Pepper’s Pops of Wisdom

Life Lessons from Pepper, my rescue cat

How is it possible for a creature to embody both dependency and independence, love and distance, all within a single day? Meet Pepper, my rescue cat, resembling a petite Maine Coon with her brown and black fur and a delightful fluffy, orangey tummy.

Every night, Pepper follows a familiar routine. As I settle down with a book, she stares up at me from the floor. Soon enough, she is up on the bed, and she positions herself between my eyes and the book, ensuring her presence isn’t overlooked. After a few turns, she snugly settles right under my chin, allowing me to continue reading.

However, when the light is turned off, Pepper prefers a bit of distance. She relocates to my legs, tenderly finding them under the blankets, before reclining there.

Come morning, she’s back up by my face, gently petting me awake. Despite her claws, he knows to softly and delicately pet my face to wake me up. She is ready for breakfast.

Know what you want and be comfortable getting it.

In her own way, Pepper demonstrates clarity in knowing what she wants. She knows she wants to be close while I am awake. She appreciates her space in the dark. In the morning, she knows she wants her breakfast and is gentle, yet insistent about asking for it.

Around 3:00 PM, after a long nap, Pepper strolls into my office, marking yet another routine.

First, she will walk up to my chair and stare at me. Once I look at her, she will talk to me a bit. She is wondering why I am still working, since she is awake and ready to interact. I turn back to my work, and up she hops onto my desk. I don’t really like having her up on my desk, so I reach out to pick her up.

Not yet, she tells me. She first wants to sit there for a minute and think. After all, we are in an office, so it must be time to think. I give her a few minutes and then reach out for her again. This time she readily moves into my arms.

I really appreciate this time. It is a nice break in my day. She will snuggle up in my arms, purring happily. The gorgeous soft ginger fur on her belly is fully exposed as I cradle her. I lean back and pet her and breathe and listen to her purring. It is like she knew it was time for a break for me also.

This is her being completely vulnerable. She is so relaxed in my arms, her belly exposed, her head resting against my chest. Complete trust. No doubt that she is loved. How wonderful that must be to feel comfortable being so vulnerable and so loved.

Find that place where you can be vulnerable and feel loved.

It’s a beautiful thing, feeling utterly comfortable in vulnerability and assurance of love.

For many of us, this comes with self-love. With other people, we may not feel entirely safe being vulnerable for fear of being judged or ridiculed or rejected. When we love ourselves, we accept ourselves, the good and the not-so-good.

My place is in the cozy corner of my couch, with my coffee and my journal. I can be as honest and as vulnerable as I want to be in my journal.

Pepper’s Pop of Wisdom:

Find time to rest and refresh during your day.

I so appreciate the 5 minutes or so that she sits in my arms. It is a reminder to me to unplug from the computer and refresh. Five minutes is all it takes to shift your focus away from work or a project or something else that is consuming you. Five minutes of your attention on deep breathing, watching your shoulders relax and the tightness in your jaw relax. It is nice when you have a beautiful, gentle cat to pet while spending this time, but it is not necessary. (Don’t tell that to Pepper). If you want to, find something soft to hold during this 5-minute relaxation. The tactile sense of softness may help.

As the day winds down, it’s playtime for Pepper. She reminds me that dinner-time equals treats, earned through her tricks — lying down, rolling over, and shaking hands. Then, like a bolt of lightning, she dashes across the house, inviting me to join in her playful antics.

She will sometimes bring me her toy to throw for her. He likes hairbands and she has a couple of favorite toy mice. Her attention span for playing is not too long, but it is important to her. She does not miss a night.

Make time to play.

Life is a myriad of responsibilities. Yet, Pepper insists on playtime, a crucial element in her day. Her message is clear: amidst chores and obligations, allocating time for joyous play is essential.

  • Know what you want and be comfortable getting it.
  • Find that place where you can be vulnerable and feel loved.
  • Find time to rest and refresh during your day.
  • Make time to play.

Ultimately, the richness of life is found in the relationships we cherish and the moments we allow ourselves to enjoy.

Life is a Journey

Back in March of this year, I wrote a blog and did a show about Taking a Pause. I was rereading that article and I thought it was pretty good. I also thought that there were parts of it where I wanted to go deeper.

Steven Tyler from Aerosmith sings Amazing, which contains the phrase “Life is a Journey, not a Destination.” This song is about hitting bottom, feeling the pain of wrong choices and bad decisions. And how, amazingly, we get past them. I am sure we have all been there at times in our lives.

The chorus of the song says:

“It’s amazing
With the blink of an eye you finally see the light
It’s amazing
When the moment arrives that you know you’ll be alright
It’s amazing
And I’m sayin’ a prayer for the desperate hearts tonight”

Steven Tyler, AMAZING

There is so much in this chorus to unpack that applies to life stages.

I was working in the Northern Virginia area in 2001. I was working with a startup Telecom company and the owner of that company and I, did not agree on several things. As I was in HR and had to represent the company to employees, I found myself letting him know about the things I was concerned about. The day before the planes hit the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, he decided that it was time to let me go. He did not actually tell me himself. He had the President of the company tell me that the next day would be my last day. I was in my office with my staff when the planes hit. Everyone’s world turned upside down.

I found myself adrift for many months after that. I wished I had been able to be more diplomatic in my dealings with the owner of the company. I did not know what I wanted to do. I was having no luck finding meaningful employment, probably because I was not even sure what that would look like. I really hit bottom after a couple of months and called my son crying and scared about the future.

But like the song says, It was amazing, I finally saw that things would be alright. I took a job as the Center Director at a Sylvan Learning Center, and from there I started my KidzArt business. I found a new light. How does that happen?

Listen to yourself and discover what you need or want in that moment.

This can be tough. When you are feeling depleted or scared or lost or adrift, figuring out what you want or need seems impossible. Those feelings are real. Feel them. And listen to your inner voice. It may be a very faint whisper at first. During this time my inner voice was fighting with my ego.

I was used to making a certain salary. My son suggested that because I loved kids, I should go back to school and become a teacher. WHAT!? No way! I would have to go to school only to make less money than what I had been making. No way!

And the whisper was saying, “he is right you know, you do love working with kids.” I fought that for many more weeks until I walked myself into a Sylvan Learning Center. I could work with kids and not have to get additional education. It turned out to be a good solution. No, I was not making the same amount of money. But I loved the kids and the parents and the teachers. I was getting much more fulfillment and the good feeling of helping these kids overcome some of their learning challenges.

What I needed in the moment of hitting bottom, was a listening ear. I needed someone who believed in me, who knew me well enough to share some thoughts and ideas with me. Then what I needed was time to process these ideas and realize that meaning and purpose were more important to me at that time than a bigger salary. Financially it may not have been the best solution. Emotionally it was a very good solution.

What do you dream about?

Do you find that there are times when a dream of what could be next in your life pops into your head and you push it away? Are your limiting beliefs telling you that is a ridiculous idea? Are you concerned that other people would laugh at you if they knew what you were thinking?

These are common thoughts and feelings as we transition to a new stage of life. Many people stay in jobs because they have no idea what they would do if they left the job. Many people leave their jobs and have the feeling of being isolated, disconnected from who they were, and they struggle to find a new identity.

This is the time to get quiet. Listen to your inner thoughts about what you need and want now. Take some time to yourself, with no particular agenda. Just time to be quiet. Do not expect that you will identify what is next right away. For most of us it takes time. Talking to a coach can help. Friends and family are invested in your decisions and how they will impact them. A coach is invested in you.

As you start to identify ideas, or dreams, ask yourself if your dream is what you really want at this stage of your life. What would it bring you? Now Imagine how life might be if what you are dreaming about is possible. You will never know if you don’t try. And even the act of trying is part of the journey of life.

