Baby Boomers – In Pursuit Of New Learning and Life Management

Whether you have a Ph.D. or a High School Diploma, it is never too late to invest in New Learning; something you do not know but wish you did or something that you should just know.

For many people, it is all very simple. You go to school between the ages of 5 and 18, maybe 21. After you've "grown up", it's off to work. The only new learning you'll need is for the rules of the company that you've settled into. If you're lucky, you might get some additional supervision or management training. Otherwise, it's about getting the paycheck, updating the resume incidentally and checking out the wanted pages for the next higher paying job. The concept of viewing your life as a path with miles; having a map based on good information to guide you down that path is foreign to many of us.

For some, their adult work life has been a collection of outstanding good luck (being in the right place at the right time) or making a new job where none existed. Their careers were not part of a master plan or that they really put a lot of thought into it; what many experts call "Career Management". That's fine when you're 25 or even 40. But when you're 58 and a Boomer, in career transition, whether voluntary or not, managing your career seems secondary to trying to manage your life before it falls apart. What took many a while to understand is that the two are not separate. It's not Career Management that's important; it's Life Management. Your career is as much a part of your life as is family, friends, hobbies and your dog named Waldo. They are all part of a puzzle puzzle called life that, more often than not, challenges us to no end. Trying to weave all this together is a constant trial and error exercise.

What supposedly eases the difficulty are the lessons and knowledge you've learned during your lifetime, informally and formally, through educational institutions, on the job and in life. If you were paying attention, you were managing your life in such a way that you were absorbing as much practical information and experience as any one human being could possibly take in; using what you could when needed and storing the rest for later.

This takes a commitment to look at your entire life management in a new way. It begins with a willingness to look at yourself differently. Your circumstances are not what they were 10 or 20 years ago. As a Boomer, you may have greater financial and family responsibilities. Your ego is bigger. Until now, you thought your non-management techniques seemed to have worked. But now you realize, they have not and you have no clue what to do next.

Some Boomers are lucky. The company they've parted with offers three months of outplacement that helps them frame a new life management vision. Then they throw them into new projects and experiences. Not all of them involve familiar knowledge. There's new things to learn. Technology. The new buzz words. The internet and search engines. A bit of advice, learn Google Alerts. Trust me; your mailbox will be full everyday with information to read. Then there's the websites with their email alerts and newsletters on every possible subject.

But it's not all online. Enroll in conferences, workshops and seminars. Visit the bookstore's magazine rack where, there too, you can find a magazine for every possible topic. School courses are next. Offline and Online, every major college in America has something for you.

Once you start digging, you'll find the information. The challenge is using it to your advantage. Sifting through the mountain of advice and leads can give you a headache. The filter comes from you. Set out some visions for yourself. Play around in your head with "what ifs" and "how about this?". Buy a grease board or large sheets of paper, put it on your den wall or in your bathroom and play around with diagramming your life, your goals and making-believe options. It may seem tough to do this mind gaming when you need to run out there and make some money, but what's one hour in your life? All this new learning fuels new life management techniques which lead to greater options and hopefully better life choices.

Remember to always think big picture also. This is not only about you. Make sure that everyone else in your life that is affected by what you do gets thrown up on that board. That includes your family, friends, former collections and yes, your dog, Waldo.

I'm Still Hot … It Just Comes in Flashes Now!

I know I'm in the struggle of my life right now. You see, my body has become the victim of a hostile takeover by an extremist group known as the fat cells. They think my stomach, hips, thighs and behind will be their final resting place but if I have the last say on this, there will be a resurrection.

If you're dealing with your own weight issues like I am, do what my personal trainer says: "Get up and get moving." "The theory is you must take your body out of its comfort zone by changing your workouts every few weeks and increasing your level of intensity. your routine by trying something else like the elliptical or a low / high impact aerobics class from time to time, she says you'll reach a plateau and will reap very little additional weight loss benefits.

Strength training is also a key component to slimming down while firming up. I used to believe lifting weights would make me look bulky like an Amazon woman. I know now that's a myth. Light weight lifting of ten pounds or less can do wonders for your flabby arms and perk up sagging breasts. It also helps build muscle and endurance so you can ever turn a twenty minute aerobic workout into an hour or more.

If you can not afford a gym membership, you can certainly find other ways to get your heart rate up and lose some pounds. Even though I've become a self-proclaimed gym rat, there are times when I do not feel like driving all the way across town so I do a little street walking in my community. OK, get your mind out of the gutter. I live in an area with no sidewalks.

