Cape Gazette
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Retirement 101

Want to feel younger? Phone a friend

By Lisa Graff | Nov 25, 2013

Sometimes I feel my weeks are defined by what food I make to bring to various social events: chocolate bark for the Friends of Cape Henlopen State Park, pumpkin goat cheesecake for a football game, orzo salad for a church buffet. But the combined efforts of members of the Friends of Cape Henlopen State Park netted $4,000 at their annual Christmas Boutique and Book Fair Saturday, Nov. 16. “The day was a fantastic success!” said one organizer, June Gallagher. The Friends group developed the free bike program and the children’s playground. I joined the after party at Irish Eyes and met some new friends, John and Donna, and Bob and Pamela, and we shared our love for Lewes. FOCHSP welcomes new members. Forms are available in the park office.

My retirement journey took me to Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge last week. Stunning views of the wetlands. Families of black ducks feeding on fresh greens in the shallow waters. Rayquest and I walked a worn path out through the marshes and saw four blue herons. Slow down and stay quiet, as they are hidden in the sea oats. Yet another reason to be grateful to live on the Eastern Shore.

Gratitude is for Thanksgiving, when I tend to become wistful about the past. Before I moved here I was the host to a large family and friends. Some years we would have 21 guests. I once invited the grocery store checker because I heard he had no place to go. Everyone brought something, but it was no small feat to mash the potatoes, make the gravy, stuff the bird and have everything arrive hot to the table. My nephew Kevin’s contribution was to bring soda. This year he and his married partner Steve are hosting and I am tempted to bring Pepsi products. Change is what life is all about. Let a younger person make gravy. How else can he learn to appreciate his elders?

A friend who reads my column wrote to say that she needs a retirement 102, 103 and 104 column. It seems knee and hip replacement fall in 102 or 103. Many retirees are facing challenging health issues which take the joy out of living. The May 2013 Oprah magazine cover features the smiling diva and the caption “Live, Love and Celebrate all the way to 98!” O’s Guide to Aging Brilliantly claims there are 27 ways to make sure you keep blossoming into an ever-better you - wiser, sexier, more resilient and not the least bit stressed about how you look next to a 19-year-old. I did wear my reading glasses just now. Yep, that’s what it says. I don’t have room to list all 27 but the first one is to call an old friend - one who remembers the younger you. I am recalling a recent conversation with an old friend. She was trying unsuccessfully to light a candle, holding the lighter out toward the wick, and her youthful daughter quipped, “Not even close, Mom. Not even close.” Now when we can’t do something, we laugh and chide, “Not even close.”

More advice for the ages from the magazine is from Tao Porchon-Lynch, a 94-year-old yoga instructor. “Breath is the power behind all good things. Your breath doesn’t know how old you are; it doesn’t know what you can’t do. If I am feeling puzzled or my mind is telling me that I am not capable of something, I breathe in and know all good things will happen.”

Happy Thanksgiving and long deep breaths, everyone! Won’t someone please write to me at lgraff1979@capegazette.com.

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