Being Social Makes Me Happy!

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I don’t remember being this busy and social in August when I was working.  It’s only twelve days into the month, and I’ve attended five Meetup group activities (music concerts, a White Party, and Line Dance Classes); a family reunion, and a Day Party. I’ve caught up, over brunch, lunch or happy hour with friends and former co-workers.    My calendar for the remainder of the month is pretty busy also, as in a few days I’ll be attending a Happy Hour Retirement Reception with my previous school district (I’m pretty sure they’re hosting this event to recruit subs ;-), there’s my Go on Girl Book Club Meeting, and a Wine Down Wednesday Reception before I leave for a destination wedding in Montego Bay at the end of the month.

Having a social life makes me happy!   According to studies, social interaction decreases the risk of heart disease and helps to prevent cognitive decline and dementia.  Through my Meetup, I’ve developed new friendships and discovered new interests; and I also am able to nurture existing relationships.  

No complaints about retirement from me, and the fact that September is drawing near, and I’m not experiencing the dread of returning to the classroom is exhilarating!

 

 

 

 

Loving It…Retirement that is!

It’s been slightly over a year since I retired, and I love love, love it! So far, it has been more than I could have imagined. I’d initially thought that my days would be amiss without the mechanics of work. Getting up early, rushing to arrive on time for hall duty to usher rambunctious students into the school; then off to attend boring morning meetings, while preparing to co-teach, and completing required Special Education paperwork. All of this before beginning my whirlwind day maneuvering through teen strewn hallways to co-teach with three teachers with very dissimilar personalities.
Fortunately, it took me very little time to quickly maneuver my way to retirement happiness, adapt to a more relaxed lifestyle, and explore new pursuits. This was not achieved because of extensive travel, but more so because now I can do whatever, go whenever, and however, I please. I take long, scenic, morning walks, and have even taken up a bit of gardening (growing my own heirloom tomatoes and kale for my morning smoothies 😉


Initially, I’d planned to return to education as a substitute teacher a few months after the school year reconvened in September. Mainly because I thought I’d become bored sitting at home; and subbing would help maintain my connection to teachers and students; as well as to fulfill my desire to teach. However, to my pleasure and surprise, my tutorial business immediately picked up, and I was busy tutoring under my terms not from a county mandated script.  I’s refreshing to plan lessons that are interesting and creative, with the ability to teach to a students needs, not to a test.   Suffice it to say, my substitute card may be revoked due to inactivity.

I’m more involved now than I was while working, my volunteer activities with several organizations afford me a opportunity  to interact with people, contribute to causes and remain productive. And the time spent finding and coordinating events for the 72 members in “Living Our Best Life” Meetup ( for women of a certain age) that I started in January, is also very fulfilling. I’ve rekindled my love for writing and now write regularly. In addition to my blog, I maintain a Facebook page to provide educational support to parents and teachers, as well as promote my tutoring business. I am also  co-authoring the I AM ME Anthology: Mastering Excellence in life, business & careers with a group of online writers.

In retirement, I spend valued, quality time with family and friends. I’ve found new pursuits, made new friends, and have nearly as much social interaction as I did while working.    In essence, I find that in retirement, I experience more joy, contentment, fun, and laughter. And most importantly, I’ve discovered MY OWN rhythm for my new, relaxed,  retired lifestyle.

**Whether working or retired, what are some things that enhance your lifestyle?

It’s June…and School is Out

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June, the sixth month of the year is tied with December as the third favorite month.  Personally, I love June because it’s my birth month!  And there is so much to look forward to in June;  beautiful bouquets, ripe delicious fruits and vegetables, and the overwhelming urge to get out there and enjoy the sunshine.  It’s also a favorite for teachers and students, maybe not so much for parents as it means the end of the school year.

Teaching is not easy, and from the time it begins, it’s full speed ahead in warp speed till the time it ends.  Things rarely slow down!   As a retired teacher, I know firsthand the anxiety that builds around this time of year.  Everyone from the students, teachers, administrators, and even school custodians are more than ready for the end of school and the beginning of summer break. 