Taking a stroll is a nice change of pace because it gives me an opportunity to breathe in some fresh air instead of that stale recycled health club air. I love to admire nature's beauty all around me and walking and talking with my Creator during those times. When I really want to feel the muscle burn I do the steps at Wallace Wade stadium on the Duke University campus. Going up and down and up and down equates to close to three thousand steps and it's one incredible rush! I also love walking and running on the rigorous cross-country trail that circles the Washington Duke Inn and golf course. I've even done some mall walking but that gets depressed when I look at all of those cute outfits I know I can not fit into.

Whatever you decide to do, make sure you get a check up and clear your work out plan with your doctor first. I spent fifteen months in the gym, working out six days a week before I discovered why I was not losing any weight. I was diagnosed with a medical condition known as hypothyroid. As a result of the disease, my body was not producing any estrogen and my metabolism had completely shut down. I had no energy. It was a struggle sometimes just to get out of bed. My mind would say, "get up" but my body would say "why?"

One day while sitting in the Duke Clinic I realized one of the challenges of growing older is dealing with any number of health issues. I used to see a doctor once a year for the routine exam but since turning forty, those visits have tripled on a yearly basis. These days if I've got a pain, I've got to see a doctor. My insurance providers have paid out thousands of dollars on my behalf. But why should not they? I spent twenty years of my working life paying premiums just in case something happened. I paid and paid and paid and nothing ever happened. Now I'm just cashing in on the huge investment I made.

Over the last ten years, I've been treated for heart disease (congestive heart failure), hyperthyroid, hypothyroid, high blood pressure, fibroids and yeast infections. My gynecologist tells me I should have a mammogram every couple of years, get my eyes checked annually and get ready for menopause.

Ah yes, the "M" word. That's the life changing experience that turned my mother into a psychopath! It all started when I was about fifteen years old. I remember seeing her do and say things that did not seem quite normal. For example, in the dead of winter when Ohio's wind chill factor would be on the minus side, mama would complain about how hot she was while sitting in her favorite chair near an
opened window. Snow would be blowing in and resting on the window sill. My dad and I tried closing it a few times when she was not around but we got tired of getting fussed at so we learned to adapt. She also kept a wet wash cloth and a jar of ice water on hand to cool her down.

In addition to being hot a lot, her emotions also appeared to be out of control. Sometimes she'd get angry over little or nothing. Then there were those times when she would break down and cry for no reason. At first, I thought she was reacting to something she was watching on TV but I just could not see how Sanford and Son and The Mary Tyler Moore Show would provoke that kind of emotion. It would be many years later before I discovered my mother's bizarre behavior was really a real experience.

Lillian Mahone was having her own summer! I remember her telling one of her friends she was going through "the change" but I honestly do not believe she understood the amount of what was happening to her mentally and physically.

Back then, menopause was as taboo as mental illness. No one talked about it. There was a stigma attached to a woman going through the "change." In his book, Feminine Forever (published in 1966), Dr. Robert A. Wilson wrote, "many women endure the passing years with cow-like traffic and disinterest; and a disturbingly high number take refuge in alcohol, sleeping pills and sometimes even in suicide." He also wrote, "The tragedy of menopause often destroys her character as well as her health." It's that kind of so called expert opinion that probably forced many women to suffer in silence for fear of being ridiculed or labeled as crazy because of their hormonal imbalance.

Have the seven dwarfs of menopause come knocking at your door yet? If you're not sure, please allow me make the introductions. There's Sweaty, Bloated, Forgetful, Bitchy, Itchy, Sleepy and All Dried Up. They do not all show up at once but you can rest assured they will come in, sometimes unannounced and definitely uninvited, and yes, they will wear out their welcome!

These little menaces to society bring night sweats, headaches, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, urinary incontinence, yeast infections and vaginal dryness, anxiety, depression and emotional chaos into our lives.

According to my gynecologist, over time we may even start to lose our desire for sex. I do not know how you feel about that but I certainly hope it does not happen to me because I did hate to think I wasted the best years of my sex life on my ex!

I started having a glimpse of what's known as peri-menopause about ten months ago. First, there were the hot flashes and then my menstrual cycle became very sporadic. My gynecologist said once I go into full blown menopause, my cycle will stop completely, to which I say "Hallelujah"!

As far as the hot flashes go, they can be very annoying and inconvenient. The first one I clearly remember having was at work right around the same time I was trying to handle some breaking news at work. All of a sudden I felt this intense heat rush from the base of my neck up to the top of my head. It felt like I was on fire! It only measured about a minute but that was just long enough for me to consider murder if anyone had said something I did not like right at that moment.

