s time to start again! Books come in many different genres and are written by authors with unique and interesting writing styles. There is something for everyone. There are about four million new book titles published each year (including self-published books)! For example, you can immerse yourself in imaginative fiction novels that transport you to exciting new worlds. Non-fiction opens the door to a wealth of knowledge, from history to science. Autobiographies offer personal insights and inspiring life stories. To amplify your joy of reading, consider joining a book club or online reader community to foster social connections and participate in lively discussions. It’s fun to talk about books with others to hear differing perspectives. Looking for book recommendations? Check out these sites:

Creative Writing as a Therapeutic Hobby

Have you thought about embracing creative writing as a therapeutic hobby? Writing can be cathartic; your journal becomes a sacred space to pour out your thoughts and emotions, fostering self-reflection. Take it a step further and pen your memoirs or craft short stories to preserve your personal narratives or simply let your imagination run wild. Through words, you can navigate the labyrinth of your memories or weave entirely new tapestries. Writing is a great emotional release.

Embracing Technology for Entertainment and Learning

Think you can’t do technology? Sure, you can. If you need help, ask a friend or family member to get you started. Once you are online, you will see that embracing technology for entertainment and learning opens doors for endless possibilities. There are many indoor activities online for seniors looking to combat boredom. From online courses to educational apps to streaming services, there’s plenty to keep you busy. It’s entertainment at your fingertips.

Navigating the Internet Safely

As you embark on your digital journey, keep in mind that navigating the internet safely is paramount. Technology is wonderful for social engagement, knowledge acquisition, and enjoyable experiences, but caution is key. Before you participate on social media platforms or other online spaces, make sure you understand privacy settings and how to be discerning about online interactions. By embracing the digital landscape with awareness, you can harness the internet’s vast potential while safeguarding your online well-being. Ask for help to make sure your online experience is secure if necessary.

Online Courses and Workshops

I’m a firm believer in lifelong learning. And in the digital age, embracing online learning becomes a dynamic means of personal growth and development, and staying intellectually invigorated. Online courses and workshops are available on a wide variety of topics and provide an easy way to expand our knowledge. Virtual platforms offer flexibility, allowing learners to delve into diverse subjects at their own pace. Accessible from the comfort of your home, often on your own schedule, these online courses eliminate geographical constraints.  Continuous learning expands your knowledge while also sharpening your cognitive abilities, keeping your mind agile. For me, the sense of achievement I get when I master new skills also fosters confidence and a zest for life. Check out these sites for online courses and workshops for seniors:

  • GetSetUp– Live classes for older adults, by older adults on many different topics, including basic technology
  • TedEd – Lessons on a variety of subjects in an easy-to-digest video format (by the creators of TEDTalks)
  • Alison – Empower Yourself – Free online courses on a variety of topics
  • Coursera Free Courses – Free courses (also paid courses available) on various topics
  • MoMA Classes – Art-related classes can be audited free of charge

Arts and Crafts: Unleashing Creativity

Arts and crafts are a fun way to fight boredom while serving as a creative outlet. You might even find that you have hidden talents! Whether it’s painting, drawing, pottery, woodworking, or knitting, these activities stimulate the brain, promoting cognitive health. Furthermore, the sense of accomplishment and self-expression that often accompanies completing a handmade project can boost your confidence and promote overall well-being. You can do arts and crafts at home alone or participate in workshops or community classes if you want something more social. It’s a nice way to connect with like-minded individuals.

Another benefit of arts and crafts is that the tactile nature of these projects enhances dexterity and fine motor skills. Crafts are great activities for elderly individuals for this reason.  Furthermore, this creative pursuit can become a joyful and therapeutic avenue, turning leisure time into a canvas for self-discovery and fulfillment.

Painting and Drawing

If you are looking to explore painting and drawing as a creative outlet, there are numerous easy and enjoyable projects to consider. For example, start with simple plants and trees. There’s a reason you see so many plant drawings and paintings; they are easy to create. Cascading mountains and the beach also make good beginner projects. Abstract art is a completely different style that works well for those new to painting and drawing – this type of art is fun and lets you embrace free-form expression. Use bold colors, and different brush techniques and let your imagination guide your creation.

If you’re someone who prefers more direction, consider taking a class. You can even learn from the convenience of your home by tuning into online courses. Here are a few suggestions for online tutorials:

activities for seniors to do at home

Crafting and DIY Projects

I like to think of engaging in crafts and do-it-yourself (DIY) projects as a holistic wellness strategy for older adults. These projects make great boredom busters. These DIY ideas not only allow for creative expression but also result in unique, personalized items that make excellent additions to your home or thoughtful gifts for loved ones.

For example, photo collages are easy and lots of fun. You can create a unique collage using pictures of family and friends, arranging them creatively on a board or within a frame. Or have you ever thought about decorating plain candle holders with paint, beads, or decoupage? Handmade soap and scented sachets make thoughtful and functional gifts, as does homemade jam. If you are good with yarn, you can crochet or knit beautiful items for your loved ones. Or how about making a wreath for Christmas? Tons of good ideas can easily be found online; check out Pinterest or YouTube. If you prefer to take a class, contact your local recreation or senior center to see what they have to offer. You don’t need to have someone to go with – you will meet people there who are interested in the same thing you are!

Physical Activities for Health and Well-Being

Engaging in physical activities is a crucial cornerstone for health and well-being for all of us, especially as we age.  Regular exercise improves cardiovascular health, maintains muscle strength, and enhances flexibility, reducing the risk of chronic conditions. Beyond the physical benefits, it promotes mental sharpness, boosts mood, and fosters social connections, contributing to a fulfilling and vibrant life. For those who are home alone most of the time, exercise is one of the best activities for the elderly at home provided it is done carefully and safely.

