Prime Time: Celebrating Life’s Second Half


Growing Older Isn’t For Sissies

As my friend Herb often says, “Growing older isn’t for sissies.” Everyday, we 50+ folks know he’s right. Along with all the other issues we face, as a man, I long ago had that experience of looking in the mirror and seeing my father. For women, aging in a society that celebrates glamour and youth, the mirror can become a dreaded enemy.

Each year, we seniors spend millions of dollars trying to look better (younger) and that probably isn’t a bad thing. When I compare our generation to previous ones, I do believe we are in pretty good shape physically and have aged quite well. I think it’s great that the majority of us continue to groom ourselves nicely and dress somewhat fashionably. I smile while writing that last line because I’ve never been known as a “clothes horse.” If you don’t understand that reference, you’re too young to be reading this blog.

So, what’s the point? The point is, as seniors, we will not win the battle against physical aging. We should stay in good condition, eat well and all the rest, but we are not going to overcome the changes aging will bring about. The wrinkles will come ever faster, the hair we love will thin, and the hair we don’t want will flourish. We need to develop an attitude of acceptance toward physical aging. Of course, my wife Trisha does not accept my view on this subject and has vowed to “go down swinging.”

I raise this issue to preface what I consider to be a more important aspect of the aging process, our minds. To me, the biggest difference I observe among people as they get older is not physical, but mental. I’m not talking about loss of mental acuity, but simply how people use or don’t use their minds. Some seem very engaged concerning current events, new ideas, and even strive to be creative and contribute to society. As Trisha and I wrote in our book, it seems as though retired life for many simply means not having a job any longer. We discovered so many folks in our age group who did not have a plan or set goals for their future. This isn’t a criticism per se because we firmly believe everyone should spend every phase of their lives as they choose. We simply find it curious that so many find themselves in such deep routines, often seem bored, and quite frankly, unhappy. The fact is, planning or not, life does happen.

In our case, my wife and I can’t think of anything more interesting or rewarding than meeting new people, having new experiences, creating something new, or seeing new places around the corner or around the world. I often think about the question I used to get during my teaching career. It was, “Why do you like teaching?” My response was always, “Because I learn so much.” I had to continually read new books, review the latest research, meet new students, learn and evaluate new ideas, and create ways to put them forth. It was always new and exhilarating. I guess that helped shape my views on how I wanted to spend my retired life. I can only say it works for me and my wife, but others must choose the path that works best for them. Choose wisely. As someone once said, “This is your life; it’s not the dress rehearsal.” We’ll drink to that.

Trisha and John Parker

Trisha and John Parker

 

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Slowing the Aging Process

As we reach retirement age and beyond, all we need to do is look in the mirror to be reminded of the many years we have lived. What I’ve always found interesting is that some people seem to look much older or younger than their actual age. Curious, I began to investigate the actual factors that  cause us to physically age. Based upon scientific research, these are the main factors I discovered:

1. Eating foods that cause chronic inflammation. Among these are foods that contain large amounts of vegetable oils, margarine, red meat, white bread, sugar, and other processed foods. The inflammation caused by these foods accelerates wrinkle formation in our skin.

To prevent this acceleration, eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids and alpha-linolenic acid. Such foods would include those with flaxseed or flaxseed oil, avocados, salmon, and olive oil. Fresh fruits and veggies are also beneficial because they contain lots of zinc, selenium, vitamin C, and beta carotene. Red peppers and carrots are especially good. All of these help maintain healthy skin and retard the aging process. In addition, studies have shown that we need to have at least one helping of protein with each meal in order to maintain healthy skin. Insufficient protein causes tears, wrinkles, and cracks in our skin. This obviously ages us much more quickly.

2. Drinking too much alcohol. Alcohol is a natural diuretic and the more you drink, the more dehydrated you become. This dries up the natural moisture from your skin and exacerbates the fine lines and wrinkles that make us look older. Not drinking alcohol or drinking less also allows the liver to more easily flush toxins from our bodies that also benefits our skin. I’m sure we have all had the occasion of seeing a total stranger and can almost instantly determine that the person is a heavy drinker on the basis of their heavily wrinkled face.

3. Constant worry, anxiety, or stress.  Recent studies have shown that stress has a harmful effect on the DNA in our cells. This part of the DNA is called telomeres and when measured, those suffering stress had shorter telomeres in their cells causing the cells to become damaged or die. Stress also ages our brains, increases our blood pressure, and disrupts our sleep, all of which can make us look and feel older.