You see, I've chosen NOT to suffer in silence which makes me eager to let my colleges and anyone else I come in contact with know when I'm having a "moment." This is their warning to steer clear until they've been given the "everything's OK" signal. When Sweaty comes in, it triggers a not so pleasant personality change. I became uncomfortable and irritated. That's when Bitchy takes over and she can hang around a long time if aggravated. Now there are some who might argue that Bitchy and I have been acquaints for quite some time. You know what I have to say to that?


My new best friend, not by choice mind you, is Bloated. He always looks to show up when I'm trying to find something cute and sexy to wear.

Then there's the invisible dwarf known as Arthur. He pops in from time to time to try to slow me down. He can be pretty feisty when he wants to be. He likes to hand wrestle and if I'm not careful he'll kick me in my knees. I've been able to stand my ground so far but he's pretty persistent. Good ol 'Arthur-itis just can not understand that I'd rather have someone else holding on to me!

While researching for more information of what to expect as I enter into menopause, I came across an interesting fact. Middle-aged men also go through their own form of "the change." It's referred to as andropause. Starting in their late forties, some of our male counterparts begin to experience symptoms such as erectile dysfunction, moodiness, heart palpitations and yes, some even complain of night sweats. That lean, mean macho machine you used to know starts turning into a couch potato with a gut the size of a watermelon.

Maybe that explains why some of them pump it up a little harder at the gym. Then they want to show off their new and improved bodies as they cruise around in their brand new chick magnet sports car. And let's not forget about the help they get from Hair Club for Men.

As for me, what you see is what you get!

I've started keeping a journal, which I strongly recommend for anyone going through their own season of change. On a daily basis you should keep track of everything you eat and drink and see how it correlates to weight gains and losses. I can tell you first hand, no matter how much you exercise, if you do not change your eating habits the only thing you're going to LOSE is PATIENCE.

Nutrition really is the key. I'm still learning how and when to eat. I've never been a breakfast person but these days I force myself to munch on something, even if it's nothing more than a banana and glass of soy milk. My trainer says you need food to jump start your metabolism first thing in the morning. That's especially important if your day starts with a workout like mine does.

I'm also learning how to prepare healthy meals I can enjoy through the day. Everything I used to fry, I now bake. Instead of saturating my seafood and vegetables with butter, I now use a freshly squeezed lemon or other non-fattening seasonings. I can also turn one regular meal into three or four smaller portions and I love experimenting with fruit smoothies.

The one mistake I believe many dieters make is they change what and how much they eat to lose the weight. Then when the weight loss goal is achieved, they resort back to their same old eating and drinking habits and wind up gaining back all they worked so hard to lose.

In addition to keeping up with your eating habits, you should also write down all of the activities you do that require movement for at least thirty minutes. Did you know house and yard work can be considered exercise? The more space you have to clean burns more calories and if you have to climb up and down stairs, that's an extra bonus. Mowing the lawn in the Spring and Summer and raking leaves in the Fall are sure fire ways to get your heart rate up.

Your journal can also help you monitor how often your hot flashes occur, how long they last, time of day / evening and what is happening right before the sunset. The majority of mine happens when I'm at work. Stress and a hot flash seem to go hand in hand in my life. I am finding out, however, just how important exercise is in helping me stay below the boiling point.

I'm also trying to monitor my mood swings. I find myself crying or flying off the handle for little or no reason. That's why I've made it a point to share my "issues" with people who are forced to be around me during those times so they're not taken off guard and do not take it personally.

One more thing my gynecologist says is my personal summer could last up to twenty years. So with that in mind, this Diva is taking the attitude she saw on a bumper sticker not long ago:

"I'm still Hot —- it just comes in Flashes now" (Can you dig it?)

Pandering to baby boomers’ mania for saving is economic madness | Phillip Inman | Business

The greatest threat to our economy comes from its ageing population. With the baby-boomer generation making up a large proportion of society, we find ourselves in a situation where public policy is mostly geared towards shoring up the gains made by boomers over the past 40 years, and industrial disputes are driven by an ageing union membership most worried about its pension entitlements.

It is a problem that Britain shares with its continental cousins, the US and Japan, now that all are struggling with a situation where a fifth of their populations is aged over 65 and the proportion is rising fast. Ageing populations have many effects on an economy, not least the desire among those nearing retirement age to save excessively.

Each country’s baby boomers pursue the holy grail of wealth slightly differently, but in the main, property and pensions are the twin pillars supporting decades of retirement. When wealth is your goal, there is one evil monster that needs slaying, and that is inflation. This is one of the main reasons that since the 1990s the Bank of England is under instruction to keep inflation anchored around 2%.

