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Emotional Pain Management


Rest assured that, even though physical ailments like arthritis begin making their appearance during midlife, the pain I'm talking about here is not (necessarily) a physical one. Although emotional pain has many similarities with its physical cousin, there are also some differences: most specifically, emotional pain tend to be much more predictable . When you're trying to understand the causes for the onset of emotional pain, it's very important to keep in mind the function of pain in general – and emotional pain in particular.

Pain functions as a warning signal for the organism. In itself, there's nothing 'bad' about pain (except, of course, that it hurts). In fact, if you were not able to experience pain, you'd be in deep trouble. For example, one of the signs of a sociopathic personality is the incapacity to feel [the pain of] guilt . Their behavior can be absolutely random, self-serving and anti-social at least in part because they experience no emotional consequences. So therefore, pain remains a very necessary (and good) experience. Unless you're more of a masochist than I'd like to address here, chances are very good that, at the moment you're about to give the bed leg a good kick with your bare foot, you're not conscious of what's coming. On the contrary, as you're entering (or about to enter) midlife, you can pick up some very good indications regarding what you're about to encounter. Not all pain is necessary: ​​would not you like to spare yourself some of it?

Our course of action in emotional pain management objectives only two very, very simple elements: awareness and planning . You can think of it this way: if you permit yourself to be aware of where the leg of the bed is, you can plan to have your bare foot be somewhere else when you approach it. You'd think that this simple fact of life would be so obvious as to be a constant. Yet, if that were really so, you'd never stub your toe. In addition, if it were as obvious as you'd think, then the experience of emotional pain would never be optional. Sadly, much of the time, it's only optional , and not necessary . People transitioning through midlife are particularly vulnerable to experiencing a great deal of optional pain. I think you'll have to agree that the very best way to manage pain would be – wherever possible – to avoid it entirely.

You know, I get the most curious looks when I tell people that in order to avoid a great deal of the emotional pain in your life you do not really have to do anything. . . you just have to change your mind . You might say that it's that old 'mind-over-matter' routine on steroids. Oddly enough, just because it's a cliche doesnt mean it's not true. All emotional pain management by avoidances rests on one simple principle: by the time you feel the pain, it's already too late . Still, people (and guys in particular) tend to shy away from doing the intensive, time-consuming inner work that would make the necessary changes in attitude and behavior possible. That's a very old story: it's much easier and more comfortable to critique others than it is to criticize yourself. Managing the pain is easy: just do not kick the bed leg (and if you're wondering where that leg is, it's in our guest room, and I kick it all the time). Putting yourself in a state so that you remember not to kick the bed leg is not so easy. It takes awareness, it takes planning, and it takes work.

To become truly proactive about managing the pain of your midlife transition, where do you have to start? From what I've just said, you'll know that you have to begin with your awareness . Let's start with an awareness of this important fact: midlife transition does not care about what you want to do or what you think you 'bought' to do . The core of your midlife transition lies in your capacity to get in touch with who you are: the real you. The real midlife work begins when you start to ask yourself, 'What am I supposed to be doing with my life?' So long as you run away from the question ' Why am I here? ', you'll continue to dance barefoot about the bed, pretending that it has no legs. The avoidance of that question – the question of your personal destiny – keeps you in an indefinite period of denial and can also actually cause the trauma of midlife crisis to continue on well into old age. Sadly, some people's refusal to get 'down and dirty' with themselves can actually prevent them from ever completing the midlife transition.

Obviously, what I've said here is not the complete answer to managing the emotional pain of the midlife transition. It's only what we in philosophy used to call 'necessary but not sufficient'. I believe that awareness (taking stock of yourself at a core level) remains the essential first step that makes all feasible planning possible. I'll say it a thousand times before I die: as the Cheshire Cat told Alice, "If you do not know where you're going, any path will take you there." Want to avoid pain? Watch your step!

Baby boomers are more carefree than Gen Z – research


“At age 20, we worry about what others think of us. At age 40, we don’t care what they think of us. At age 60, we discover they haven’t been thinking of us at all,” says one of Ann Landers’ famous quotes.

Saga Cruises commissioned a research to find out travel trends of different age groups and it found out that that older people are more care-free and significantly less self-conscious than today’s Gen Zs. Just 22% of over 50s said they cared what others think about them, compared to 70% of people aged 18-24 worrying about these matters.

With their “been-there-done-that” attitude and outlook in life, baby boomers are more likely to try new experiences than the younger generation. Older people think that they are running out of time and would like to try different things while they still can.

The research also reveals how both over 50s and 18-24 year olds share the desire to try new things – both in their social life as well as with holiday choices – with almost a third saying they regularly step out of their comfort zone. However, it was the older respondents that displayed a less conformist attitude than younger ones.