Gentle Exercises for Seniors

Think about doing some gentle exercises tailored to your specific needs. Yoga offers gentle stretches and poses, enhancing flexibility and balance. Tai Chi, with its slow, flowing movements, cultivates harmony between body and mind while promoting stability. Simple home workouts incorporating light resistance and low-impact cardio exercises help maintain muscle strength and cardiovascular health. These activities not only foster physical benefits but also contribute to mental clarity and stress reduction. These gentle exercises can empower us to stay active, enhancing our overall health and ensuring a graceful approach to aging.

Outdoor Activities

Prefer to spend your leisure time outdoors? There are ways to enjoy simple, low-impact outdoor exercises that promote both physical activity and a connection with nature. Gardening is a great example as it engages various muscle groups through tasks like planting, weeding, and gentle digging. Bird-watching is another one that encourages exploration of local parks or even your backyard, combining leisure with light walking. Moderately paced nature walks provide an excellent cardiovascular workout while fostering a sense of tranquility. Additionally, you can participate in activities like Tai Chi or gentle stretching outdoors; the natural surroundings can enhance flexibility and balance. These low-impact exercises not only contribute to physical well-being but also offer the therapeutic benefits of being outdoors and appreciating the beauty of the natural world.

Mind Games and Puzzles

Mind games and puzzles are an engaging and intellectually stimulating choice when looking for things for bored seniors to do alone. Crossword puzzles challenge vocabulary, while Sudoku hones logical thinking. Jigsaw puzzles provide a tactile and visual experience, fostering patience and problem-solving. Card games like Solitaire offer a strategic mental workout. Mobile apps and online platforms offer a digital realm for brain-teasing challenges. These activities are entertaining while supporting cognitive health and enhancing memory, attention, and overall mental acuity. The bottom line: mind games and puzzles offer a fulfilling way to stay sharp and engaged with our cognitive abilities.

Brain-Boosting Puzzles

Below are some suggestions for crosswords, Sudoku, and jigsaw puzzles we recommend if you want to try to fill your time with brain-boosting puzzles (Available on Amazon). There are many more available too! These are great ideas for things for bored seniors to do alone.

Sudoku Puzzles (Large Print): 200 Easy to Hard Puzzles 

suduko, brain games for seniors

Looking for an engaging mental workout that’s easy on the eyes? Welcome to “Sudoku Puzzles for Adults Large Print” where the world of Sudoku comes to life with a perfect blend of challenge and readability. If you’re an adult seeking a delightful brain exercise or a senior looking to keep your mind sharp, this book is tailor-made for you.

Baby Boomer Crossword Puzzles: 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s – Music, TV, Movies, Sports and People

crossword puzzles

This crossword puzzle book is a fun one with trivia from the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s. “MASH”, “Howdy Doody”, Jimmy Hoffa, and so many more from decades past!

Funster Crossword Puzzle Book for Adults with 101 Large-Print Easy Puzzles 

crossword puzzles

101 easy-to-read large-print crossword puzzles will provide hours of entertainment! These gentle brain exercises are frustration-free with just the right level of challenge.

Jigsaw Puzzle with 300 Large Pieces

jigsaw puzzles

This brightly colored large-piece jigsaw puzzle, titled “Seaside Happiness” is as much fun to look at as it is to put together! Set aside a table where you can set up the puzzle and work on it as the mood strikes you! This particular puzzle has pieces that are 33% larger than standard puzzle pieces for improved dexterity and placement.

Learning New Skills

Perhaps you want to fill your free time learning new skills, which will provide both mental stimulation and personal enrichment. For example, pick up a musical instrument, such as a guitar or piano, to bring music into your home! At the same time, learning an instrument enhances cognitive functions, promoting memory and focus. Or study a new language!  Whether through a physical book, an online course, or a language app, sharpens cognitive abilities and fosters cultural appreciation, while opening new communication avenues. Embracing lifelong learning provides a sense of achievement, stimulates brain health, and enriches our lives with the joy of mastering something new.

Culinary Adventures: Cooking and Baking

A new culinary adventure can offer a delightful escape from boredom. For me, cooking and baking are therapeutic journeys that allow for creative expression and the joy of preparing delicious meals and trying out new recipes exciting for me, turning the kitchen into a canvas of flavors and aromas. From experimenting with exotic cuisines to perfecting the art of baking, these culinary pursuits not only provide a tasty reward but also offer a productive and engaging way to pass the time. Whether it’s crafting a comforting dish or mastering the intricacies of pastry, culinary exploration is a flavorful remedy for solitude.

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Trying New Recipes

If you want to try new recipes, start with easy ones and work up to more complicated cuisine. Here are some of my favorite sites for recipes.

Exploring World Cuisines

Do you want to teach yourself to cook recipes from around the world? This will allow you to taste new flavors and gain a better understanding of how different ingredients work together. Infuse your kitchen with a world of flavors by exploring diverse cultures through cooking. Start by selecting a cuisine of interest, researching authentic recipes, and gathering region-specific ingredients. As you embark on this culinary journey, gradually progress from simpler dishes to more intricate ones, experimenting with spices and cooking techniques. When ready, surprise your friends or family members with your new talent! Don’t forget to document your culinary adventures to track your progress and savor the memories of each delicious creation. Ultimately, cooking meals from different cultures not only brings delightful variety to the table but also opens a window to the rich tapestry of global gastronomy.

Two great YouTube channels to check out to explore recipes from different cultures are THE INTERNATIONAL KITCHEN AND COOKING AROUND THE WORLD.

