GratiTuesday Guest Post: Gratitude for the Young Ones

GratiTuesday guest post by Lynn, An Encore Voyage

Recently I wrote a blog post about retiring without having had children.  It’s rather easy these days to speak disparagingly of many of today’s young people.  There are those who seem unable to string two sentences together without benefit of fishing line…

But in keeping with Janis’s GratiTuesday theme, I’d like to share with you my

Gratitude for the Young Ones

Just recently, I had the opportunity to travel to Seattle to witness the thesis defense and presentation of a doctoral degree to my dear friend’s son.  From the time he was born, I have watched this young man develop into an extraordinarily gifted shining star.  Now, he and the brilliant young minds he works with are engaged in world-altering research.  They are the ones who are curing AIDS, cancers, and illnesses which have plagued the world for our lifetimes.  Such accomplishment in one so young!

I can remember getting a bit freaked out when I first went to a doctor who was younger than I was.  How could he possibly be old enough to have completed medical school?  Then, as my doc used his iPad to flip through my medical records, and swiftly and easily breeze through the technology to show me the most recent of treatment options, I realized I really don’t want to go to a doctor who still uses a flip phone!

For the past two seasons, hubs and I have been enjoying the Broadway productions that come to our city.  We recently dined with a gifted young woman who is just beginning her career in the theatre industry.  Her passion and enthusiasm for her craft made something abundantly clear…It isn’t us crusty retirees who are bringing these beautiful productions to life.  It is daring, talented young people who are bravely and energetically sharing themselves through Broadway, Shakespeare, Contemporary Theatre, music, and dance.  I am grateful to them for creating magical opportunities for all our benefit!

So, here’s to the Millennials and Gen Z-ers who will be such a changing force in this world.  While many may poke fun at your man-buns and essential oils, I am grateful for your many contributions that will alter the landscape of this country!

And now, I’m headed off to my dentist.  He’s a brilliant Millennial – He’ll be using a laser to fix my cavities!

From Janis:

Thank you, Lynn, for sharing your GratiTuesday guest post with us! Thank you for your reminder of the positive contributions the younger generations are already making to our world.

For those of you who haven’t yet discovered Lynn’s blog, please check it out. Follow her journey after she and her husband gave up their lifelong careers and reinvented their lifestyle.

I will be back with my own GratiTuesday post which I’m pretty sure will include my profound gratitude for all my guest posters.

GratiTuesday Guest Post: Smiles

Guest post by Laura, Crafting My Retirement

I am grateful to Janis for inviting me to write a guest post for her GratiTuesday blog segment. Janis is an amazing blogger who every Tuesday posts about the things in her life for which she is grateful. From family and friends, to a beautiful day at the beach, to people and organizations who are making a difference in the world, Janis’ blog and accompanying photographs are both beautiful and thought-provoking.

I’m also grateful to my family and friends who have allowed me to use their smiles in the “Smile of the Week” portion of my blog.

The Smile of the Week is an extension of my Smiles are Contagious campaign.

Last August, I attended a graduation party for several of my work friends. Knowing I’d be retiring soon, I brought my camera along to take photos of my friends so I would have memories of those people who mean so much to me.

That evening, as I reviewed the photographs, all I could see was their beautiful smiles. Joy and happiness lit up my computer screen. I realized I was smiling back at them as I scrolled through the pictures.  I went through the photos several times and each time, I couldn’t help but smile back. It dawned on me, smiles are contagious.

Reflecting further on the day, something very special began to emerge. In this small gathering of friends, smiles from nine different countries were represented.  Smiles are not only contagious; smiles break down cultural barriers and bring us closer together. The gift of a smile is universal.

Thus, began the Smiles are Contagious campaign. I wrote about them, started signing off my work emails and my blog posts with the quote; “Smiles are contagious; let’s start an epidemic.” Then, I took it to the streets, smiling at people in the gym, the grocery store and parking lots. I got a few strange looks, but mostly was gifted with a return smile.

Smiles are welcoming

Smiles are heartwarming

Smiles are life-changing

Smiles are beautiful

Smiles are healing

Smiles are a gift for both the giver and the receiver

Smiles are unique.

From the Cheshire Cat to the Mona Lisa and every smile in-between, each is different.  Whether dimpled, shy, toothy, captivating, radiant, playful, or crooked, all smiles are capable of changing the world. I am grateful for yours.

Smiles are contagious; let’s start an epidemic

From Janis:

Thank you, Laura, for sharing your GratiTuesday guest post with us! I love that you started a personal campaign to promote smiles. I think we can all get behind that!

For those of you who haven’t yet discovered Laura’s blog, you are in for a treat. Although she is relatively new to both blogging and retirement, it’s obvious that she has both well in hand.

Please stop by next Tuesday when Lynn from An Encore Voyage shares her gratitude.

GratiTuesday Guest Post: Bloggers Who Inspire

Guest post by Marty, Snakes in the Grass

Many thanks to Janis for inviting me to guest blog on her GratiTuesday series. To my regular readers who’ve followed me over here today, I do recommend that you check out her blog on a regular basis. Janis took the retirement plunge around the same time as me. Her posts are all about making that transition in as graceful and enjoyable way as possible.