As the song says:

“It’s amazing
With the blink of an eye you finally see the light
It’s amazing
When the moment arrives that you know you’ll be alright

It’s amazing
And I’m sayin’ a prayer for the desperate hearts tonight”

That is the beautiful thing about the journey we are on called LIFE.

When we listen to our dreams; When we are willing to go through the struggles, the moment will arrive when you know you will be alright.

And maybe you could be the listening ear for those who are struggling right now. As the last line of this chorus says, there are desperate hearts all around us. Prayers are good. Friendship and listening are good also.

Natural Rhythm of Life: Staying Active, Engaged, and Vibrant

There is a natural rhythm of life. That is not a profound statement. We all know the rhythm. We are born, we grow, if we are lucky, we have a long healthy life and eventually it ends.

There’s a narrative we’re changing here at Hey Boomer: retirement age should not represent the closing but rather the opening of a new, exciting chapter. Living meaningful and vibrant yet peaceful lives where the rhythm of life becomes a harmonious balance of exploration, self-expression, and fulfilment.

Embracing Transitions and Reinvention

Change is a fact of life. This sentiment is especially true in the third act, as many of us experience significant transitions including retirement, physical and emotional changes, or shifts in family dynamics. What’s essential is not to get fixated on a single solution or idea. Encourage exploration and let it broaden your perspective.

Recognize the possibility of reinvention at any age – I went back to school at 28 as a single mother, became a certified change leader at 50, became a certified life coach at 58 and started the Hey, Boomer podcast at 66.

Remember, transitions, though sometimes uncomfortable and messy, could lead to unforeseen opportunities, new chapters, and personal growth.

Staying Active and Maintaining Vitality

I often emphasize the importance of staying active, both physically and mentally.

I have always enjoyed hiking, being able to get down on the floor to play, working in my garden and dancing. In the last few years, I recognize that my flexibility is not what it once was. There are aches and pains that I experience that seem to last longer.

Despite these aches, I remain committed to exercising and stretching regularly, driven by my desire to maintain mobility and an active lifestyle.

I heard Jane Fonda on an interview show and she was asked about her exercise routine at 85. She said she still does mostly the same routine she has been doing for years, only more slowly.

The other day I met an inspirational woman at the gym. Despite facing the challenges of being significantly overweight, using a cane, and having a leg brace, she consistently works out on the exercise bike.

She stopped me as we were both leaving to say that she sees me on the treadmill and wondered if that was something she could do. She is committed to keep moving. She realizes that she has a long way to go to get back to health, but she is there, at the gym, most mornings. She has not given up!

Becoming less flexible and stiffer can come with aging. Not for all of us. I have watched some incredible gymnasts who are still doing amazing feats in their 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and beyond. They are the exception.

Johanna Quaas – 91-year-old gymnast

Staying active is not always simple and it takes intention.  As my guest, Eric Severn told us, his 95-year-old grandfather made it a routine to walk around the block daily. There were days when he did not feel like it. But he set the intention to get up and get dressed and go for his walk.

If you can still move, even slowly, that is something to celebrate.

Maintaining a physically active lifestyle provides improved health, a sense of purpose and the joy of being able to pursue things you love.

Conclusion: Embrace the Natural Rhythm of Life

Embrace the third act of life and the exciting opportunities it brings! This is your time to explore, grow, and create, leaving behind your unique legacy.

Push away the narrative of winding down, of disappearance into old age – let’s redefine the rhythm of life in the third act. Life is about constant growth, and it’s time you took the lead role in your personal adventure, carrying the ethos of the Hey Boomer podcast: You’re never too old to set a new goal or dream a new dream. So, take action, engage with your community, and continue creating. After all, the third act could be the best act yet!

Navigating Estrangement: Healing the Unseen Wounds

Thankfully, I am not estranged from my children. But there is no doubt that my relationship with them has changed over time. As they graduated college and began to become more independent. As they married and started their own families. It was difficult for me to recognize, accept and respect that I was no longer the most important person in their lives.

Unfortunately, there are other members of my family that are experiencing estrangement. I have watched the pain and anger and confusion and hurt this has caused.  That is why I found my most recent episode on Navigating Estrangement so important.

The Silent Epidemic

Family estrangement is being called a silent epidemic. Silent because of the shame and guilt that the parent experiences. Epidemic because the numbers of estranged families are growing. More adult children are choosing to cut off contact with their parents for any number of reasons.

Estrangement is a complex and multifaceted issue that can have a profound impact on individuals and their relationships. In this blog post, I will attempt to unpack the topic of estrangement and delve into some key points raised in an episode of the podcast Hey, Boomer! titled “Family Estrangement: Healing the Unseen Wounds” with special guest, Dr. Joshua Coleman.

Defining Estrangement

Estrangement refers to the breakdown of a relationship between family members, typically between parents and their adult children. This breakdown results in the ending of communication between the individuals. While conflicts and disagreements within families have always been a part of human interaction, the phenomenon of estrangement has become more prevalent in recent times.

Factors Contributing to Estrangement

Many factors contribute to an adult child choosing to sever ties with their parent. It may be the impact of an acrimonious divorce or not connecting with stepfamilies. It may be that the adult child’s partner feels threatened by the parents and wants them to cut ties. There may be mental health issues, either the parent’s or the adult childs. It could also be more serious issues like neglect or abuse.

Cultural Shifts

In our generation, we may not have liked what our parents said or did, but we were raised with the idea of “honor thy mother and father” and most of us never thought about cutting them off. As we raised our children, there was more of an emphasis on their personal happiness, mental health, self-growth, and self-development. This cultural shift seems to have become so much a part of our adult children’s mentality that they sometimes believe their only path to happiness is to cut off contact with us. Sometimes adult children see this as a time for them to find their own identity, outside of their parents’ influence.


Another factor is a conflict in the kind of relationship the parent wants and the kind of relationship the adult child wants. Parents expected that they would be one of their adult children’s best friends. This can create conflicts when these expectations don’t align with the child’s wishes or values.

Increased parental anxiety

Additionally, advancements in technology have led to increased anxiety and intrusiveness from parents. Think about when we grew up. We could get on our bike in the morning, be gone all day, get home in time for dinner. No cell phones to stay in touch. Our parents were not overly involved in our lives.  

Today, in their attempt to protect and guide, parents now use technology to track where their children are and track their work at school. This can lead to children feeling overwhelmed and in need of space.

This kind of surveillance of adult children can drive them away. Boundaries are crucial in any relationship, and when they are not respected, estrangement becomes a possible outcome.

The Role of Therapists

Therapists play a significant role in the dynamics of estrangement. While therapy can be immensely helpful for individuals, the podcast episode shed light on how some therapists may inadvertently contribute to the estrangement between parents and adult children.

Many therapists are not trained on estrangement, and they may jump to faulty conclusions of causality. While some cases may involve real trauma, not all parents accused of abuse or neglect are guilty. Sometimes, therapists influence adult children by labeling their parents as narcissists or borderlines.

As parents reach out to try to reconcile, an adult child may not be open to even family therapy if they have become convinced that their parent is harmful to their well-being.

Steps Towards Healing

While healing broken relationships may be possible, it requires respecting boundaries and making repairs. In the episode, Dr. Coleman emphasized the importance of taking responsibility as a parent and showing empathy towards the estranged adult child. It is crucial to acknowledge the truth in their complaints rather than defending oneself. The key factor in rebuilding trust, as emphasized by letters from estranged adult children, is respecting their boundaries. As parents, we need to understand that this is not about us but about their need for space and autonomy.

However, healing and reconciliation can be a long and challenging journey. Even with the best efforts from parents, some adult children may not be open to reconciliation. If reaching out to your adult child doesn’t yield a response after the second attempt, consider giving them the space they need. This shows respect for their limits, earns you more respect, and may prompt them to reflect on their own behavior.


In conclusion, family estrangement is a complex and deeply emotional issue. Healing estrangement is not about placing blame. It will require parents to be as empathetic as possible. To accept that their adult child is hurting and be willing to accept responsibility for their part in the relationship.