Volunteering and Community Engagement

We all need purpose and connection in our lives, and volunteering and community engagement might be exactly what you need. Participating in local volunteer programs, such as assisting at food banks or mentoring programs, not only provides valuable support to the community but also fosters a sense of belonging. There are lots of volunteer opportunities available – the key is to find one that interests you. Do you like theatre? Volunteer to distribute programs or take tickets at a local venue? Enjoy working with animals? Shelters often need help. Love history? Volunteer as a docent at a museum near you. Volunteering provides opportunities to interact with like-minded individuals and create opportunities for new friendships. Consider giving back to the community by offering your time and skills. It’s a great way to combat loneliness while making a positive impact.

Virtual Volunteering Opportunities

If you want to volunteer from the convenience and comfort of your own home, consider participating in virtual volunteering opportunities. Here are some ideas:

Online Tutoring

Assist students with their studies through virtual tutoring programs.

Virtual Reading Programs

Volunteer to read books or provide storytelling sessions for children through online platforms.

Language Exchange

Help others learn a new language or practice conversational skills through language exchange programs.

Remote Administrative Support

Offer virtual assistance to non-profit organizations with tasks like data entry, writing, or social media management.

Virtual Senior Companionship

Connect with isolated seniors through video calls, providing companionship and social interaction.

Transcription Services

Volunteer to transcribe audio recordings for organizations that require written documentation.

Online Crisis Support

Join virtual crisis helplines or text-based support services to assist individuals in need.

Remote Research Assistance

Contribute to research projects by conducting online research or data analysis.

Graphic Design and Creative Projects

Offer your graphic design or creative skills for non-profit organizations’ marketing materials.

Virtual Fundraising

Assist with online fundraising campaigns, reaching out to potential donors, and helping organize virtual events.

Leverage your skills and interests with these types of important volunteer opportunities. Make a positive impact on your own schedule without having to leave the house. Virtual volunteer opportunities are another wonderful way to stay engaged, contribute to meaningful causes, and foster a sense of community even in the digital realm. Check out Virtual Volunteer Match to get some ideas.

Planning Future Adventures

Planning a future adventure is a fun way to busy yourself at home and at the same time give you something to look forward to! Travel planning helps combat loneliness, turning anticipation into a powerful tool for mental well-being. Researching and organizing a trip provides a sense of purpose, and will ignite your excitement about new experiences. The prospect of exploring new destinations, trying different cuisines, and engaging in cultural activities is a wonderfully motivating force. Moreover, planning a trip often involves reaching out to friends or family for advice and company, fostering social connections. By envisioning and preparing for upcoming adventures, you can not only alleviate loneliness through the anticipation of positive experiences but also create opportunities for shared memories and meaningful connections with others.

No one to travel with? Don’t let that stop you. Many of us choose to do solo travel these days. Find inspiration in a Facebook group focused on traveling by yourself, safely and easily in a group. You will meet new people and form lifelong friendships.

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Creating a Bucket List

What’s on your bucket list? If you haven’t taken the time to think about your goals, maybe it’s time. Creating a bucket list is an empowering journey that begins with heartfelt brainstorming. Reflect on your personal aspirations, from adventurous escapades to soul-enriching experiences, and allow your imagination to roam freely. Whether it’s witnessing a breathtaking sunrise over distant mountains, learning a new skill, or reconnecting with long-lost friends, the process of writing down these goals transforms dreams into tangible objectives. Your bucket list becomes a roadmap, guiding your pursuit of fulfillment and a life well-lived. You want your journey to be as remarkable as the destination.

Self-Care and Mindfulness Practices

Bored seniors can cultivate a sense of well-being through self-care and mindfulness practices, turning idle moments into opportunities for personal enrichment. Establishing a daily routine that includes gentle exercises like stretching or yoga promotes physical health and relaxation. Mindfulness meditation, guided by apps or online resources, helps you feel centered in the present moment. Engaging in hobbies such as painting, journaling, or gardening provides a creative outlet, stimulating your mind and promoting your emotional well-being.

Self-care is important. Make it a priority not only to combat boredom but also to enhance your overall happiness. Creating a fulfilling and rejuvenating daily experience for yourself is a great way to reduce stress and foster mental clarity.

Meditation and Relaxation Techniques

If you’re new to meditation and relaxation techniques, ease into these practices to destress and promote mindfulness. Here’s a simple meditation guide tailored for seniors that includes breathing exercises. 

Comfortable Seating: Find a quiet and comfortable place to sit. Use a chair with good back support or sit on a cushion on the floor, ensuring a relaxed posture.

Gentle Breathing: Close your eyes and focus on your breath. Inhale slowly through your nose, feeling your lungs fill, and exhale gently through your mouth. Notice the sensation of each breath.

Body Scan: Gradually shift your attention to different parts of your body, starting from your toes to the top of your head. Release tension as you can, bringing awareness to each body part.

Mindful Observation: Open your eyes and softly gaze at a focal point, perhaps a flower or a piece of art. Observe its details without judgment, letting your mind rest on the present moment.

Mantra Meditation: Choose a simple word or phrase, like “peace” or “calm.” Repeat it silently with each breath. If your mind wanders, gently bring your focus back to the mantra.

Guided Meditation: Listen to a guided meditation designed for seniors. Numerous apps and online platforms offer calming audio sessions, making meditation more accessible.

Nature Meditation: If possible, sit in a garden or by a window. Focus on the sounds of birds or the gentle rustling of leaves. Let nature be a soothing backdrop to your meditation.