Teachers are known for counting down the days to the end of school,  and many begin immediately after Spring Break.  For most, the ‘official’ countdown starts after Memorial Day, when boxes and storage containers begin to flood classrooms.   Posters and student’s classwork mysteriously disappears from classroom bulletin boards, and classroom management skills become paramount as students have pretty much tapped out at this point.

It always seemed that things were even more hectic at the end of the year,  In addition to continuing to teach and manage students, there is required paperwork to close out the year, equipment return, submission of final grades, special activities, and trips for students, in addition to attending meetings to prepare for the coming year.  As the school year draws to an end, the stress level can go “sky high.”

Admittedly, I must confess that while I missed my co-workers, I did not miss the school year, and especially the closeout process.  This Friday is the last day of school for my former colleagues, and I wish them along with all other educators an enjoyable remainder of June and a great summer!

 

Adults Just Wanna Have Fun

Why is it that as we age, many of us forget how to have fun? As we mature, many people forget to make time to play. Some see it as frivolous, foolishness, a waste of time, or some even think that they are too old to have fun. Contrary to those naysayers, studies on the impact of playing indicates that a heavy dose of fun is necessary and can provide immeasurable benefits.

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The National Institute for Play (NIFP) (yes, such a place does exist) reports that “play helps us connect and stay sharp, maintain memory and thinking skills.” In addition, it can increase creativity, productivity, and feelings of well-being. This is true, especially for older adults. Lack of play, according to NIFP research, can have serious consequences – and, it makes life dull and boring.

Play is time spent without purpose and is something you do purely for the experience. A good dose of fun not only provides laughter; it can also promote empathy, sympathy, and help to develop trust and intimacy with others. The bottom line is that age is just a number, and old is a mindset. It is true that as we “grow up” play will grow and change, and our fun factor will expand. So as we age, we must remember to discover and cultivate what makes us happy and find a way it make it happen.

Step out of your comfort zone and try something new. It may not be easy, but you may just have some fun!

Ideas to help you embrace play:
1. Set the Goal of Playing More.
2. Decide What Fun Means For You.
3. Put fun on your schedule
4. Create a Play Drawer. (puzzles, games, adult coloring books
5. Combine Fun With Other Activities. (dance, exercise)
6. Hang out with a fun Person
7. Hang out with a kid

Make it a habit to have fun whenever, however you can!

 

 

Mindful Reflections!

We don't have to do everything perfectly,
but we need to be at 
                     peace with our choices.  
                                          unknown                                                                                                                         peace_comes_from_within

Rainy Day’s and Sunday’s Don’t Get Me Down…cause it’s the little things!

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Rainy day view from my chaise lounge

For some people a few raindrops can change their mood, According to one study, nearly 9 percent of people fall into the “rain haters” category. This group feels angrier and less happy on days with more precipitation.

Sure, the Carpenters sang, “Rainy days and Mondays always get me down.” But can rain really ruin your mood? Personally, I must admit that the change of season does slow me down, and I do LOVE the sunshine, but I’ve never thought about how the rain affected my mood.    A second study suggests that “When it gets dark and dreary out,  It’s pretty common to see a change in the mood — such as feeling sadness or low energy — when it’s rainy outside.”

What can be done to boost a rainy day mood you may wonder? Instead of shuttering the windows and turning off the lights, the best thing is to turn them on instead. Research has been conducted that suggests that light can boost serotonin, which elevates the mood.”  A psychiatrist at the NYC’s Manhattan Neuropsychiatric encourages people to really try to make sure they walk outside, even when it’s cold and rainy.” Getting exposure to UV rays can help regulate your body’s circadian rhythm and boost your mood.”

If it’s raining cats and dogs outside, try to engage in activities that make you feel good: bing on a TV series, watch a cheerful movie, play a game, or create a work of art.  For me, it’s the little things like reading, catching up with telephone calls to friends, writing or merely listening to smooth jazz.  Or better yet I use the pitter-patter as a soothing melody for a cat nap.