A recent blog by economists at the Bank has caused a stir by arguing that far from the baby-boomer savings glut being a passing phase – or at least a situation that will fade as the boomers die off – it will be with us for decades to come.

They argue that boomers have shown that they want to keep saving even as they move into their 80s and 90s, to fund possible extra health and care costs, and to pass on the maximum amount of wealth they can to their heirs. Some academics have argued that boomers will be forced to spend more than they save in later life to pay for health and long-term care, but that doesn’t appear to be happening.

The $100 trillion of savings sloshing round the global financial system just keeps growing. This is not just because people in young nations such as Indonesia and India are starting to build up savings, but because older Brits, Germans and Swedes are doing the same when there had been an expectation that they would switch to spending.

You could see this trend in public policy changes under the ever-astute – and cravenly vote-seeking – chancellorship of George Osborne, who pledged to increase the inheritance tax threshold for couples to £1m as a sweetener for older boomers. He also introduced changes that gave better-off pension savers the flexibility they craved to maximise their gains. This blew away the last vestiges of welfarism in private pension saving, and was a huge vote winner.

An example of wealthy boomer behaviour could be seen in the Yorkshire Dales last week, where a plan to impose a 500% rise in council tax on second homes was defeated. The Dales Homeowners Action Group, set up to fight the proposal, said the planned increase, which would raise the average band D charge to £8,500 a year, would have caused a house price crash as property flooded the market. When an estimated 3.4 million people in Britain own a holiday property, and with most of these owners likely to be over 50, it is not hard to see this as a powerful lobby of baby boomers acting to protect their gains.

The Bank of England blog argues that the persistent glut of savings in stocks, bonds and property will maintain the trend of the past 30 years – of an excess of money chasing too few investment opportunities. And if older savers resist spending some of their pension, demand for goods is lower than expected, and inflation stays low.

Central banks, in seeking to maintain a 2% inflation target, are the agents of baby boomers. It is their savings and wealth that are protected, not those of the young, who have much less, if any.

Like most central bankers, Bank of England governor Mark Carney has acted to spur the economy with cheap borrowing, to howls of protest from savers.

But his remit stops government from going any further. For instance, there are several past and present members of the Bank’s monetary policy committee who believe it was in the interests of the economy, if not of savers, to push interest rates even lower in the wake of the 2008 financial crash.

There is an argument for a Treasury takeover of the Bank, ending its independence, to allow for higher inflation. With the politicians in charge, a 4% inflation target would allow interest rates to stay lower for longer, increase borrowing and discourage savings.

But when the Treasury is enslaved to the boomers, unable to increase taxes, what would be the point? It’s the boomers who need to see the light and vote for policies that share wealth. While they hoard it, they kill the chances of helping younger generations.

Bank of America May Be Targeting Baby Boomers With Its Move Into Ohio

Originally published on March 2, 2018 10:36 am

Bank of America is planning to open 500 new branches across the country, and to expand in Ohio, targeting Cincinnati, Cleveland and Columbus.

William Mahnic, an associate professor of banking aat Case Western Reserve University, believes it might be because the bank is targeting affluent baby boomers.

“What they’re looking for is a branch where they can attract customers who not only are seeking bank services but are looking for trust services or looking for a broker,” Mahnic says. “So they can take bank customers and convert them into trust and broker customers and they can take brokerage customers and trust customers and convert them into bank customers.”

Mahnic says the fact that Bank of America doesn’t currently have any branches in Ohio is probably influencing the decision as well.

Building the new branches will bring mean construction and new bank jobs.

Copyright 2018 WKSU. To see more, visit WKSU.

Homebased Online Travel Agencies – The Hottest New Opportunity?

Because of the deregulation of the airlines and other factors, there have been over 200,000 brick and mortar travel agencies that have closed their doors over the past several years. Does that mean travel agencies are no longer needed or available to the public? Absolutely not.

Several companies, including Expedia, Travelocity and Orbitz among others, saw this trend developing, so they developed online booking programs and entered the marketplace. Because the Internet was becoming so popular and accepted as a secure and reliable way of conducting business, their businesses have literally exploded.

But wait … several brilliant entrepreneurial visions also saw this online phenomena developing. Specifically, the online travel agency business model is especially interesting to the network marketing industry. Here are some of the reasons that they are expanding on the concept of online travel agencies:

– The travel industry is huge! Over $ 1.3 Trillion dollars are spent annually in the US on travel and over $ 7 Trillion is spent worldwide.

– The 'Baby Boomers' are now reaching retirement age and currently represent a large percentage of the travel dollar space. They have money and are ready to travel.

– The Internet has been validated by the masses as a trustworthy and important place to purchase goods and services. It is here to stay.

