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Keyword: ‘ageesteemer’

AgeEsteemer Pauline Mawaka

March 21st, 2010 Comments off

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Pauline Mawaka   Executive Dir. Of Senior Women Citizens for Change

When Pauline Mawaka retired as a school teacher she decided to help change the lives of aging women in Kenya.  I had the privilege to meet Pauline in Nairobi and to learn first hand how she is going about this.  The following words are hers.

“After retirement I began creating awareness of violence against women and in other communities in Kenya.  I have been in most areas of Kenya to say that you must identify yourself as a woman in the community.  Speak out if you are violated.  No one else will speak for you.  Don’t be oppressed.

When women are beaten by their husband they feel that they let him down or failed.  They say they fell down the stairs.  Women are afraid to tell the truth.  We have now started to speak to schools and have women come out and say that they are beaten.  But the problem is that the Police laugh saying the problem is domestic.  This is changing as we get many women to come out.  At the grass roots they are still very oppressed.  I work in the slums of Nairobi.  Women who came from the country did so because their husbands violated them.  Then they come and stay with men in the slums and they are again violated.  They have a red eye or swollen cheek.  With time I think they will understand.  They’ve been oppressed for years.  It takes time.

I got married to a man who believed that a woman is a woman and her place is in the kitchen, but because I was involved in issues of women’s rights I decided I would say no to violence.  He still violates me, but I stand by my rights.  I have declared my rights.  My daughters too.  When a man came to marry my daughter, she said to me, “No, Mommy.  This man is like my dad.  I don’t want to marry him.”  She had seen her father shouting at me and telling me I’m stupid.  And that man is jobless.  I am the one who brings food on the table.  I am the one who has been caring for my children up to now.   He did very little to support.  But regardless of what he did I said that I wanted my children to go to school.  I wanted my children  to be educated.  All my 6 children have finished O levels.  One is working at the UN in NY as an accountant.  So it was like whatever this man was doing to me I didn’t care.  He couldn’t get me down.  I said I would stand firm and be sure that my children would have a good life.  They refuse to be violated.  To be married does not mean that I am a lesser person.

I sing.  When there are meetings like this, (World Council of the YWCA) I come.  Sometimes men don’t let us attend this type of meeting, but I do.  I control my own life.  I speak up.  My husband can call me a mushy brain, say that I am crazy.  Regardless of what I have been told I have walked and gotten on with my life.   Nobody lives my life except myself.  I control my thoughts and my body.  If I didn’t do that, I would not be here.  I would already be dead.  Although my husband never beat me, he abused me with insults.  When he says this I say Thank you.  All you say goes back to you.  I bounce them to you.

I still am here.  At the end of the day he lost his job.  I struggled as a teacher to provide and raise our children.  The man cannot say ‘Mama thank you, you are trying’.  Instead he says I am stupid.  I tell him stupid does not come into my mind but if you call me stupid I bounce it back to you.  One thing he has never done is to touch me.

I know I have a right in my home and in my country and I address it to other women.  I can help other women to say no.

I have a passion for women, and a purpose.  Sometimes when I listen to the women with their issues I just have water running from my eyes, but I know we can work together.  I must shake the world.  I can help women live happily.  It is because of violence that women cannot put food on the table.

When you are told from June to May that you are stupid, you believe you are stupid, you believe you are stupid.  Women encourage me so I keep my energy.  I think, God you love me and I will continue.”

AgeEsteemer

August 29th, 2009 Comments off

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AgeEsteemer Profile
Gladys Foster

Age 87, Centennial, Colorado, USA

Follow Your Bliss

“I’m a poor, old, half-blind widow,” Gladys Foster says matter-of-factly. “That’s true.”

Well, yes and no. Chronologically and compared to the population at large, 87 years of age is old. Gladys is legally blind in one eye from macular degeneration and has only half her sight in the other eye. She has been a widow for more than 20 years. But Gladys certainly isn’t poor in spirit! Dressed in bright red, her energy is tangible.

