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Women Over Fifty—Cross-Train Your Brain!

Posted on September 12, 2008. Filed under: Of Mind and Matter, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Unfortunately, like the rest of our body, our brain can get a bit flabby with age. Yep, there’s no denying it—going gray doesn’t necessarily help the little gray cells. But the good news is that we can do something about it!

Just like lifting weights on a regular basis is good for muscle tone, routinely lifting mental weights is good for toning up your gray matter. Mental tasks that require focus and concentration are thought to stimulate and even generate new connections between brain cells. The more complex this web like activity, the sharper and more alert you’ll be.

And, just like exercise physiologists suggest you cross-train your body so that certain muscles don’t become over used while others are ignored, brain specialists recommend the same idea. Even mentally stimulating activities that don’t stretch your abilities and knowledge aren’t all that helpful because they’ll consistently exercise only a certain part of your brain. In order to maximize your potential, you need to vary your mental workouts.

So, try some new things. Even simple activities like putting together a 500-piece jigsaw puzzle, memorizing the words to a song, or brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand will tickle the synapses and make them very happy campers. Variety is the spice of life and an array of games and activities that require you to focus and learn new skills will certainly spice up your brainpower!

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Women Over Fifty—Your Encore Career

Posted on September 10, 2008. Filed under: Careers at Midlife, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

I’m reading a fascinating book, ENCORE: Finding Work that Matters in the Second Half of Life, by Marc Freeman.

Here are some of his thoughts:

Retirement as we’ve known it is in the midst of being displaced as the central institution of the second half of life.  It’s being supplanted by a new stage of life opening up between the end of midlife and the arrival of true old age, a period that essentially amounts to the second half of life, at least adult life.  And that’s just the half of it:  The new phase under development is every bit as much a new stage of work.

 We now know that baby boomers are going to work longer than their parents did, whether they have to or want to, or most likely of all, will be propelled to extended working lives by some combination of the two.  Four out of five boomers consistently tell researchers that they expect to work well into what used to be known as the retirement years.  And half of those between 50 and 70 say that they want to do work that improves life in their communities.

The movement of millions of these individuals into a new phase of work constitutes one of the most significant transformations in work this country has witnessed since millions of women broke through to new roles in the labor market, roles that had been off-limits to their mothers’ generation.  And much like the movement of women into the workplace, boomers’ extended stay on the job is likely to have reverberations for all generations and for the very nature of work in America.

Longer working lives bring with them many potential benefits for individuals—a longer time to earn and save, as well as purpose, structure, physical and mental health, and an expanding social circle. The people I profile in the book and many others are finding encore careers doing the most important and rewarding work in their lives.  It’s not easy, but they are questioning their values, following their passions, rethinking their training, networking, volunteering as a way to paid employment, and selling their experience as an asset. Today’s typical 55- or 60-year-old is not interested in heading permanently for the sidelines.

Interesting stuff—and, yes, we boomers will continue to change the world. Our Encore careers will be one more major movement to add to our legendary list of far-reaching accomplishments. What a generation!!! 

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Women Over 50–My Bottom Line

Posted on July 12, 2008. Filed under: Aging With Attitude, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

For those of you who are regular readers, you know that I’m all for celebrating growing older. Many women report that their happiest, most productive years are those past fifty. As far as I’m concerned, I’m more confident, more outspoken, and more assertive than ever before. I guess you might say that I’m feisty!

Nevertheless, there are some joys of youth that I miss—especially in summer. Remember going to the beach with your girlfriends, holding hands, and watching the waves slap the shore? What a delight!  

And then as you grew into your teens and twenties, the summer took on a whole new meaning. With short shorts and halter-tops, it became the season for flirting and hoping to attract that perfect beau who would set your heart to pounding.

And now that we boomers find ourselves on the far side of fifty, what does the season of sunshine bring to us? Actually, it’s a chance to return to our childhood and, once again, frolic in the waves. The view might be a bit different but the fun’s still there.

And that’s my bottom line!

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