Hopefully both parents and adult children will be able to engage in open and empathetic dialogue. Sadly, this does not always happen.

Dr. Coleman offers support groups for parents that can be found on his website.

The Generational Gift of an Uncluttered Home

Three Benefits of Decluttering

People start the journey of decluttering for many reasons. It could be that they are downsizing, and it is time to clear out years of accumulated things. It could be the loss of a loved one that begins the process. Maybe it is on a milestone birthday when we start to think about what we want to leave behind. 

Whatever the reason, in this post I will share tips and benefits of decluttering and how the process could be a gift to the next generation.

Cultivate Peace of Mind through an Uncluttered Space

When our physical surroundings are cluttered and disorganized, it can have a significant impact on our mental and emotional well-being. According to Diane Roberts Stoler, Ed.D, “Clutter creates chaos, which impacts your ability to focus. It also limits your brain’s capacity to process information. Clutter is a form of visual distraction, which increases cognitive overload and can reduce working memory. If your space is unorganized and filled with clutter it can be difficult to focus or concentrate. Research has shown that people are less irritable, less distracted, more productive, and better able to process information with an uncluttered and organized work area or home.”

By decluttering, we create a peaceful and calming environment, free from the distractions and chaos that clutter brings. Here are some key takeaways to help you achieve this:

  1. Start Small: On the podcast, Nicki Davidson Jones suggests beginning with clothing as it is often the least emotionally charged category. Sort through your wardrobe, keeping only items that you love and that make you feel good. Consider donating or selling the rest.
  2. Let go of sentimental items: Take a picture of sentimental clothing or objects that you no longer use or need. Ask yourself, “does letting go of the thing, mean that the memory is gone?” “Is the sentiment still in your heart?” “Would giving it away bring someone else joy?” By answering these questions, you may more easily release the physical item while still cherishing the sentiment behind it.
  3. Embrace the “snowball” effect: Once you begin decluttering one area, you’ll likely start to feel the positive impact it has on your mental state. Allow this momentum to carry you forward and declutter other areas of your life, such as the kitchen, office, or bedroom.

Create Space for Meaningful Experiences and Relationships

An uncluttered home not only provides physical space, but it also creates room for more meaningful experiences and connections with loved ones. I loved how Nicki Davidson Jones put it.

“Choose to have experiences rather than things. Choose to have relationships rather than things.”  Of course, you can have experiences, relationships and things, but I think this puts a different perspective on the space that is created by clearing out.

Here are three actionable tips to help you create the space you might want:

  1. Be deliberate and intentional: Use Marie Kondo’s method of gathering similar items together and determining what truly brings you joy or serves a purpose. This approach can be applied to various aspects of your life, guiding you to keep what’s truly necessary and let go of what no longer serves you.
  2. Consider WHY you are decluttering: Are you getting ready to sell your home? Is it time to let go of things you don’t want your children or relatives to have to deal with after you are gone? Maybe you have some things of value to sell.  Knowing your WHY for decluttering will help with your motivation.
  3. Consider asking for help: Many times, decluttering has a lot of grief associated with it. When you are trying to decide about the belongings of a spouse or parent who has passed, the grief can be overwhelming. Asking for help is about self-care. There are professional organizers you can reach out to. Asking for help from friends and family is sometimes a good idea. And when you feel overwhelmed, give yourself grace. Decluttering takes time. It is not usually something you do all at once.

Leave a Lasting Generational Gift

Decluttering is not simply about tidying up our own lives; it is an opportunity to leave a generational gift for our loved ones. Consider these tips to create a lasting legacy:

  1. Embrace the idea of death cleaning: Explore the memoir “The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning” by Margareta Magnusson. The book offers insights into the Swedish practice of preparing for one’s later years, ensuring that what we leave behind brings joy and meaning to our loved ones.
  2. Reflect on what your relatives might want: Have a discussion with your children, grandchildren or other relatives about what they might want after you are gone. Sometimes, our relatives do not want any of our things. Get ok with that. It gives you the freedom to do whatever your want with the items in your home. If certain items truly hold great meaning for your children or grandchildren, give them to them now. You can watch them enjoying the items while you are still here.
  3. Celebrate life’s moments and embrace change: Nicki is a big fan of Schitt’s Creek. One of her takeaways from that show is that life can change in an instant. Don’t be afraid to let go of the past and create a home that supports your current needs and dreams.

Feeling Inspired?

Decluttering goes beyond just tidying up our physical spaces. It cultivates peace of mind, creates space for meaningful experiences and relationships, and leaves behind a generational gift for our loved ones.

Check out Marie Kondo’s books along with the Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning for more inspiration. Reach out to Nicki Davidson Jones at if you want some help.

And remember, you can listen to the full episode of “Hey, Boomer!” for more insights and inspiration. Happy decluttering!

Behind the Microphone:

Lessons Learned at Podcast Movement & from the Listener Survey

Attending the Podcast Movement convention was an enriching experience that allowed me to connect with fellow podcasters and learn valuable strategies to enhance the Hey, Boomer show. Additionally, conducting a listener survey provided incredible insights into the preferences and interests of our audience. In this blog post, I will share the key lessons I took away from Podcast Movement and highlight the fascinating findings from our listener survey.

The Power of Networking

One of the biggest takeaways from the Podcast Movement convention was the significance of networking. There were over 3000 attendees at the convention in Denver. On the first day of the convention, I hosted an informal meetup of podcasters over fifty-five. We had about ten people show up. The next day, there was another meeting (called a Brain Date) and we added a few more people to our group.

By meeting other podcasters in my niche and building connections, I gained new friends. I learned about the types of shows others are doing. I gained valuable insights into various approaches and strategies. One of the significant takeaways was the agreement to continue to collaborate with fellow podcasters not only to provide opportunities to co-promote and grow our shows together but also fosters a sense of community within the Over 55 podcasting realm.

Through these connections, I discovered incredible shows like Hoyt Prisock’s Behind the Swipe dating podcast and Jill McCoslyn and Chris Brown’s show, Fit Strong Women Over 50. I also enjoyed meeting Denise Gliwa whose show is called Bite Your Tongue Podcast, about relationships with our adult children, and Heike Yates show, Pursue your Spark.

Takeaways from the Podcast Movement Convention

Podcast Movement not only provided valuable insights into growing our listenership but also shed light on key podcasting trends. For example, the convention revealed that YouTube has emerged as the leading platform for listening to podcasts, surpassing Apple and Spotify. While I have been streaming Hey, Boomer on YouTube for a few years, this information prompted me to start to explore ways to make our presence on the platform more impactful.

Another key trend that was front and center at Podcast Movement was the idea of memberships. In most cases this means offering exclusive content behind a paywall that is only available to members.

At Hey, Boomer, I offer a membership that entitles you to participate in The Boomer Banter. This is a small group engagement where we dig deep into a specific topic. We spend time in breakout rooms exploring our thoughts and ideas about the topic and then we come together in the big room to share what we learned. The time in the Banter is also building a sense of community with the members of the group. Our current Banter group is a perfect size for conversation, learning and connection. I will probably open a second Boomer Banter group after the first of the year. If you want to get on the list for this, drop me an email at

Takeaways from the Listener Survey

The listener survey revealed some interesting statistics. We found that 29% of our listeners discovered the show through social media, while 22% through podcast apps or YouTube channels. This highlights the efficacy of leveraging these platforms as a way to reach potential listeners. Additionally, 15% of the respondents found the show based on recommendations from friends or colleagues, emphasizing the importance of word-of-mouth marketing.

We asked our listeners about topics they were most interested in for in-depth discussions. Environmental issues, technology (AI and cybersecurity), cultural diversity and intercultural communication, family relationships, health and lifestyle, and intergenerational communication and social justice concerns emerged as the top preferences. I am curious if you agree with these topics or if there are others you would like to hear discussed on Hey, Boomer.