“And I’m loving it!” she adds about her self-definition with a sparkle in her eye. “I’m so excited about life – more now than ever!”

Gladys’s life revolves around her blog and the friendships it has created, her professional associations, her extended family and her retirement community.  

“I have no pets, no kids (to take care of), no job. Yet I’m too busy!”  she adds.

Active Blogger

And busy she is. She’s an active blogger. “The Internet is the greatest thing that has happened!” she asserts, likening it to the discovery of fire and the wheel. She started her blog (gladysfoster.blogspot.com) before the 2006 U.S. elections to talk with people about what is meaningful to her. The computer is her link to friends and the world community – and that fills her with joy. “I can write the blog indefinitely because I can type without looking,” she points out, referring to her limited eyesight.

Professional Political Economist

The subject of her blog is political economics, an area of study and involvement that has fascinated her all her adult life. After Gladys earned a Masters in Economics, she married J. Fagg Foster, who was also an economist. While he taught at the University of Denver, she raised their three children. Then in 1985, she earned a Ph.D. in Economics.

“The Ph.D. gave me the credentials to publish in academic journals and to teach,” she explains. Widowed and 63 years old, she began teaching economics as an adjunct professor at the University of Colorado – Denver. She also began to participate actively in two professional organizations for economists, the Association for Institutional Thought (AFIT) and the Association for Evolutionary Economics (AFEE).

“I love going to their annual meetings. I can say anything I want,” she beams. “I come back high!”

Sister and Mother

Gladys’s family and local community are also key elements of her life. Every year, she and her four surviving siblings, ages 79 to 87, have a family reunion in their home town of Elk View, South Dakota. She also travels to see her daughter, two sons and grandchildren and hosts visits from them.

At home, her days are joyfully full. Besides writing her blog, she exercises, walks up to 40 minutes most days, does all her own cooking and cleaning, and takes a weekly tai chi class. She also belongs to the retirement village’s Vision Group, formed for people with impaired vision to share ideas and provide information about new devices.

Avid Learner

She’s a voracious reader (using a magnifying glass) and audio-book listener. When the library bookmobile comes to her retirement community every two weeks, she stocks up on books and tapes. They range from novels to tomes on neurobiology. She emphasizes, “I want to spend the rest of my life learning!”

Gladys obviously loves to toss humor and camaraderie into her life. Twice a month, she joins other members of the Wicked Widows for happy hour at one of their retirement village homes. Each member has a white canvas bag to tote her goodies. “When others see us walking down the street with our little bags, they sing, ‘We know where you’re going!’” she relates. “We talk and laugh about absolutely nothing.”

What’s the secret to this AgeEsteemer’s vibrant and joyful life? Gladys sums it up this way ― “Follow your bliss.”

Note: Gladys is the inspiration for “Gladys” p. 20 in the chapter From Doubts to Daring of the book, AgeEsteem: Growing a Positive Attitude Toward Aging by Bonnie Lou Fatio.

Set Your Inner Child Free

April 5th, 2018 Comments off

As the days grow longer, spark your curiosity by visiting parks or taking a nature walk, even if only in your backyard. When you set your inner child free with curiosity, you will discover that curiosity is a key ingredient for learning.

It is no surprise that we are more likely to remember what we have learned when the subject matter intrigues us, but it turns out that curiosity also helps us learn information we don’t consider all that interesting or important.

Did you know that those who are curious may also actively seek out challenges and new experiences to broaden their horizons?

Take a journal outside with you. Sketch the creepy crawlers; spiders, caterpillars, grasshoppers, ladybugs, and begin to form questions about each one. How many different types of caterpillars are there? What do they eat? Why are they fantastically beautiful?

Remember that AgeEsteemers continue to ask questions and think critically about the world around them because a curious mind continues to grow, even as the body ages.

