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Monday
Nov042013

Blog 57: Second Chance at "LOVE"

“Learning how to love, how to communicate, how to understand, how to empathize, how to forgive and how to reconcile are all effective skills that should be developed,”  

“Well”, I thought, “perhaps I could share some of the things I’ve learned about aging well through embracing change and managing the challenges that are part of active living.  I thought about the challenges I faced when, in my seventies, I decided to write my first novel about a “second chance at love”- –a story of a couple, alone again after the death of their spouses, and their children busy with their own careers and families.  I had to put myself, psychologically, in the role of my characters, both the female and the male, to grasp their feelings and understand their motivations and fears.  (Of course that meant I left many reams of crumpled paper on the floor before my story was told.)

The statement, I’ve underlined above, speaks to the very real concerns that all of us have faced at some point when we interact with others—at any emotional level.  I’m sure that all of us have experienced a situation where we spoke up, intending to be helpful, but what we said was not understood to be what we meant --and we realized we missed the mark. 

It is true that we need to confront our own inability to say what we mean and mean what we say…that’s the first step in clear communication.  What we say will not be clear to someone else if we are not clear in our own minds about what we want the person to hear.  Even then, the words may not have the same meaning to the person spoken to as it does to the one speaking.  So, with a simple exchange you can have four different points where misunderstanding can occur:

            For example, with the simplest communication, we have the following:  (a) what the speaker said, (b) and what the speaker meant; and then from the listener, (c) what was heard and (d) what the listener understood it to mean.  

            Think about this:  if communication can be helpful—for the same reason it can be hurtful.  Most of us want to be helpful when we comment, instruct or question others.  You can master the skills of effective or helpful communication and actually open communication so that the exchange is both interesting and useful.  

Tuesday
Oct012013

Blog 56: "6 Ways to Live Your Best Life After 50" 

The Best Is Yet to Come!  Enjoy it!

Question: Why is being over 50 the best time of life?
Answer: Because unlike previous life stages—college, career, parenting—“middle age” is all about  two words, “Me” and “I”.

“Middle age is a time when the kids are probably on their own, your career may be winding down, and you can finally focus on you,” says Barbara Hannah Grufferman, author of The Best of Everything After Fifty .”It’s a time to take stock, make changes and pursue your passions.” Just how do you seize the day exactly?   Try These simple items!

      1. Be Selfish—In a Good Way

After years of taking care of everyone else’s needs, it’s time to make you a priority. “You need to take charge of your physical, financial, and emotional health,” says Grufferman, “or you won’t be operating at peak performance.”

What to do:
If exercise isn’t part of your routine, commit to it—even if it’s only in 10-minute sessions. (You’ll have more energy and feel healthier.) If you haven’t done serious financial planning, it’s not too late. Make an appointment with a financial adviser.  And, lastly, dedicate time each day or week to doing something that brings you pleasure. Say "No!" to anything—other than an emergency—that threatens to interrupt that time. (Seriously!)

2. Hang Out With Younger People

”The world is changing rapidly, “says Grufferman, “and the best way to understand change is to be around young people who ‘get’ it.” And who also get joy out of explaining it to someone genuinely interested. (Bonus: it’s not a one-way street. Younger people can learn a lot from you, too!)

What to do:
Spend time with your grandkids! If they’re not close by, consider hiring a neighbor kid to help you with a big task, like cleaning out the garage or organizing photos. Call the admissions office at your local college to see if they offer “senior audit,” the chance to sit in on an undergraduate class for free or a nominal fee. Or sign up to mentor a high school student who needs some extra attention. (Contact VolunteerMatch.org.)
 

3. Reignite the Flame

You’ve been married or with a partner for years. You love each other. But intimacy got lost somewhere between the kids and the grandkids and the demanding job. Now is the time to rekindle the passion between the sheets, especially since time and privacy are on your side.

What to do: Barring any physical problems (which you should handle together), the solution, according to Esther Perel, a family and marriage therapist and author of Mating in Captivity, seems initially counter-intuitive. Though you have more time to spend together, carve out time away from each other to develop your “otherness.” Her research suggests that separation creates erotic desire. If this approach doesn't work for you, try these tips for firing up your sex life.

