The modern world challenges old-school ways

The modern world challenges old-school ways

When it comes to everyday tasks, I’m caught between the modern world and my old-school ways.

The term “old-school” refers to a style, method or device that’s no longer used or done because it has been replaced by something that’s more modern. Think of combing through that huge paper phone book that’s been replaced by a one-second internet search.

I recently saw a Facebook post that asked which old-school items are still in your home. Listed were paper calendars, greeting cards, recipe cards and metal filing drawers, just to name a few.

It gave me pause because I thought to myself, what’s wrong with a paper calendar or filing drawers? Being a couple of organization freaks, my husband and I both have paper wall calendars so we can visualize our day, week or month, and our metal file drawers hold our financial statements, medical reports and receipts.

I can’t image having neither of these items, and I wonder how soon it will be before I can no longer order my At-A-Glance Monthly Planner or find a replacement for my two-drawer file cabinet when I need one.

Aging systems require doing your homework

Aging systems require doing your homework

Maybe it’s my aging home, my aging car or my aging office building, but as the days go by, it seems every repair or improvement that is quoted to me is really expensive.

It doesn’t matter if it is for electrical work, a piece of kitchen equipment or car repair—the quotes are significant, and the devil, as they say, is in the details.

Take my recent car service appointment. I love my car. It has upward of 108,000 miles on it and has served me well.

When I need to buy a new car, I almost certainly will buy the same make and model.

I have been faithful with my scheduled maintenance appointments, using the dealership for the work. It works for me because I have one record of all the work done and I get a free loaner to use.

On a recent scheduled maintenance appointment, 

Shared meal provides much-needed social nourishment

Shared meal provides much-needed social nourishment

Over the last few weeks, my husband and I ventured out to see some friends we had not seen in a long time. It reminded me of one of the things I missed most during the pandemic—sharing a homemade meal with good friends.

I forgot how nourishing it can be for both the tummy and the soul when everyone brings a dish to a host’s house.

At one recent get-together, our dear Indian friends brought shami kabob, an appetizer that I have so missed these past 20 months. Our friend Cathy makes the most incredible selection of Christmas cookies, a tradition she shared with her mother that she continues to this day.

Our other friends brought a salad with fresh pears from their second home in Washington state.

What made this meal special 

Older men sometimes need motivation to find social interaction

Older men sometimes need motivation to find social interaction

Recently I met a lovely 75-year-old gentleman who retired several years ago. I will call him Tim.

As Tim and I talked about his life, I came to understand he had a very small social network. Tim’s day consisted of a lot of television watching and “some puttering around” with his tools.

While Tim did not say that he was lonely, he did say that he probably needed to do something besides watch TV but he really wasn’t motivated to do so.

I began to think there must be a lot of people like Tim in our community, lacking the benefits of a strong social network while at the same time feeling unmotivated or unsure of how to cultivate one, especially after retirement.

Tastes change as we age—so how to adjust?

Tastes change as we age—so how to adjust?

I come from a family of cooks. We associate food with caring for others and pleasant feelings.

Gatherings in my childhood included my mother’s mouthwatering pies, my aunt’s homemade squash-stuffed tortellini and my uncle’s oven-roasted fresh turkey.

There were always too many appetizers, side dishes and desserts. We left the table stuffed and content.

While dining out, I used to get a chuckle out of watching my parents split a meal or snack.

Many years ago my parents were at a cafe, each enjoying a cup of coffee and sharing a blueberry muffin. An elderly gentleman came over, noted how pretty my mom was and told my father, “Sir, if she were my wife, I’d give her a whole muffin.” That story is a family heirloom.

Tell me again, at what point is life supposed to get simpler?

Tell me again, at what point is life supposed to get simpler?

I think I’ve been under some misguided notion that life will get easier as time goes by—at least when it comes to the things I’ve been doing for years.

I’ve been in the workplace for over 44 years, and a homeowner for over 35. That’s a lot of time to repeat activities, learn the ropes and to become a bit wise about some things.

But now more than ever, I feel my attention to detail needs to be spot on for me not to screw things up. Let me tell you about some of things that have become harder.

For starters, hiring an employee. The labor laws are dizzying, and each year brings brand new requirements. For a small nonprofit like ours, just finding a job application that complies with current regulations is a challenge.

Then there’s entering into a contract,

Overcoming reopening anxiety

Overcoming reopening anxiety

After months and months of pandemic public health restrictions, stay-home orders and phased reopenings, the governor lifted the restrictions June 15 and we should come much closer to “normal” soon.

As I check in with my own feelings about this transition, the two words that comes to mind for me are anticipation and anxiety.

I dream of going places. Granted, I have been pretty busy at work this past year and have only traveled from home to work and back. I do remember that when I drove to get my vaccine I passed the agricultural areas of Ventura County and thought how refreshing it was to see something different.

I’m enjoying the anticipation of 

Ethical choices demonstrate respect for others

Ethical choices demonstrate respect for others

I’ve been looking through an ethical lens at some of the COVID-era choices people make.

Have you ever heard the statement, “Do the right thing even when no one else is watching?” That is a statement about ethics.

Ethics are moral principles that govern a person’s behavior; they suggest we do the right thing even when doing the wrong thing is not illegal.

Laws surrounding COVID-19 are sparse. After all, it’s a relatively new phenomenon. Instead, various entities have established guidelines as recommendations on how to act.

Whether or not one conforms to these guidelines has a lot to do with a person’s ethical lens.

Let’s look at some ethical choices during COVID times.

Experts on aging provide life lessons

Experts on aging provide life lessons

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the book “Live Smart After 50: The Experts’ Guide to Life Planning for Uncertain Times” that I co-edited and co-authored with 32 other experts in the field of aging.

It was a passion project for a few members of the Life Planning Network, a national organization of individuals working with, and writing about, older adults. I was president of the organization and saw the book as a vehicle to harness and disseminate all the great thinking our members had done.

I’m not sure any of us predicted a global pandemic as an example of an uncertain time, but the advice in the book is as fresh today as it was 10 years ago.

I looked back at some of our authors and wanted to share their groundbreaking work, as it may be even more relevant to our lives today.

Rules for the greater good during COVID times

Rules for the greater good during COVID times

The novel “Little Fires Everywhere” by Celeste Ng keeps swirling in my mind these days because one of its basic themes is the conflict between rule followers and rule breakers that we see playing out in America today.

The story features two main characters, both women.

Elena has followed the rules her entire life and, as a result, has built a comfortable life for herself. She wonders what would have happened had she not been such a rule follower. But she believes “rules exist for a reason; if you followed them you would succeed. If you didn’t, you might burn the world to the ground.”

Mia, on the other hand, does not conform to social norms and lives a life of continuous relocation so that she can escape the consequences of her past actions. Mia never regrets breaking the rules. She sees it as necessary to stay true to her heart.

Whether one follows rules or breaks them is based on