4. Lack of exercise. Exercising at 40 to 60 percent of your maximum heart rate is not only healthy for your weight, heart, and lungs, it provides a rejuvenating effect on the skin.

5. Smoking. If knowing that smoking causes heart disease, infertility, bladder cancer, high blood pressure, and lung cancer isn’t enough, it also is terrible for the skin and the aging process. Smoking deprives skin cells of oxygen and cause pale and uneven coloring. It also breaks down collagen and causes skin to sag. Puffing on cigarettes also creates deep wrinkles around a smoker’s mouth.

6. Too much sun. While being out in the sun can provide certain health benefits, too much sun certainly has a down side. In addition to the increased risk of skin cancer, UV rays weaken skin cells and blood vessels. This is what causes that tanned, leathery look. It can also make us more susceptible to bruising.

A recent four-year study in Australia determined that daily applications of sunscreen reduces the risk of skin cancer, fights wrinkles, and keeps skin smooth and resilient.

Highly Recommended

Since retiring, my wife Trisha and I have had the opportunity to travel throughout the United States and many countries around the world. In this new section of my blog called “Highly Recommended,” I will be sharing travel locations, hotels, cruises, and restaurants that we have found so compelling we want to share them with readers.

In this case, because my wife’s passion is cooking and my passion is eating, we want to share one of our favorite local places to eat in the bay area city of Brentwood. It’s a little hide-a-way place called Oodles of Noodles and More. They serve Asian-style cuisine in a very casual setting. The price is very modest and they use no MSG, no frozen meats, and all fresh vegetables. They have a variety of spicy sauces from mild to hot and spicy. Each customer gets a bowl and goes through a salad-bar style area to fill their bowl with their favorite veggies and other goodies. You then pick out your meat and sauce. My wife and I like to combine Pineapple Teriyaki and Spicy Mongolian. The chef then grills your food right in front of you, along with your choice of noodles or rice.

Family_eats

We have never been able to eat all of our serving and take the remainder home for a delicious lunch or dinner the next day.

Oodles of Noodles and More

6670 Lone Tree Way, Ste. 5, Brentwood, CA

Trisha Parker Oodles of Noodles

Trisha Parker
Oodles of Noodles

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 http://www.TheBestofOurLives.com

 

Travel Tip: Avoid Airline Luggage Fees

I recently wrote a blog in which I described how I was able to avoid paying an extra fee for my luggage on several overseas flights. In case you missed it, airlines, especially foreign airlines, have very tight weight restrictions for both checked and carry-on luggage. They also have zero-tolerance policies and extremely high fees for going over their limits. In my blog I described how I wore a jacket with a number of inner and outer large pockets in which I stuffed underwear, t-shirts, camera, etc.

O.K., the word cheap comes to mind (I prefer frugal), but the fact is I saved some real money by employing this clever idea. After writing the blog, I heard from people who thought my concept was great. At that point, my entrepreneurial spirit kicked in and I set about to research and design my new line of “travel luggage.” Unfortunately, like most of us who have great ideas, we often discover others have beaten us to the punch.

While I’ve now found several types and styles on the internet, let me share my favorite with you. It’s called the Stuffa Jacket. I like its concept and design. Other travel luggage I’ve found simply looks like horse blankets with pockets and even the most frugal among us would probably be embarrassed to wear something so grotesque.

For what its worth, and I believe you will save enough on your first flight to cover the cost of the jacket, here is the Stuffa.

Untitled

Features:

Capacity: 3/5

The Stuffa is designed more as an additional storage space rather than a replacement for a bag, but the 12 pockets concealed within the lining of this bodywarmer (which can hold up to 5kg of clothing) along with the two external pockets for your phone, passport or tickets, offer a considerable amount of supplementary storage space, allowing you to travel lighter.

Ease of use: 5/5
The bodywarmer’s mesh pockets can be stuffed full of clothes very easily, then just slip the jacket on: simple.

Durability: 5/5
The Stuffa is a well-made and nicely designed product that looks the part and should stand the test of time.

Style Factor: 5/5
By far the most stylist garment in our test, this looks like a normal item of clothing (rather than a bin-bag) and you could happily wear this out and about without getting any odd looks.