Our listener survey also highlighted the significance of building a sense of community. Many respondents expressed their gratitude for the supportive nature of our show and community, emphasizing the positive impact it has on their lives. To further foster this sense of belonging, we have a private Facebook group called “Hey, Boomer – What’s Next.” We plan to expand this group by offering even more relevant content and encouraging deeper engagement among members.


Attending the Podcast Movement convention and conducting the listener survey were transformative experiences for Hey, Boomer. It allowed me to connect with like-minded podcasters, gain insights into effective methods for growing our show, and understand the preferences of my cherished audience. I am grateful for the support of the Hey, Boomer community and I am committed to delivering engaging content that delves into topics you are interested in. Thank you for being a part of this journey!

Listener Survey Blog Post

I need your help. I have created a short listener survey for Hey, Boomer.

I have just completed my 150th episode.

It has been such a rewarding experience to meet such amazing guests and build the Hey, Boomer community.

Now I need your help.

It is important to me to bring you the guests and the content that excites you, engages you, inspires you and keeps you coming back. You, my loyal listeners, are part of the larger Boomer community, and the message we bring is an important message for all of us.

I want Hey, Boomer to be the go-to place for all things Boomer related. Questions about health and family and purpose and reinvention and longevity and grandchildren and travel. You get the idea.

What I really need is to hear from you.

I have created a short survey that will help me get to know more about you. Things like what you would like to hear more about and what you would like to hear less about. What questions or suggestions do you have. What you would miss if parts of what I deliver were eliminated.

The listener survey will take you 5 – 10 minutes max to complete.

I value your opinions and your thoughts. The feedback I get will be invaluable in helping me design shows that you want to hear.

Because your feedback is so important to me, I want to offer you a thank you gift for participating. Everyone who completes the survey will be entered into a drawing for a $50 Amazon gift card! The survey will close at the end of August.

We are all Boomers who want to live long, healthy, meaningful lives. Thank you so much for helping me by completing this survey.

Gifts Beyond Physicality: Intellect, Wisdom, Experience, & Love

by Jon R. Wiener, Published in the 2022 Rhapsodist, A-B Tech’s primary venue for literature and fine art

In 1977, my father Lou was 70 years old. I was 24. Most of my life I remembered him having to be on crutches to walk anywhere. He had bilateral hip osteoarthritis, and by that time had already had two total hip replacements (and was going to have another in his future). A combination of very intense athletic activity and injuries in his youth and a World War II explosion injury had damaged his hips, and he would spend the rest of his life on those crutches.

Louis Wiener – 1930’s

To take this magnificent physical specimen of a man and reduce him to being on crutches took a terrible emotional toll on him. Photographs of him in the 1930s, when he was the Chief Lifeguard of the New York beaches, portray his physique as the nearest thing to Superman I’ve ever seen.

He held the world record for 72 lives saved as a lifeguard for the year 1933, as recorded by the International Red Cross, a record that stood for many years. He was a multi-time winner of the 18-mile St. Lawrence River swim. He was a boxing instructor, played semipro football, was my first martial arts instructor-teaching me what he had taught Army Commandos in hand-to-hand combat-and, despite his muscularity, was a frequent finalist or winner of the New York City handball tournament, no mean feat where agility and quickness were paramount.

Adjusting to changing self-image

With an 8th grade education, he rose to be a Colonel in the OSS (Office of Strategic Services – precursor of the CIA) during World War II….so, he wasn’t used to failure, and he wasn’t used to being looked at as “injured,” or disabled. And then he was on crutches for the last 45 years of his life.

At 24 I was halfway through my Master’s program in Microbiology. The University of Maryland required I have a minor, so I chose the biology of the aging. In it, through coursework, we were taught that men, much more so than women, and especially if very athletic, faced a big issue dealing with the loss of their physicality.

Former football players, wrestlers, and participants in other aggressive sports had difficult times adjusting to giving up those sports, especially when they had nothing to replace it with.

A man who had learned golf at a young age as a hobby, along with being a college football player, for example, could more easily transition to golf from football, and maintain their competitive spirit. A

A man who simply stopped playing football, and didn’t know a gentler second sport, might go home to sit on the couch, or try to learn the second sport in his later years. The latter could very easily get frustrated trying to learn a new sport in their 40s or beyond and develop depression and issues of self-worth, especially if they linked who they were with their physicality.

Relearning your self-worth

My Dad had not learned any of the gentler sports one could do when older.  One day he pulled the family aside and said that he had decided that he would just swim as far out in the ocean as he could, and then, being too tired to swim back, accept that he would drown, as a way of ending his, and our, perceived misery. He thought that he had nothing left to give us, and he thought he was only a shell of his former self.

My mother was beside herself. A woman who, in my mind, could handle anything, was suddenly lost as to how to deal with this development of her husband.

She pulled me aside and said, “Please talk to him. I don’t know what to say.”

I thought, “why pick me, the youngest, when there are three older siblings?” but since she asked me I said I would try. Knowing this man’s monumental stubbornness, I thought I could and would easily fail.

So, a few days after his announcement, I sat alone with him in our apartment and gently raised the subject again. “Do you really think your life has no value, and that you have nothing left to teach me?” I asked.

“Name one thing I’m useful for,” he responded. “All the children are grown up now, so what do they need from me?”

I said that I don’t know how to buy a house, I don’t know how to get the best deal when buying a car, I don’t know how to be a great Dad, other than watching him, and I still needed his guidance for the many life issues that would arise that I knew nothing about. Who could I trust to give me the best advice in hard times if my best advisor was not around, if my best advisor had committed suicide as a way to handle his hard times? What example does that set?

I still needed his intellect, his wisdom, his experience and his love, even if his body was failing him. And there was nothing wrong with his mind.

His expression changed. This very strong, very tough rock of a man, with steel blue-grey eyes that had sent disapproving daggers into many a soldier’s heart, looked at me and those eyes watered. Forty-four years later, I will never forget his face at that moment. It was an odd combination of sadness, vulnerability, appreciation, and the confusion that comes from a man who had to be incredibly tough, but had a soft heart.

He lived another 18 years and was as instrumental in giving me the best advice as anyone in my lifetime. I have never known a finer man. He was the perfect combination of kindness, humor, integrity, toughness, and real-life wisdom.

If given the choice between being a great man or a good man, I’ll always, if I can’t be both, take the latter. My Dad, even if not a great man by the world’s definition, was a very good man.

Building Your Resilience Toolkit

Building your resilience toolkit will help you navigate endings.

In February 2009 my beloved Father passed away.  Within two years of that my second marriage was over, I had moved out of my beautiful home, I had sold my business (for a loss) and I found myself sitting in a workshop on gratefulness.  Only I could not think of anything I was grateful for. I was living in Northern Virginia, away from all my family. I was so depressed, so depleted, my heart was so closed, I could not remember what I liked to do, what made me happy.

It took me a few years to really find my way through. It took baby steps during my transition from being my father’s daughter, a wife, a business owner … to becoming the person I am today.

In my interview with Michelle Fishburne, author of “Who We Are Now, Stories of What Americans Lost and Found During the Covid-19 Pandemic,” we talked about resilience, transitions and strategies for overcoming some of life’s big challenges.

Michelle faced numerous challenges. She had lost her job and could not find another one. Her children had both left home for higher education. Her marriage was over and the lease on her rental was ending.  Michelle made a bold decision to move into her RV and found personal growth through traveling and collecting heartfelt stories from diverse individuals.

You Are Already Resilient

You are already resilient. How do I know that? Because you have survived every rejection, disappointment, loss, hurt, and turn of events in your life—and you figured it out. Sometimes, we just need a little help to remind us that we are resilient, and a roadmap to regain our balance.

I think this definition says it all. Resilience is taking the hard things in our lives and allowing them to make us better. As Michelle did, she turned her personal challenges into a journey of self-discovery and connection.

