Posts Tagged ‘aging’

Don’t Let Your Fountain of Youth Get Clogged With the Sands of Time

July 29, 2017

All of us have one thing in common. Like it or not, we are all aging. As a matter of fact, from the moment we are born, we are constantly getting older. Right now, you are older than you have ever been and younger than you will ever be again.

Before you run out and buy a bucket of “Oil of Delay,” remember that although your body is aging, your mind, your attitude, and your sense of humor don’t have to.

I realize that my body is changing and that the sands in my hourglass figure are shifting! I still have everything I used to have; it is just a little lower now. Sometimes I have to lie flat on my back in order to zip up my jeans and when I stand up, the jeans are zipped, but my nose looks bigger. I guess the fat had to go somewhere. Things are changing, but I also know that I don’t have to let the sands of time clog up my fountain of youth!

If you want to have smooth sailing on the age wave, the trick is to nurture and maintain your sense of humor. I have decided to look at things a bit differently now. For instance, I prefer to think of old age spots as “highlights.” Cellulite has become “texturing” and I once had a small child tell me I have “sunbeams” around my eyes. I like that. It sounds much nicer than crow’s feet.

I have decided that I am not afraid of aging. It is true that age is just a number; at this point, I am somewhere between birth and death and my age will not define who I am. I refuse to look at life through a rear view mirror and moan because I am not as young as I used to be. If I was….I would be dead.

I once had a friend who was 99 years young. She told me that she never worried about her age because her spirit would never get wrinkles, her heart would never get old age spots and her funny bone would never get brittle.

Nobody knows how long they will live but personally, I intend to live life to the fullest and for as long as I can, do everything…except wear a bikini in public and eat liver.

Remember that you don’t stop laughing because you grow older; you grow older because you stop laughing.

 

Visit my website at http://www.lindahenley-smith.com or e-mail me at linda@lindahenley-smith.com to learn more about my presentations and coaching programs.

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What I Learned While I Was Invisible

September 9, 2015

In the Broadway show Chicago, there is a song about feeling unimportant and invisible. A man sings that Mr. Cellophane should have been his name because people walk right by him, see right through him and never even know he’s there.

Although it sounds pitiful, I think that many of us have experienced that feeling at some point in life. You may have wondered if anyone really cared about what you thought or if anyone really even saw you. It can be a pretty lonely feeling, but it’s important to understand that feeling invisible comes from within you and not from other people.

Sometimes it happens when you have long defined yourself by your relationship with another person or perhaps by a job, and that role ends or becomes less prominent. Many people retire from longtime careers and suddenly feel as if they no longer have a purpose. I have known some who worried as they aged, that people would no longer look AT them, but would look THROUGH them. And sometimes people lack self-esteem and believe that whatever they have to say or offer is not worth anything. They convince themselves that nobody would care about their opinion. They feel invisible because rather than defining their own essence, they leave it up to other people! When you feel invisible to yourself, it’s no wonder that you feel invisible to others!

I know these things because I have felt invisible. It happened at a time when everything in my life fell apart and I was catapulted into a world of confusion. I felt lost, betrayed and rather non-existent. Fortunately, I finally realized that I was creating my own cloaking device and eventually worked through it. Here is what I learned during my self-imposed invisibility.

  • I realized that my feelings of invisibility were a result of me abandoning myself!
  • I had to believe that even though my life had drastically changed and I was no longer in the same position as before, I was still a person of worth. Things were different, but I still had a lot to offer.
  • I came to understand that there are those who will only acknowledge people when they need something from them. I chose not to be affected by those people because their opinions had nothing to do with who I really was.
  • I learned that I needed to love and be visible to myself rather than to worry about being adored and praised by anyone else. My feelings of self-worth needed to come from within me rather than to depend on outside validation.
  • I no longer defined myself by what I owned, who I knew, what position I held or how I looked.
  • I took time to reassess my life and my goals. I realized that my faith had to be greater than my fear.
  • I began to understand that other people’s feelings and opinions were not more valuable than mine and I learned that acknowledging my feelings is very important. If I ignore and discount them, others will not deem them important either. Feelings are a kind of inner guidance and they shouldn’t be ignored.
  • I stopped giving situations, circumstances and other people the power to define me. I started to create my own experiences by engaging with others and participating in life! I realized I didn’t have to wait for someone else to make the first move; I was capable of introducing myself and starting conversations!
  • I started to appreciate who I was and where I was at that time. I allowed myself to heal with the knowledge that my wounded self was carrying a sense of rejection which really didn’t really exist.

