Tribute to a Kind Woman

Ever meet one of those people who just looks kind?  Bea’s friend at work, we’ll call her Kate, is one of those people. Bea’s willing to bet that Kate doesn’t have a mean bone in her body.

In this day and age of loud cell phone talkers, road meanness, booming car radios in the middle of the night, and a simple lack of common civility, a person like Kate is simply refreshing

This trait is an important one in Kate’s job, which involves dealing with the public and collecting money from them in the form of fees, taxes, and water bills (Oh jeez, if she reads this post, she’s bound to recognize herself). And Bea has listened to her at the counter, talking to this “public,” and has never once heard an unkind word, or even an impatient tone of voice. Amazing, isn’t it? 

Now, Bea doesn’t see Kate outside of work – so she may go home and yell at the cat, for all Bea knows. But somehow, that doesn’t seem likely.

Kudos to you, Kate.

It sounds like my friend has made kindness a philosophy of life, as Leo Babauta talks about in his post Kindfully and Mindfully.

Leo asserts that “kindness can guide every interaction you have with others, can guide your life’s work, can give meaning to your life, can even guide your eating, parenting, marriage, and more.”

Can you imagine one simple act having that kind of impact on your life?

Henrik Edberg talks about the “hows” of kindness in his post titled: How to be Kinder: 11 Fine Tips.

What do you think?  Do we all need to be a little kinder these days? 

Quotes for the Day:

Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see. (Mark Twain)

Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness. (Seneca)

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. (Plato)

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Put on the Brakes!

A simple, but not always easy, thing we can do to enhance our well-being: put the brakes on. Slow down our crazy-paced lives. This is one of the most difficult lessons Bea has had to learn in life. How to take it easy and savor it.

In her youth, she rushed through life – always in a hurry to get somewhere or do something – not realizing she wasn’t really enjoying it; and often not really getting anywhere.

She’s always eaten fast, walked fast, at times acted impulsively (often regretting that later). Always trying to do two, or more, things at once. Which often led to haphazard results. 

Often Bea’s need to be in a hurry led to impatience with others – not one of her better traits.

Now, as she ages, she’s finally realized the beauty of slowing down, focusing, savoring. Simply because she wants time itself to slow down! 

In his post “The 10 Essential Rules for Slowing Down and Enjoying Life More,” Leo Babauta states it very succinctly:  “Let’s rebel against a hectic lifestyle and slow down to enjoy life.”

Bea couldn’t agree more.

You Got To Have Friends

Bea and her two best friends, Gwendolyn and Doris, (whose names have been changed for this post – but they know who they are!), have been through a lot together. Their friendship started when they were barely into their teens – you know, when drama and teenaged angst reigned supreme. Now in their fifties, the friendship is still going strong. Together they’ll face hot flashes, age spots, sagging body parts, memory lapses, and of course, take advantage of that senior citizen discount at Meijer’s. Bea figures that it will last, well, forever. After passing from this earth, they’ll meet again “up there,” and be able to have Girl’s Night Out whenever they want. (Wouldn’t that be heaven?) What’s great about the friendship is that “the girls” are happy to empathize with Bea when she’s having a rough time – but  they’ll also give her a kick in the butt when she needs a push out of the “woe is me” mode. In the words of the divine Miss M., (and the really divine Ms. Bea) you got to have friends. Some fun facts about friendships and other social connections:

  • They relieve stress and help you live longer (and if you’re gonna live longer, you want friends around to keep you company).
  • And there’s no doubt that they enhance your life and your mental health.

Bea’s friendship quotes of the day:

It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them. (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

True happiness consists not in the multitude of friends, but in their worth and choice. (Samuel Johnston)

Trio of Friends!

May is National Mental Health Month

How has life been for you the last few years? More difficult than usual? Things in our country and the world have certainly been changing, and not necessarily in good ways; permanent job layoffs, nationwide increases in house foreclosures, bankruptcies, dwindling retirement accounts . . . 

