“Learning how to love, how to communicate, how to understand, how to empathize, how to forgive and how to reconcile are all effective skills that should be developed,”
“Well”, I thought, “perhaps I could share some of the things I’ve learned about aging well through embracing change and managing the challenges that are part of active living. I thought about the challenges I faced when, in my seventies, I decided to write my first novel about a “second chance at love”- –a story of a couple, alone again after the death of their spouses, and their children busy with their own careers and families. I had to put myself, psychologically, in the role of my characters, both the female and the male, to grasp their feelings and understand their motivations and fears. (Of course that meant I left many reams of crumpled paper on the floor before my story was told.)
The statement, I’ve underlined above, speaks to the very real concerns that all of us have faced at some point when we interact with others—at any emotional level. I’m sure that all of us have experienced a situation where we spoke up, intending to be helpful, but what we said was not understood to be what we meant --and we realized we missed the mark.
It is true that we need to confront our own inability to say what we mean and mean what we say…that’s the first step in clear communication. What we say will not be clear to someone else if we are not clear in our own minds about what we want the person to hear. Even then, the words may not have the same meaning to the person spoken to as it does to the one speaking. So, with a simple exchange you can have four different points where misunderstanding can occur:
For example, with the simplest communication, we have the following: (a) what the speaker said, (b) and what the speaker meant; and then from the listener, (c) what was heard and (d) what the listener understood it to mean.
Think about this: if communication can be helpful—for the same reason it can be hurtful. Most of us want to be helpful when we comment, instruct or question others. You can master the skills of effective or helpful communication and actually open communication so that the exchange is both interesting and useful.
Some people choose tattoos to honor loved ones, while others make a statement about themselves!
A few years back I was invited to a birthday party where most of the guests were in couples. We were all seated around a grand table in a divine restaurant in a rather boy/girl/boy/girl seating arrangement…until they came to me…I’m single. The only other single in the room was my friend’s 90 year old grandmother. She and I sat together and I had the time of my life! Nanna gave me a hug and then proceeded to show me the art that she had painted by scrolling though photos on her iphone and then she rolled back her sleeve and revealed her tattoo. That’s right her tattoo.
Nanna explained that when she turned 90 she felt as if she wanted to honor her late husband with a tattoo because she missed him. She went on to inform me that in a few years she was thinking of adding some roses since this particular tattoo had turned out so nicely. She told me about her husband and her love life and then we enjoyed wine and a lovely meal leaving me wanting for only Nanna’s spunk and a tattoo of my very own.
At Christmas this year, my mother announced that she wanted a tattoo for her 70th Birthday this summer. This encouraged the entire room to share what tattoo they would choose if they were so brave as to seek out this body art form. My kids chose symbols from their favorite music artists to blaze their shoulders, my mother chose a bear or a moose to emblaze upon her forearm and I confessed that I’d always liked the idea of a tree of life on my chest. What would you choose?
An article in the Huffington Post discussed that people over 50 are choosing tattoos not only because they are more acceptable in society today than ever before but also because…well why not? http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07...
I mean really...once you have a wrinkle or two it is not as if people do not know that you have some notches in your belt. Some people choose tattoos to honor loved ones and some people to make a statement about themselves and yet other simple regard tattoos as art. Tattoos are not just for biker people and hooligans! GOOGLE tattoo images and you can choose from butterflies and roses to castles and self portraits…literally the sky is the limit. As in last week’s BLOG I want to challenge you to think and to grow and to get excited about your life…what tattoo would you choose and what is stopping you? Read more about Jonell Kirby Cash Author of “A Ring A Dance A Second Chance” at www.jonellkirbycash.com
Interestingly enough…I started working backwards on this topic. In my experience with Jonell Kirby Cash in the process of publishing her first work of fiction, “A RING A DANCE A SECOND CHANCE” I had many followers ask about seniors getting married. Some people wanted to know about etiquette while others wanted to know about legal issues.
At first I thought….”Well, this is a book about romance and relationships, but not necessarily about a wedding”. Then I asked myself…”Are late life marriages on the rise since people are living longer?” If people are reading the book and are interested in the topic…I need to know! With Jonell at work on the prequel…perhaps this meat needs to be included in the plot…plus everyone loves a wedding! I decided to GOOGLE some of my questions.
For my research I chose phrases such as “senior bride” “late life wedding” and “getting married after 60”. I got information on SENIOR dress designers, LATE in the season wedding dates and music to play at the reception from the 60’s….hmmmm. I see a wide open platform! I changed my strategy and decided to look for information on “mature brides” “second weddings” and “getting married at any age”. My results covered MATURE living choices in housing, surviving heartbreak and why not to get married ever under any circumstances. Well…then I was just plain depressed…
I consulted a wedding planner who “will get back to me”, a wedding magazine editor who has yet to respond and then I went directly to THE source…that’s right…E Harmony. Com BINGO! It turns out that this online resource believes in love or at least they make a great business out of it and so it goes. In fact…they have a BLOG that not only covers the topic but leads seniors to other valuable tools.
