“Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, but beautiful old people are works of art” 

-Eleanor Roosevelt

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Life Long Learnings

Life Long Learnings

There are many “Lifelongs” -- ranging from Lifelong Dental Care to a Lifelong Bowling Score. But I think those closest to most of our hearts are Lifelong Friends and Lifelong Learning. This blog is about what I discovered about Lifelong Learning, thanks to two Lifelong Friends.

Laura and Sandy, (married), asked me to register with them for a Monday evening class at the UCLA Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. I responded with an immediate “yes”, confident that anything Laura and Sandy were doing would be very cool and interesting. “What class are we taking?” I asked. I was hoping for something creative, like interior design for beginners or Yoga for the 60 plus body. But NO, they came back with “Astronomy”. Hmmm… 

Now, the entire depth and breadth of my knowledge of astronomy included: being able to spot the Big…or maybe it was the Little…Dipper;  knowing Mars was the red planet and Pluto had been downgraded to dwarf status; and of course, understanding that, no matter your age, it is critical to whisper “Twinkle Twinkle”… upon spotting the first star of the evening. Quite frankly, I felt that my astronomy education was complete.

My friends, who were most eager for me to join them, went on the explain that Osher was for older adults who wanted to “dabble” in a subject. There would be no tests or homework.

“Ok, I’m in.” I just couldn’t resist spending time with them, and what the heck, I figured I might even meet some “interesting” men.

Our instructor was a dynamic, flamboyant, renowned astronomer, who pinned up her hair with chopstick-shaped pins from which dangled charms of the heavenly bodies.  She began by asking the 25 of us to introduce ourselves and say why we were in the class. Great, a chance to check out the crop! 

As the student introductions proceeded, I quickly realized that I was in over my head. A dozen or so were repeat students back for more. Some had even made their own telescopes. There were retired science professors. And one man had even trained to be an astronaut in his youth. He hadn’t made the cut and had become a police officer. Now in his retirement, he had time to  indulge his lifelong passion for all things space.

Whoa! These people actually knew something.

When it was my turn, I sheepishly said my name and something about enjoying star gazing with my family as a child. The instructor politely said, “Thank you, next.” Ugh!  There went my chance of impressing any of the male students. Even worse, I was in for a long 10 weeks.

As the class continued that night, I kept falling asleep. No matter how much I resisted, pinched myself, or sipped water, my head continued to bob up and down.

On the ride home Laura, who is one of the kindest people I know, suggested that, given I get up early to go to work, maybe the class went a little too late into the evening for me. She informed me that I could get a refund for my tuition after the first class if I didn’t want to continue.  I quietly responded, “Let me think about it.”

Inside I was screaming, “I AM NOT A QUITTER.” I knew I hadn’t been dozing off due to tiredness. What had put me to sleep was the fact that the conversation was so foreign. I could not wrap my head around what our teacher was talking about. I was lost in space.

When I got home, my attitude of stay strong and never quit set in. I jumped on Amazon and ordered “Astronomy for Dummies” rush delivery. I called Laura and told her I would continue the class. That week I spent hours in my favorite neighborhood restaurant every afternoon studying my Dummies book.

I arrived at class #2 hoping that I had armed myself with enough knowledge to keep my eyes open. Eureka! I not only stayed awake, I was familiar with some of the references and EVEN LEARNED SOMETHING.

By the end of the 10 weeks, I had not struck up a relationship with a man. However, I could talk about “Black Holes” at a cocktail party.

But the two biggest lessons I had learned were (1) it is never too late to take on learning something new, even something way outside your comfort zone, and most importantly, (2) you might even fall in love with your subject matter.

Here are some of the best tools I have discovered for us Lifelong Learners when  jumping into   the unknown:  My favorite and reliable “Dummy Books”, One Day University, and Khan Academy. If you haven’t already, check them out.

 

“Once you stop learning you start dying."

Albert Einstein

 

Candace Shivers is a founder/principal of the Love of Aging movement, along with her good friends and colleagues, Maureen Charles and Liz Dietz.