Gratitude Meditation: Reflect on three things you’re grateful for. As you breathe, let feelings of gratitude fill your heart, promoting a positive and contented mindset.

Fostering Self-Compassion and Positivity

Fostering self-compassion and positivity involves incorporating simple yet impactful practices into your daily routine. For example, I like to begin each day with uplifting daily affirmations, expressing kindness and encouragement to myself. Affirmations like “I am resilient” or “I embrace each day with positivity” set a positive tone and help silence my negative self-talk. Sometimes I write affirmations on a sticky note and put them on my mirror, so I see them as soon as I wake up. Journaling in a gratitude journal by jotting down three things I’m thankful for each day is another wonderful habit I started recently. It helps me cultivate a mindset of appreciation. I recommend you try it!

connecting with loved ones

Connecting with Friends and Family

Do you feel sad and lonely when you don’t hear from friends and family? I often do. I sometimes think that people forget about me, but in reality, life is busy and people simply get stuck in their own heads. Once you understand and accept that, it’s easier to reach out to them. You will likely find they are very glad to hear from you. These connections can serve as a powerful antidote to loneliness as social interactions tend to reduce feelings of isolation and boredom. Furthermore, sharing laughter and giving and receiving emotional support adds richness to our lives. It’s very important to have a support network with whom you can share your thoughts, experiences, and interests.

Staying in Touch Digitally

In this digital age, we are lucky we can connect with loved ones via video calls and messaging apps. If you are not comfortable with these online methods, choose user-friendly platforms and practice with a more technical friend or family member to help you confidently navigate the virtual landscape. These tools allow you to share special moments, events, and daily activities with loved ones. You will find this promotes a sense of inclusion and connection. Beyond familial ties, you can access broader social networks, joining virtual groups or clubs that align with your interests.

Writing Letters and Sending Cards

Few people still write letters and send cards, which is unfortunate. Rediscovering the joy of traditional correspondence offers a meaningful and nostalgic connection, particularly for seniors. Handwritten letters give a personal touch that transcends the immediacy of modern communication. Selecting or creating cards with thoughtful messages provides an avenue for self-expression and creativity. For me, it’s a delightful ritual that ignites memories of a bygone era. In an age of instant communication, embracing the charm of traditional letters and cards becomes a heartfelt and enduring source of human connection. Not only are personal letters and cards fun to send. but receiving them in the mail amidst all the junk that arrives daily is simply wonderful!

Conclusion

Staying active and engaged is crucial for our overall well-being, whichever activity we choose. Participating in new activities and discovering personal passions not only combats boredom but also fosters mental, emotional, and physical health. In addition, the different activities can help improve cognitive function, mobility, and strength. Perhaps most importantly, engaging in varied activities introduces novelty, excitement, and purpose to our lives, reducing feelings of isolation and often enhancing social connections. In essence, staying active and engaged is a key ingredient for a healthier and more vibrant experience in this phase of our lives. I challenge you to try new activities and find your passion!

Please share this article with any older adults you know who might need some motivation and inspiration to participate in new activities and help others by sharing your favorite suggestions for other readers related to things for bored seniors to do alone.

How to Forgive and Let Go – and Why You Should

how to forgive and let go

By Laura Sarna, Partner, For the Love of Healing Energy Center

“Forgiveness does not mean condoning or agreeing with a horrendous act. It is a decision to no longer attack oneself. It is quite simply the decision not to suffer.” – Gerald Jampolsky.

 

 

 

How many of us suffer? Unknowingly brought on or perpetuated by our very selves? For me, in my younger years, I felt this unease much of the time. I didn’t have the knowledge nor connection with wholeness – body-mind-emotion-spirit – that can come with time and experience. I always considered forgiveness something one did toward or asked of another. Forgive myself? Whole new concept. And one I learned when I came across a book that made a life-changing impression on me. Still does. “Love Is Letting Go of Fear”, by Gerald Jampolsky, Child and Adult Psychiatrist

Messages Show Up When We Are Ready

At the time of first reading it, I’d started apprenticing at a healing center in Dallas, TX, having recently left the corporate world. The book jumped out at me as it stood in line with all the others on a shelf of our little treasure trove library. Although by apprenticing I thought I was there to learn how to help others, what I most wanted and needed was relief from my internal discomforts. To find inner peace. Fortunately, I learned at the center that true healing is an inside job. One needs to do their own work before they can help another.

Just as the teacher will show up when one is ready, so too perhaps does the book! My life consisted of stress, responsibilities, and highly competitive expectations. I had a lot of wonderful things going for me too. I thought of myself at the time as an intelligent and capable woman, mother, wife, and professional. Yet, we develop into adulthood based on the childhood environment from which we come. Discord between parents, sibling infighting, religious mixed messages, and a time when a belief in lack prevailed influenced mine. Any love I felt seemed conditional. In that space, I learned to steal, lie, manipulate, and hurt others to bolster my self-esteem.

Victim or Perpetrator – 2 Sides of the Same Coin

An important distinction to make here is what I came away with from childhood. Learned behavior as a victim. Yet I certainly did not see myself that way. In hindsight, it may at least partly explain why my mom often suggested to me to just “let it go”! Let it go… easier said than done, right?!

Wrought with anxiety when things didn’t go my way, I was quick to react, point blame, ridicule, or use some other defense. Anything to avoid feeling the discomforts of my own guilt and shame. But let’s rest here for a moment. Honestly, don’t we all have some of that running through us? I believe these are some of the most detrimental of human emotions. They need to be acknowledged and then let go. And the sooner we start the better. For as we age, those unresolved emotions can fester in very unforgiving ways.