Now…as this BLOG posts I have not compiled information on what dress is appropriate to wear or how to invite blended families with the proper format, but I can encourage you that love is out there if you want to find it. It has to be true that “there is someone for everyone” or everyone wouldn’t say it! Perhaps I am the new frontier woman clearing the path for the senior population to find the information they are looking for? With that spirit in mind…I am inventing my own word for Wikipedia as well for this population EPOCHitarian. Definition by Andrea: A person at a new beginning in their life marked by radical changes and new developments. Let’s start using it and see what happens!!!!!!!
Why not just date? Why not just live together? Many of my over 60 friends who have experienced a divorce or the death of a spouse have chosen to remain single. I hear over and over again the argument for remaining single in fact…”I enjoy being selfish with my time and space.” One or two of my friends have reported that they feel free to pursue their own unique gifts without being in a relationship.
An article in Psychology Today reports that often a person over 60, who has taken the time to pursue their dreams, will in fact fall in love after having doing so! http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/h... My dear friend, Jonell Kirby Cash and author of “A Ring A Dance A Second Chance” fell in love at age 72 after she enjoyed a career as a professor, practiced psychotherapy and traveled extensively.
This makes sense to me. A person who loves themselves fully by honoring their creative nature should and would be open to meeting people that engage in the passions that they too enjoy. It is realistic to believe, that if you are pursuing your interests, you will meet “birds of a feather” and perhaps fall in love with one of them.
So maybe the key is being ready. Age is not the key here…following your heart is. If your intention is to meet someone to take care of you in the places that you are not taking care of yourself then perhaps you are looking for a crutch and not a partner. People make this mistake in the 20’s and 30’s as well…let’s not even stop and nod at the doomed mid life crisis in this BLOG! However; when you are looking at other people with a heart that is full, you are not looking to fulfill a need, but perhaps for engaging company.
Isn’t that what love is really all about? Finding someone who can meet you where you are…choosing to be with someone who adds to your life in a way that enriches you? Getting married at any age is a celebration to acknowledge that you have found someone who “has your back”. Choosing to make a commitment to someone that sees you fully and in whom you are well pleased. Marriage is a give and take…an ebb and flow that can be like art or music…ever changing and beautiful in the eyes of the beholder.
This past week Athens, Georgia made it onto CNN “top 25 places to retire” list. Athens Georgia is the hometown of The University of Georgia (Bulldogs) amongst other cultures for seniors. http://onlineathens.com/local-news/20...
I myself have lived here for more than 20 years and have no plans of leaving anytime soon, but I have never thought about how I will choose where to live when I retire. Certainly Athens has a wonderful arts scene and the accoutrements of a larger city not to mention sports, but how do people choose where to live in their 4th quarter?
In “A Ring A Dance A Second Chance” author Jonell Kirby Cash touches on this issue. Her main characters are actually from North Georgia as is Jonell in real life. Protagonist Katie dates her high school Taylor later in life after both have experienced the loss of their spouse. During their courtship, they travel from hometown to hometown to visit one another…they even meet at Chateau Élan which is an actual winery in Braselton Georgia. The couple discusses their individual needs to be close to friends and family as well as their respective churches. What makes your town your home? How did you decide to retire there?
Athens, Georgia is home to the State Botanical Gardens where characters Katie and Taylor wed as did Jonell and Tom in actual life. They have now been happily married for more than eleven years! They chose to make their home here to be close to family and the University of Georgia where Jonell teaches to this day. In fact, Jonell has also been working on a prequel to her first work of fiction which may officially take her out of being labeled “retired”…perhaps she’ll consider that when she’s 90!
If I were to tell you that I had just interviewed people on the street and the top 5 most common things that people put on their “To Do” – “Bucket List” included:
• Forming a romantic relationship • Spending time with friends/family • Doing rewarding work, • Being spontaneous and traveling
Would you think I was talking about a senior population? Well think again! Smithsonian.com recently published an article describing the advantages of growing older. http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science...
In fact…people over 50 are happier overall it seems! In my work place, half of my peers are over 50. Half of my friends on face book are over 50. 80% of my contacts on LinkedIn are over 50. OK 50 is the new 30. Jonell Kirby Cash, author of “A RING A DANCE A SECOND CHANCE” is 83.
So what I know to be true is that happiness is a frame of mind. Of the list of desired activities listed above, Jonell Kirby Cash participates currently in all of them. Jonell fell in love with her high school sweetheart at age 71, she spends time with her daughter, son and niece traveling all across the country, she teaches continuing education classes at the University of Georgia and she holds meet and greet events to encourage other seniors to live active lives. I wonder if Smithsonian interviewed her for their article?
In professions where experience and being published are key to becoming successful…50 is in fact the new 30! Genomeweb.com is a place for scientist to chime in on the topic http://www.genomeweb.com/blog/scienti...
The fountain of youth actually lies in our own minds. Our perception of our own value and vitality dictates how vibrantly we live day to day. Want to find romance? Put love into the world. Want to engage in rewarding work? Volunteer, get out into nature or seek a niche in your community that desires your passion and skills. Senior Corps.com matches seniors with their skill sets http://www.seniorcorps.gov/ The Senior Source is a landing pad of resources http://www.theseniorsource.org/pages/...
