Do We Love to Hate to Work?

I recently told a friend that I thought my husband would live longer if he worked part time even though he was forced into retirement early by a small family owned business with no ethics(just like me!)  He loves his 2003 Mustang GT, and as long as he continues to work part time, we can afford 3 cars.  Not to mention the fact that in the winter, he watches a lot of TV and indulges in his favorite snacks, cashews and potato chips.  He is very active in the summer with our vegetable garden and keeping up with the yard work, but in the winter he is bored if it does not snow.  When I was forced into retirement at age 53, I felt displaced, bored, and guilty.  Within a year, I found Etsy, 2 years old at the time, which provided a vehicle for indulging in my passions for sewing and crocheting.  I continue to have fun selling my designs and patterns.

It seemed to me that over the years I heard a lot of men passed away within a year of retiring.  And many of the older women I worked with told me to work as long as possible.  Indeed, my first boss, who retired and moved to Florida at age 57, wished that she had worked longer.  She got bored playing golf three times a week.

Some research shows that people are happier working and complaining about it than they are when they are not working.  The average retired senior watches over 50 hours of TV.  Many do not socialize and feel isolated and depressed.  In a study done in Chicago in the late 1980’s, the researchers dubbed this “the paradox of work.”  They found that if you don’t work, or have an job that leaves you feeling unfulfilled, it helps to find a hobby or interest that gives you purpose, identity, and a sense of autonomy.

Benjamin Hunnicut, an historian at the University of Iowa, envisions a society where many people do not work, where universities become cultural centers, and we do not feel guilty if we are not productive in the sense that we have paying jobs in the workforce.

For more on this subject there is an interesting article in the Atlantic Monthy.


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Friendship from Frankie Perez’s MindGym

Reason, Season, Lifetime

When you figure out which one it is,

you will know what to do for each person.

When someone is in your life for a Reason,

it is usually to meet a need you have expressed.

They have come to assist you through a difficulty;

to provide you with guidance and support;

to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually.

They may seem like a godsend, and they are.

They are there for the reason you need them to be.

Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time,

this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end.

Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away.

Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand.

What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled; their work is done.

The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.

Some people come into your life for a Season,

because your turn has come to share, grow or learn.

They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh.

They may teach you something you have never done.

They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy.

Believe it. It is real. But only for a season.

Lifetime relationships teach you lifetime lessons;

things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation.

Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person,

and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life.

It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.

— Unknown

For more of these check out FrankiePerez’s MindGym on Facebook



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Cranky Old Man – Anonymous Poem

You may have seen this already on Facebook.  I love it because it can apply to anyone, not just the aged.  We human beings are, after all, more alike than we are different.  If we would each just take the time really see each other, replacing judgement and hatred with compassion and understanding, this world would be free of terrorism , racism, and senseless bloodshed.

When an old man died in the geriatric ward of a nursing home, it was believed that he had nothing left of any value.

Later, when the nurses were going through his meager possessions, They found this poem. Its quality and content so impressed the staff that copies were made and distributed to every nurse in the hospital.
It has since appeared in the Christmas editions of magazines around the country as well as in mental health publications. A slide presentation has also been made based on his simple, but eloquent, poem.
And this old man, with nothing left to give to the world, is now the author of this ‘anonymous’ poem winging across the Internet.

Cranky Old Man…..
What do you see nurses? . . . What do you see?
What are you thinking . . . when you’re looking at me?
A cranky old man, . . . not very wise,
Uncertain of habit  . . .  with faraway eyes?
Who dribbles his food . . .  and makes no reply.
When you say in a loud voice . . .’I do wish you’d try!’
Who seems not to notice . . . the things that you do.
And forever is losing . . . a sock or shoe?
Who, resisting or not . . . lets you do as you will,
With bathing and feeding . . . the long day to fill?
Is that what you’re thinking? . . . is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, nurse . . . you’re not looking at me.
I’ll tell you who I am . . .  as I sit here so still,
As I do at your bidding . . .  as I eat at your will.
I’m a small child of Ten . . . with a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters . . .  who love one another
A young boy of Sixteen . . . with wings on his feet
Dreaming that soon now . . . a lover he’ll meet.
A groom soon at Twenty . . . my heart gives a leap.
Remembering, the vows . . . that I promised to keep.
At Twenty-Five, now . . . I have young of my own.
Who need me to guide . . . and a secure happy home.
A man of Thirty . . . my young now grown fast,
Bound to each other . . . with ties that should last.
At Forty, my young sons . . . have grown and are gone,
But my woman is beside me . . . to see I don’t mourn.
At Fifty, once more, . . . babies play ’round my knee,
Again, we know children . . . . my loved one and me.
Dark days are upon me . . . . my wife is now dead.
I look at the future . . . . . I shudder with dread.
For my young are all rearing . . . young of their own.
And I think of the years . . . and the love that I’ve known.
I’m now an old man . . . . . . . and nature is cruel.
It’s jest to make old age . . . . . . . look like a fool.
The body, it crumbles . . . . . grace and vigour depart.
There is now a stone . . . where I once had a heart.
But inside this old carcass .  . . a young man still dwells,
And now and again . . . . . my battered heart swells
I remember the joys . . . . . . I remember the pain.
And I’m loving and living . . . . . . . life over again.
I think of the years, all too few . . . . . gone too fast.
And accept the stark fact . . . that nothing can last.
So open your eyes, people . . . . . . open and see.
Not a cranky old man . . .
Look closer . . . . see . . . . . . ME!!