Value: 4/5
It’s twice the price of the Roo – but for that extra money you do get a stylish jacket, albeit one with slightly less capacity.

Best for: stylish light-travellers
If you want to save money on airline baggage charges, and look good whilst doing it, the Stuffa is the luggage jacket for you.

I haven’t purchased mine yet. My wife Trisha says she might not stand next to me when boarding the plane if I’m wearing this thing stuffed to the brim. We’ll see how this one turns out. Saving money is something she is really good at so I think she’ll eventually go along with it. If you see somebody at the airport that looks like a giant hot dog, it just might be me.

John and Trisha Parker

John and Trisha Parker

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http://www.TheBestofOurLives.com  

Seniors and the 4th of July

Happy 4th of July to one and all.

On this grand day in our country’s history, I’ve decided to do something a little different. I, like most of you, get numerous forwards emailed to me from family and friends each week. Recently I received two that I’ve decided to share with readers of this blog. I hope you enjoy them as much I as did.

From my friend Dick:

Being Green

Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the much
older woman, that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic
bags weren’t good for the environment.

The woman apologized and explained, “We didn’t have this ‘green
thing’ back in my earlier days.”

The young clerk responded, “That’s our problem today. Your
generation did not care enough to save our environment for future
generations.”

She was right — our generation didn’t have the ‘green thing’ in
its day.

Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles
to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and
sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over.
So they really were recycled.

But we didn’t have the “green thing” back in our day.

Grocery stores bagged our groceries in brown paper bags, that we
reused for numerous things, most memorable besides household garbage
bags, was the use of brown paper bags as book covers for our schoolbooks. This was to ensure that public property, (the books provided for our use by the school) was not defaced by our scribblings.Then we were able to personalize our books on the brown paper bags.

But too bad we didn’t do the “green thing” back then.

We walked up stairs, because we didn’t have an escalator in every
store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn’t
climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks.

But she was right. We didn’t have the “green thing” in our
day.

Back then, we washed the baby’s diapers because we didn’t have the
throwaway kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy-gobbling
machine burning up 220 volts — wind and solar power really did dry our
clothes back in our early days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their
brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing.

But that young lady is right; we didn’t have the “green thing”
back in our day.

Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house — not a TV in
every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief
(remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana . In thekitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn’t have electricmachines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item tosend in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, notStyrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then, we didn’t fire up an engineand burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn’t need to go to a healthclub to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.

But she’s right; we didn’t have the “green thing” back then.

We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.

But we didn’t have the “green thing” back then.

Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service in the family’s $45,000 SUV or van, which cost what a whole house did before the “green thing.” We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 23,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest burger joint.

But isn’t it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we
old folks were just because we didn’t have the “green thing” back
then?

Please forward this on to another selfish old person who needs a lesson
in conservation from a smart—- young
person…

We don’t like being old in the first place, so it doesn’t take
much to set us off…especially from a tattooed, multiple pierced dummy who can’t make change without the cash register telling them how much.

Never Forget

And, from friend Mike, this great video – perfect for the 4th.

On Their Shoulders – YouTube

Tip of the Day

Some friends recently suggested to my wife an all-purpose cleaner called L.A.’s Totally Awesome. Well, she has been raving about it for all of our household tasks. A couple of days ago, I decided it was time to clean up our little boat, so I grabbed the spray bottle to give it a try. I was amazed at how well it cleaned everything, but was in for a shock. The stern of our boat has a padded area that people lay on or step on getting in and out of the water. Its a type of vinyl covering and has become discolored over time. When I sprayed on this cleaning product, it magically became like new. Actually, I think it looks better than new. My whole boat is sparkling.

I don’t have stock or sponsorship in this product, but had to pass it along. Even better news is you can buy it at Dollar Tree for, you guessed it, $1. And that’s in a spray bottle.

Happy 4th of July.

eiffel tower

Trisha and John Parker

 

Tips For Seniors Traveling Abroad

Having recently returned from an incredible travel adventure to Italy and France, I thought it might be beneficial to share a few travel tips for those considering such a trip.

1. If you plan on driving while in a foreign country, make sure you check in with your insurance agent. In most cases they will advise you to purchase additional coverage from the rental car company in the country you are visiting. This is important because when renting a car in the U. S., if your coverage is like mine, the rental car’s coverage is typically not necessary.