Now, Jonell’s first work of fiction was not a result of her professional pursuits and certainly her personal love story inspired the book but it is not in fact an autobiography. What is important to note is that the readership that is hungry to read books about senior romance is also seeking to engage in their own lives in ways that are meaningful. GO get em’ 50 and then some!
At age 70, an emotional tsunami hit Jonell Kirby Cash broadside, when her husband died. She couldn’t escape the reality that the dreams that she had created with her husband no longer existed. She had the choice to “drop out” of life and to deteriorate or “screw up her courage” and make plans for the rest of her life. She didn’t know how long she’d be on this earth, but then again…none of us do…so she made the decision to make the most of the life that she had left and she’s been blazing trails ever since.
Somewhere in time after the last of the sympathy cards and the first days of spring, Jonell got a call from her high school sweetheart. She was confronted with the waves of emotions that come from morning, loving and a yearning to live fully. She thought deeply about blending families and histories and her own personal growth. Falling in love later in life had not been in her master plan, but then again Jonell had always been a gypsy spirit. Her 70’s were an exciting time and worthy of telling. In the early 2000’s as she sat with her daughter and niece in a writing group, they urged her to write her story into a work of fiction…and “A Ring a Dance a Second Chance was born”.
In 2010, at age 82, Jonell published her first work of fiction. Women and men from age 50 on up, came out of the woodwork to congratulate Jonell on writing a book for their generation. Falling in love, developing new ways of living and managing relationships in a changing world were topics that boomers were hungry to read about and relate to. The fact that Jonell is a doctor, a teacher and a philanthropist to this day supports the hope that life doesn’t stop after the kids are raised or when retirement sets in. The stereotype of a stale, tired or fearful aging process has been dispelled. Jonell embraces technology, continues to teach and to write and look for ways to engage her talents in this world.
What’s next for Jonell? Perhaps a sequel or maybe a prequel …who knows! She is one to keep folks guessing. Today she makes her home in Georgia with her high school sweetheart. They have been married for ten years. The couple divides their time between kids and grandkids, nieces and nephews and “kudzu family”. The greatest key to living a full and vibrant life is to live fully in each moment as it arises. The past is a thing that great stories are made of. The future is but a dream, but right here and right now …well, Jonell is an inspiration to all of us at whatever age you claim.
I went to see “Hope Springs” last week because I wanted to see a relationship movie that tweaked my emotions. When I related the movie to co-workers over lunch the next day they asked if the age difference bothered me…actually it never occurred to me.
Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones struggle together to reignite a spark in their marriage of thirty one years. OK, their kids were grown and mine are not, but I know at least three couples right now “as we speak” that are struggling with the exact same issues.
What did occur to me is that the human condition is universal. Regardless of age, we seek to be loved, cherished, honored and respected. Socrates said “An Unexamined Life Is Not Worth Living” between 470 and 399 BC and I assert that some truths remain throughout the ages.
One of my dearest friends is Jonell Kirby Cash. At 82 she published her first work of fiction “A Ring A Dance A Second Chance”. The book takes a look at falling in love again after the death of a spouse. The story is lovely because all humans, regardless of their stage in life, long to believe in the hope of living in love.
Second Chance Marriages can offer challenges because families are blended. Imagine falling in love at 20…now compare that to 30 and 40…how would love feel to you at 60 or 70? Certainly the host of emotions differs through the decades but the quest for love never dies.
Looking back over the week I have to acknowledge the gift of being entertained by books and movies that represent people older than myself…I have a great deal to look forward to! I pause to consider, after raising kids and molding my career there lies within me…within each of us… the promise of chapters yet to come!
Perhaps love is on my horizon or I’ll find new relationships with friends yet unknown. What I do know for sure is that my eyes are open to the magnificent diversity of people around me. I have hope…and really…what more is there? Andrea Williams Managing Editor of A Public Relations Company www.apublicrelationscompany.com
I have written a novel about a couple who were high school sweethearts getting together after the death of both spouses in their later stage of life, and when I saw this, I thought I would share it with you.
Marrying at 80 years old!
The local news station was interviewing an 80-year-old lady because she hadjust gotten married for the fourth time.
The interviewer asked her questions about her life, about what it felt like to be marrying again at 80, and then about her new husband's occupation.
"He's a funeral director," she answered.
"Interesting," the newsman thought.
He then asked her if she wouldn't mind telling him a little about her first three husbands and what they did for a living.
She paused for a few moments, needing time to reflect on all those years.
After a short time, a smile came to her face and she answered proudly,explaining that she had first married a banker when she was in her 20's, then a circus ringmaster when in her 40's, and a preacher when in her 60's, and now in her 80's - a funeral director.
The interviewer looked at her, quite astonished, and asked why she had married four men with such diverse careers.
(wait for it)
She smiled and explained, "I married one for the money, two for the show, three to get ready, and four to go."
Jonell Kirby Cash Author of "A Ring A Dance A Second Chance"