Here are my thoughts on building your resilience toolkit and adaptability for personal growth.

  1. Allow yourself to be vulnerable

Miranda Lambert has a song about a breakup. The chorus is:

“Go and fix your make up, girl, it’s just a breakup, girl.
Run and hide your crazy and start actin’ like a lady.
‘Cause I raised you better, gotta keep it together
Even when you fall apart”

“Hide your crazy! Keep it together.” A lot of people fear that their vulnerability will be seen as a weakness. They don’t think about vulnerability as being a part of resilience. Instead, they see resilience as hiding their crazy, keeping it together and moving forward.

It used to be that when I was in a state of despair and worry, I would hibernate. I didn’t want other people to see me like that. I didn’t want to be a burden to other people.

Over time, I have learned that I may need to hibernate for a short period of time. Like an animal that goes off by itself to lick its wounds. But I have also learned that staying isolated only increases the feelings of despair because we keep telling ourselves the same sad stories over and over again.

Vulnerability allows us to be seen. We risk sharing our story, sharing our hurt or fear. Speaking the story lets us hear it also, and sometimes the hearing of it removes some of its power.

Once you allow yourself to be vulnerable, you realize that there are people who care about you and are there to offer encouragement and support.

2. Develop a strong support network.

When I moved to Greenville, I moved in with my sister for a little while. She was my initial support network. I started to search on LinkedIn for local coaches I could connect with. I looked for meetup groups where I might meet people with similar interests.

Having a strong support network is vital to building resilience. When I was struggling to find what I was grateful for, I was feeling very isolated. I was far away from my family, my children were grown and had moved away, my marriage had ended. Yes, I had a few friends, but the isolation was more powerful. Once I settled in Greenville, I was closer to family and I was building new relationships. I felt more supported.

Having this support helps us to recognize that we are not alone. We need people, we need social connections.

 Sometimes professional guidance or support groups are also helpful. Local community centers, recreational classes, or online forums offer plenty of opportunities to engage with others and expand your network of support.

Additionally, building a strong support network is not a one-way street; it is essential to be an active and engaged member of your support system. This means offering the same level of support, empathy, and encouragement to others as you would hope to receive. By providing support to others in their times of need, you can gain invaluable insights into your own capacity for resilience and adaptability. Furthermore, helping others will not only deepen your connections but can also contribute to your own personal growth, as you learn from the experiences and perspectives of those around you. Embrace the power of connection and support as you journey through life, and you will undoubtedly emerge stronger, more resilient, and better equipped to handle whatever transitions come your way.

3. Embrace a growth mindset. Be curious.

Approaching difficult situations with a growth mindset means that you are focusing on the lessons that can be learned from life’s setbacks.

Reflecting on Michelle Fishburne again, at the beginning of 2020, it seemed like her world had fallen to pieces. Her response to this was to become curious. She set out in her RV to find out how Americans were coping with the pandemic. She gave herself a project that she hoped might give her some additional credibility in finding a job. It turned into a book and a self-discovery journey for Michelle. As she said in the interview, she is now “leaning into the uncertainty,” and is figuring out more about who she is and what she wants at this stage in her life.

Leaning in with an open mindset can foster a stronger sense of self, and in turn, better equip us for future challenges.

When faced with setbacks or unexpected challenges, resilience depends on how we reframe our perspective.  What if we chose to look at adversity as a learning opportunity? A growth opportunity? We can use our curiosity to turn lemons into lemonade.

Taryn Marie Stejskal, Ph. D. is the author of The 5 practices of Highly Resilient People. She was interviewed for Maria Shriver’s Sunday Paper. In this interview she was asked about bouncing back from adversity.

She answered, “I don’t know when bouncing back became synonymous with being resilient. If anyone has read just one article about neuroplasticity, we know that every experience changes us down to the cellular level by way of our neurons rewiring, reshaping, regrouping, and regenerating in response to our experiences. So why would we ever expect to go back to the way we were, when we know that we are fundamentally and forever changed by life? Resilience is not about staying the same, but instead, about evolving and allowing ourselves to be changed for the better. Instead of seeing resilience as going back, as bouncing back, we get to understand that resilience is about harnessing the wisdom, growth, and perspective we earned amidst adversity and going forward, bouncing forward, incorporating what we learned.”

Don’t you love that? You do not have to stay the same. When you evolve as a result of learning from adversity, you are actually changing your brain at a cellular level.

Building Your Resilience Toolkit

Ultimately, the journey towards developing resilience and adaptability is deeply personal and may look different for each individual. It is important to remember that this process takes time, effort, and patience, and setbacks along the way are normal and even expected. However, by being intentional about learning from adversity and setbacks, and consistently practicing resilience and adaptability, an individual can gradually build their own unique toolkit for overcoming life’s challenges. With a growth mindset and curiosity, vulnerability, and support, it is possible to not only survive but thrive during periods of change, transforming setbacks into opportunities for growth, and adversity into a catalyst for personal development and lasting happiness.

What other steps are you taking towards embracing resilience for personal growth? Comment below and let me know.

Connect with me here:

How do you feel about Retirement

Initial Survey Results

As you may remember, I sent out a survey last week asking several questions about retirement. What motivated me to send out this survey was the results of some research out of MIT AgeLab and an article written in Forbes magazine by Dr. Joseph Coughlin. They concluded that men see retirement as a destination, women see retirement as a journey. In other words, men see retirement as endless days of leisure and women view retirement as an opportunity to try new things, learn, be involved.

This idea did not sit right with me. I meet men and women who want to continue living and learning and making a difference well into their 80’s and even 90’s. Maybe it is more a matter of timing. Maybe some men initially want to relax, not make specific plans. Eventually, at least in my experience, this gets boring and they begin to want more in their lives. The challenge they face is not knowing where to start to find that “something more.” Without the definition their careers gave them, many men do not have any idea of who or what they want to be.

Women on the other hand, have been more involved in social relationships outside of work, and so their interests and support systems are typically better developed.

At least that is my speculation. So here is what I want to do. I will share the top level results with you in this blog. The survey is still open so you can continue to add your answers. I am also scheduling follow up calls with several of the people who have responded to dig deeper into their responses. A survey can only tell us so much, a conversation can uncover more.

Once I complete the follow up conversations, I will also report out on what I learned. The survey results are continuing to come in.  This is what I have learned so far.

57% of the respondents said they had already left their jobs and had successfully transitioned.

32% said they were completely confident or somewhat confident that they know what they will do when they do leave their work.

Almost all respondents had ideas for things they wanted to do to stay engaged when they retire.

81% of respondents said they wanted to contribute to their communities.

75% said they wanted to do some traveling.

63% indicated they wanted to be involved in volunteer work.

55% were looking to engage in creative pursuits.

A few people indicated they did not see themselves retiring. They wanted to continue to work part-time, talked about reinventing and starting a new business.

The top 2 answers to the question, “When I retire it will be (or is) important to me:

50% to still feel useful and relevant.

25% to continue to learn and challenge myself.

Only 2% said they wanted to retire and do nothing.

Eighty-four percent (84%) said they strongly agreed or somewhat agreed that learning how others have managed their transition from work to what is next is helpful.

Believing that they have the ability to chose what will be next for them, excites 84% of all respondents, and 84% of respondents felt they had the necessary support network to navigate their transition.

Regarding the question; A recent report from MIT Age Lab found that men view retirement as being more about leisure. Women viewed retirement as finally being “time for me,” and indicated more interest in a variety of endeavors. In your experience, do you agree or disagree with this conclusion?

77% agreed with this statement, with caveats.

Some of the comments I got to this question were:

“There are some men who are making a larger contribution so it’s not all men who want leisure.”

“I somewhat agree. I generally find it difficult to put all men or women into one category.”

“It is true for me, as a woman, but I don’t want to generalize from just my own experience.”