Jonell Kirby Cash, author of “A Ring A Dance A Second Chance” writes about a couple experiencing a second chance at marriage after the death of their spouses.  It is Katie’s and Taylor’s love story, high school sweethearts, reunited after the death of both spouses, 40 years later.  The two learn how to rid themselves of their old memories and expectations and learn to accept the years of change that has taken place.  The story is a blending of families and courting at a senior age of life. The novel is a real Romantic Fiction:  "Slice of Life Story"  

4. Guard Against Falls

If you can only commit to one health change, vow to prevent falling, the leading cause of injury among people 65 and older. Even a non-injury fall can having devastating psychological implications, causing you to be fearful of activity and thus…. prone to falling again.

What to do: Exercise (think yoga and tai chi for balance and flexibility, weight bearing exercises for strength), and make sure you’re getting plenty of calcium and vitamin D (to protect against osteoporosis). You also might want to check with your doctor if you feel like any medications you are taking are making you dizzy or light-headed. And get a vision exam to see if you need a new prescription. (Of course, low-heeled shoes with rubber soles are best—and watch where you walk!) To learn more about how to protect yourself against falls, click here.
 

5. Seize the Day!

You’ve saved for retirement and are putting off travel, for example, while you’re in your prime until you feel totally secure—maybe in 10 years or so. Smart move? Not really. You have to seize the day, but do so wisely.
 

What to do: First, gather the facts. Do you have enough disposable income to travel without seriously impacting your future? (To calculate, go to a web site like T. Rowe Price or MoneyChimp.com.) Factor in any current or possible health issues (based on family history.) Then ask yourself: "How important is this to me/us?" If money is a little tight, look for places to cut back on daily spending and start a travel fund. Or take a part-time job to earn extra money. The key here is to dedicate time and resources to enjoying life now—not later! 

       

6. Simplify, Simplify, Simplify

Who of us at this age needs a 30-minute makeup routine? Or a house full of clutter? Or a list of meaningless obligations or non-nurturing friend’s Middle age is about letting go of non-essentials. And letting go allows us to move forward. That’s where we should be headed.

What to do: Ask yourself this question: "What is my vision for my best future?" Write down your answers. (Example: to see family and friends at least three times a week, to be in good enough health to play tennis and golf, to tend to and enjoy a beautiful garden, to take my grandkids to 10 national parks, to look my best.) Everything you do should line up with the realization of the vision. Anything that doesn’t support it? Bu-bye!

Jonell Kirby Cash, author of “A Ring A Dance A Second Chance” writes about a couple experiencing a second chance at marriage after the death of their spouses.  It is Katie’s and Taylor’s love story, high school sweethearts, reunited after the death of both spouses, 50 years later.  The two learn how to rid themselves of their old memories and expectations and learn to accept the years of change that has taken place.  The story is a blending of families and courting at a senior age of life. The novel is a real Romantic Fiction:  "Slice of Life Story".  

Tuesday
Sep172013

Blog 55 -How I balance writing/creating with “real” life. 

Over the years as a college professor, I wrote several books and other shorter works. Then, widowed and in the middle of busy retirement, I married my high school sweetheart, increasing exponentially my family size and complexity.  It seemed that people “ate up my time,” and age began to take a toll on my energy. But I wasn’t ready to settle for the routine, and as I approached the eighth decade of life I became mindful that I had not fulfilled my dream of writing a novel. Then and there, like turning on a dime, I decided to become a serious student of fiction and write a novel that would speak to the fifty-plus year old reader.

My big hurtle was to block out uninterrupted time to write and to give myself permission to use the needed resources (time, money, energy) to get the help I needed to understand the structure of fiction. And I wanted to be part of the give-and-take of the creative writers’ community. 

I approached what I needed like any self-confident woman would:  I hid my, I want uninterrupted time, wish behind my age.  I thought, No one expects an eighty-something year old to be available from early till late!  This time slot idea was great because I enjoy working into the night—and I also enjoy sleeping my eight hours from the time I go to bed until I get up.  I carved out my writing time from about 8pm until around 3am, when the home activities had settled down, and I slept from about 3am until 10:00am or later.  (Note: As fate would have it, shortly after our marriage, my husband and I had agreed that we would make our own breakfast.)

My use of money was actually much less a problem at my age than it would have been had I been a young mother with children.  Retired and with my own income (and with an agreed upon joint account for our common use) I did not need to account to anyone for my expenditures and I could determine what I could or would spend on my writing activities.  For example, I was free to pay a consultant to critique my work if I made that choice.  However, being away from home to attend conferences required negotiations and/or making the event a shared experience (which was not always convenient or even comfortable—but it was workable.)