Saga releases the research results on the day of the Naming Ceremony of Spirit of Discovery, the Kent company’s new boutique cruise ship.  Nigel Blanks, COO of Saga Cruises said: “This desire to try new things comes as no surprise to us. Our guests have told us that they want colour and experiences, their life is not beige.  They have asked us to challenge them, to take them to exciting and adventurous places and help them experience something new. With our new boutique cruise ship, Spirit of Discovery, we are doing just that. This ship is a game changer for us and our guests, we have tried to deliver the wow factor at every turn and fill the ship with elements that people would not expect from Saga.”

I Am 50 Years Young


I recently celebrated my 50th birthday. It was a wonderful day with family, friends, good weather, good food, lots of laughter, reminiscing and loads of love.

I was a little bit off-balance before the birthday, because for some reason 50 seemed to me the beginning of the end. But then I have wonderful friends that I can discuss these things with, and they helped me to get perspective.

My mother died at the age of 53 in very sad circumstances. I have made different choices, and will not pass on in the same manner or at the same age. My dad retired at the age of 60 and now, at 73, is a very old man who has difficulty moving around. Again, I have made different choices and am in the middle of a career change – probably not my last one either.

I understand that time is a man-made concept. As a society we chose to attach value to the age of 50. A thousand years ago only the most fortune geriatrics reached that age. Today people aged 50 are physically attractive and full of life. So what is so special about being 50?

I chose to look at this birthday from a different angle. I have had an incredible life so far – enough to write a book about, and still I feel as if my life has just started. I am looking forward to a few massive changes over the next few months, and I count my blessings every day. My to-do list is as long as my arm.

I recently read of a man who has his life planned out up to the age of 120 years. Whether he becomes 120 years old, is not relevant. What is important is that right up to the moment when he leaves this earth, he will have a purpose, and he will live that purpose.

Have you ever heard of the axilotl? You pronounce it "a-chi-ho-tel". It is a small animal that looks like a salamander. It is pale white – you can see right through it. It has gills and normally lives under water. When the water dries up, the gills close and the axilotl breathes and lives on land like a salamander. When there is water again, the axilotl grows gills again. Sometimes it loses a leg, and then it simply grows another one. Why is the axilotl so adaptable? Because no-one ever taught it that growing gills for breathing underwater and having lungs for living on land and growing a new leg when required is impossible.

I know that what we think becomes, and I would like to collect stories about people who did remarkable things after the age if 50 – things that ordinary people can do when they become aware that only their own fears and the obstacles they created them hold them back.

These stories could be about famous people, but I am sure there are many untold stories about ordinary people who have done extra things. For example, I have read about the 80+ lady who did her first ever tandem parachute jump, and there was another lady in her 70's that climbed Mount Everest recently. There was also the man who retired, withheld away, then got a grip on himself and started a very successful business and became young again. And yesterday I heard of a woman who published a best-seller debut novel at the age of 85.

In short, my quest is to look for the achievements of people over 50 who did the unexpected simply because they could, and who succeeded. May God bless you like He blesses me every day.

Aging Georgia: State studies care for a growing elder population | Local News


ATLANTA – James Carter Jr. and his two brothers do all they can to keep their 89-year-old father in the Valdosta home he has lived in for the last three decades.

But that has by no means been easy.

The three sons take turns staying with their dad, James Carter Sr., who served in the military and later worked at a local paper mill as a mechanic.

Dementia and multiple strokes have now robbed him of his speech and limited his mobility, so the sons are there around the clock to feed him, give him his medication and look after his day-to-day needs.

“He took care of us for 18, 20 years. No questions asked. Fed us, clothed us, took care of us,” said James Carter Jr., who is a 65-year-old retiree in Valdosta. “So I feel like this is the least that you can do, is give back.”

But in the future, there will be fewer adult children like James Carter Jr. around to care for aging parents, as baby boomers become the ones who need care.

“Baby boomers had fewer children than the generation before them, and so there’s a lot of senior orphans who will be created from that,” said Rep. John LaHood, a Republican from Valdosta. “There will not be as many adult children who are able, or willing, to take care of their aging parents.”

And by the year 2030, when these baby boomers will all be older than 65, one in every five Americans will be retirement age, according to the U.S. Census. It will mark the first time in U.S. history that older people will outnumber children.

That’s still a decade away, but some say the impact of America’s aging population can already be felt now.  

“The silver tsunami is on us,” said Kathy Floyd, who is the executive director of the Georgia Council on Aging. “It’s not down the road. It’s not coming soon. It’s on us now.”

An aging population

And that tsunami is poised to one day crash into the state’s budget, LaHood said.  