“In my experience, men are more at a loss about what to do; leisure is not their main focus. Women have broader interests and social networks; “me time” might be one thing they want but isn’t necessarily their main driver.”

“True for me, but I know a number of men who continue to explore and pursue new interests.”

“Most of the people I know (men and women) are exploring various models of “retirement”…I don’t know that they have either view.”

I was surprised by the responses to this last question, with the majority of respondents agreeing with the idea. I probably should not have been totally surprised. After all, the study was out of MIT. I have just a small sample of the world that I know.

I will continue to get more clarity from some of the respondents and will share that with you in a week or so.

If you would like to add your thoughts to this survey, please use this link:

More to come…

The Perfect Time to Take a Pause

5 Steps for being in the Neutral Zone

One door closes and another door opens. Are you really ready to walk right into that door? In my experience as a Transition Coach, I would say NO. When one door closes, it is the perfect time to take a pause.

The inclination of transitioning from an ending is to jump right back in. You want to mask the pain, sadness, loss or loneliness that comes from that closed door. You end your career, and immediately start looking for what else will fill your time. A relationship ends and the loneliness is awful, so you immediately start looking for the next relationship. Life transitions can be overwhelming and uncomfortable.

In this article I will help you understand the benefits of the pause and how to apply them to your life.

What does it mean to Take a Pause?

Taking a pause is about stepping away from your normal routine. Maybe it is spending time by a trout stream. Maybe it is reading a book or taking a walk. It is about stepping away from your routine and doing it by yourself.

Because alone time or quiet time can be uncomfortable, we generally fill up time with BUSY in order to avoid the quiet.

I remember many years ago, when I was living in Asheville, a friend suggested to me that we take a weekend completely unplanned. I looked at him in shock. “How is that even possible,” I asked? How do you even know when to get up in the morning or what to do when you get up? At the time I was a full-time student, a single mother and I was just trying to get the finish line or earning my degree. How could I possibly spend a day without a plan?

After a very uncomfortable start, I was able to ease my way through the day. I realized unplanned did not mean doing nothing. It just meant listening to my inner voice and doing what I wanted to do. Starting with coffee! I don’t remember everything about that day, but I do know we got out into nature, sat by a lake, watched the water, looked at clouds. Eventually we got hungry, so we ate. And eventually it stopped being so uncomfortable. It became relaxing and enjoyable. I felt the tension draining from my body. The “monkey mind” of noise about all that had to be done, quieted. It put the HAVE TO DO into perspective.

What do Values have to do with it?

I have found in my coaching that people know what their top values are, BUT they realize that they have been taking them for granted. Other things caught their attention. They were taking care of all the things they thought they HAD TO DO.

We in the Boomer generation are at a time in our lives when we can flip that. I hear all the time that “I am busier now than I ever was when I was working.” The question to ask yourself is, “is the busyness just filling in the space of having quiet time or are you busy with the things that feed your values?”

Think about your values. Is time alone important for you to recharge? Is family and friend time important and something you may not have given the attention that would support that value? Is making a difference one of your top values? Is health and exercise in your top 10 list? How are you living those values?

In my coaching practice all my clients get a copy of William Bridges book, Transitions. In the book, Bridges talks about the three stages of transition; Endings, the Neutral Zone and New Beginnings.

The truth is that most of us have never taken the time in the Neutral Zone. Think about times in the past when you experienced an ending. You left college and most likely went straight into a job. If you were ever laid off, the immediate reaction is to get on the job boards and start networking to find the next job. We never allowed ourselves time to reflect on what we liked about a previous job or what we did not like about the previous job. We never allowed ourselves time to reflect on the type of culture we’d like to find in our next place of work. Now, as you transition to retirement, you have the opportunity to take this time and reflect on what is important. This is what we call the Neutral Zone.

The Neutral Zone is the time between the old life and the new. The time between leaving your career and redefining yourself in your new stage of life. The time between losing a relationship through death or otherwise and redefining yourself as a person without that relationship. The time you spend as a caregiver, and then figuring out who you are once the caregiving is done. The Neutral Zone is a particularly rich time for insights, if you give yourself that time.

Five steps for Being in the Neutral Zone

Recognize the importance of taking a pause or being in the neutral zone.

Understanding the importance of this time can keep you from falling into one of two traps that people – especially people who are upset with the change or transition – may fall into. Let’s call them FAST FORWARD and REVERSE.

Reverse is trying to go back to what was familiar. Your phone is not ringing, and no one is asking your opinion. You start to feel invisible. You try to go back to the “old” company as a consultant.

Or, the loneliness after the loss of a loved one is too much. If you split up, you try to makeup. You want to go back to the way things were. If the loss was due to death, there is no going back to the way things were.

As Thomas Wolfe so wisely said, “You can’t go home again.” Things change. You’ve changed. Trying to go in Reverse will frustrate you and keep you stuck.

Fast Forward has generally been our “go-to” behavior. We don’t like the discomfort of being between jobs, so we jump right back into the job search without taking the time to discover what we liked and didn’t like about the job. We rarely take the time to think about what we might want to do now. Same goes for retirement. People jump right into what they think retirement life should be like and then they find that they are adrift, bored, feeling useless and purposeless. Taking the time in the Neutral Zone allows you to discover what is important to you and what your values are at this time of life.

Find a regular time to be alone for quiet reflection.

I take this time in the morning, with my cup of coffee, a book and my journal. I remember when I was going through my first divorce. I went to a small log cabin for a few days with just some books and a notebook. This was before cell phones, so no one could call me. I knew I wanted to figure out what I was going to do. I realized that I could not figure everything out, but I took the time to know more about myself and what was important to me. I left that cabin more certain about what I needed in my life. I strongly encourage my clients to find some time to be alone. Maybe you don’t have to go away, but spending time with yourself in an environment outside of your normal environment and routine can be very helpful and restorative.

Take the time to write your life story.

Why? Because sometimes it is only when you see where you have been that you can tell where you are heading. Because recalling other life transitions can help you get insight into the changes you are facing now. This is ALWAYS a very powerful exercise for my coaching clients. I give them several tools to use to help them write their life story. The insights they get from this exercise are always meaningful and motivating.

Listen to yourself and discover what you need or want in that moment.

This can be a tough one. We often tell ourselves that this is a selfish activity. We have been taught to think about others and not about what we really want. We offer limiting beliefs to stop ourselves from dreaming about what we really want because we tell ourselves that it is not possible. But what if it is possible? We will never know until we articulate what some of those wants might be. Spending time in the Neutral Zone to listen to our thoughts might shine some light on our dreams.

Allow yourself to feel the discomfort of the pause and process your feelings.

This is the summary step. Recognize the importance of taking a pause. Find a regular time to be alone for quiet reflection. Work on writing your life story. Discover what you really want and need.

It can be uncomfortable to take time in the Neutral Zone and confront any negative emotions that come up. I believe it is necessary for your mental health and personal growth. It provides an opportunity to reflect on yourself and your values, and to examine your feelings more deeply. It also allows you to step back and gain a new perspective on your life and the transitions you are going through. Taking a pause is about being with what matters. It is about living life, not just being busy through life or living up to others’ expectations. Embrace this time, lean into it, listen and you might find that you learn to love what you find in the pause.

I’d love to hear how you apply Taking a Pause to get emotional reflection.
Leave me a comment or drop any questions you want me to answer!

Wendy Green is the host of the Hey, Boomer Podcast and an experienced Transitions Coach who believes we are never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream. She has a passion for helping her listeners navigate their lives and relationships, offering free resources on her website such as the Vitality Assessment and the Hey, Boomer podcast.

Sign up for a complimentary coaching consult here.

6 More Tips for Harmony in Your Next Chapter

Last week I shared six tips to help you find harmony and fulfillment in the next chapter of your life.