Now I know that people are only invisible if they allow themselves to be. Mr. Cellophane felt invisible because he apologized for his existence. No one should ever do that! Our lives are fluid and they will change…often many times. Sometimes we’ll be on the top and sometimes we won’t. There will be times when we may not measure up to someone else’s standard of beauty or intelligence or wit, but that doesn’t matter. We are all worthy, loveable and very visible beings. Just remember that visibility begins with the love you show yourself!

Linda Henley-Smith is no longer invisible. Visit her website at

www.lindahenley-smith.com

DON’T PUT US OUT TO PASTURE YET…WHAT MILLENNIALS NEED TO KNOW ABOUT OLDER WORKERS

July 27, 2015

I recently wrote about what Gen Xers and Boomers need to know about Millennials in the workplace. In that article, I promised to present the other side and here it is! There is a huge age span out there in the workforce now and sometimes there is a difference in communication and work styles. Part of the problem may be that the Millennials look at Boomers and see their parents and the Boomers see their kids in the Millennials.

It is projected that in a very short time, Millennials or Gen Yers will be the largest age group in the workforce. But now, they are sharing it with Gen Xers, Boomers and even some Traditionals. People are continuing in their careers longer than past generations and the new crop of workers, those born between the mid nineties and 2000, will soon be in there with us!

We all are coming from different experiences and backgrounds, and I know that some older people can be too quick to judge the younger ones, so here are some tips for Millennials who are sharing office space with Boomers:

  • As a Millennial, keep in mind that those in older generations still have a lot to offer. They may have a few years on you, but they also are rich in experience and can be valuable resources. Boomers and Gen Xers don’t want to feel as if you are just waiting for them to leave. Ask them about their experiences, they probably have some good advice and some pretty good stories!
  • Remember that Traditionals, Baby Boomers and even some Gen Xers were once the youngest people in the workforce. We didn’t always understand the “old folks” who were set in their ways and probably wondered why they didn’t move on and let us run the show. Now we know how those “old folks” felt! Try to understand how we feel. Today’s Boomers are not our parents….we aren’t content to sit on the porch and rock. And remember that there will be a new generation coming in after you and one day you will be where we are. There are already Gen Zers out there on your heels!
  • Don’t get frustrated with those of us who weren’t born into technology. Remember that most of us grew up using dictionaries and looking things up in encyclopedias. We used pay phones that we had to dial and our first cell phones were giant bricks which could double as weapons. Sure, we may take a little longer to catch on to the constantly changing gadgets, but we eventually get there. Most of us have even thrown out our boom boxes! If you don’t know what a boom box is, you are younger than most of my shoes.
  • Just as the older generations shouldn’t assume anything or be judgmental about the younger ones, neither should the Millennials lump all of the older people together. We don’t all raise our eyebrows at your piercings and tattoos. Actually, I have a tat…but it is a lot lower than it used to be! What started out as a little hummingbird is now a flamingo.
  • The older generation comes from a culture of face-to-face communication. Some still hold on to that habit and are more likely to want to talk to someone in person, rather than via text. That doesn’t mean that they don’t understand electronic conversations, it’s just more comfortable for some of them to look at a person’s face when they are talking to them.
  • For your consideration: Most of the Boomer generation was brought up in a work culture in which a person stayed with a company and worked their way up. There was no such thing as tele-commuting or flexible hours. Required office attire involved suits for the men and dresses and hose for the women. This is a whole new ballgame for some people and it may take them a while to get used to a more casual workplace.