LaHood, who owns assisted living and memory care facilities, convinced his colleagues this year that the issue – and the potential impact on the state – warrants a closer look. House lawmakers backed his request to form a study committee, which LaHood said he hopes will suggest legislative fixes as soon as next session.

In Georgia alone, the population of residents who are 65 years and older is expected to leap from 1.3 million three years ago to 2.9 million in 2040, according to U.S. Census figures cited in the measure forming the study committee. The fastest growth will be among those 85 and older.

And about half of older Georgians were living in poverty as of 2016, with many of them well below the federal poverty level.

“You have affluent seniors who can afford senior living options out of pocket, but you have these poor seniors who can’t afford these private pay options,” LaHood said.

“A lot of times they’re getting funneled to the most costly option out there because that’s what the taxpayer-funded programs are approved for,” he said. “So we have to look for more economical ways to take care of these seniors and ways to keep them more independent as long as possible.”

Looking for alternatives

LaHood said he wants to explore proposals that will help redirect seniors who do not need nursing home-level care to lower cost alternatives.

“I’m not a proponent of increasing or growing taxpayer funded social programs, but if we have this growing demographic that is going to need care and if the current process is funneling people to a more costly care option, then we may need to look at changing some policy so that the taxpayer-funded programs are more cost-effective, which could mean opening up different types of care settings to a government-funded program,” LaHood said in an interview.

LaHood said he has no specific policy change in mind at this point. His committee will likely start meeting next month.

But as an example of a less expensive option, LaHood has pointed to a Medicaid-funded program that is available for small personal care homes, which lack some of the more specialized care found at larger assisted living facilities. The program, though, is off limits to assisted living facilities, which can only care for people who are able to pay their own way.

In Georgia, assisted living facilities are still a relatively new class of senior care. Lawmakers created the new designation about a decade ago, but the change came with limitations, such as being ineligible for Medicaid. The move was meant to reduce the number of seniors being fast-tracked to nursing homes.  

It’s unclear right now whether the nursing home industry would be open to revisiting the limits on assisted living facilities.

“The association supports the proper and safe placement of residents in the setting that appropriately meets the care needs of each individual,” Devon Barill, director of communications for the Georgia Health Care Association and the Georgia Center for Assisted Living, said in a statement Tuesday.

And it also remains to be seen whether long-term care might factor into Gov. Brian Kemp’s request to the federal government for a Medicaid waiver. LaHood, who will lead the study committee, said he, for one, hasn’t ruled it out.

The south Georgia lawmaker said he wants the panel to, at a minimum, bring attention to what he sees as a potential looming crisis.

“Every year, the population of older Georgians is growing,” he said.

“We don’t want to get caught flat-footed and then spend more money than we need to because we’re unprepared and we’re having to spend money on more expensive solutions, versus being proactive,” he said.

The Baby Boomer Generation and What Makes Them Tick


The baby boomer generation is the cohort of babies born between 1946 and 1964. This is the term used in several countries due to the boom in births after WWII. There were 75.8 million babies born during this period in the US. Now the boomers born between '46 and '54 are called generation X, and the ones born from '55 to '64 are generation Y. In 2010 Baby boomers will be turning 46 to 64 years of age.

Due to the environment baby boomers grow up under which includes:

o Men and women returning home from a horrendous war.
o Countries in recovery from the depletion and destruction.
o Countries experiencing affluence for the first time in years.
o Events that influenced a dynamic social change from, the music, civil rights movements, to the Viet Nam war.
o Personal freedoms not previously experienced, sexual, interracial marriage, educational ……
This generation has been identified with some specific characteristics: Such as:
o In general, baby boomers are associated with a rejection or redefinition of traditional values. For example the role of women in society.
o In Europe and North America boomers are broadly associated with privilege, as many grow up in a time of affluence.
o They tend to be healthier, and wealthier than the previous generations to that time.
o Feeling that the conditions and situations in the world would improve and participate in activities to bring that about.
o Attaining higher education levels.

One Caveat:

Generation X and Y display different characteristics:

o Vietnam group members, the oldest group, were classified as Hippies during their youth. They fought against the Vietnam war and for civil and women's rights.
o The "me" group members, the younger group, were classified as Yuppies in their youth. They grow up without war in a time of economic prosperity, and most prospered as young professionals.

If you are a baby boomer you know you are, but you may not have known the details. If you are not a baby boomer just know they have a big impact on your life. The implications of the impact from the baby boomer generation are immense for Entrepreneurs.

Thank you and have a bomin 'biz day.

Las Vegas cyclists feel growth — and growing pains — as city becomes more bike friendly

RTC Bike Share launch

Mikayla Whitmore

A group of Elvis impersonators ride bicycles during the RTC Bike Share launch event in Downtown Las Vegas on Oct. 26, 2016.