At the age of 65, following the death of her husband, Candace reinvented herself, launching her current career in the field of aging. She is a champion for older adults living a healthy and vibrant lifestyle and a leader, educator, and expert on the impact of attitude on the quality of life for older adults. Candace currently serves as a Special Projects Manager for Wise & Healthy Aging non-profit providing innovative programming for older adults.

A renowned public speaker, she spent 36 years training people from around the globe in effective communication, leadership, and public speaking – talents she brings to the Love of Aging movement.

Candace is proud to be from Hope, Arkansas, Home of the World’s Largest Watermelon.

 

Waiting for the Weekend

Waiting for the Weekend

My dad chopped the end of his index finger off in a metal bending machine when I was eight. He was a blue-collar guy and worked in a factory. His job was cutting and bending sheet metal that would end up in box folding machines. It was hard, messy, dangerous work.

JRyder dad and brotherThe index finger plays an important role in gripping a golf club and there was a strong possibility my dad wouldn’t be able to play golf again. That was bad news because his passion was playing golf on weekends. 

He was a model employee; he did impeccable work and was well regarded in the workplace. He neither loved nor hated his job. It was just a job, the place he went Monday through Friday to get him to the weekend. After recovering, he was excited to discover he could still play. In fact, his game actually improved after he lost the finger.

Many years later when he retired everyone thought he would spend his days on the golf course. We were wrong. A few weeks into it he took a new position doing what he’d been doing most of his life – bending sheet metal. No one could believe it until he explained that his new position was not about bending sheet metal, rather it was about contributing to and helping expand the game he loved. You see, my dad was now manufacturing golf clubs.

A mentor once told me there are three pathways available in a working life; a job, a career, and a calling. While jobs and careers are plentiful, very few people are called. At 65 years old my dad found his calling. I know if he was still around today, he'd be asking people this challenge question—

What can you commit the rest of your life to accomplishing that would enhance the quality of your life and the lives of others?

If you’re so inclined, hang out with this question for a while. Create lots of ideas and possibilities. Stay with it and look to be called.

 

After completing 40 years as a creative director and educator in advertising, Julian Ryder founded The Right Brain Project—a creativity education and training firm helping leaders build creative cultures within their organizations. He is also an activist with The Hunger Project and ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena. When not working, you’ll find Julian playing golf, skiing, or surfing.

 

Global Celebration of Aging!

Hello! I’ve got exciting news about August 21st.

I’m betting if I asked most of you what is special about August 21st, with the exception of those who have a birthday or anniversary, you would respond, “I dunno.”

Well, congratulations, you’re with billions of people around the planet who haven’t got a clue. And I am out to change that, to put August 21st  in the spotlight. 

August 21st is World Senior Citizen Day!

Now I happen to travel past an iconic doughnut shop on my route to work, and on June 5th, National Doughnut Day, they’re lined up around the block because EVERYBODY seems to know it is National Doughnut Day.

But World Senior Citizen Day–who’s  ever heard of i that? Well, we’re going to change that and create an uproar around World Senior Citizen Day.

If you look it up on Wikipedia, the point of the day is to raise awareness of the challenges faced by older adults, including diminishing health and elder abuse. And amen to that. We bring out our the trumpets to get everyone’s attention on those issues.

However, there is little focus on the kinds of things we hear from members of the movement daily about their vitality, sense of accomplishment, and love of aging.

I am inviting you to join us on August 21st at 2pm Pacific Standard Time for the world’s first Global Celebration of Aging. For 90 minutes, we are going to celebrate, have a musical performance, give out awards, hear from people around the globe, share what we love about aging, and Zoom dance.

And the best part is for the first time since we have created this community, we will come together via Zoom.

Love Of Aging is hosting this event in collaboration with WISE & Healthy Aging, a Santa Monica, CA, based nonprofit whose purpose is to advance the dignity and independence of older adults.

You can register by clicking here. The registration page will say “Oasis Lifelong Adventure”.

When you register, you will be asked to make a $5 tax deductible donation to WISE & Healthy Aging to help them fulfill on their purpose.