I often wonder what the future will be like for our children and grandchildren, in a nation where the middle class appears to be disappearing. 
How have these changes affected your peace of mind?

The turmoil in the economy, due to state revenues being slashed and the decline of house values led to major budget concerns in my own workplace, a local government. Additionally, our workforce has shrunk, because of earlier retirements and job vacancies not being filled. 

Bottom line?  A major decline in morale and an increase in stress among the employees. 
Where can you go to find some real-life ways to reduce your stress and improve your mental health?

You may want to try the Live Your Life Well program, which was created by Mental Health America as a theme for this year’s celebration of  Mental Health Month, a May tradition since 1949. 

At Live Your Life Well, take a quiz to find out just how stressed you are, and check out their 10 proven tools to help enhance your well-being.  The program also shows you how to get started using these tools.
Also, find out how stress hurts your body and mind.

Additional resources from the Mental Health America website:

We all know that life isn’t easy these days. And that means that taking care our ourselves, emotionally, physically, and mentally, is simply more important than ever.

Do you know of any other websites that provide resources for people facing today’s myriad of challenges?  Please share them with Bea Boomer’s readers.

Bea’s Older Than She’s Ever Been . . .

Bea’s 53rd birthday is coming up at the end of May and she’s thinking she’s not really “middle-aged” now, unless she’s gonna live until she’s 100 or so! Yet she believes that “senior-citizen-hood” is somewhere way off in the future. One day, she’ll acquire a taste for pickle ball (a popular game at her city’s senior citizen center), bingo, prune smoothies, bus rides to the casino, (but first they’ll have to pry the driver’s license out of her bony, liver-spotted hands) and of course, that very cool 10% discount at Meijer’s on Tuesdays.

But not for a long, long time. 

The lousy thing about getting older is all of a sudden time is slipping away very quickly like sand in an hourglass. I mean, for gosh sakes, Bea was just 35! In the blink of an eye, 35 became 53 – and her two year old toddler is pushing 20. Whoa, Nelly.

The good thing about getting older is the realization that time is slipping away and Bea knows she just has to enjoy what she has, right now, this minute, because dammit, any minute could be your last!
As she wanders her way into “old age,” Bea’s goals are simple:

  • Live fearlessly.  Fear and self-doubt often keep us from getting what we want in life. Bea wants to take chances – have fun – try new things – expand her horizons!
  • Get a good belly laugh, at least once a day.  (or laugh at her belly?) For that matter, what kind of word is belly, anyway?  And why a good belly laugh?  Why not a good buttock’s laugh?   (But I digress . . . )
  • Maintain a positive outlook. Bea has been known to get in a funk now and then. When that happens, she works to shake it off, before it drags her down, down, down.   As Help Guide points out, depression can be a problem as people age.
  • Live joyfully and with enthusiasm. (Go for the GUSTO, baby). Not always easy. To live this way requires a real appreciation for the little things in life that Bea often takes for granted. 
  • Define and live her dreams, before it’s too late.  Good book to read if you want to do the same thing: Making Your Dreams Come True, by Marcia Wieder.
    What don’t  you like about aging? And on the other hand, what do you like about it? 

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Got Memory?

Check out this cool test of your memory banks! The test has 3 parts.

  • You’ll be shown 12 photos in the first part
  • You’ll be shown another 12 photos in the second part
  • You’ll be shown 48 photos in the third part and asked if you saw them in the first part, the second part – or never saw them at all

When you have finished the third part, your results will be given to you.

Bea scored 91% on the first part and 72% on the second part. 

Can you beat Bea’s score? 
While you’re at the BBC website, you might want to check out some mind and body games.

May is National Osteoporosis Awareness Month – Save Your Bones!