As per Dr. Jampolsky’s book, it is not other people or situations that cause us upset. Rather, it is our own thoughts, attitudes, and projections that are responsible for our distress. And resulting actions we take that can hurt us. Healing old wounds, then, does not result from trying to change others or pretending the past didn’t happen, but rather to make our own inner change. It requires doing our own soul-searching and culling out buried anger, victimhood, shame, etc. It is all some version of fear. As Dr. Jampolsky describes, “The goal is self-healing in the face of each life challenge, regardless of the source.” Forgiveness is the vehicle. What a powerful awareness!

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How to Forgive and Let Go

Consider a plant, perhaps in your home or yard. As time goes on, invariably some of its leaves and branches begin to dull and eventually die. While the plant is carrying and still trying to feed those parts, less nourishment is available for the rest of the plant. It may continue to grow, slightly, but stunted. The dead weight needs to come off to make space for vibrant new life. Similarly, if we continue to dwell on things from the past, we will not have the capacity to entertain things healthy, vibrant, and new.

Let us look at a few examples of how this can translate into your life:

Clear out a closet and identify at least one item to toss or give away.

It is a symbolic and physical act of letting go that will feel really good!

Take a moment to enjoy simple breathwork, allowing the exhale to be longer than the inhale.

Example: Breathe into the count of 3, exhaling to the count of 5. Repeat several times. The exhale is a letting go.

Write your thoughts and feelings about something you’ve been holding onto that has occupied you.

Writing moves the energy out of your system. Gently review what you wrote. Then burn or shred it. A cathartic letting go.

Sit quietly outside with bare or stocking feet on the ground.

Place your focus in your feet and breathe. Soon you will sense the earth’s energy – like a vibration or gravitational pull – grounding you. A wonderful soothing letting go.

Meditate or pray, bringing to mind a worry or grievance.

Feel where that concern is being held in your body. Your body’s wisdom will know its exact location. You will feel it as tension, tightness, a burning sensation, shortness of breath, or something else. Gently breathe a pure white light into the area. With each breath, it will begin to soften and release. A deep letting go that improves with each time.

Talk with someone you trust who will not judge nor get into drama and share what you’ve been holding onto.

Ask them to just listen. A very humbling letting go.

Claim what you want in place of what was let go.

As an example: “As I release the old, fresh and vibrant thoughts and experiences enter. All is well.”

It’s All Energy – Choose Forgiveness, Choose Love

Writing this, I can feel remnants of emotional upsets still present in my body. Clearing our “stuff” is a process! I see it as an interesting and fun challenge – between me and me! In addition to the above ideas, I use and offer this thought. Forgiveness is an energy. Even if I can’t seem to connect with what specifically needs forgiving, I can sit quietly, breathe, and call in the energy of forgiveness. As I feel it wash through me, I often become aware of how my unforgivenesses caused me to hold onto and relive old hurts. How it blocked good things, like unconditional love. How about together we let ourselves and others off the hook and practice letting go? Love will prevail. The sooner the better.

About the Author: Laura Sarna

laura sarna

Laura Sarna is a certified practitioner of energy balancing, guided imagery, and spiritual counseling, and is a business partner with For the Love of Healing. Her journey taught her to relax into this big, amazing process of becoming a better human increasingly aligned with her soul’s purpose. Embracing forgiveness and learning to love herself have been and continue to be her biggest opportunities for growth. Her studies with mentor Deborah Singleton (www.ahealingplace.org) proved invaluable along the way. She loves time with family, music, being in nature (especially forests), and all cats large and small.

Laura works and resides in the Dallas, TX area.

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“True forgiveness is when you can say, “Thank you for that experience.”
― Oprah Winfrey

FAQs About Forgiveness

Forgiveness is a highly personal and individual process. What works for one person may not work for another. Below are answers to some commonly asked questions we hear about forgiveness.

What is forgiveness?

Forgiveness is the act of letting go of resentment, anger, and the desire for revenge toward someone who has wronged you. It involves pardoning the person and moving towards a state of inner peace and understanding.

Why is forgiveness important?

It is important for one’s emotional and mental well-being. It can release the burden of negative emotions, improve relationships, and promote personal growth and healing.

Is forgiveness the same as reconciliation?

Definitely not. Forgiveness is a personal choice to let go of negative feelings, while reconciliation involves rebuilding trust and the relationship with the wrongdoer. Forgiveness may or may not lead to reconciliation.

How do I forgive someone who has hurt me deeply?

Forgiving someone deeply hurtful can be challenging. It often involves acknowledging your pain, empathizing with the other person, and actively choosing to release the grudge over time. Seeking professional help or counseling can help you through this process.

Does forgiveness mean I have to forget the wrongdoing?

Forgiveness doesn’t necessarily require you to forget the wrongdoing. It means you release the negative emotions associated with the event but can still remember it as a lesson learned.

Can forgiveness be beneficial to the forgiver?

Yes, Benefits for the forgiver can include reduced stress, improved mental health, and better relationships and can lead to greater emotional and psychological well-being.

How long does it take to forgive someone?

The time it takes to forgive can vary greatly from person to person and depends on the severity of the wrongdoing. Some people may forgive relatively quickly, while others may need years to come to terms with their feelings.

What if the person I need to forgive doesn’t apologize or show remorse?

Forgiveness is possible even without an apology or remorse from the wrongdoer. It is a personal choice and can be empowering for the forgiver, regardless of the other person’s actions.

Can forgiveness be granted to oneself?

Yes, self-forgiveness is important. It involves forgiving oneself for mistakes, regrets, or self-blame. It can be a crucial part of personal growth and healing.