– As more and more people see that advantages of having their own personal homebased business, an online business like a travel agency really makes sense.

In the past, network marketers have had to learn expert selling and closing techniques to achieve good success with their products and services. Also, many of the products and services that they have historically been reliably high-priced compared to similar products purchased in regular stores. It takes people with perseverance and a strong will to really make it to the really high levels in network marketing.

However, using the business models and programs that have been developed for the travel industry, these same network marketers can promote their businesses and reach high levels of income from the comfort of their own homes much easier. The reasons include:

– The product (travel) is in huge demand and people are already in the habit of using online agencies for their travel purchases.

– The technology of the Internet is allowing individuals to compete with large companies. It's been proven that people would prefer to go to the website of one of their friends rather than the site of a large, nonpersonal company.

– Network marketers can earn commissions on their own personal travel, rental cars, concert tickets, golf trips, etc.

– The cost to get started is low and profits can be made almost immediately

– It's a great way to help other people and make a significant part-time or full-time income on the way.

– There are basically no sophisticated selling and closing skills that need to be developed.

So, with the familiarity of the brand names that are available and the simplicity of using the Internet to shop for travel goods and services, there is an exciting new and profitable opportunity for network marketers to capitalize on the travel industry.

how to energize Baby Boomer workers

Last issue I wrote that many of the stereotypes of Millennials and Baby Boomers are “fake news” and suggested there are more than a handful of way to keep those Boomers (like me) energized and contributing to your organization. After all, there is a lot of knowledge and expertise stored in the minds of those who, eventually, will be retiring. But they’re not retired yet!

Here are five more tips to help keep those Baby Boomers working hard for your company.

1. Engage Your Boomers to ID the High Potential Workers (HPW)

Those Boomers on your projects, leading that crew, running their department, etc., they know who the real “players” are for your company.  Let them contribute by sharing their thoughts and perspectives on tomorrow’s leaders, craftsman, and loyal employees for your company.  They know who the real jewels are so let them share with you their choices.

2. Match Your High Potential Trainers with High Potential Employees

One of the tendencies developing among our Millennial workers is their quick assessment of whether they are being trained early in their employment.  A client of mine discovered, to both of our dismay, that the new employee averaged less than 60-days in their employment.  The primary reason?  They felt that they have not been trained on anything of value.  We immediately began a matching of older, more experienced, worker with a new hire.  We didn’t keep all the new hires but we witnessed the longevity of the new employees increase more than 300%, some even staying longer.  It can be done but you must engage your willing Boomers.

3. Ask Your Boomers for Their Assistance

Go to your Boomers and sincerely ask for their assistance in teaching, mentoring, coaching, or befriending a new hire, especially a Millennial.  Explain to your Boomers what you are doing, what they can do to assist you, and why it is important that they transfer their knowledge and experience to the new hire.  You may be surprised to find how many Boomers will help you and may surprise you with all that they can do to assist your new hires.

4. Keep Training & Educating Your Boomers

I may have seen this slip up as much as or more than anything else contractors will do.  Many construction owners and leaders are so focused on getting the “young’uns” trained that they forgot to keep training the Boomers.  This is mistake can cause many Boomers to think, “Well, I guess they don’t care about me anymore.”  Trust me, it happens more than you think and you don’t have to do this!  Even if it’s the third or fourth time your older Foreman have been through leadership training in twenty years, they could use the refresher.

5. Never Slow Down Encouraging Your Boomers

This may sound too easy but this point might be the second mistake I witness many contractors making.  Again, we are so focused on encouraging our new workers that we often forget to say, “Thank you for a great effort,” to our older workers.  I’ve never yet witnessed a Boomer telling their senior leader, “Really, Bob, quit telling me thanks and how great I am…you’re killing me boss.  Really, you’re causing head to swell.”  Most of time I hear complaints from the older worker about all the cheerleading and “love” the newer and younger workers are getting.

My whole motivation over these last two issues of Pavement Maintenance & Reconstruction was simply to impress upon you to not keep your appreciation for your Boomers a secret.  And an ancillary benefit is that executing some of the suggestions covered over the last two Tailgate Talk columns may actually lift the morale of your Millennial workers as they see that good workers aren’t forgotten or put out to pasture just because they have some gray hair and a few more wrinkles about the face.

Reenergizing your Boomers may do wonders for your company and help improve the performance and profitable results driven by your Boomers. Just remember: There’s a whole lot more you can gain from your Boomers, so be careful that you don’t send signal that their time has come and gone. Some of their best contributions for you and your company may be yet to come.

May the “fountain of youth” satisfy the thirst for the Boomers in your company who still have much to do and contribute!