As my writing progressed, and my commitment to my novel became more intense, I did have some internal friction about some things, like not having frequent family gatherings (because preparation and cleaning up afterwards was time consuming), and sometimes I had the feeling that my extended family was unhappy with the way I was using my time; yet, their disapproval (if real) was unspoken and so I pursued my dream knowing that we are living fully when we are pursuing our passion.

Voila! This past year, at age 82, I had my first novel, A RING, A DANCE, A SECOND CHANCE (Tate. 2011) published.  Writing the love story about high school sweethearts, who marry more than forty years later, was a personally satisfying experience.  Now, I’m looking forward to embarking on my next work of fiction.

Friday
Mar292013

Blog 54 - Book Buzzr Interview with Jonell Kirby Cash

BookBuzzr is the top choice of bestselling authors.

1. Could you tell us a little bit about yourself? 

Over the years, as a college professor, I wrote several books and other shorter works. Then, widowed and in the middle of my busy retirement, I married my high school sweetheart, increasing exponentially my family size and complexity.  It seemed that people “ate up my time,” and age began to take a toll on my energy. But I wasn’t ready to settle for the routine, and as I approached the eighth decade of life I became mindful that I had not fulfilled my dream of writing a novel. Then and there, like turning on a dime, I decided to become a serious student of fiction and write a novel that would speak to the fifty-plus year old reader. 

As my writing progressed, and my commitment to my novel became more intense, I felt some internal friction about letting my writing take its toll on my role as a frequent hostess to family gatherings I cut back on my volunteer work—things I loved but  ate up time I used for writing.  Sometimes I had the feeling that my extended family was unhappy with the changes I made; yet, their disapproval (if real) was unspoken and so I pursued my dream.  I was living fully when I was pursuing our passion—and at age 82, I became a first-time novelist with the publication of A RING, A DANCE, A SECOND CHANCE (Tate. 2011).  Writing the love story about high school sweethearts, who marry more than forty years later, was a personally satisfying experience. 

2. Describe your book ‘A Ring A Dance A Second Chance’ in 30 words or less.  

 When Katie Wheatley answers the phone and hears Taylor Floyd’s voice, she feels giddy-single—just like the girl he dated some forty years ago. 

3. What was the hardest part of writing your book? 

My big hurtle was to block out uninterrupted time to write and to give myself permission to use the needed resources (time, money, energy) to get the help I needed to understand the structure of fiction. And I wanted to be part of the give-and-take of the creative writers’ community.  

4. What books have had the greatest influence on you? 

I’ve always been a reader and I love words.  To answer the question, my first impulse is to say that books about self, e.g., Carl Rogers, ON BECOMING A PERSON, has had a profound impact on my life and philosophy.  Since most fiction is about human nature, I think I’m deeply influenced by those writers who shine a light on the nature of being

5. Briefly share with us what you do to market your book?  

If I focus on marketing I feel I’m not doing what I enjoy—writing!  Thus, I decided to leave marketing to a representative who can take my work to create interest in my activities and use his skills and knowledge to interface with those individuals and businesses. With monitoring, my marketing is an Author Strategic Brand Programs through social media, targeted through a dedicated marketing campaign, Internet SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Web Site design, Book Trailers, Book Signings, Interviews on Pod Cast, Radio, and TV, Press Releases and Media Awareness Avenues.  

6. How do you spend your time when you are not writing? 

I have a large and thoughtful extended family of origin--that I’ve expanded by creating a “Kudzu Family” membership who are also involved—mine is a creative and talented group of individuals who value art and creativity; thus, I have on-going contact with those who critique my work and share their ideas.  This group adds to my interest in writing.  Of course, I read widely, attend art exhibits and many seminars, classes, and drama at University of Ga. –and I teach courses in “writing fiction” at OLLI@UGA.  I still travel quite frequently, garden, cook and entertain and recently I’ve become involved in activities relevant to active aging. 

7. What are you working on next? 

A Sequel to my first novel…now that I have been married, in my senescence,  to my high school sweetheart for about twelve years, I’ve observed and experienced new and different events that are relevant to those of us who are  in our eighties, with adult,  even aging-adult, children and step-children and their families—our grandchildren and great grandchildren.   I’m sure the book will enlighten me as I follow the couple and their children through another decade or so.

Interview Link: http://www.freado.com/users/interview/30337/jonell

For more information about Jonell Kirby Cash, Author, view web site:  www.jonellkirbycash.com 

Friday
Mar292013

Blog 54 - Book Buzzr Interview with Jonell Kirby Cash