One hundred miles of bicycle lanes extended throughout Las Vegas 10 years ago. Today, there are about 500 miles citywide and an additional 200 miles in other parts of the Valley. Car culture, funding restrictions on cycling infrastructure, and the sprawling nature of the Valley have historically created challenges for urban cycling. But as Southern Nevada grows in population and road biking becomes more normalized, the region’s cities and Clark County are adapting more bike-friendly policies and infrastructure, albeit incrementally. “We’re building it little by little,” said Marco Velotta, a senior management analyst in the City of Las Vegas’ Planning Department.

The efforts seems to be bringing more cyclists out of the shadows. The number of people carrying bicycles onto Regional Transportation Commission buses has been steadily increasing in the past several years, RTC data shows. In May, it counted about 56,000 bicycles on buses, and the agency continues to observe “well-utilized” bike racks around the Las Vegas Strip, said Ron Floth, bicycle and community outreach coordinator for the RTC.

Cyclists range from children biking to school (particularly in more residential, higher-income neighborhoods) to millennials to aging baby boomers, Floth said. Some cycle primarily to commute, for leisure and exercise, and because bicycles are their primary or most reliable form of transportation.

“People [are] riding from transit to their final destination, which is work. We’re seeing quite a bit of that,” Floth said.

Within the city limits, affluent Summerlin seems to have the largest biking population and the most bike lanes, some of which were created by the Howard Hughes Corporation that owns and manages the master-planned community, according to Velotta. Similarly affluent Henderson is also known for its high concentration of bike lanes and bike paths.

A major goal in the region now is to make biking as equitable as possible, in part by expanding bike infrastructure into all neighborhoods and communities.

“It’s one thing to make sure an area like Summerlin has facilities, and that’s important, but we want to make sure we hit places like Downtown and Wards 1, 3 and 5 in the center of the city,” Velotta said.

Changing the culture

Despite a growth in bike infrastructure and bike riders, cyclists and planners acknowledge that the region has a long way to go to protect cyclists and instill a share-the-road mentality throughout the Valley, especially among drivers.

“We still need to do more on the encouragement part and the enforcement part,” Velotta said.

Cyclist injuries and fatalities at the hands of drivers remain common; four cyclists have been killed so far this year in Clark County, according to the Nevada Office of Traffic Safety.

To reduce fatalities and collisions, many cyclists would like to see stronger enforcement of a Nevada law requiring drivers to maintain a three-foot distance from cyclists when passing them on the road. Although the three-foot law has been in place for years, drivers who hit cyclists (and therefore have automatically broken the law) still often get off scot-free, said Heather Fisher, president of the Summerlin-based bike shop Las Vegas Cyclery.

Many drivers don’t even know that the law exists, and lax enforcement certainly doesn’t help, Fisher added.

“It just needs to be promoted through the DMV, through signage, or anywhere we can get the word out,” she said.

Fisher has lived and biked in the Valley since 1992 and now lives in Blue Diamond, a more rural and potentially safer enclave for cyclists compared with heavily trafficked areas such as Downtown Las Vegas.

Downtown, for its part, has some of the strongest cycling infrastructure in the area, including highlighted green bike lanes and access to the RTC’s bike center and bike share program. But cyclists often agree that it is still one of the most hostile areas, mostly because of the amount of vehicular traffic it gets.

“When you get into some of the more high-traffic areas closer to Downtown, people seem to be less [bike]-friendly. People are in a hurry, and maybe they don’t expect [cyclists] there,” said biker and North Las Vegas resident Mary Margaret Williams.

It’s a problem no longer unique to Downtown, as population and traffic continue to rise rapidly. Even though there are more cyclists on the road compared with 10 years ago, there are also more drivers, many of whom are more distracted than ever before, said biker Sean Tyrone.

“There are … more close calls, more accidents and more deaths, and 99% of them are because of driver inattention,” said Tyrone, who is also chief operating officer of Las Vegas Cyclery.

Tyrone used to commute for years from east Las Vegas to Green Valley. That bike route is a lot more problematic today, he said.

“I had a lot of close calls [before], but nothing like what I’ve seen and experienced personally in the last five years,” he said.

That’s not to say that growth cannot be accomplished in a way that helps cyclists, Fisher noted. For example, the Southern Nevada Regional Bicycle Coalition is pushing for developers to start including bike lanes whenever they build new housing. The City of Las Vegas’ 2050 Master Plan will also include a greater emphasis on multimodal transit, including cycling.

Funding for cycling infrastructure has always been a challenge when it comes to getting more bike lanes onto the streets. The Las Vegas Planning Department’s budget for bicycle infrastructure is still a tiny fraction of the rest of the budget, but it is becoming more of a priority, Velotta said. Other departments—such as Public Works, Parks and Recreation, and Operations and Maintenance—are also beginning to embrace cycling-friendly policies, he said.