Baby Boomers: Stop Blaming Millennials – We Were Warned, & Did Nothing

Young, Old, Black, White, Jew, Gentile – we all have to stop passing the buck, and take responsibility for the nightmare world that has manifested. It is our own laziness, self-absorption, refusal to to do the work necessary to change ourselves, and become mature responsible adults that, with each successive generation, led the way to the enormity of problems we face today.

10 Ways Baby Boomers Can Be Happier in 2018

How can you live your best life and be happier in 2018? Here are 10 surefire ways to help you hit the restart button for a better life.

Change Careers

Studies show that up to 80 percent of baby boomers plan to do some sort of paid work until age 70 to stay mentally sharp, keep engaged socially, and achieve financial security in retirement. That leaves a couple of decades after 50 to work.

Sometimes that's why more and more boomers are contemplating an "encore career" to pursue their passions and create a fulfilling life they can enjoy.

The American Institute for Economic Research looked at people who changed or tried to change jobs after age 45 and found that 82% of people aged 47 and older who took up new careers in the last two years were successful, and 50% saw a salary increase .

"Do not view your age or your experience as a liability. It's a benefit to companies to have a multi-generational workforce," says Oriana Vogel, vice president of global talent acquisition at American Express. "One of our goals … is to hire employees that can provide a variety of different perspectives and experiences." Age does not come into consideration when it comes down to hiring the best people, she says.

Enjoy Life's Simple Pleasures

In 2017, International Happiness Day and the first day of spring coincided. How often does that happen? But do we really need a special day to find some bliss? I say that any ordinary day will do.

In 2018, let's pause and enjoy all of life's simple treasures and trips we look forward to through the day. Yes, we all have them! You know, the moment you open up your drapes and sunlight fills your home. The aroma of coffee in the morning. Those delightful blueberries on your cereal. The hot shower in the morning that awakens and refreshes you.

If you're a baby boomer still working, instead of grumbling about it, enjoy your favorite song on the radio as you drive to your job. Do not just sit there, sing along! If you're lucky enough to be retired, enjoy some creative leisure time.

Experience happiness from the simple act of giving. Take a moment and write, text, or call a friend. Give someone a big smile to brighten their day and perk up yours as well. Make it a point to do something nice for a stranger or give someone a sincere compliment today. When you get home, give a loved one a big hug. Make your dog's day with a walk around the neighborhood, a treat, and an extra pat on its head. Relish each bite of dinner. Watch the sunset. Enjoy your favorite comedy and laugh loudly. At the end of the day, remember each blessing and give thanks.

If a gloomy thought dares to enter your head this day, usher it right out and replace it with a happy, positive thought. No groans or gripes allowed. Mentally shout "next" in your head and move right along. Relish every day of simply being alive.

Break Through Barriers

Oh, the wonderful things that can happen when we break through our self-imposed barriers!

When I wanted to become a writer, I put a lot of barriers on myself. I was afraid that people would laugh at me because I did not have a college degree. That my submissions would sit in a huge pile and be ignored by literary agents and editors since I did not know anyone in the publishing business. That friends and family would roll their eyesballs if I dared to express my dreams of becoming a writer out loud. That I would become so discouraged by the countless rejections sure to come my way, I would give up and watch my precious dreams slowly fade away. Does not everyone want to be a writer, but how many actually make it?

Instead of taking action, I was comfortable just dreaming about becoming an author one day. It was fun envisioning my novel on the shelves of Barnes and Noble and my first book signing. Until a woman at a writer's conference asked me a simple but substantial question. What are you waiting for?

With the woman's words echoing in my head, I took the first step and began submitting my short story to magazines. Of course, I received the standard rejection letter which stung, but I continued on my journey, taking writing classes and submitting my work. The road was not easy. Many of my fears came true during that time. I gathered enough rejection letters to wallpaper a room. Many times, I became discouraged and swore off writing. But I tenaciously pressed forward. Six long years passed before my first short story was published. Am I happy that I persevered and finally faced down all those nagging self-doubts and fears?

You bet! I've been writing professionally for over 25 years now. Over the years, I've been published in national magazines, authored three books (one of which was published by big time publisher McGraw Hill), landed an agent, won three journalistic awards, and even had my dream come true with a book signing at Barnes and Noble.

This is the year to reflect on who you are and what matters most to you in life. Time to overcome your fears, persevere, and find the power to become the driver of your own life and personal journey!

Become Happy-Go-Lucky

The Urban Dictionary defines happy-go-lucky as a person who is cheerful about most things, has a positive view on life, and annoys the you-know-what out of their friends. Haha! Seriously, think of all the benefits of lightening up. You'll be less stressed, have more fun, take more risks, step out of your comfort zone and because of your positive attitude have more friends and better relationships.