Successful Women of Today

March 22nd, 2018 Comments off

Success is easy to define, Merriam-Webster describes it as “a favorable or desired outcome” and “the attainment of wealth, favor, or eminence,” but is it defined differently for men and women? Perhaps there are the stereotypical gender lines where women focus on the importance of relationships and feeling valued while men focus more on material success.

It turns out that women are broadening the definition of what it means to be successful and what it means to achieve great things in the world. The adaptation of success may also be a reflection of the fact that they still carry the bulk of the household and family responsibilities.

Are you one of those women that does it all and still feel inadequate? Why? Here are some thoughts as you define what success means to you personally:

  • Understand the price you are paying for your definition of success.
  • Have a clear goal and purpose, recognize that you cannot have it all.
  • Decide what is most important, focus on it and get rid of the guilt.
  • Be mindful that after every hill you climb, a new hill emerges.
  • If all else fails, fake it until you make it.

So, what matters to you personally? Where do you want to be in a year? Two years? Five? How will you achieve your own definition of success? Write your thoughts down while having some much-deserved “me time.” What truly matters to you in your life today?

Here are some ways in which AgeEsteemers have defined success in their lives:

  • Be in the moment, instead of constantly going, going, going.
  • Realize that your contribution to the world is valued, if not by others, by you.
  • Find a healthy balance between a loving home and a career you enjoy.
  • Have people in your life who can always make you smile.
  • Find the good in life’s imperfections.
  • Be proud of yourself.

Let determination, vision and purpose be your superpower to success!

Are we the lucky ones?

March 5th, 2018 Comments off

Take a moment to reflect on the world today; advanced technology, material abundance, limitless growth… it seems clear that the world today is amazing! With the help of technology, people can accomplish their tasks more efficiently and effectively. The adolescents of today have an entire world at their fingertips. They are in constant contact with peers through social digital networks and the media.

Are AgeEsteemers the lucky ones?

Can you recall the days when a neighborhood was a safe place to climb trees, ride bikes or simply play? How about when a vacation was a short drive down the road to a camping spot in the woods. Maybe a time when the whole family ate around the dinner table and everyone enjoyed face-to-face conversations where people were more patient with each other and life seemed to move at a slower pace?

Is the throw-away cycle of today failing both people and the planet? One could argue that healthcare, education and opportunities have certainly improved, however studies show that we are no more satisfied than we were 100 years ago.

So, was life better when it moved at a slower pace? Or not?

Abraham Lincoln once said, “Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.”

Would the ability to be fully present in whatever you may be doing, and not allowing your mind to wander to the past or future, make you happy? I challenge you to slow your mind and focus on the now, so that you are able to enjoy more of the simple things in life. One could say that health and happiness are key ingredients to your AgeEsteem.

A Chance Encounter

February 12th, 2018 Comments off

A highlight of spending a few weeks in Florida age is to take breaks from my activities to walk on the beach and just enjoy “being”. There is something reviving and stimulating about splashing through the seawater as the waves wash up on the shore.

Yesterday walking on the beach I passed a woman searching among some scattered shells. Following the hurricane there are very few shells on the beach this year. I said this to her
as I walked near her and we struck up a conversation. 30 minutes later we were still talking. She fascinated me with stories of her multiple activities and her love of life.

She was definitely an AgeEsteemer. I learned that her activities included stimulating discussion groups, volunteering where she interacted with all generations, and traveling to the new and unknown. It was clear that she was living fully, keeping her mind alive, stretching herself further, and interacting with different people – which obviously included speaking to strangers on a beach.

Hmm. I wonder if she thought I was an AgeEsteemer, too.

Bonnie Fatio

A Lesson In AgeEsteem From Peanuts

February 8th, 2018 Comments off

Charlie Brown and Lucy have done it again! These cartoon characters of Charles Schulz’s “Peanuts” make me both laugh and ponder. They share such pertinent lessons.