“The fact that we’re including more and more buffer lanes, and that is now kind of the default, it just shows that there’s more of a commitment there to making complete streets possible,” Velotta said.

Pouring money into the issue isn’t a guarantee the region will become more bike-friendly, but if the money goes toward installing cycling infrastructure and signs, it can at least help drivers prepare to see cyclists and understand how to interact with them, Williams said. She acknowledged that cyclists must understand how to interact with drivers safely as well, something the RTC has been promoting through bike safety programs and educational workshops.

As a cyclist, the key to safety is to stay with traffic, utilize hand signals and use a bike light at night, which is required under Nevada law, Floth said. Although biking on sidewalks is permitted in most of Clark County with the exception of North Las Vegas, cyclists are safer when they act like motor vehicles and go with the flow, Floth emphasized.

“One of the things we talk to cyclists about all the time is to ride predictably,” he added. “That way, motorists know what they’re going to do.”

In the coming years, Fisher hopes that the region will recognize not only the health, environmental and recreational benefits of cycling, but also how becoming a cycling city could propel Las Vegas into the future.

“You go to other cities and there’s bike lanes everywhere and bike paths everywhere,” Fisher said. “They do that to attract the newer, younger tech-y job market to their cities, and to diversify. And that’s what we’re going to have to do here.”

Planners seem to have a similar vision.

“We’ve come considerably far over the past decade,” Velotta said. “We really have seen a physical transformation as a result. But we still have a lot of work to do.”

This story originally appeared in the Las Vegas Weekly.

Five Positive Tips for Baby Boomers: Retirement & Panic


As we 73 million Baby Boomers retire in droves, at the rate of 10,000 per day, and totaling more than a quarter million Americans every month until the year 2030, we enter a period of personal disorientation and confusion, if the truth be known. We are a very hard-working generation, and often have been defined by our careers. And we have high expectations. So our concerns are valid.

Although we have earned money throughout lifetimes of hard work, our savings have been impacted by major stock market, banking industry and housing industry crashes. Even if we did save enough, which many of us did not, we have watched those savings decline drastically, with little we could do about it.

Baby Boomers also have been known to be a generous group. We have done well by our children, our parents, our communities, our churches. Many of us have felt the pinch from adult children who have had difficulties earning adequate incomes on their own. And many of us have dealt with aging parents who need significant assistance, financially and/or otherwise.

We grew up in an era where making a meaningful contribution was paramount to a life well lived. We have always wanted to make a difference. From women’s rights, to civil rights, to world hunger, to preserving the planet, we always have been there – marching, demonstrating, donating our funds and services. We are a generation who has always cared.

And now it is our turn to retire. Our parents retired under a very different paradigm, generally supported for the remainder of their lives by their employer-provided pensions. Not so with us. Only one in four Boomers can expect significant income from an employer-provided pension.

And we know better than to expect that retirement will be cheap. Statistics show that almost half of retired households now spend more money, not less, in retirement. We also know that we are likely to live for quite a long time. According to the Social Security Administration, one out of every four 65-year-olds today will live past the age of 90, while one out of 10 will live past 95.

So if some of us associate feelings of panic with retirement, we have good reason. But there are positive factors that will make transformative differences in our favor. Use these five tips and considerations to your advantage to turn your own retirement years into some of the best years of your life.

  1. Time is on your side.
  2. Reinvention is the new normal. Expect to have freedom and engagement too.
  3. If you need more money to live the lifestyle you desire, then make some more.
  4. Seek assistance with your “transition.”
  5. Nurture your pioneer spirit as a role model. Lead the way.

Time is on your side.

If you have lived to age 65, you will have another 25 to 30 years or so of life left to live. So you will have ample time to ace your own retirement transition. This bounty of time can be put to good use to redirect and explore, gain self-knowledge, and study the patterns and passions of your own unique and inimitable self in order to yield a retirement design that is optimal for you, mentally, socially, physically, financially, and spiritually. Use time to your benefit to give yourself the gift of a future that engages you fully and towards which you can and will apply yourself with vitality, enthusiasm and enjoyment. Create a retirement that will be your opus, not just a condition that you wander into aimlessly.

Although, as a Boomer, you already are part of the most educated, most techno-savvy generation in our country’s history, you know that there is a lot more for you to learn. With 25-30 years left ahead of you, there is no need for you to race into your third phase of life limited by what you already know how to do. Once you discover what you long to do and be next, you will have the luxury of time to learn how to do it and do it well, to apply your new learning for many years, and even to pass it on.

Reinvention is the new normal. Expect to have freedom and engagement too.