Unlocking New Opportunities Through Nursing Education for Those Over 50

nursing education

by staff writer

Nursing education can be a transformative journey for individuals over 50, offering new career opportunities and personal growth. With the healthcare industry constantly evolving, there is a growing demand for experienced and knowledgeable professionals. This article explores how you can unlock these opportunities through dedicated nursing education programs.

Nursing education is not just for the young. Many individuals over the age of 50 are discovering the immense benefits of pursuing a career in nursing. Whether you are looking to make a career change or simply want to contribute to the community in a meaningful way, nursing education provides a pathway to achieve your goals.

The Importance of Nursing Education for Those Over 50

In today’s rapidly changing healthcare environment, nursing education is more important than ever. By enrolling in specialized programs, you gain access to the latest knowledge and skills needed to provide top-quality care. It’s time to mention the AGACNP programs, for example, offer advanced training that can help you stay competitive in the job market. This is particularly relevant as more healthcare facilities seek experienced professionals who can handle complex patient needs.

Additionally, pursuing nursing education later in life brings a wealth of benefits beyond just career advancement. Many find it personally fulfilling to contribute to patient care and improve health outcomes. It’s also an excellent way to stay mentally active and engaged, which is crucial for overall well-being as we age.

Furthermore, nursing education for individuals over 50 brings a unique perspective to the healthcare field. Your life experiences and maturity can be invaluable assets in patient care, especially when dealing with older adults or complex family dynamics. This demographic often exhibits high levels of empathy, patience, and communication skills – qualities that are essential in nursing. By combining these attributes with up-to-date medical knowledge, you can become an exceptional caregiver and a role model for younger colleagues in the healthcare industry.

Moreover, nursing education for those over 50 can lead to increased job satisfaction and a sense of purpose. Many individuals in this age group find themselves seeking more meaningful work that allows them to make a tangible difference in people’s lives. Nursing provides exactly that opportunity. The combination of life experience and newly acquired medical knowledge can result in a deeply fulfilling career change. This satisfaction often translates to better patient outcomes, as motivated and passionate nurses tend to provide higher quality care. Additionally, pursuing nursing education at this stage of life can serve as an inspirational example to younger generations, demonstrating that it’s never too late to pursue one’s dreams or contribute to society in meaningful ways.

How to Get Started with Nursing Education

Starting your journey into nursing education might seem daunting at first, but there are plenty of resources available to help you succeed. Research accredited programs that cater specifically to adults returning to school. In many cases, schools offer flexible schedules and online courses to accommodate your existing commitments. While exploring your options, consider reaching out to advisors who can guide you through the application process and recommend suitable courses.

One key aspect to consider is the type of nursing program that aligns best with your career goals. Whether you are interested in becoming a registered nurse (RN), advanced practice nurse (APN), or even moving into administrative roles, there are tailored pathways available. Take time to understand the prerequisites and required certifications so that you can plan accordingly.

Financial considerations are also an important factor when embarking on your nursing education journey. Explore scholarship opportunities specifically designed for mature students or career changers. Many healthcare organizations offer tuition reimbursement programs for employees pursuing further education. Additionally, some states have workforce development initiatives that provide financial assistance for in-demand careers like nursing. Don’t let financial concerns deter you; with proper research and planning, you can find ways to make your educational aspirations financially feasible.

Another crucial step in getting started with nursing education is to assess your learning style and choose a program that aligns with it. As a mature student, you may have developed specific preferences for how you absorb and retain information. Some individuals thrive in traditional classroom settings, while others prefer the flexibility of online learning. Hybrid programs, which combine online coursework with in-person clinical experiences, are becoming increasingly popular and might offer the best of both worlds. It’s also worth considering accelerated programs designed for career changers, which can help you enter the nursing field more quickly. Before committing to a program, try to speak with current students or recent graduates to get a realistic picture of the workload and expectations. This firsthand insight can be invaluable in helping you choose the right educational path and prepare for the challenges ahead.

The Benefits of Continued Learning

Continuing your education in nursing provides numerous benefits that extend beyond professional development. Lifelong learning keeps your mind sharp and enhances cognitive functions, which is particularly beneficial as we age. Engaging in educational activities helps build new neural connections, promoting mental agility and reducing the risk of cognitive decline.

Moreover, staying updated with current trends and technologies in healthcare ensures that you remain a valuable asset in any medical setting. Your extensive life experience combined with fresh knowledge can significantly improve patient care quality and efficiency. Investing time in furthering your education will pay off in both professional satisfaction and personal enrichment.

Another significant advantage of continued learning in nursing is the opportunity for networking and professional growth. As you engage in educational programs, you’ll connect with peers, instructors, and industry professionals who can become valuable contacts in your career. These connections can lead to mentorship opportunities, job referrals, and collaborations on research or community health initiatives. Building a robust professional network not only enhances your career prospects but also provides a support system of like-minded individuals who understand the unique challenges and rewards of pursuing nursing education later in life.

Continued learning in nursing also opens doors to specialization and advanced practice roles. As you progress in your studies, you may discover areas of healthcare that particularly interest you, such as geriatrics, oncology, or mental health. Pursuing specialized knowledge in these areas can lead to more focused and rewarding career opportunities. Advanced practice roles, such as nurse practitioner or clinical nurse specialist, offer increased autonomy and the ability to provide more comprehensive patient care. These positions often come with higher salaries and greater job satisfaction. Furthermore, the healthcare industry is constantly evolving, with new treatments, technologies, and best practices emerging regularly. Continued learning ensures that you stay at the forefront of these developments, making you an invaluable asset to any healthcare team and enabling you to provide the best possible care to your patients.