So adapt a devil-may-care attitude, be a little silly, laugh more, mellow out, and be playful! If you can become more of a happy-go-lucky person, I'd lay bets that you'll find life more enjoyable and even more fulfilling.

Take a Trip

It's no secret that I love to travel, so a new survey last year that listed baby boomers choices for top bucket list travel destinations done my eye.

Of the 12,000 boomer participants, a whooping 99 percent said they planned to take one leisure trip last year. About half planned to travel domestically on multi-generational trips, weekend getaways, and holiday travel. Bucket lists inspired 43 percent of boomers to say they hoped to travel internationally as well.

Which places topped boomers' bucket lists for travel? Hawaii topped the list for a dream domestic destination followed by Alaska, California, Arizona, and Nevada. The top international destinations were Australia, followed by Italy, the United Kingdom / Ireland, France, and the Caribbean. Are any of these places on your bucket list? No time like the present!

Interestingly, boomers enjoy dreaming about their trip almost as much as experiencing the trip itself. Part of the fun is planning!

Stay Positive Detail Adversities

is it possible to be happy when persistent, scary, and frustrating problems keep rising to the surface and smacking us in the face?

Adversity can make us feel stressed, upset, disappointed, powerless, angry, and depressed. Even when some or even most other aspects of our lives are going well, we tend to focus on things that are going wrong.

Instead of allowing damaging thoughts to build and grow in strength, find a quiet, peaceful place. Think of your problems and then forcefully push them away. As Mark Twain wisely said, "Drag your thoughts away from your troubles … by the ears, by the heads, or any other way you can manage it."

Research has shown there is a strong link between creativity and better mental health. Instead of stewing about your problems, do something creative and you'll be forced to look inward and listen to yourself. It will help you shut out the world and its problems for a while.

Purposely direct your mind to focus on things that make you feel happy. You may recall something funny your grandchild did or said, reminisce about one of your favorite memories, or plan a trip for the future. Or write down five reasons you can feel grateful and force yourself to focus on those things. Put inspirational, happy quotes on post it notes and spread them around the house. Again, with a little practice you can train your mind to naturally gravitate toward more pleasant thoughts.

Of course, these tips will not make your problems magically disappear, but they can help you better able to cope with challenges.

Get Rid of Clutter

Whether we've become empty nesters or are following the latest trend of decluttering, many of us baby boomers are downsizing.

Two years ago, we moved. As I was filling up trash bags and putting away things to donate and sell, I felt incredibly FREE. Why did not I do this sooner?

Conquering clutter can clear the way for a more productive life. Without physical obstacles like piles of unopened mail, old clothes, and Tupperware without lids in the way, you'll be amazed how much you can accomplish in your life.

Aim for Long-Term Happiness instead of Instant Gratification

Instant self-gratification rules the world today. Think about ATM machines that provide instant cash, fast food supplying instant meals, the Internet with its access to instant information and entertainment – all of which has turned us into impatient beings that can not tolerate waiting for anything.

According to a CNN article, there are two types of well-being. One relays on self-involved instant pleasure and requires continuous action to consistently feed positive emotions. This type of satisfaction typically leaves as fast as it comes. For example, buying an expensive pair of shoes creates a temporary high but to keep that euphoric feeling we must keep shopping for the next quick fix. If something threatens our ability to seek out this kind of personal happiness – for example, all our credit cards are maxed out – our entire source of well-being is threatened.

The second type of well-being is a kind of happiness that comes, not from consuming products, but from working towards something larger than ourselves that gives true meaning to life.This type of well-being can bring long-term happiness.

That's not to say that we should never reward ourselves with a bowl of ice cream or a great pair of shoes as a special treat every once in a while. We do not have to wait to enjoy the present or our lives.

However, we'll all be happier if we develop some self-control and avoid the habit of wanting everything right this second. Constantly giving into momentary desires can actually make us feel depressed in the long run. Advertisers have become experts at convincing us that instant gratification is the key to happiness. Do not buy it. Shoot for long-term satisfaction and fulfillment instead.

Embrace Hygge like the Norwegians

Permanent frigid arctic temperatures and months of darkness, the happiest people on the planet apparently live in Nordic countries, according to the 2017 World Happiness Report.

Norway jumped up three spots to claim the title of "world's happiest country" for the first time. Denmark, the previous winner for three years in a row dropped to second. These countries were followed by Iceland, Switzerland, Finland, Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Sweden. In case you're wondering, the US came in 14th place, dropping down one spot from last year.