In a recent cartoon, Charlie tells Lucy that he’s decided “this will be a year of decision”. He proudly shows her a list of things he is going to improve in his life in order to be a better person.  Lucy, who has a way of ruining the intentions of others, replies that she is “going to spend this whole year regretting the past”, crying over what she can no longer control. “Why did I do that?”

How often do you have a Lucy in your life, dimming your joy and crushing your enthusiasm? How often does a Lucy step into your day to tell you that you should not make that trip you have planned, or go out with friends in the evening, or even buy new clothes now that you are older?

If I were Charlie Brown, I would have dumped Lucy a long time ago. I don’t want to waste time regretting the past. I want to enjoy today!

An important aspect of aging well is to have people around you who encourage and support you in what you do, people of all generations who uplift you and who show AgeEsteem. You know the people I am referring to. They are the ones who live fully at each stage of life, who dare to act on their dreams, who have a meaningful purpose, who surround themselves with positive people of all ages, and who continue to contribute to society.

AgeEsteemers do not regret the past, they live in the present and embrace the future.

No, Lucy, I will not let your attitude spoil my joy of living.

Bonnie Fatio

Joyous Aging

July 27th, 2017 Comments off

Here I am in Florida, USA, among senior citizens everywhere I go. – And the energy is amazing. I am in one of the popular restaurants where breakfast is served all day. There is a senior’s menu that has smaller portions and smaller prices. My coffee, eggs, fruit and pancakes with sausage cost less than $10.

So people keep returning. Business is good. There is a line of people waiting for tables. It is all cheery and good fun. Nothing to make you think being older is anything but joyful.

Yes, there are also a few scattered children either with grandparents or families. They transform sections of the picture into intergenerational joy.

No matter where you look, age relates to happiness.

AgeEsteemers are champions at making the most out of every experience. Life is, after all, what you make it to be.

Bonnie Fatio

Life Is What We Make It!

October 26th, 2015 Comments off

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Life Is What We Make It! – And we each create it differently.

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Meet my AgeEsteemer friend, Amy Andersson, who just rappelled down 31 stories of a building in Philadelphia, USA!

She loves to push her comfort zone. During the past few years Amy has driven a dogsledding team in subzero temperatures in Canada, climbed trees and rocks in Pennsylvania, and bicycled in Europe. She says with each new adventure, she gains unique insights into problem-solving and operational processes that she then can apply to her business and those of her clients.

It will not surprise you to learn that Amy also created her business, Andersson Productivity Solutions offering virtual CFO services, at a time in her life when most colleagues of her age were retiring.

Bonnie Fatio

A Time To Say, “I’m Sorry”

July 6th, 2014 Comments off

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A Time To Say, “I’m Sorry”

There are occasions in all stages of life when it is best to simply say, “I’m sorry”, and move on.  This is very different from the approach of the person who is always apologizing, even when she is not responsible for what happened.  Those people wear us down with their apologies that become meaningless.

For others it is almost impossible to squeak out the words.  They are not able or willing to express that they are perhaps at least partially responsible for a situation.  How many broken relationships would still be whole if only the friends or partners had been able to express those words, “I’m sorry”?  How many estranged family members would be speaking to each other if they were able to voice those words?

And how often do we have unhappy thoughts and feel badly knowing that things might be different had we owned up to our own role in breaking a relationship because we couldn’t say, “I’m sorry.  Forgive me.”?

Knowing when to say, “I’m sorry” is important to AgeEsteemers in all stages of life.

  • Saying “I’m sorry” allows you to move on to other things.  You are not preoccupied with an unhappy incident that you caused that keeps you from fully living your life today.
  • You open the door to deeper discussion.
  • It is a key to healing a relationship.
  • Your healthy relationships will lead to greater contact with other generations.
  • By saying “I’m sorry” when it is meaningful, you set an example for others.

Let your age esteem shine as an example to others. When it is meaningful, say “I’m sorry. Please forgive me.”

Bonnie Fatio