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The Power of Water



I love the ocean.  It represents God to me.  My best summers were spent “down the shore.”  From time to time I still feel the need to hear the waves and see the blue horizon.  I will never forget the day I took this picture – it was the first time I ever saw dolphins in New Jersey!  I was glad to find a beach that is only a 90 minute drive from our house, but it seemed a poor substitute for Florida and Hawaii, which are trips that are now too difficult for me to take.  When I saw three dolphins jumping playfully, it was exciting because it was such a surprise.  And I was reminded, once again, to be content with the way things are, because simple pleasures still bring joy when least expected.

Now Wallace J. Nichols, PhD, has published a book, Blue Mind, in which he documents the ways in which being near water benefits us.  In addition to making us happier, healthier and more connected, he also  shows that it actually can make us better at what we do.  As it turns out, our brains have an instinctive, innate connection to water, whether we are aware of it or not.  He calls the positive mental state which results from hearing, feeling, and or seeing water Blue Mind.  He shows us how access to water can combat PTSD, depression, and autism, which he labels Gray Mind.  Interesting stuff!


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Shoot for the Moon


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Your Own Meditation Practice

I choose to see muscular dystrophy as a blessing.   The fact that I must rest lying on my back for about four hours a day benefits me in two ways.   First, it is easy to schedule time to meditate.  Of course, being a bit resistant, it took me many years to learn that I had to set my alarm for 25 minutes for the maximum benefit.

The second benefit is that I was forced to develop my own rules for posture.  I began with the classic pose, sitting with my back straight, legs crossed, hands on knees with my thumb and finger together.   I did that for several months and realized that I was using my precious limited sit up time, when it would be more efficient to meditate lying down.

This led me to be more flexible, period.  I now use different meditation techniques depending on my needs each day.  Maybe some of these ideas will help you in your own practice:

  • Guided meditations –  When you have a lot on your mind or when excited about an upcoming event and you know you may have trouble clearing your mind,  a guided meditation comes in handy.   There are lots to choose from on YouTube.  On a really bad day when I feel hyper and don’t really want to lie down, I do a guided, full body relaxation.
  • Blue Sky Meditation –  imagine the sky on a clear, sunny day.  Your thoughts then become clouds which drift away.
  • Garden Meditation –  imagine a beautiful flower garden that smells of you favorite scent.  Sometimes it helps to spray the scent or burn a favorite scented candle.  Thoughts can be clouds drifting away in the sky or butterflies that fly away.
  • Cosmos Meditation –  imagine a clear, dark, starry sky.  You are moving through it, like the Star Ship Enterprise or the beginning of a Star Wars movie.  Thoughts become whisps of clouds which you move through to the clear sky.
  • Ocean Meditation –  imagine myself looking at the ocean. Let your thoughts remain on the beach with the last wave.  Or imagine the horizon and thoughts become clouds that drift away, sea gulls that fly away, or jumping dolphins that return to the ocean
  • Winter Sky Meditation –  imagine yourself looking through the tree branches to the gray sky. Focus on your breath, imagining that you are taking in and exhaling the air from the sky an infinite number of miles away.  Thoughts become birds that fly away.

Music plays a big role in my practice.  I put on my headphones to block out sounds in the house and outside and pick a favorite from YouTube.  Most are bamboo flutes and Tibetan bowls.  I focus on the notes that are held the longest.  This helps me to clear all my thoughts away.

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