The truth is that no one, no matter their age, wants to be labeled or pigeon-holed as behaving or believing a certain way. I even question naming each group; Millennials, Gen Xers, Boomers, etc. The generational mix can be exciting and productive. The world is changing rapidly and the next group of young workers entering the workplace in a few years will be the first totally global generation. We all bring something to the table and all of us should treat each other with R.E.S.P.E.C.T. That’s what Aretha told us to do. And she is a Baby Boomer.

Linda Henley-Smith is an author, coach and speaker who presents keynotes and workshops on Managing the Generational Mix and Zapping the Gap! Visit her website at lindahenley-smith.com

How To Not Act Old…Even if You Were Born When Dinosaurs Walked the Earth

July 25, 2015

For the first time in history, there are four generations out there in the workplace. Obviously, people of different ages are coming from different experiences and that can sometimes create difficulties in communication and work styles. Every generation brings something of great worth to the workplace and it can be very beneficial if everyone respects the differences.

For instance, Millennials should try not to see Baby Boomers as fossils who have outlived their worth in the workforce. On the other hand, older people need to appreciate the innovativeness and fresh ideas of the youthful. I know this is important, because I am one of the (ahem) more mature workers. I will not reveal my age, but in dog years, I’m dead. Just kidding. Maybe.

I love the younger generation and in my Generational Workshops (“Dude…What’s Woodstock?”) I encourage the older workers to open their minds to the possibilities and to not be afraid of new ideas and technology. I tell them not to fall into the “We’ve always done it this way….” or “In my day, we…..” mentality. The times, they are a’changin’ and if we don’t change with them, we will be left in the dust. And so I offer some tips for the more mature worker:

Don’t be a technology dinosaur (Technosaurus): If you are wondering if you have fallen into this category, here are some guidelines to help you know for sure: You might be a Technosaurus if you still use cassette tapes and a matching player. You are definitely a Technosaurus if you have an eight track player. However, this does not apply to owning vinyl albums and a turntable on which to play them. This just makes you retro and that is cool. Sometimes it takes a while to catch on. When I first started presenting webinars, I had a hard time aligning my head with the camera so that participants weren’t watching a pair of talking eyebrows.

Learn the terms: If you think that Twitter is something that only birds do and that Skyping is the act of birds winging across the sky while they are twittering, you may need to brush up on some of the modern terminology and techniques. Understand that lol does not mean Lots of Love, and now there is more than one meaning to the word “cloud.” Streaming doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with water and nobody under the age of 35 knows what a floppy disc is. If you say you have some, people will think you have a problem with your back. If you don’t know these things, well OMG you ARE a Technosaurus!

Don’t be critical of younger people utilizing texting rather than face-to-face communication. This is the way it’s done now. I know that it’s difficult when your Smart phone outsmarts you. I have fought with auto-correct many times and lost. It caused me to send a message reading, “I can hardly contain my excrement!” That has a much different meaning than excitement, which is what I meant to say.

Don’t be critical of the way the younger generation dresses or speaks: Remember bell bottoms, mini-skirts, go-go boots and trying to look “boss,” “bitchin’” and “groovy.” And while we’re on that topic….

Do not try to be younger than you really are: Age is an attitude and the wisdom you have acquired is valuable! Part of not acting old is not trying to act too young. Dress appropriately…I have a tee-shirt which reads “So Many Men And So Little Time!” As I get older, that statement takes on a different meaning! I also have one which reads “I’m Still Hot…It Just Comes in Flashes Now.” I don’t wear that one because why advertise? Be comfortable in your own skin….mine is more relaxed-fit now, so I’m pretty comfortable.

Do not wear sunglasses over your bifocals. Choose one or the other.

While ordering in a restaurant, understand that the waiter or waitress does not need to know why you’re not ordering bacon and buttered toast. Your cholesterol numbers are your own business and of no concern to your server. And please remember that no one at your table, coworkers or even your best friend needs to hear what onions do to your digestive tract.

Of course, I am having fun with this topic but the point is valid. There are many benefits to having multi-generational workforces. There is a wealth of experience and knowledge that can create magical things, if everyone is non-judgmental and appreciative of each other. Life is a continuum and so is our learning!