2. When possible, book a hotel in the middle of the cities you want to visit. Most foreign countries have rapid transit much better than ours and you can travel easily through most of them. Often, the entire country is connected by efficient rail systems. On our recent trip to Italy, we became very familiar with the Milan train station as we traveled through it several times. Of course, the way most foreign cities have been centrally designed, once there, you can walk to most of your destinations.

3. Because we are all connected to our smart phones, don’t feel you have to get expensive extended coverage while abroad. Most hotels, restaurants, coffee houses, etc., have free Wifi. To stay in communication back home, we simply sign up for a $10 universal texting plan. It gives you peace of mind in case you need to contact a family member or friend. Otherwise, forget you have a phone and enjoy your trip.

4. As a senior, there is a registration program the U. S. government offers that will also provide an extra sense of security while abroad. Here is the link for registration. This will give your family members an extra way to communicate with you in case of emergency. Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)

5. Take your personal safety and security seriously. In most countries you will visit, you probably won’t have to worry about major crime. The fact is, petty crime such as pick pockets, etc., exists in all cities. Keep your passport, credit cards, cash, travel tickets, and I.D. in a hidden travel belt. I have always resisted this suggestion, but during our long recent trip, I decided to wear one and found it quite convenient.

6. If you have any other questions about your health and safety in a country you plan to visit, here are two more links that will keep you informed:

Current Travel Warnings and Current Travel Alerts

Bon Voyage

 

“If you built a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.” 

Don’t you love it when a politician says something and then tries to walk it back? The fact is, words mean things. When these folks go off the teleprompter and use their own words, their true feelings and attitudes are revealed. In England, Governor Romney expressed his opinion that the Brits might not be ready for the Olympics. Guess what? He was right and they have been scrambling from the beginning. But in this politically correct world you must immediately take back or modify your words because somewhere out there your comments will be labeled as a “gaff,” or worse. 

Having reached a ripe old age of wisdom (or perhaps senility), I am mostly amused at the twisting and turning these politicians go through trying to get out their “message.” Not much political talk offends me any longer, but here are a couple of notable exceptions: 

1. “The government can’t afford to pay for tax breaks.” 

When did the government start “paying” any of us? It’s our money whether we are rich, poor, or somewhere in the middle. If you in the government want more money from any of us (and you always do), then start by cutting your spending and stop pissing our money away on foolishness. “How” you ask? Well, the first thing you can do is cut off all foreign aid immediately and start a pay to play policy. You back us and we might help you out with a few bucks. Otherwise, it’s been nice knowing you. That’s just one of many obvious spending cuts. 

2. “Pay your fair share.” 

Excuse me. Most of us retired-age folks have more than paid our fair share. That’s not to mention things like serving in the military, creating businesses, and paying taxes on top of taxes our entire lives. 

Well, this was more of a brief rant, but I feel better. By the way Mr. President, I wrote this blog all by myself. 

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Check It Out

Please take a look at  the new home page and bio page on our web site: 

www.TheBestofOurLives.com   

While the changes on the web site are mostly cosmetic, they reflect an exciting change of focus for my wife Trisha and me. Ever since our book came out, The Best of Our Lives: Sharing the Secrets of a Healthy and Happy Retired Life, we were fortunate to have been invited to appear on both television and radio programs, appear at book signings across the country, and speak to various groups and organizations. 

Since then, our invitations for speaking engagements have increased, and we now spend much of our time and energy on that activity. We thank all of the people and organizations that first invited us to be speakers, and we now look to the future with our new multi-media presentation: Prime Time: Celebrating Life’s Second Half.

We already have some exciting bookings on the calendar, and I will post them in future blogs. 

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Trisha’s Dishes

Trisha Parker

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Trisha’s back with some exciting new dishes. Just click on “Trisha’s Dishes” on our web site home page. I can assure you they are fantastic. 

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Personal Note 

Trisha and I recently returned from Florida. We love the tropics and had a great time with family and friends. We watched the one grandson build sand castles on the beach, another (4 months old) dipped into the ocean for the first time, swam in the pool, visited some good friends, went out on a few dinner dates, and gained a few pounds enjoying the Florida cuisine. I also got to go fishing again on my friend John’s beautiful boat Tangerine, along with good buddy Dave. We caught lots of fish and had even more laughs.

 

Trisha and John Parker

www.TheBestofOurLives.com