“Working” during retirement, with or without earning money for it, can be a meaningful pursuit when it is in line with your truest and most naturally enthusiastic self. It is essential to understand that what we’re talking about here is not simply more of the same. After retirement, motivation to work is based on a desire for continued purpose, productivity, stimulation, satisfaction, and social connection. Gone are the days of “I’ll do anything so long as it pays well.”

Although the majority of Boomers do plan to work in retirement (71%), that does not mean we are willing to continue on with the same work. Over half of us (51%) plan to enter a different line of work in retirement. Since we are looking for work that yields stimulation and satisfaction, we will be less willing to fit ourselves to a job and more prone to find avenues of work that fit us.

This translates to the necessity of reinventing yourself, then reinventing your work. Make choices based on knowledge of your own true self. What are you like? (your type and temperament). What engages you? (your interests). What has meaning for you? (your values). And what can you do well? (your skills and talents).

Then based on what you discover, reinvent your work. Most likely, you will not be interested in continuing at the same pace and intensity level as your earlier work life. And you may not be willing to opt either for freedom over engagement, or the other way around, when you want to, and can, have both. According to the 2013 Merrill Lynch Retirement Study, many Boomers will seek flexible work arrangements such as part-time work (39%), or going back and forth between periods of work and periods of leisure (24%). Others will start businesses or enterprises, offer services, create, perform, invent, coach, guide or mentor.

If you need more money to live the lifestyle you desire, then make some more.

In the past, the focus of retirement planning has been on saving and investing money during your major work years in order to be able to live on passive income throughout retirement. To the degree that we have succeeded at this task, or have the benefit of increasingly rare employer-provided pensions, this passive income can provide a solid base after we retire. But this base income certainly does not define or limit our potential lifestyles. Retirement need not mark a shift to passive income only or the end of active earning. It is much better, and probably more realistic, to think of having some of each!!

With the advent of computer-based work, locating and carrying out work contracts can be accomplished without even leaving your house. The world can be your market for the services you offer, the art or crafts you create, the books or courses you write. Once you redefine yourself, and decide what your purpose will be from this point on, you will have many options and arenas for following through.

If your dream has been to travel during retirement, and you are short the money to do so, set out to earn the travel money you need to fly off to France and Italy for a month. If you want to buy books, or season tickets to the Symphony, or even a boat… work as many “gigs” as it takes for you to achieve your dreams. Do not fall prey to the mentality that you will forevermore be forced to live on a fixed income.

Seek assistance with your “transition.”

Retirement, and the considerable challenges of planning for this dramatic transition, is not something you need to face or plan alone. Although it may sound simple to uncover what you are uniquely and even passionately suited to do for your remaining years, this will be a process, not an event.

After decades of having work define you, it is no simple task to turn this around so you are the one to define the work. Likewise, you will be fully in charge of establishing your new balance between work and lifestyle. Without a plan, you may waste precious years of this pinnacle time in your life. These life and work redesigns are made even more complex for couples, each of whom will need to create an individual vision, and then, through a series of conversations, build a shared vision that takes into account what each needs and wants.

During this all essential transition period, give yourself permission to seek out the assistance you need to get it right. Although in the past most so-called Retirement Counselors have focused exclusively on financial issues, the emerging industry of Certified Retirement Coaches, Retirement Therapists, and Transition Counselors have become an excellent source of assistance, offering one-on-one consultation, as well as group sessions. Also, there are a number of helpful books about the retirement transition, particularly those that offer assistance with self-analysis and career changing. Try a search for “life and work after retirement” to identify resources to guide you through the transition process.

Retirement is a time of rediscovery, followed by essential decisions about what to do and be, to accomplish and contribute, for the rest of your life. It is well worth dedicating energy and time, as well as resources, to your own future.

Nurture your pioneer spirit as a role model. Lead the way.

As we 73 million Baby Boomers redefine the process, the visage, the experience and the outcomes of retirement, we ultimately will be demonstrating to future generations how it can be accomplished creatively and well. This will provide them with all-essential models for their own lives in later years. And with 73 million Boomers going through these changes within less than two decades, there will be plenty of need and demand for more retirement coaches in the years ahead. So once you get your own retirement transition right, you may choose to offer necessary guidance to other Boomers.

Pedestrians, cyclists will help make Atlantic City safer | News


The dreams of a more vibrant Atlantic City often see it as a place where millennials and baby boomers choose to live — in lively neighborhoods that don’t require a drive to get to necessities, fun and employment.

The geography of the small city favors such dreams.

It’s only 48 blocks total and compact, easily walked with or without the help of its four kinds of public transit. And it has a broad, fabulous oceanfront walkway that runs the length of the town, its world famous Boardwalk.