In trying to figure out how I could submit something meaningful here, I have to admit that I was momentarily bereft of ideas. In fact, my first thought after agreeing to participate was to immediately think about my own struggles when writing about gratitude.

Each year during the week of Thanksgiving, I write a post on my blog where I give a listing from A-Z of all the things in my life that make me feel grateful. It’s an arduous undertaking because not only have I put myself into a position of having to come up with 26 items, but I also need to be watchful to not repeat too much of what I used previously. For instance, I seem to regularly blank out with the letter Q. Realizing that I can’t list the Who album “Quadrophenia” each time, last year I simply left it blank and pleaded with my readers to offer up their own suggestions. The lesson here is the same one I learned in 30+ years of government service: if you can’t do it yourself, contract out the work!

Some of us, though, just have a way of a better way of expressing themselves. Take Janis, for instance. Back on the April 17th tax day, she wrote a great post which singles out the virtues of how her tax money is spent. My first reaction after reading it was unmitigated jealousy because I hadn’t thought of writing it first. But my second reaction was admiration and even… <wait for it>gratitude that in this era of antigovernment, anti-progressive fervor, she had the tenacity to say what so many of us are thinking.

[Unsolicited advice to prospective guest-bloggers: always suck up to the host blogger. It ensures you’ll be asked back in the future.]

Which at last brings me to my point: other than finally having the time to read big, huge books I mostly avoided during my working years, I really had no retirement “bucket list.” The one desire I did have, however, was to write whatever entered my head and post it to a blog I could call my own. After doing just that, I came into regular contact with other bloggers whom I now choose to believe are my new colleagues — except we don’t get on each other’s nerves, and to my knowledge none of us ever forgets to wipe down the microwave after using it.

The bloggers I follow here on WordPress bring me unique perspectives, plus glimpses into their struggles and life experiences. They are at times utterly hilarious when sharing the foibles and calamities we all occasionally face; fascinating with recollections of earlier years; heartbreaking when providing us a front row seat into the challenges they face; and admirable because of just how gifted and talented some people are as writers. Please click on each of these links to see what I’m talking about.

So, here’s to all you bloggers who inspire me regularly. I am very grateful.

From Janis:

Thank you, Marty, for sharing your GratiTuesday guest post with us! I, too, am grateful for all the fabulous bloggers whose posts I read on a regular basis, including yours. And, yes, you are invited back as a guest writer anytime 😉 !

For those of you who haven’t yet discovered Marty’s blog, I encourage you to check it out. Although some serious content appears every now-and-then, his great sense of humor always shines through.

Please stop by next Tuesday when Christie from So What? Now What? shares her gratitude.

GratiTuesday Guest Post: Space

Guest post by Pat, Retirement Transition

Picture Credit: Pixabay

I love when an idea comes at me multiple ways.  This has happened in the past couple of weeks with the concept of Space.

During a Thai Yoga Massage (one of my 52 New Things this year inspired by Joanne at My Life Lived Full), apparently, my “space meridians” are blocked.  The therapist asked me “What do you need to let go? Where are you holding ground too much?”  He suggested I look at adding more space into my life, getting outdoors, taking some action, taking some risk.

Then the New Moon Ritual for me this month (another New Thing) had similar space references: “What boundaries do you have to leap over? How will you broaden your horizons?”  And my first cards pulled in my new Tarot Purpose deck (yup, still another New Things item) were: Make Decisions, Protection, and Letting Go.

The Universe is definitely sending me a message about letting go and expanding.  Not surprisingly, this spring I have been focusing on space with our recent downsizing move.  Letting go (finally) of the old space where I felt shackled.  Designing this new space to be comfortable and welcoming.  Making the new space the right environment for living the retirement lifestyle I envision.

So today I am Grateful for my Space.  While it is not completed in design/creation, there are multiple elements that make me grateful for this space we are creating:

  • There is positive energy in this house! It has solid “bones” (100 years worth), lots of woodwork, unique chandeliers, and stained glass windows to provide beauty.
  • The house feels like my sanctuary. It has many nooks and (new) comfy chairs where I can cuddle to read, write, and daydream. We’ve decorated with artwork that reflects our travels and love of arts & crafts shows.
  • It has the bigger kitchen that was a “must have” and is encouraging me to cook again. (And the 2-bay garage for hubby’s toys.)
  • We are working on creating outdoor spaces as well – a porch to sit and watch the world go by and a patio for friends to gather for evening meals.
  • I am grateful that I have the ability and the support (thanks, hubby) to create a space that brings me joy and that allows me to embrace the lifestyle I want to live at this stage of life.

I am grateful for my new space and looking forward to expanding in entertaining of friends (which for me is taking risk).  Universe… I’ve heard your message.

From Janis:

Thank you, Pat, for sharing your GratiTuesday guest post with us! The space you are creating sounds cozy and welcoming, and reflective of you and your husband’s interests and personalities.