They were:

  • I count my blessings.
  • I dream big.
  • I practice forgiveness.
  • I give generously.
  • I take responsibility.
  • I connect with others.

This week I want to share six more strategies to incorporate in your life. Believe it or not, retirement is hard. It is number 10 on the list of top ten life stressors! It is hard because it involves so much change and loss. Incorporating these tips into your ReEnergized life in your next chapter will put you on the path to meaning, purpose and fulfillment.

  1. I am a life-long learner.  The idea here is believing that we can always learn.  There is a saying that “if you stop learning, you die.”  Dare to live, dare to learn.  If you make a mistake, it is a learning opportunity that keeps you moving forward.
  2. I embrace change. We know that life is a series of changes. Focusing on the present moment and preparing yourself for the next chapter of your life, is a wonderful way to embrace change. Steve Maraboli, in Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience said, “The beautiful journey of today can only begin when we learn to let go of yesterday.”
  3. I explore my strengths and my interests. First look at some of your strengths you have been using throughout your career. Are there other strengths that you would like to develop now? This is a great time to figure out what else you are good at and what you really want to do. Let that knowledge guide your choices.
  4. I ask for help.  Asking for help takes strength and vulnerability.  It also invites other people into your life, in ways they may have not been there before. The things you may want help with could be as simple as a referral to a new doctor or information about an activity you have not attended. You might ask for insight into a challenging relationship you are having. Everyone likes to help. Ask for help and offer to help. You may find that you like it. 
  5. I recognize opportunities. The transition into retirement is a time when “one door closes, and another door opens.” In fact, many doors may open, if you are looking for opportunities. Stay alert for promising openings. And when you see an opening, have the courage to walk in. Feeling excited about all the possibilities that are available to you now, will keep you motivated and inspired. Your mind is your greatest tool of empowerment and of discouragement.  Focus your mind on opportunities.
  6. I try new things. This is your time to try new things, things that you may have always wanted to do, and put off. Be open to experimentation. Go kayaking. Go on a nature walk. Plan a trip to someplace you have never been.  Bake your own bread or knit a scarf. You will build new memories, make new friends and you may find a new interest.

If you are interested in more insight, download the Vitality Assessment from the landing page at Ready to talk about what’s next? Schedule a complimentary coaching conversation with me at

Six Tips for Harmony in your Next Chapter

Life changes.  That is one thing we can count on. Leaving full-time employment is a major life change.  In fact, on the scale of top stressors, retirement is rated as number 10.  How you experience those changes is directly affected by your thinking, and will directly affect your sense of well-being. That is why I want to share the first Six Tips for Harmony in your Next Chapter.

I read an article today about Life Domain Harmony. The article was disputing the idea of work/life balance because of the many domains in our life. We have personal domains, spiritual domains, physical domains, love domains, family domains, as well as work domains. Finding harmony in these domains is a more humane way of looking at “balance.”

I have put together a list of 12 empowering ideas that can have a positive impact on your well-being and harmony in your life. Rather than share all 12 now, I am going to divide this up into two-weeks’ worth of ideas. I am hoping this gives you the opportunity to focus on one or two of the first six to try this week. Next week you might want to pick a couple more.

Please let me know what you will be thinking about this week.

  1. I count my blessings. List each thing that you have to be grateful for. Remember to include the smaller items, like warm socks or dark chocolate. Expressing your appreciation reminds you of how rich you are.  I try to end my day by thinking about three things I am grateful for that day. Try it!
  2. I dream big. Expand your wish list. Who said we have to stop dreaming as we age?  This is the time to take the limits off your dreams, expand your bucket list.  Just because you want to climb Mount Kilimanjaro doesn’t mean you will.  But if you never add it to your wish list, you certainly will never climb.
  3. I practice forgiveness. Lighten your load by clearing away any resentment you’re holding onto from the past. Set reasonable boundaries while you respond with compassion when others disappoint you. Pardon yourself too.
  4. I give generously. Sharing your blessings makes you more powerful and joyful. Volunteer in your community and speak kindly to each person you meet today. Research shows that those who volunteer are less depressed, experience a greater sense of control over their lives, have higher self-esteem and happiness, and tend to live longer.
  5. I take responsibility. You are in charge of your life. Hold yourself accountable for the outcomes you create. Celebrate the fact that you have the power to determine your own future.
  6. I connect with others. Connections as we age are vitality important. Loneliness is a major cause of depression in older people. Surround yourself with loving and encouraging family and friends. Participate actively in your faith community. Join a club with members who share your interests. Take a class.  Volunteer.  Find ways to stay connected and build a sense of community

A positive attitude increases your happiness. Question your old assumptions so you can replace them with a new sense of certainty about yourself and your future. Adopt empowering beliefs that build up your confidence and prepare you for What’s Next.

Start today. You’ll be glad you did!

To schedule a 20 minute complimentary call with me, to explore harmony in your next chapter, use this link>

Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number: Connecting Generations with Understanding, Respect and Play

I have been thinking a lot about connections between generations. In the past 6 weeks, I have spoken with Elly Katz from Sages and Seekers, Avery and Eleanor, two high school students who founded The Young Women’s Forum at their school, and Sky Bergman, documentary filmmaker of Lives Well Lived and founder of an Intergenerational Project Connecting Generations.

I have also spoken with my grandchildren, ages 18-13, and each of them have different personalities and different outlooks on their lives. What I have realized from all of these conversations is:

  • Not all children have access to older adults.
  • Not all older adults have access to young people.
  • The lack of access breeds the development of stereotypes and lack of understanding between the generations.
  • Lack of understanding feeds into the ageist ideas the generations have about each other.

There are some ways to break down these barriers and build connections between generations. I am going to share four ideas with you. Before I do, let’s talk about why this might be important.

Finding commonality

I have been very fortunate. I had my paternal grandparents in my life for most of my childhood. My parents were active and involved for as long as it was possible. I have had positive role models of aging. Many young people see commercials and cartoons depicting old people as bent over, infirm, grey-haired shells of what they may have once been. No one wants to strive for that kind of old age. Without access to thriving older adults, that is the predominant image the young people see.

I also am fortunate to have regular contact with my 4 grandchildren. I ask them about text protocol (no punctuation necessary). I learn about the latest teen idols. I hear their dreams for their future.

There are many young people that do not have grandparents. Many young peole are not comfortable talking with older adults because they do not feel understood. Loneliness is epidemic among teens and elders alike.

There are many older people living alone. There are many older people who have strained relationships with their families. They hear in the media about teens being obsessed with their devices. They hear that the younger generation has no loyalty to work. They form opinions about young people as different from them, and the result is reverse ageism.

Of course, the stereotypes of ageism are not new. Our parents did not understand our music or boys with long hair. Their parents did not understand the big band music of their era. But when you look deeper, we are all human beings living different life experiences, and we share many things in common. We all want to be loved. We all want to be respected. We all want to be heard. We all want to feel safe.

With that commonality in mind, let’s talk about how we might build some bridges to understand each other.

1. Where and what are the opportunities?

 There are many opportunities for intergenerational connection. Is the cashier at your grocery story or pharmacy a young person? Smile at them. Ask them if they are having a good day. It is the start of a connection.

If you have grandchildren that do not live close by, you could consider scheduling a regular time to call. Try Facetime or Zoom so that you can see each other. I have a friend who reads a bedtime story to her niece on a regular basis, via Facetime.

You could seek out opportunities to volunteer with different generations. Volunteer with Sages and Seekers and become a Sage to a younger person. In 8 weeks, you will build a relationship and increase understanding.

Opportunities to volunteer can be found in many different locations, such as hospitals, schools, and community centers.

Go to where you can download the discussion guide and some questions you might use when you are venturing into connection with a younger or older person.