Walkability rater Walkscore.com gives Atlantic City a 71 out of 100, or “very walkable.” It told one of our reporters that people living in such areas tend to be healthier and fitter, and have higher levels of engagement with their communities. No wonder people prefer walkable towns.

Walking, however, is just one form of human-scale transportation in the modern city, and on the others Atlantic City falls short. Except for the hours when bicyclists are allowed to use the Boardwalk, the city isn’t cycling-friendly. Nor is the streetscape very welcoming for scooters and skateboards, favorites of millennials.

Part of the problem is that Atlantic City’s streets and traffic controls were created to maximize the flow of car and truck traffic. Pretty much the minimum was then done to accommodate pedestrians in that scheme, let alone cyclists and others.

Ocean City has shown how busy streets can be reclaimed for pedestrians and cyclists. It has calmed traffic with reduced speed limits and more stop signs, created bike lanes and allowed schoolchildren to use its Boardwalk after the noon cutoff for riders. It also created an island-long bicycling corridor linking streets configured to favor cyclists over motor vehicles.

Atlantic City had a similar pedestrian and cyclist safety plan proposed in 2013.

Developed by the city and the state Department of Transportation, it called for traffic-calming median islands and curb extensions, increased Boardwalk hours for bicyclists, and true bike lanes for corridors running the length of the city.

Unfortunately, the good plan wasn’t executed. Instead the city has settled for the minimum — just putting up signs declaring a “bike route” to encourage cyclists to choose less busy streets. Another is expected later this year.

That won’t do. People on the street or sidewalk — on their feet or whatever wheels they choose — want to feel comfortable and secure. They won’t go there if they constantly need to be on high alert to avoid joining society’s growing ranks of pedestrian traffic victims.

This would help the other kind of safety widely seen as a key to Atlantic City’s revival — that the chance of seeing a crime or being the victim of one is negligible. The city’s Police Department has done an admirable job on the reality, reducing crime overall by two-thirds since 2013. But the public’s perception hasn’t shifted as much.

Nothing says a street is safe like people going about their business, running errands, having fun. Nothing discourages crime more than the presence of plenty of law-abiding people.

At this point the city and state have it backward. It’s not make the city safer and people will come — it’s get more people into a welcoming, relaxed streetscape and Atlantic City’s safety and livability will be obvious. The pedestrian and cycling improvements are more important to the city’s revival than officials realize.

Cosplay isn’t just for the millennials on Long Island, these fans prove


His salt-and-pepper beard tucked under an authentic-looking TIE fighter pilot helmet, John Trowbridge, 49, of Baldwin, looked straight out of “Star Wars” central casting as he hung out in Cosplay Alley at Cradle-Con, the comic, collectible and pop culture convention held in June at the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City.

Beyond the movie-set quality get-up he was wearing, Trowbridge had another advantage over many in the cosplay costumed crowd, which tilted millennial. Trowbridge’s research into the “Star Wars” saga stretches back almost 40 years to 1980, the first time he traveled in a theater seat to that famously faraway galaxy.

“I’ve been a fan since I was about 10 years old. I grew up on it,” Trowbridge said of an obsession that leapt into hyperspace four years ago when a friend asked him to join the 501st Legion’s Empire City Garrison, the Long Island branch of the Lucasfilm-sanctioned nonprofit cosplay society. The international fan network helps cosplayers assemble painstakingly accurate costumes, piece by piece, including accessories.

“Everything is handmade by the fans,” Trowbridge said of his costume, faithful from the jet-black flight suit to the glossy black helmet. “One person makes the armor, one person makes the flight suit, somebody sells the gloves and you slowly put it together,” he said.

Building a costume to standards that would please Darth Vader can cost between $500 and $1,200, Trowbridge said. The payoff comes when 501st Legion cosplayers — who also dress as Star Wars Storm Troopers — attend charity fundraisers or visit area children’s hospitals.

“The kids come up to you and want to take a picture with you,” Trowbridge said with a smile, “and the older adults from the ’70s and ’80s that grew up on it get just as excited when they see us at an event.”

Aging into the hobby

Cosplay — role playing in costume as a character from a movie, book or video game — is not just a trend among millennial fans of “The Avengers” and “Harry Potter.” Baby boomers old enough to have seen “Star Wars” and “Star Trek” on the entertainment franchises’ first intergalactic go-rounds are also part of a hobby — some say lifestyle — that often requires dropping hundreds of dollars online or with convention vendors.

And age has its advantages in cosplay, too. While 20-year-olds slide seamlessly into Spider-Man spandex, mature adult cosplayers more accurately fit roles originated by graying character actors.

“In the cosplay community, a lot of people want to be as accurate as they can for the characters they cosplay,” said Jason Linetsky, executive director of CosplayNYC Inc., a Brooklyn-based online magazine with about 6,000 followers.