Could the reason Norwegians are so darn happy have to do with the Danish term hygge? Hygge is also difficult to define, but is translated loosely into the English word coziness and is associated with relaxation, indulgence, and gratitude. However, Norwegians would probably argue there's much more to the word.

Hygge requires being present in a moment – whether it be simple, soothing, or special – that brings you comfort, contentment, or pleasure. The word speaks to the ability to enjoy the good things in life with people you love. Hygge can describe soft candlelight, comfort foods like a pork roast or home-made cinnamon pastries, sitting by the fire on a cold night with fuzzy socks, or simply being kinder to yourself and others. It's about transforming an afternoon cup of tea into an event with friends. Some people translate the word as coziness of the soul.

So, go ahead. Eat that pastry guilty-free, invite friends over for a glass of wine by the fire, or luxuriate in a candlelit bath. Savor the moment and let the warm, fuzzy feelings flow.

Retire in a Happy State

My childhood friend was visiting me last year when she asked, "Where do you want to retire?"

I'm from the Palm Springs, California area, which has long been one of the most famous retirement communities. Snowbirds love this place with over 300 days of sunshine a year. Golfing, casinos, hiking, and cycling are popular activities. Places to shop and dine abound. In addition, a fairly strong economy and low unemployment rate make the Palm Springs area a popular destination for baby boomers and retirees.

But do I want to retire here? Not especially. Some people love the heat, but I'm not a fan of the long, hot summers with temperatures that exceed 115 degrees. However, I have time to consider my options. Like many boomers, retirement is now in sight for me at the time being. But of course, a girl can dream, right?

So, what are the best and worst states to retire? The results from a's survey last year were interesting. Traditional retirement spots like Florida and California did not make the top 10 while other states, not usually considered as premier places to retire, like Wyoming and Colorado, made the top five. Honolulu is the 2nd most expensive place to live and Hawaii residents pay an individual income tax rate of 11% – the 2nd highest in the US But if you can afford it, this state ranks high for happiness and personal well-being. New York and West Virginia rated the worst.

There you go! Applying just a few of these tips can have a drastic impact on your life and help you find your bliss in 2018. Go for it!

Baby boomers had it tough: even sex was scarce | Letters | Inequality

As a 70-year-old baby boomer I read and learned from Phillip Inman’s article (Battle lines are drawn between young and old, 26 February). As usual, though, there is no comparison made between the life circumstances experienced during the youthful years of baby boomers and those of today’s young people.

Most of us grew up without central heating; icy bathrooms, phoning from the only phone in a freezing hall, doing homework next to a single-bar electric fire. Holiday accommodation – rarely, if ever, abroad – consisted of youth hostels or tents. Car ownership tended to be limited to enthusiasts with car maintenance skills. The purchase of clothing was a treat and TV was a four-channel affair without remote control. Sex was difficult to come by as getting together under parents’ roofs was out of the question. The age of majority was 21 so even the lucky 2-3% who went to university were in gender-separated halls or digs where landladies were in loco parentis. Late buses took us home from evening social events. Birthday celebrations would be held at home to the record player. I was lucky to own a bicycle but no helmet. Deaths on the roads were horrifyingly high as seatbelts were unknown. Cancer meant automatic death.

Do our relatively deprived youths give us any rights to a moderately comfortable old age?
Margaret Davis

Phillip Inman writes that “baby boomers have proved themselves adept at ensuring they are the winners across many areas of public policy”. The vast majority of baby boomers have done no such thing, having no access to the levers of power. Vast numbers of baby boomers, outside the professions and outside the media/Westminster bubble, never had final salary pensions in the first place. This birth cohort does not form a unitary category, but contains great inequalities and many subdivisions.

Those who do have final salary pensions have mostly not been scheming in the way suggested, but quietly getting on with their lives, supporting their children and grandchildren, while successive governments of all stripes have attempted to secure their votes with financial bribes. Many have refused to be bribed. The financial chasm between the generations is real, but I would hope to see a more nuanced discussion of it in this paper.
Pam Lunn
Kenilworth, Warwickshire

It is not true that public sector pension schemes are generating “a huge bill in store for younger people in 30 or 40 years’ time”. The latest projections from the Office for Budget Responsibility show that the cost of the main public sector pension schemes is estimated to fall significantly; from about 2% of GDP today to 1.5% in about 30 years’ time and 1.4% in about 40. Far from being a potential source of intergenerational conflict, the fact that these schemes are financially sustainable while also remaining open to young workers shows they are a beacon of intergenerational solidarity.
Neil Walsh
Pension officer, Prospect trade union

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