2. Be open to learning and listening

 It is important to remember that intergenerational connection is not a one-way street. Everyone has something to learn from each other, regardless of age. In order to foster meaningful intergenerational connection, it is important to listen to and appreciate the perspectives of different generations, while also sharing your own experiences and thoughts. Eleanor and Avery, the high school students, told me that their biggest desire was to be heard. They wanted the adults around them to listen to their thoughts, feelings, concerns and fears.

Be mindful and present when in conversation with different generations and be open to the perspectives they have to offer. We all have life experiences that have shaped us.

As Boomers we experienced the assassination of two Kennedy’s, Martin Luther King, Jr. and the death of other civil rights leaders. We lived through the Vietnam War.

Gen Z, those ages 11 – 23, have lived through Covid isolation, rising gun violence, an insurrection on our Capital, the fears around climate change.

We all have experiences that shape us, and we need to be open to listening to people from other generations without judgement. Listen with empathy and a desire to understand.

3. Find inspiration from family members and others

Sky Bergman was inspired by her 103-year-old grandmother. I was inspired by my parents who stayed active and pursued their goals even in their later years. Sky is also being inspired by the 14 other social entrepreneurs who are part of the CoGenerate Innovation Fellowship. This fellowship brings together older and younger people to address issues such as climate change and social isolation.

Finding inspiration from family members and others is a way to build bonds between generations. This can go both ways. We normally look at our elders as role models. What would it be like for you to look at your children or grandchildren as inspiration? They are navigating work, school, responsibilities, fears and a constant stream of data unlike anything that we dealt with. How do they do it? Why not let them know that you respect them and admire them?

It might seem funny to use the word inspiration in a step to build connection between generations. It really makes sense. We want to be around people that inspire us, where we can feel uplifted. Connecting with family with authenticity will open doors you never knew existed.

We see what we look for. Look for inspiration in family and friends.

4. Play

I think that sometimes we are too serious. There are many serious issues that are crying for us to pay attention. As parents or grandparents, we get into the habit of asking questions like, “how is your job?” “how is school?”

Those may be important questions, but they don’t build bonds. The questions that open a conversation build bonds. Last night I was out to dinner with my grandkids and their parents. I asked them, “what are you most proud of in your life?” Some of their answers were silly and some were sincere. Listening without judgement, laughing at the silly answers and nodding understanding at the sincere answers just felt right. My grandson “charmed” us with corny jokes and a very difficult riddle. It was fun and light, and everyone felt comfortable.

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”

~ George Bernard Shaw

I want to end with one last quote. This sums up what we all want. Thank you, Mr. Rogers.

“Whether we’re a preschooler or a young teen, a graduating college senior or a retired person, we human beings all want to know that we’re acceptable, that our being alive somehow makes a difference in the lives of others.”

― Fred Rogers, The World According to Mister Rogers: Important Things to Remember

I’d love to hear how you apply some of these ideas to get to connect with other generations.

Leave me a comment on how it went for you or drop any questions you want me to answer!

Five Steps to Purpose and Meaning

I woke up this morning in pain, feeling exhausted. Having purpose and meaning is what has kept me going these past few months, in spite of the pain.

I have gone through a series of tests and nothing significant has shown up. So, this morning, I ordered a new mattress. Maybe that will be the answer.

One of the experiences I appreciated was a Joy Fuel session with Anna Hall, founder of the Purpose Equation. In my Joy Fuel session, I realized that I get the fuel that feeds my purpose through engaging authentically and intimately with people; engaging in natural settings, and creating an environment full of calm, sensory experiences. My diffuser emitting the fragrance of cloves and tangerine in my office helps set the mood every day. Also music. I feel much better when there is music playing.

Purpose is how we give and get meaning and joy every day.

Anna explained that you need to have some fuel inside of you so that you have the energy to give and get that meaning every day.

The question that I hear often is, “how do I find my purpose, or do I even have a purpose?” Many of us found purpose through the work we did. Without the recognition and responsibility of the full-time career, it is not always evident where we will find meaning and purpose in our lives.

In my coaching program, “What’s Next?” I offer many tools to help people like you find the meaning and purpose in the next phase of life.

Five steps to finding purpose and meaning

Here are 5 suggestions I would make for identifying your purpose and finding meaning in your life.

  1. Think about when you have felt the most satisfied, when you experienced joy.
  2. Analyze your values. Where are they showing up in your life?
  3. Examine your life experiences and look for patterns.
  4. Try on different ideas and opportunities.
  5. Trust the process

Think about when you have felt the most satisfied, when you experienced joy.

Identifying what brings you joy is a key step in finding your purpose. Joy is a feeling of pleasure, contentment, and delight, and it is important to recognize what brings you joy in order to better understand yourself and find your purpose. Joy can be found in many activities, such as engaging in hobbies or spending time with family and friends. It can also come from simple everyday moments, like taking a walk or enjoying that first cup of morning coffee.

One way to identify what brings you joy is to take the time to reflect on the moments in your life that make you feel fulfilled and the most gratified.

  • Think about what activities or experiences bring you the most joy and why.
  • Consider the things that make you smile, laugh, or feel a sense of peace and contentment.
  • Write down your thoughts and feelings about these moments and use them to develop a list of activities that bring you joy. This list can be used as a source of inspiration when you are feeling low or unmotivated. Remember, joy is personal and unique to each of us, so don’t be afraid to explore and experiment in order to find what brings you joy.

Analyze your values. Where are they showing up in your life?

Values are principles people live by. There are two types of values: Fear-based and conscious-based values. Values based on fear are the ones that cause us to take action to avoid something. They are the “have-to” values or “you-should” values.

Conscious values allow people to take positive actions. They are the “want to” and “choose to” values.

Before you get to creating the life that will bring you joy, meaning and fulfillment, it is important to think about your Core Values. These may have changed slightly since you retired, but many of your core values are always there, although they may not have been a part of your everyday life for a while.

You can find lists of values if you do an internet search. This will help you get started. Put some time and thought into this. What values are you honoring when you feel really good about something you are doing or have done? What values were you ignoring when you were upset with actions or choices you made or are making?

Examine your life experiences and look for patterns.

The essence of this is that we’re all telling ourselves a story about who we are. And many of us are not aware of what that story is. Sometimes, that story is filled with words that are not uplifting or the fears are prominent. Your story may be based on the belief “I should do this.”

Initially I encourage my clients to write their life story, what were their successes, their failures? Who had the most influence in their life? What did they enjoy, and what did they feel forced to do. I tell them to spend as much time as they need to really get a clear picture.

Next, I urge my clients to write a vision using all the things they learned about themselves that they want to keep. We all have so many things that are right with us. Our values, our strengths, what brings us joy, how we help others. Weaving those into a narrative, a vision for this next life phase, is energizing. It brings clarity to the things that will bring you meaning and purpose.  

Try on different ideas and opportunities.

With the clarity that comes from reviewing your life story, come new thoughts and possibilities.  As we get older, we naturally start focusing on things that really matter to us, things that fill us up. Looking over your values, your vision, where you get joy, start to write down some ways you can live the life you want.

Some of my clients have decided to pursue arts, some to nurture their own creativity. Others to develop programs to share with kids.

One found meaning as a Red Cross emergency volunteer. Another has decided she wants to keep working on a program that empowers women.

Each person pursued these activities with a sense of curiosity. Baby steps, try it out. See how it feels. Remember, you are stretching a comfort zone so it may feel a little bit uncomfortable at first. Does it honor your values? Does it fit your vision? Is it fulfilling? You will know when it is right for you.

Trust the process.

What does it mean to “trust the process?” Trusting the process means showing up with curiosity to do the work you know needs to be done. It means being willing to explore new ideas and opportunities to find what feels right for you. It means you keep doing these things even when you feel like you aren’t finding answers as quickly as you would like to.


For more in-depth work on Purpose, check out Anna Hall at The Purpose Equation.

For one-on-one coaching to dive into creating a fulfilling and energizing plan for What’s Next, contact me a

Leave me a comment, share your thoughts or questions! I love to hear from you.