For those of you who haven’t yet discovered Pat’s blog, you are in for a treat. Join her on her journey “envisioning & implementing life’s next stage”.

Please stop by next Tuesday when Marty from Snakes in the Grass shares his gratitude.

Thursday Doors: Las Puertas de Oaxaca, Tres

The doors of Oaxaca, Mexico are as interesting, joyful, and unique as the people who live and work there. This third grouping of doors (my first two posts are here and here) are wide-ranging in design, and include doors from churches, businesses, galleries, museums, and a residence.    

Several commenters on my last post mentioned the bars in front of many of the doors and asked if that was indicative of the crime rate. Although we never felt unsafe during our stay in Oaxaca, crime does exist (like everywhere, unfortunately) and many people feel more comfortable with bars in front of their doors and windows. You’ll notice that most of the doors in this group don’t have bars (except to prevent injury), although one does have fire-breathing lizards to keep watch.  

Beautiful combination of colors on a residential exterior.
Carved wooden doors welcome the guests of this bed and breakfast.
A door through an arch.
No one is getting in or out through this ghost door.
I loved the light coming through this museum door.
This second floor door looked down on a huge sculpture of a fisherman.
First there’s love…
… then there’s marriage.
Brightly painted garage doors.
Fire-breathing lizards guard this shop.

Thursday Doors is a link-up of fellow door aficionados generously hosted by Norm Frampton. Head over to his blog and click on the rana azul (blue frog) to view all the amazing doors he and others have posted.

GratiTuesday Guest Post: MARS Garden Tour

Guest post by Donna, Retirement Reflections

For the past twenty-seven years, The Mount Arrowsmith Rhododendron Society (MARS) has organized an annual MARS Garden Tour on Vancouver Island. Participants have the opportunity to view backyards (of all shapes and sizes) that have been transformed into innovative sanctuaries. Although I am not a gardener, I look forward to attending this event each year. Below are a few highlights from our recent self-guided tour.

This property is one block down from our home. I’ve passed it hundreds of times, never knowing that there was an oasis hiding behind the cedar hedge!

These Master Gardeners had the right idea. Wine was served in the side yard, while tea was waiting on the front porch.  Centrally located chairs in the backyard made a perfect spot to soak in the serene sights, sounds, and fragrance. I wanted to move in!

One property owner said that she had worked steadily for the past three months to prepare for this Garden Tour. She is no stranger to hard work. Above is a photo of the house when she and her husband first bought it in 2008. Beside it is a photo of what her home looks like today. BTW – Richard REALLY wanted to drive away in their car.

At our next stop, these flowers caught my eye. Any plants that admit they ‘R. Grumpy’ are plants to which I can relate! (For those of you more interested in actual gardens, than wordplay, this rhododendron is a yakushimanum hybrid. It thrives in cooler climates and can reach three feet in height. It produces creamy flowers that are tinged pink in mid-spring. See, I was listening!)

Can you tell that my camera was attracted to bright colours, textures…and water views?

As in previous years, this garden tour also included:

  • Displays by local artists,
  • Floral art arrangements,
  • Master Gardeners to answer questions,
  • Music,
  • Refreshments,
  • Attendants at each garden to assist participants.

If you have the chance to visit this, or a similar garden tour, I highly recommend it.

As with so many enriching community events (that are often taken for granted), endless volunteer hours are required to make everything happen smoothly. Many of these generous volunteers remain unseen.

A heartfelt thank you to all who have worked tirelessly to put together the MARS Garden Tour (and so many other community events like it). When you have the opportunity, why not consider volunteering to support a well-loved activity in your community? Your efforts may make more of a difference than you realize.

Is there an annual community event in your area that you look forward to attending each year?

From Janis:

Thank you, Donna, for sharing your GratiTuesday guest post with us! A lot of behind-the-scenes work goes into putting on these community events as your pictures from the beautiful MARS Garden Tour illustrate.

For those of you who haven’t yet discovered Donna’s blog, please check it out. Her tagline, “New Chapters, New Discoveries and New Adventures” says it all.

Please stop by next Tuesday when Pat from Retirement Transition shares her gratitude.

Sunday Stills: Furry Friends

My husband and I decided a while ago not to have any pets at this time of our lives. Although we love animals and enjoy their companionship, we also love the freedom of being able to pick up and go at a moment’s notice without worrying about arranging for their care. Fortunately, I am able to get my furry fixes in other ways from time to time.

We were maneuvering our shopping cart through the Costco parking lot when we happened upon this handsome boy. After peering into his soulful eyes, I was tempted to go back inside and buy him one of those mega-sized bags of dog food… or maybe several Costco hot dogs.

Carlos lets us take care of him while his “A-Team” staff is away. As long as we feed him regularly, provide fresh water, and scoop his poop, he allows a few cuddles and ear scratches. We are very happy to be of service.

Sunday Stills is a weekly photography link-up co-hosted by Terri Webster Schrandt on her blog Second Wind Leisure Perspectives. Each week there is a new word prompt to inspire a shared photo (or photos). Follow this link to learn more about it, see other submissions, and to share your own.