Challenges and How to Overcome Them

While embarking on this educational journey is rewarding, it’s essential to acknowledge the challenges you may face along the way. Balancing studies with other responsibilities such as family or work can be demanding. However, many institutions offer support services such as tutoring, counseling, and flexible learning options to help manage these challenges effectively.

It’s also crucial to maintain a strong support network of family and friends who can provide encouragement and assistance when needed. Connect with peers who share similar experiences; they can offer valuable insights and moral support throughout your educational journey. Staying organized and setting realistic goals will also help keep you on track to achieving your objectives.

The Problem of New Learning Technologies

One often overlooked challenge for mature students is adapting to new learning technologies and methods. Modern nursing education frequently incorporates digital tools, online platforms, and simulation technologies that may feel unfamiliar at first. To overcome this, take advantage of technology workshops or tutorials offered by your educational institution. Many libraries and community centers also provide free courses on basic computer skills and popular software applications.

Embrace these learning opportunities as they not only help you in your studies but also prepare you for the increasingly tech-savvy healthcare environment. Remember, persistence and a willingness to ask for help when needed are key to mastering these new skills.

Taking Care of Yourself

Another significant challenge for those over 50 pursuing nursing education is managing physical demands. Nursing can be a physically demanding profession, requiring long hours on your feet, lifting patients, and maintaining a fast-paced work environment. To overcome this challenge, it’s essential to prioritize your health and physical fitness. Consider incorporating regular exercise into your routine, focusing on strength training and cardiovascular fitness. This will not only help you meet the physical demands of nursing but also improve your overall health and energy levels.

Additionally, learn and practice proper body mechanics for tasks like patient lifting to prevent injury. Many nursing programs include courses on ergonomics and safe patient handling – pay close attention to these lessons. Remember, taking care of your own health is crucial in order to effectively care for others. By maintaining your physical well-being, you’ll be better equipped to handle the demands of both your studies and your future nursing career.

Hopefully, this guide has helped you get all the information needed on how to pursue your online nursing education like a pro.

Is 2024 the Year We Retire Shoelaces?

are slip-on shoes bad for your feet?

By Ellen Blake

Are Shoelaces Being Phased Out?

It does seem that shoelaces may be on their way out. Slip-on shoes without laces are very popular these days. This trend is seen in various types of footwear, including sneakers and men’s dress shoes. Their sleek and minimalist design appeals to many and they are easy to put on and take off, which offers a new level of convenience.

I get it. I understand the reasons people like slip-ons. But I’m not there yet. Perhaps I am not yet willing to leave behind something that served me well for many years and it feels disloyal. Or maybe I think with nostalgia about teaching my children to tie their shoelaces, an important milestone in their young lives. It’s also possible simply that change is hard. Whatever the reason, I prefer to stick with my tried-and-true shoes with laces. Who’s with me?

A Brief History of the Shoelace

Shoelaces had a good run for many years. Most reports say that shoelaces are as old as shoes themselves. Some say that cavemen and women used specific shoelace designs to distinguish between tribes 5,000 years ago. There is even an example of laced medieval footwear from the 12th century In the Museum of London. Some historical records suggest that a guy named Harvey Kennedy invented shoelaces with aglets in 1790. Aglets are the small plastic pieces on the ends that help thread the laces through the small holes. The shoelaces we all know and love today evolved from these earlier versions.

We know that the original purpose of shoes before they became a fashion statement, was to protect feet from hazards and weather. A good fit is necessary to maximize protection and comfort, and shoelaces are a way to ensure the shoes are snug and secure. The laces allow for greater adjustability and customization of the fit, important for activities such as sports, running, or hiking. Some believe shoes with laces offer more support and stability than their counterparts without laces. This can be important for people with foot or ankle issues. It’s amazing to me that something costing less than two dollars can make a huge difference in the function of a shoe.

Are Slip-On Shoes Bad for Your Feet?

While some do not think shoes without laces are as supportive as those with them, many do not agree. However, the level of support depends a lot on the design and construction of the shoe, and also the activity for which it is used. If designed with the right features, slip-ons can be a great option.  Slip-on shoes designed with elastic or stretchy materials can conform to the shape of the foot to provide a comfortable, supportive fit.  They are a great choice for casual wear or running errands as you can slip them on quickly and easily. I like that they add a modern and effortless look to any outfit from jeans to dresses to pajamas.

However, experts advise us to avoid shoes that are completely flat because they don’t give your feet any support. Without support, you can develop issues such as pronation and collapsed arches. And these conditions can lead to more problems like shin splints, and knee and back pain. Many slip-ons seem to be flat, so please avoid those, But know that some shoes with laces also are flat, so you want to avoid those too! So if you ask “Are slip-on shoes bad for your feet?”, the answer is sometimes.  But sometimes shoes with laces are bad for your feet too.

Benefits of Slip-Ons for Older Adults

Here are the benefits of slip-on shoes for seniors.

Ease of use

Slip-on shoes are wonderful for people with mobility or dexterity issues. They are easier to put on and take off than shoes with laces. For this reason, they may be especially helpful for those who have difficulty bending down to tie their shoes or manipulate the laces.

Comfort and accommodating fit

Slip-ons provide a more accommodating fit, and that is particularly important for seniors with swelling or other foot conditions. Shoes designed with stretchy or flexible materials can allow for great comfort and adjustability to accommodate different foot shapes, widths, and sizes. Some also have a cushioned footbed, a supportive midsole, and a durable outsole, which can provide adequate support and shock absorption.

Safety

As slip-on shoes do not carry the risk of tripping or falling over loose laces, they can provide a safer option than laced shoes. These types of shoes also often have slip-resistant soles which provide greater traction, further reducing the risk of slips and falls.