The night before the event, you will receive a Zoom link from WISE & Healthy Aging via email. Click on that link to access the event from your computer, smart phone, or tablet.

You are welcome to invite people of all ages to join us; after all, everyone is aging. However, you are the stars of the show. 

See you at the world’s first Global Celebration of Aging!

 

Candace Shivers is a founder/principal of the Love of Aging movement, along with her good friends and colleagues, Maureen Charles and Liz Dietz.

At the age of 65, following the death of her husband, Candace reinvented herself, launching her current career in the field of aging. She is a champion for older adults living a healthy and vibrant lifestyle and a leader, educator, and expert on the impact of attitude on the quality of life for older adults. Candace currently serves as a Special Projects Manager for Wise & Healthy Aging non-profit providing innovative programming for older adults.

A renowned public speaker, she spent 36 years training people from around the globe in effective communication, leadership, and public speaking – talents she brings to the Love of Aging movement.

Candace is proud to be from Hope, Arkansas, Home of the World’s Largest Watermelon.

Aging - Don't Go There Alone

Aging - Don't Go There Alone

What Are You a Resource For?

One of my favorite children’s games was hide and seek. I loved to hide. I was small and could become invisible. But when the game was over, we all came together. Then, every once in a while, I liked being found.

Maybe, as elders, our job is to “be found” – be found as the resource, passion, and contribution we are. Where do we find that? In community.

Personally, I love those moments of my life where I can be by myself. Call it hiding, call it “quiet time”, or “going in”, whatever you want. This “Lily time” I find to be nurturing and important.

But where I’ve flourished and grown is with other people, in community.

In the beginning, my community was my immediate family. Then I started school and community grew to include my elementary and high school friends and teachers. In college, my community expanded to include roommates. And when I started working as a teacher, my colleagues and students joined my community. Then came my husband and his family, our neighbors, our local service providers, and of course, all of my new friends.

As an elder, my community is now vast, encompassing a lifetime of relationships, many of whom are networked together all over the world.

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4 REVERSIBLE Symptoms of the Dreaded "Old Person's Disease"

candace BollywoodI have prided myself and promoted to anyone who would listen that I am YOLD (young/old). To celebrate my 70th birthday, I ran my first half marathon. At 71, I took Bollywood Dance classes. I have traveled the globe, and last year at the tender age of 72, while in Tibet, I hiked in the Himalayas. (Before you get too impressed, a van took us up to the hiking spot. “The hike” was more like an hour’s walk before reboarding the van. But it was the damn Himalayas, and people could barely breathe.)

A few months later, as I was turning 73, without warning I noticed the first symptom of old person's disease had snuck up on me. I was in the act of standing up after having been seated for an hour, when I caught myself making that sound that the elderly make when standing or sitting down....Ahhhhh, like an exhale. Not the good Ahhhh as in AWESOME.  This was the creepy ahhh of something taking too much effort.

I wasn't about to tell anyone, but I started to have dark thoughts....

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Becoming a Volunteer

Becoming a Volunteer

 

A Social Quid Pro Quo

About ten years ago I started thinking about retiring. I lived in Mexico and was teaching university students online, having already stepped back from the most active elements of my career working as a consultant for large organizations. A few years later, I moved back to the US and slowly wound down my teaching work. It took me a few years to go from “thinking about it” to making it official, but for the last three years I have been fully retired.

At first it was kind of nice; I had no serious responsibilities. I had no clients to call, no student papers to correct, and no research duties. Life was good…for a couple of months.

However, after catching up on my reading list and binge-watching Game of Thrones, I started to get bored. I started to not have a reason to get out of bed in the morning. I would lie there and think about what I had to do that day: Let’s see…coffee, read the local paper (bad news), surf the net (more bad news), and walk my dogs (the high point of my day). I started to wish I had kids and grandkids. Maybe I could offer some sage advice about something or nurture a sick child. Anything to make me feel like I was being of value as I had when I felt my clients and students held me in some regard. I had no real friends nearby so visiting them was out of the question.

I had lived in this state of mind for a few months when I started to realize it was affecting my mental health. I was starting to feel depressed...

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