Linda Henley-Smith is a motivational speaker, coach and “But”-Kickin’ Diva! Learn more about “Dude, What’s Woodstock? (Managing the Generational Mix)” and other programs at www.lindahenley-smith.com.

Returning to Wonderland

February 26, 2013

There is a childlike quality to wondering and it is this wonderment that keeps us young at heart and in tune with the world. This point was recently made clear to me as I snacked on milk and cookies with a brilliant five-year-old. She is brilliant, not only because she is my grandchild, but because she possesses wisdom that I apparently have misplaced in my brain, which is too full of grown-up stuff!

She asked, “Did you ever wonder why the sky is blue?” I certainly should have known that! But, the truth is that up until that moment, I had pretty much taken it for granted. As a matter of fact, I often become so wrapped up in seemingly important life details that I forget to even look up at the sky for days at a time. It was that realization that caught me off guard.

As I stood next to her, staring up at the blue vastness above me, I asked her what else she wondered about. Her answer?  “I wonder about lots of things. I want my brain to grow big and if I don’t think about things, it will grow small.”  It was at that point that I began to feel like a pea brain.

It is logic like hers that is responsible for the discovery of such life enhancing developments as electricity, penicillin, good music and chocolate éclairs. In all of those cases, someone had to wonder “What would happen if…?”

After that day, I started to wonder about more things. For instance, what happens to fat when you lose it? Does it just float around in the atmosphere and eventually attach to some innocent passerby? Why is it that only one out of every three hundred shopping carts has four wheels that go the same way at the same time? Why is laughter contagious? Why is it that at a certain age, people lose hair where they want it but grow hair where they don’t want it? But most of all, I wondered about why and when I stopped wondering.

There is a difference between being childISH and being childLIKE. There is nothing immature about stretching our minds; as a matter of fact, that is how we stretch our productive lives. If we don’t exercise our brains, they might get flabby and a flabby mind never did anyone any good!

The best part is that we can never be too old or too tired to participate in “brain aerobics.” Wondering keeps us in touch with our inner child and prevents our brains from growing small! So says my five-year-old and I have no reason not to believe her!

By the way, I now know why the sky is blue. I am still working on the “where the fat goes” question.

I Took the Road Less Traveled…Now Where the Heck Am I?

February 22, 2012

I was raised to take the safe path. Although I certainly wasn’t stifled in any way or discouraged from trying new things, I was taught to act rather conservatively when it came to trying new things or taking chances. There is nothing wrong with that, and most parents probably try to protect their children with the “better be safe than sorry” theory.

I heeded that advice for a while, even into adulthood and then I began to wonder what would happen if I stepped out of the box, climbed up onto the box for a better vantage point and looked to see what other roads were available to me.  I did just that and guess what? I saw lots of great opportunities and took advantage of some of them. And guess what else? At times, I fell off of the box and flat onto my face!  Things haven’t always gone the way I planned and I often find myself wondering where I’d be if I had taken the well-traveled and proven road. But, the bigger picture is that I usually end up counting the failures as successes because at least I dared to step out of my comfort zone and try something new.

But what happens when you take a new path and you end up lost or somewhere you don’t want to be? As I see it, you can become fearful, hit the panic button and stand screaming in the middle of the road; or you can use your wits and creativity to find your bearings, try another road and enjoy the journey!

It’s scary to make plans and have them go wacky! It can be disheartening when you think you’re on the right path and then a troll jumps out and scares you! There are roadblocks and detours and there will always be those who say, “I told you so” when you try something new and it doesn’t work. There might even be times when you wish you were back in your familiar territory because at least you would know where you were and it would be less lonely.

Every one of us has to make that decision for ourselves, but the older I get (and in dog years, I’m dead), the more convinced I am that when I am a little uncomfortable about a new path, but still willing to venture out; I know that I’m still alive!

