Archive for May, 2009

May
26

Tips to Stay Youthful

Posted by: Barbara | Comments (0)

Last week at my annual check-up, the doctor’s assistant took my blood pressure and updated my record.  In doing so she asked me, “So how young are you?”  I was struck by her wording because usually I am asked how old I am, not how young!  I thought….do I look old to this employee?  Is she being cute or diplomatic in an attempt to avoid making me feel too old?  After my exam I left the office pondering her question.  I wondered if I’ve stepped over an invisible threshold of being too old to be asked, “How old are you!”  Why haven’t I anticipated my journey across that magical line?

I don’t know if there is one specific answer for these questions as we all age differently.  Some folks maintain lots of spunk while others get old and weary way before their time.  No matter the years, I’d like to think of youth as an age and youthfulness as an attitude!  I consider myself as youthful and aim to live for a long time to come!  But in spite of my optimism, society and in this case the doctor’s assistant would remind me that I am getting older.  Those subtle messages challenge me to hold onto my youthful mindset.  I make a daily effort to deflect the barrage of anti-aging perceptions all around me, especially so prevalent in Southern California.  The media fills the air with images of youth as being good and aging not.  It takes effort to ignore society’s outdated notions about aging and overcome the prejudices. 

In my coaching and Reinventing the Golden Years classes, I discuss age perception and how to maintain a youthful outlook!  Take a look at some of the tips I discuss:

  • A youthful attitude is your best tool.  Age is only a number and your attitude about it can buffer society’s outdated projections about what it means to grow older.
  • Shift your focus from your external physical ability and beauty to value what is inside…your inner wisdom, grace and well earned experience. 
  • Keep your mind active.  Find something new to learn everyday.  Expand your experiences and broaden your world.
  • Respect your body and keep your health optimal.
  • Let go of old baggage that is burdensome and resolve unfinished business with family and friends.
  • Provide service to others….family member, friend, mentor, volunteer.
  • Humor, humor and more humor…..the salve of life.

“If wrinkles must be written upon our brows, let them not be written upon the heart. The spirit should never grow old.” … ~ James A. Garfield ~ 20th US President

Categories : Retirement Coaching
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 Have you ever asked yourself…Why do I have to walk on egg shells around my daughter?  Why does my daughter feel criticized when I’m just trying to help?  How can my daughter say I don’t understand her?  Why must I bite my tongue when I see how she parents her children?  These are but a few of the questions I encounter when I coach women who wish to be closer to their adult daughters, but can’t seem to get it right!

Many mothers struggle when communicating with adult family members, but no interaction is as delicate as  with their daughters.  Well into their adulthood, we feel the need to provide and protect our children, as we did when they were little.  We want to spare them any pain and steer them in the right direction.  We have great wisdom to offer and want to justify our wish to participate in their lives.  We tell ourselves that since we’ve been around the block a few times, we are more aware of those dangerous pitfalls.  Besides, who can know and love a child better than a mother?
 
In spite of our good intentions, nothing can sabotage a mother-daughter relationship faster than a mother whose communication is perceived as critical and controlling.  While we mean no harm, our comments can whisk an adult child to earlier decades where the thought of clinging to our apron strings makes them recoil.  Our adult daughters want to show us that they can make wise choices and lead their own lives, even at the risk of making a mistake.  They want us to be proud of them and acknowledge their competence.
 
So where do our good intentions fall off track?  Communication is complex.  On the surface we hear the words and yet underneath they convey multiple messages.  A suggestion such as “Wouldn’t you like to try my hairdresser?  She gives a really good hair cut!” can simply be taken as a kind gesture.  Or it can also kick off a wave of bad feelings, perceived criticism and disappointment.  Every communication is sent with a given intention, but it may be received at the other end with another set of interpretations depending upon who we are, our needs and history. 
 
Perhaps these tips I use when coaching my clients will be helpful:
  1. Think of your statement as double pronged.  There are the words verbatim versus the larger picture…those feelings we attach to those words.  The unspoken feelings are usually the ones that cause the emotionally charged exchanges. 
  2. Take the conversation deeper to reach those underlying issues.  Build a connection to your daughter by clarifying each other’s perspective and address any misleading “tone.” 
  3. Learn the art of offering a sincere apology and acquire the ability to receive a genuine one. 
  4. Some daughters are particularly reliant upon your opinion and will be super sensitive to your remarks.  Trust that you did a good enough job raising your daughter and that she can carry forward!
  5. Remember, our daughters, like us, need love and acceptance far more than they need advice. 
Families are our safety nets.  In them we seek comfort from the very people who potentially wield the most influence over us.  Respect the power of this relationship.  Explore better ways to communicate and seek professional help if you get stuck.  It is well worth the effort, because nothing can be more satisfying or begin to replace a strong mother-daughter relationship.
Categories : Retirement Coaching
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