Traits I’ve inherited from my mom that have become more prevalent as I’ve aged:

  • A tendency to pick up pieces of lint from the carpet.
  • Long good-byes to relatives when leaving a wedding or baby shower, or that more common gathering nowadays; funerals.
  • Reading the death notices (just checking to make sure I’m still alive).
  • Talking to myself (I try to be careful of that little trait when in public).
  • Forgetting the punch lines to jokes.
And one disturbing inheritance: Mom had osteoporosis – causing her bones to thin and weaken. Her body shrunk as she aged, and her posture was hunched. The fact that she had this condition leads to a greater risk that I’ll develop it.

Other risk factors for me include my race and low body weight for much of my life (in my younger days, my BMI was around 18) and also, believe it or not, drinking Pepsi and Coke.

Currently, I have osteopenia, lower than normal bone density, which increases my risk of developing osteoporosis.
To help build stronger bones, I take Actonel® and calcium supplements, and eat low or non- fat dairy products. I also do a variety of weight-bearing exercises several times a week.

 

10 million Americans have osteoporosis!

 

Are you at risk? Check out the risk factors for developing this condition here.
The National Osteoporosis Foundation is a great resource. The foundation has a new campaign, called Healthy Bones, Build Them For Life®. Its goal is to educate people about osteoporosis and bone health, with a concentration on prevention options.

On May 27, 2010, the foundation is presenting a live patient education webinar titled “How Strong Are Your Bones.” 

To sign up for the webinar, simply go to NOF’s sign-up page.

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Why I Read Zen Habits

I recently found a great blog written by Leo Babauta. It’s called Zen Habits, and Leo describes it as “about finding simplicity in the daily chaos of our lives.” I like the blog’s crisp and clean layout, which underlines Leo’s commitment to this simplicity. I also enjoy Leo’s writing style. 

Leo includes a “Beginner’s Guide to Zen Habits,” where he points out the most popular posts on his blog.
 
I printed out Leo’s “Simple Living Manifesto,” because life often seems to stressful, so filled with stuff to do – that I start wondering what’s important and what isn’t! Why am I running around like a hamster on a wheel?   
 
Leo’s “short list” from his Simple Living Manifesto mentions just two items:
 
1.Identify what’s most important to you.

2.Eliminate everything else.
 
And his long list identifies how to do those two things.  Since the list is long, (72 ideas), Leo suggests choosing the ones that apply to your life, and focusing on one idea at a time. 
 
I’ve also referred to Leo’s post that talks about motivating your way out of a slump, when I’ve suddenly hit a brick wall and can’t think of a single thing to write about mindset.   
 
So if you’re looking for a little inspiration, a lesson on how to simplify your life, or simply some good reading, you might want to give Zen Habits a try. 
 

7 Women’s Health Resources For All Amazing Women Out There!

Bea’s mother-in-law getting ready to impart some wisdom (She’s been shaking up heaven for awhile now)

1. At Healthy Women, you can learn about:
  • Simple ways to improve your bone health
  • Protecting your eyes from the sun
  • 12 age-defying foods
  • Life changes after menopause

2. Protect yourself from that number one killer, heart disease, at Women Heart. You can take charge of your heart health by getting the “Heart Health Action Kit.”

3. Are you menopausing?  Check our Power Surge, your support group as you transition from perimenopause to menopause with tons of articles, “Ask the Expert,” resources, message boards, and more.

4. Women’s Health is a federal government source with links to today’s health news, publications, health tools, a special site for girls, and fact sheets on over 100 women’s health topics.
5. A site just for teen girls – Topics include:
  • Nutrition and fitness
  • Sexuality and health
  • Emotional Health and others
6. Health for Women – The Jean Hailes Foundation for Women’s Health – with links to healthy lifestyles, emotional well-being, physical activity, nutrition, and more.

7. Harvard Health Publications for women’s health. This site offers the latest women’s health research from Harvard Medical School, health newsletters, health reports, health books.

Awesome trio of BFF’s
  Bea’s mom – what a sweetheart! (Up there with the Big Guy as of August, 2001)

 Who’s your favorite amazing woman?  Got any healthy resources that you want to share? 

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