For instance, Linetsky knows several older people who have found their cosplay niche with such “Harry Potter” Hogwarts professors as Minerva McGonagall, played on screen by veteran British character actress Maggie Smith, and the gray eminence, Albus Dumbledore, played by Richard Harris (and Harris’ subsequent, posthumous replacement Michael Gambon).

Aging has helped Leonard Provenzano, 64, of Mineola, to move light-years ahead in embodying “Star Wars” characters. Provenzano started swashbuckling around as Luke Skywalker, wielding a store-bought toy lightsaber after seeing “Star Wars” on its opening weekend in 1977. Nowadays he’s more comfortable essaying one of Young Skywalker’s older, wiser Jedi mentors.

“My specialty is Obi-Wan Kenobi,” Provenzano said. He cuts a mysterious but familiar figure at cosplay events, where he’s a fixture roaming around in a hood and flowing robes like Alec Guinness in the original “Star Wars.”

Provenzano said younger cosplayers revere his portrayal, hanging on his vocal impressions of such immortal lines as, “May the force be with you” and “These are not the droids you’re looking for.” He says they hold open doors for him and help tote gear now that he has hip trouble.

“I’m older and in many ways a different generation,” Provenzano said, “but they accept me as one of them.”

Cosplay origins

Linetsky traces the origins of cosplay to the masquerade balls of 14th and 15th century Europe. He says the term cosplay was coined in the 1930s as a portmanteau word combining costume and play, and that Americans began to explore strange new worlds in handmade costumes at “Star Trek” conventions beginning in the 1980s.

“My girlfriend way back in 1989 was involved in Klingon fandom where she dressed as a Klingon, and that’s how I got involved with it,” said Wayne Augustson, 56, of Lake Grove, an Air Force veteran who served from 1981 to 1985.

Donning a “Star Trek” tunic for cosplay “can be expensive,” said Augustson, who purchased his authentic Starfleet officer costume from a magazine selling memorabilia from a Las Vegas “Star Trek” exhibit that closed a decade ago. He belongs to USS Britannic, a Long-Island-based cosplay club for fans of sci-fi, “Star Trek: Next Generation” feature films and the “Star Trek: Voyager” TV series.

In the persona of a Starfleet officer, members attend conventions together, fundraise for such charities as the Wounded Warrior Project and occasionally gather in living rooms to watch first episodes or series finales.

“I do it for the social aspect. You have a lot of like-minded people that like science fiction and fantasy, so we kind of congregate together to share our mutual interests,” said Augustson.

He added, “In costuming you look good, it’s a time to escape from the real world. It’s its own little subculture.”

“It’s a nice way to shape reality,” agreed John Kern, 53, of West Babylon, a logistics worker for Target in Bay Shore who cosplays as a chief science officer on a Starfleet ship. “Our main objective is to have fun.”

Many older cosplayers from Long Island dress up for charity, said Andrea James, 45, of Massapequa, the director of Saber Guild Endor Temple, the Long Island chapter of another official Lucasfilm fan and charity organization.

The club, whose members also include her husband, Michael, 47, gets its “geek on for a cause,” she said, and recently raised funds for Stony Brook Children’s Hospital.

While many cosplayers portray well-known characters or create original personas inspired by popular series, others live in their own universe.

Wendy Ortiz of Westbury, an actress who describes herself as being in her 50s, said she admires “certain characters from the Marvel and DC Comics” universes. But Ortiz prefers to dress for cosplay events as Swordsha, the Queen of Hybrids, a supernatural character from a graphic novel she’s writing.

“Every time I put my costume on, I feel like I’m the queen of the world,” she said.

Bringing Swordsha to life takes more than a little stage magic. Ortiz said it takes her three hours to do Swordsha’s makeup and hair. To fit into her costume, which has wings attached to its back, she goes to a gym five days a week for weight training and aerobics including running, swimming and swordplay.

“My costume is a size 4, which is not easy to fit into at 50-something,” Ortiz said.

Cosplay connection

Interested in cosplay? Check out these groups.

  • CosplayNYC Inc., an online magazine based in Brooklyn, is at facebook.com/cosplaynyc/ and cosplaynyc.jimdo.com;
  • 501st Legion Empire City Garrison, a Long Island branch of the Lucasfilm-sanctioned nonprofit cosplay society, is at 501ecg.com;
  • Saber Guild Endor Temple, the Long Island chapter of an official Lucasfilm fan and charity organization, is at facebook.com/saberguildendor;
  • USS Britannic, a social group for sci-fi, “Star Trek Next Generation” and “Star Trek: Voyager” cosplayers, and part of Starfleet: The International Star Trek Fan Association, is at ussbritannic.org.
— Jim Merritt

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