The Invisible Person

December 5, 2011

In the past few days, I have heard two different people say that they feel “invisible.” I know that feeling…when I have an opinion that nobody seems to deem worthy of considering or even hearing, or when I am talking and someone interrupts and talks over me, as if no sound was coming out of my mouth, or when I greet someone who is passing right by me and they don’t even make eye contact with me.

There is a song in the musical “Chicago,” titled “Mr. Cellophane.” The words describe the way the character feels when people look right through him and walk right by him, as if he wasn’t even there.  It might be kind of fun to be invisible if you really wanted to be because you could go anywhere you pleased and see things you might not otherwise see.  At least, I used to think that until at eight years of age, I sneaked into my grandmother’s room to raid her hidden candy stash and caught sight of a 92-year-old woman wiggling into a girdle.  It was then that I realized that there are some things that are better left unseen. But, I digress…

The point is that we have become a society that is often insensitive about listening to other people’s concerns and needs. World chaos and economic stress has caused us to sometimes ignore our fellow humans unless they are high profile or we think they can do something for us.  I think what people mean when they say they feel invisible, is that they don’t seem to be important by society’s standards. If you aren’t a celebrity, a politician or the star of a reality TV show, does that mean you deserve less respect than those who are?  One woman recently told me that as she aged, she felt less valuable and almost like she was disappearing. She said, “When I was young and pretty and could afford to buy nice things, people seemed to care more about what I said. Now I feel like I’m turning into a vapor that nobody can see.” Yikes!

Hearing this started me thinking about how often we take our friends and family members for granted because they’re always around, and how many times we walk past someone on the street without smiling or acknowledging that they are even there. Or how we don’t thank the grocery checkout person because we are yakking on our cell phones or don’t listen when a child tries to tell us something because we are too busy talking to “important” adults.

We are all parts of the same puzzle and without each and every one of us who are on this earth, the picture would not be complete… and the pieces aren’t interchangeable!  Each one of us is unique and deserves to be seen and heard, even if we aren’t popular, or attractive, or young, or wealthy, or clever, or any of the things that the world seems to hold so dear.

I think we all should make an effort to really see and listen to each other; not just as Linda (or Joe or Sue or Uncle Albert or whomever) who always is yapping about something and nobody cares, but as a human being who is here for a reason and quite possibly is worth getting to know.

 

 