Some of Our Favorite Slip-On Shoes

Below are a few suggestions for slip-on shoes to give you an idea of the wide variety of designs available.

Women’s Orthopedic Slip-On Shoes With Arch Support for Pain Relief

slip-on shoes for seniors

This attractive, durable, and well-made pair of shoes with their canvas Upper, rubber sole, and arch support insole improves foot and leg alignment and helps ease stress and pain caused by flat feet, bunions, arthritis, plantar fasciitis, and diabetes. Super lightweight and easy to slip on are convenient and comfortable! Great for older adults to promote independence as well as those who work on their feet all day! Available in a variety of colors.

Men’s Casual Support Slip-On Shoes with Arch Support, Foot and Heel Pain 

are slip-ons bad for your feet?

These elegant leather shoes are made with high-quality leather material and superior texture, They are extremely comfortable for men and fashionable. They can be dressed up with jeans or shorts!  The orthotic inserts provide great ARCH SUPPORT and decrease foot fatigue. The deep heel cup can reduce the overstretch of Plantar Fasciitis and strengthen the stressed area to balance the pressure on the front and back heel. You’ll love the massage layer! And the excellent quality GEL material is great for shock absorption and pain relief.  Lightweight and durable, these shoes provide a great user experience.  Available in a variety of colors.

Women’s Active Sneaker- Supportive sneakers that Include an Orthotic Insole and Cushioned Outsole for Arch Support

are slip-on shoes bad for you?

No lace sneakers are for the more active older adult! It is an extremely comfortable walking shoe that provides a great fit for most! Obviously, you need to try them for yourself, but we’ve heard excellent reviews from many. Great for walking stairs without discomfort too. These sneakers include an orthotic insole and cushioned outsole for arch support and come in wide widths. Available in a variety of great colors!

 All Day Slip-On Sneakers with Support for Active Adults

slip on sneakers

With all-weather rubber soles, this supportive and fashionable slip-on men’s sneaker was designed with an adventurous life in mind. The drop-in heel provides comfort and convenience, and the lightweight breathable mesh design with an elastic lacing system for easy on and off! Active adults of all ages love these shoes! The rubber sole provides added traction and non-slip safety in all types of weather.

Women’s Fashion Slip-On Sneaker

women's fashion slip-on sneaker

These attractive slip-on sneakers are very light and breathable, as well as extremely comfortable! With a flexible rubber sole and soft knit mesh fabric upper, you can walk in these slip-ons all day. An added bonus is they dry quickly if you are caught in the rain!

Men’s Go Walk Evolution Ultra-Impeccable Sneaker

The leaders in walking technology present the next evolution with the Skechers GOwalk Evolution Ultra-Impeccable. This shoe features lightweight, responsive ULTRA GO cushioning and high-rebound ULTRA PILLARS. When combined with the Air-Cooled Goga Mat insole system, you get ultimate comfort.  High-quality and durable with a seamless fit and natural expansion, this slip-on comfort walking design is very popular with our readers.

Are Slip-On Shoes for You?

In a nutshell, in answer to the question, “Are slip-on shoes bad for your feet?”, the answer is no. Overall, choosing shoes without laces can be a practical, comfortable, and safe option provided you choose the shoes carefully.  With shoes that provide adequate support, slip-ons can be quite good and even promote independence for seniors. It’s important when buying slip-ons to look for features such as a contoured footbed, a supportive midsole, and a non-slip sole. Also, make sure the shoes fit properly and provide enough room for the toes to move freely without being too tight or too loose. It’s important that you buy the best slip-on shoes for your feet (and not the ones that might be the most popular at the time!).

Ultimately, the choice between wearing shoes with laces or without should be based on individual preferences and needs. If you or your elderly loved one likes shoes with laces because they are familiar, there’s no reason to switch as long as they are comfortably and safely doing the job. In other words, shoes with laces are not being phased out, at least not now as people still want them!

FAQs

Here are some frequently asked questions we hear often from our readers.

What exactly are slip-on shoes?

Slip-on shoes are those super convenient and easy-to-wear shoes that you can slide your feet into without any fuss. No more tying laces or struggling with buckles – just effortless style!

Why do people love slip-on shoes so much?

There are plenty of reasons to love them! Slip-ons are a real time-saver, and they feel incredibly comfy. Plus, they’re perfect for casual outings and relaxed occasions.

What types of slip-on shoes can I find out there?

Oh, you’ll be spoiled for choice! There are canvas slip-ons for that cool, laid-back vibe, classy loafers for a more formal touch, and even sneaker-style slip-ons that combine style with comfort.

Can I use slip-on shoes for sports or workouts?

While slip-on sneakers can handle lighter activities, like a casual stroll or a light workout, they might not be the best for intense sports or activities. For those, it’s better to stick to regular sports shoes.

Can I wear slip-on shoes for dressier events?

Definitely! Some slip-on shoes, like leather loafers, can totally rock a dressier look. But for super formal events, you might want to consider classic lace-up shoes.

What’s the best way to clean slip-on shoes?

For canvas slip-ons, just toss them in the washing machine (check the label first!). And for leather or suede ones, gentle cleaning with special products should do the trick. Keep ’em clean and fresh!

Will slip-on shoes fit my feet comfortably?

Most slip-on shoes are designed to accommodate various foot shapes, but it’s always good to try different styles and brands to find your perfect fit. Happy feet mean happy you!

Can slip-on shoes cause blisters or discomfort?

They can if they don’t fit right or the material isn’t suitable for your feet. But fear not! Choose the right size and opt for breathable materials to keep blisters away.

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