How Not to Act Old

April 18, 2011

You’ve probably heard the saying, “We don’t stop laughing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop laughing.” We know that as we age, there is a risk that our fountain of youth will become clogged with the sands of time and a sense of humor is a good plunger to keep it unstuck. Fortunately, now that I am extremely…..uh….mature; I find that I have many things to keep me laughing and they’re all on my body!
I could easily become depressed when I think about how my skin now has a relaxed fit, my bra size is a 38 long and if a strong wind were to hit my upper arm flaps, I could achieve lift. But, I try to keep the elf in mysELF and maintain a sense of humor about the whole process. Therefore, I have chosen to rename some aging characteristics. For instance, I now call my cellulite “texturing”, my age spotting is “highlighting”, and I have chosen to think of the extra skin on my upper arms as “angel wings.”
I have also learned to be fine with my age and to know what I can no longer pull off. For instance, whereas I used to squeeze myself into jeans that needed to be zipped up while lying on my back; I no longer have the inclination, or the agility to do the tight pants tango! I have retired my halters and tube tops due to the fact that my breasts themselves could be called “tube tops.” The tee-shirts reading “So Many Men and So Little Time” now take on a different meaning, so they’ve been tossed. But I’m still not ready to wear the ones that announce, “I’m still hot…it just comes in flashes now!” Part of not acting old is not trying to act too young. Having a young spirit is great but stuffing a middle aged body into the same clothes you wore when you first got pimples just makes you look like an old person trying to look young which really just makes you look older. The trick is to feel comfortable in your own skin. As I said, mine is now fitting more loosely, so it is actually quite comfy.
Technology is a definite age giveaway. If you don’t keep up, you become a technology dinosaur….a Technosaurus, if you will. If you are wondering if you have fallen into this category, here are some guidelines to help you to know for sure. You might be a Technosaurus if you still own cassette tapes and a matching player. You are definitely a Technosaurus if you have an eight track player. However, this does not apply to owning albums and a turntable on which to play them. This just makes you retro and that is cool. You might be a Technosaurus if you think a Blackberry is a new kind of Marie Callender fruit pie. You might be a Technosaurus if you think that Twitter is something that only birds do and that Skyping is the act of birds winging across the sky while they are twittering. You might be a Technosaurus if your Smart Phone outsmarts you. This can be manifested in it using auto correct to edit your texts; causing you to send messages reading “I could hardly contain my excrement!” rather than I could hardly contain my excitement!” You might be a Technosaurus if you send texts which are set in grammatically correct paragraphs and are punctuated properly. This means that you are not up on the latest text abbreviations and you think that lol is short for lollipop. If that is the case, well OMG you ARE a Technosaurus!
It is important to remain on the cutting edge in business so the older person needs to make some changes. A colleague suggested that I add a menu to my business phone voice mail to make me sound like a major player. That way, people would have to press a number to speak to one of my staff. What most callers don’t know (until they read this book) is that I am my staff! I work from home. The only other potential staff members in my office have four legs, a tail and fur. My new foray into technology is presenting webinars. I will begin them as soon as I can perfect aligning my head with the webcam so participants aren’t hearing a session presented by talking eyebrows.
The important thing to remember is that as is the case with most things, attitude is everything when it comes to aging. We can either become bitter or better. There are some things that improve with age; wine and cheese, for example. Seriously, when we are teenagers, we are completely run by our hormones and are constantly worried about looking the right way and saying the right things and being with the “right” people. With age comes the wisdom to know that the people who are worth our friendship don’t care how we look and they will be the ones who will laugh with us when we stick our feet in our mouths and say the absolute wrong things. Actually, the older we get, the freer we should be to feel young. After all, we’re in pretty good shape for the shape we’re in!
To wrap up this topic, I have formulated a list of “Do Nots” to keep you from acting old:
• Do not step out of your house (even to pick up the newspaper or the mail) while wearing only your granny panties and a bra. This applies to women AND men.
• Do not eat your evening meal at 4:00 in the afternoon.
• Refrain from using the terms, “boss”, “hip”, “bitchin’” “far out” or “groovy” to describe something that is really great. This marks you as a child of the sixties. Also refrain from using “phat,” “fierce” “awesome” and “dope,” as these words said by a person over twenty just don’t sound right; particularly if the person is wearing plaid Bermuda shorts, a loud Hawaiian shirt and sandals with socks.
• Do not wear sunglasses over your bifocals. Choose one or the other.
• Do not pull up next to a car playing rap music and yell at the driver, telling him that he is going to damage his hearing and what kind of music is that filthy rap, anyway? And don’t turn your classic rock radio station up to the max to try to drown out the rap. Really really loud “Doo Wah Diddy Diddy” is no more pleasing to the ear than really really loud P. Diddy.
• Do not remind a young woman that the tattoo of the dainty little flower on her upper arm will one day become a long stemmed rose when her skin begins to droop and understand that the teenage boy with the nose ring doesn’t give a rat’s posterior that you think he looks like your Uncle Ed’s bull.
• While riding in a car with another person, avoid reading every sign, billboard and road marker out loud. On even a fifteen minute road trip, this may trigger violence in the other person and you may find yourself on the side of the road.
• Take the words, “In my day….” out of your vocabulary.
• While ordering in a restaurant, understand that the waitress or waiter does not need to know why you’re not ordering bacon and buttered toast. Your cholesterol numbers are your own business and of no concern to your server. And please remember that no one at your table, even your best friends, needs to hear what onions do to your digestive track.
These are just a few to get you started. Aging is inevitable but acting old is optional. I hope we all can remember to be grateful that we’re still alive and kicking and that there are good things to be experienced at any age. Just remember to keep in touch with that little child inside of you and make sure that he or she still comes out to play. There is a difference between being childish and being childlike, so don’t ever let anyone tell you to grow up!